Billionaire art collector David Mugrabi was back in court yesterday facing a fresh lawsuit from his estranged wife over their New York townhouse, amid ongoing bitter divorce proceedings.
Both parties appeared in good spirits as they arrived for a court hearing at New York County Supreme Court on Thursday, despite the nature of the occasion.
David Mugrabi, the son of Israeli businessman Jose Mugrabi, filed for divorce from his wife Libbie in July after 13 years.
Libbie Mugrabi arrives at court yesterday amid divorce proceedings for her split from billionaire art collector David Mugrabi
David Mugrabi at a court hearing at New York County Supreme Court on Thursday, December 6, 2018
The acrimonious separation is likely to be expensive for David; Libbie stated that the couple spent over $3 million per year and they did not sign a pre nup.
In August, a judge ruled that David pay temporary spousal support of $25,000 a month for Libbie and their children, aged 9 and 11.
He also covers their private school tuition.
Now Libbie has alleged that David is scheming to cut out her ownership stake in a the couple’s $72 million Upper East Side townhouse, and ‘deprive (her) of her legal right to the marital home,’ The Real Deal reported.
Libbie is demanding a $57 million stake when David sells the couple’s New York townhouse which is now worth $72 million after a five-year renovation
The Upper East Side townhouse that the couple purchased in 2013 for $15 million is at the center of the court heating today. It is now worth $72 million after they spent five years renovating it, but they cannot agree on whose money was used to buy it
Court documents show they bought the five-storey house – the former home of Jocelyn ‘Catwoman’ Wildenstein – as a primary residence for $15 million in 2013 and spent a further $57 million renovating it.
Libbie is demanding that $57 million sum back when David sells the townhouse, now worth $72 million.
According to the lawsuit filed in New York County Supreme Court on Tuesday David hid details of the ownership structure – leading Libbie to believe that she was a co-owner of the property.
David argues the house is owned by a trust controlled by his elder brother.
David Mugrabi, the son of Israeli businessman Jose Mugrabi, has two children with Libbie aged 9 and 11
Libbie previously sought an extension of a temporary protection order after alleging David pushed her to the ground after she claimed to have caught him skinny dipping with another woman while his wife was out with the kids.
The provenance of the money used to pay for the house is also a matter of dispute, with David stating it was bought with money from his father Jose and Libbie countering that they used ‘marital funds’.
In October, at what was their fifth court hearing in six weeks, the couple agreed to be ‘civil and appropriate’ in front of their children after Libbie claimed David ‘shoved her’ while she was holding a 25lb $500K Keith Haring sculpture.
She had sought an extension of a temporary protection order following the alleged push, which came in July after she claimed to have caught David skinny dipping with another woman while she was out with the children.
Libbie confronted her husband’s pool partner while their nanny filmed it all on a video camera, according to a source friendly with the couple.
Libbie brought along to court the $500,000 sculpture that she says she was holding when David shoved her to the ground, causing her great pain.
Happier times: Libbie has stated in court papers that the couple spent over $3 million per year, but she is now receiving just $25,000 monthly for her and the children (couple above in April)
The couple owns a home in the Hamptons, which was purchased in 2007 for $3.75 million and is now worth $9 million (above)
That Haring is just one of the many pieces of art owned by the Mugrabi family, who are believed to have the largest private collection of Andy Warhol works in the world.
The family is also in possession of multiple Picassos, Rodins, Damien Hirst works and the aforementioned Haring.
Hirst and Richard Prince have even painted portraits of the family.
The Mugrabis own as much as $5 billion worth of work, which will go to David and his older brother Alberto upon their father’s death.
In a previous hearing a court ruled that David can’t be blocked from selling the home and 50 works of art.
In October, at what was their fifth court hearing in six weeks, the couple agreed to be ‘civil and appropriate’ in front of their children
The $500,000 Hariung piece weighing 25lbs that Libbie said she was holding when David shoved her to the ground
The couple also own a home in the Hamptons, which was purchased in 2007 for $3.75 million.
It features a large main home, swimming pool, tennis court and guest house in the hamlet of Sag Harbor, and is less than a mile away from the estate of Matt Lauer, which the disgraced newsman has been desperately trying to sell for over a year.
And the family purchased a three-bedroom condo on the Upper East Side in 2014 that was valued at $4 million, but paid just $180,000 according to city property records.
That is where Mugrabi is now staying while Libbie has spent most of her time since the split in the couple’s Hamptons home.