Elie Hirschfeld’s three sons are suing their estranged father for $50 million, accusing him of refusing to acknowledge their interest in company properties that he transferred to them years ago.
His sons Benjamin, Jonathan and Matthew Hirschfeld— ages 21, 20 and 19, respectively— filed the suit in Manhattan Supreme Court on Friday. It says that their father, president of Hirschfeld Properties, transferred interests in several of the firm’s valuable New York and New Jersey buildings to them when they were very young. However, according to the complaint, he has since refused to provide them with any information about the sites, including when they received the interests, how much income they have gotten from them, what happened to the money from any sales of the properties, and who has been managing the buildings.
The suit claims that hiding this information is an attempt by Hirschfeld to defraud his children. The brothers allege their father wrote a note that said, “[o]nly liability is kids may sue me later.”
His sons maintain that they at least have a 75 percent interest in 328, 330 and 336 East 61st Street; an 18 percent interest in 218 East 79th Street; a security interest in 1490 Madison Avenue; and ownership interest in a commercial building in Maplewood, New Jersey. The suit says there are additional interests as well that they do not know about.
The company’s holdings include the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Times Square and the Grand Sutton condo tower on East 59th Street.
The New York Post first reported on the lawsuit.
Jay Freiberg of Elman Freiberg, the attorney for Hirschfeld’s sons, said they had no option but to go to court since their father refuses to give them any information about their properties.
“We met with Elie’s lawyers, and they continued a pattern that has been ongoing for a long time of obfuscation and hiding these assets,” he said. “The boys didn’t want to rush into this, but their hand was forced.”
A representative for Hirschfeld attacked the lawsuit as baseless.
“There are only two explanations for these meritless claims, dating back over 10 years — either [that] the plaintiffs’ lawyers are misinformed or that this is just the latest example of the endless and unnecessary legal battles related to the contentious divorce between Mr. Hirschfeld and the mother of his children,” the representative said.