Rotem Rosen has won the most recent courtroom skirmish in the protracted war for more than $100 million of the estate of his former father-in-law, the late Tamir Sapir.
The dispute, now in its second year in New York Surrogate’s Court, was nearly settled last year. But then the late real estate titan’s son and executor of his will, Alex Sapir, reversed course at the eleventh hour. His lawyers filed a motion for summary judgment that effectively asked the court to make a final ruling on Rosen’s claim. At the time, Sapir’s legal team was hopeful the court would dismiss it.
This week, more than a year later, the court declined to do so. Instead, Judge Rita Mella agreed with Rosen’s legal counsel, ordering that discovery proceed “to allow Rosen to discover facts to justify his defense.”
Rosen’s attorney, Sheron Korpus of Kasowitz Benson Torres, described the court’s decision as gratifying after his client “devoted years” to repositioning assets within the estate “based on agreements and promises of compensation which the estate now seeks to avoid.”
At the heart of the case is Rosen’s claim that he’s owed $103 million of the elder Sapir’s estate. He claims that is compensation for the work he did for the family’s real estate empire despite the alleged mismanagement of the family fortune by the younger Sapir.
In court documents, Sapir denied Rosen’s allegations and called them a tactic to “extort a favorable outcome” in his divorce proceedings. Months earlier, Rosen’s wife, Zina Sapir — Alex’s sister — filed for divorce.
Sapir’s attorney, Terrence Oved of Oved & Oved, said he remains confident discovery will confirm the “frivolous nature” of Rosen’s allegations and “place the inevitable dismissal of Rosen’s claims on even firmer legal footing.”
The case is one of three legal disputes between the former business partners and brothers-in-law.
Last summer, Sapir, in his capacity as CEO of the Sapir Organization, initiated its own $100 million suit against Rosen, alleging he and his brother worked to siphon tens of millions of dollars and proprietary information from the company.
Days later, Rosen filed another lawsuit against Sapir. In that claim, he alleged Sapir defaulted on a $60 million promissory note connected to Rosen’s 2017 buyout, which marked the start of the end of their relationship.