The Real Deal Los Angeles

Family feuds in court over Beverly Hills-based Unilev real estate empire

Widow charges brother in-law with “sociopathic greed”
By Dennis Lynch | February 12, 2018 04:08PM

Unilev at 9250 Wilshire Boulevard

An ugly family feud over control of a Beverly Hills-based real estate investment and management empire has pitted the co-founder’s widow against his own brother.

The widow of Danny Levy, co-founder of Unilev Capital Corporation and related businesses, alleges her brother-in-law, Raymond Levy, is trying to cut her out of the $500 million business.

Panta Levy, via a trust she and her husband, Danny, created before his death in 2016, owns his stake in the numerous Unilev-connected companies.

The brothers often took 50 percent interest in their ventures, but Panta Levy says Raymond has tried to “consolidate the control and wealth of [the companies] solely in his own hands.”

The suit, filed in Superior Court in Los Angeles County, includes allegations that Raymond Levy acted with “sociopathic greed” in deliberately breaching his fiduciary duties to the Dan and Panta S. Levy Trust, and to the Unilev company itself.

Danny Levy built the company, according to the suit, and upon his death, because Raymond “knew he lacked the talent to build a [business] as Danny did, Raymond has sought instead to take one.”

Unilev owns at least three dozen properties, most of them in Texas, but at least two in Los Angeles. They include a Santa Monica office building and the company’s headquarters, at 9250 Wilshire Boulevard in Beverly Hills.

It manages those properties through Unilev Management Corporation. A dozen smaller companies tied to specific properties, all based in Delaware and Texas, are specifically named as defendants in the suit, along with Unilev Capital and Unilev Management.

Panta Levy alleges that Raymond has withheld the financial details of the companies to hide poor management and financial decisions, denying her any information about how her trust’s money is spent. The suit also alleges that proof of his mismanagement can be seen in the cash distributions she receives through the trust. That money plummeted to $200,000 in 2017, from $1.4 million in 2015.

Raymond gave himself numerous raises, according to the lawsuit, “without business justification.” These moves were all to bleed money from Panta Levy and her late husband’s trust, the suit charges.

The suit seeks unspecified damages. Panta Levy’s attorney, Hayward Kaiser, could not be reached for comment. Efforts to reach Raymond Levy, through Unilev, were unsuccessful.