The Real Deal New York

“And so it ends”: Macklowe fortune now in judge’s hands

Final testimony given in real estate’s biggest divorce trial
By E.B. Solomont | December 22, 2017 02:30PM

From left: Linda Macklowe, Peter Bronstein, Justice Laura Drager and Harry Macklowe (Credit: Christine Cornell)

After a 14-week whirlwind narrative of shattered deals, marital discord and valuations that seemed to exist in parallel universes, testimony in real estate’s biggest divorce trial came to a close.

“And so it ends,” Harry Macklowe said aloud to a nearly empty courtroom Friday.

Throughout the proceedings, both sides have tried to downplay the value of their reportedly $2 billion fortune – from Linda Macklowe’s vast art collection to Macklowe Properties’ 13 million-square-foot real estate empire. For Harry, that’s meant denigrating his own projects, including 432 Park Avenue and 1 Wall Street, which in other settings he has lavished with praise.

On Friday morning, the Macklowes wore poker faces as their lawyers wrapped up the final day of testimony. Harry arrived in court with his standard-issue Starbucks, sporting a navy suit with bright red socks.

A day earlier, the developer’s accounting expert testified that his operating companies “lose money every year” — a claim that Linda’s lawyers sought to debunk. (They claim Harry stands to make $55 million a year between 2017 and 2021.)

On Friday, John Teitler, Linda’s chief lawyer, brought up a financial statement in which Macklowe Properties projected 432 Park would throw off $128 million in cash flow in 2016.

“If you had been told that he was forecasting that in 2016,” Teitler asked, “would you have take it into consideration?”

Judge Linda Drager put an end to the cross examination shortly before 11 a.m. “I’m not taking more evidence,” she said. “The court has, probably, 50,000 pages of testimony and exhibits.”

As the lead attorneys retreated to her chambers to work out a deadline for submitting their final briefs — they are due Feb. 6— their clerks packed up 38 boxes of legal files that had been used during the case.

Linda was among the first to leave, but Harry hung back.

“And so it ends,” he said to himself as he surveyed the courtroom. “It ends with a sigh.”