billionaire’s daughter sent her father to jail and tried to evict him from the family mansion
The billionaire faced 19 lawsuits, was arrested and evicted from his New York mansion in a fight with his daughter over his $1 billion art collection, according to the Daily Mail.
Hubert Neumann was evicted from his $6 million Upper West Side townhouse after a heated argument with Belinda and her husband Jeffrey Donnelly. Security footage shows Donnelly sitting and watching as cops calmly escort the billionaire out of his mansion during an arrest three days before Christmas 2018. He claimed that the 92-year-old collector showed aggressive behavior when he tried to evict the couple from the house where they were staying.
Belinda, the middle of his three daughters, and her husband Donnelly launched a campaign against her father when he opposed her claim to 80% of her late mother’s inheritance.
Neumann’s wife Dolores, before her death in 2016, signed a will in which she left most of the property to Belinda and disinherited her husband. Neumann has long disputed the will, which he believes is invalid because it was made while his wife was undergoing serious medical treatment.
Neiman claimed that the will was secretly changed before his wife’s death, leaving Belinda with 80% of the inheritance and the other two daughters, Melissa and Debra, with the remaining 20%. The quarrel occurred when the father asked the daughter to share the mother’s property equally with the sisters. After that, in May 2018, he began the procedure for evicting Donnelly.
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Neumann’s lawyers claim that his daughter wanted to take possession of the collection, including Andy Warhol’s work, in order to sell. Neumann, on the contrary, insists on leaving the work of art as a family heirloom.
The legal epic still remains unresolved, however, despite all the ups and downs, Neumann claims that he loves his daughter. “I love Belinda and my two daughters equally as always,” he said. “I hope and pray that we can put this family dispute behind us and restore peace and love to our family.”
The beginning of the conflict
It all started in 2018, days before Christmas, when Neumann’s son-in-law Geoffrey Donnelly filed a police complaint about an altercation at Neuman’s New York townhouse. He accused his father-in-law, who was 86 at the time, of pushing him and violating a restraining order that restricted Neumann from living on the upper floors of his house.
CCTV footage captured the moment Neiman was handcuffed and taken out by the police, while Donnelly sat and watched from the stairs.
At night, Neiman slept on the cold floor of the police cell, surrounded by vermin, while his daughter, son-in-law and grandchildren continued to live rent-free in his townhouse, which also housed his entire art collection.
Neumann’s legal team appeared in family court only to find that Donnelly’s lawyers had withdrawn their claims. The District Attorney’s Office refused to prosecute the case, resulting in the case being dismissed and Neiman being unable to clear his name. This was the beginning of a protracted litigation that has continued over the past few years.
Mr Neiman’s Story
Neumann came to New York in the early 1950s when he was in his early twenties. He was immediately captivated by the lively art scene. Along with his late father Morton, he became an active art collector and even played a role in the discovery of such famous abstract painters as Jean Michel Basquiat.
Basquiat, born in Brooklyn, rose to fame as a graffiti artist in the late 1970s. Dolores Neumann became friends with Basquiat during his short career, which ended with his death in 1988.
Neumann’s father, Morton, began amassing a collection that eventually developed into one of the finest in the United States, including works by Picasso, Picabia and Warhol. He died in 1985. The collection was divided between sons Arthur and Hubert.
Most of these works of art, valued at over a billion dollars, are currently owned by two family trusts, both of which are overseen by Hubert Neumann.
The Neumann collection features renowned artists such as Picasso, Matisse, Warhol, Koons and Miro and is highly sought after by wealthy collectors and museums around the world. Neumann wanted to keep his entire collection safe and sound and pass it on to his daughters.
In 2012, his daughter Belinda, along with her husband and children, moved in with Neumann to provide care for him, but when it became known that Belinda would inherit 80% of her late mother’s estate, tensions arose in the house.
Neumann has never agreed with the will, which he believes was hastily changed and drafted despite a court ruling that confirmed his ex-wife’s mental health. After her mother’s death, Belinda received a Basquiat painting, which, against her father’s wishes, she sold for $30.7 million.
In court documents, she claimed that her father was expunged from her mother’s will because of alleged abuse, which Neiman vehemently denies.
By May 2018, tensions escalated when Neiman attempted to evict Donnelly from his home. In response, Belinda and her husband received a temporary protection order forbidding any communication between Neiman and Donnelly, despite the fact that they all lived in the same house.
By the end of May 2018, another restraining order was filed, which restricted Neiman and his partner Debra Purden to the fourth and fifth floors of the townhouse, with the doors to the second and third floors locked. In this regard, Donnelly repeatedly called 911, claiming that Neumann violated the order.
This drama continued until May 2019, when the Donnellys were finally evicted and ordered to pay $24,300 in rent by a New York Court of Appeals.
Belinda said in 2021 that her father “continues to use money as a tool to control his children and, more importantly, all art belonging to members of the Neumann family,” according to court documents.
She alleges that he robbed his own children and grandchildren of the money he had left in family trusts, making it “as difficult as possible for the children to disobey him.”
Legal battles continue as Belinda and her husband attempt to contest Neiman’s control of her mother’s will. They argue that years of alleged abuse make Neumann unfit to fulfill his trustee duties.
Neiman’s lawyers insist that these allegations be taken to court, believing that the billionaire will be able to prove them false. “The obvious reason was clear. The Donnellys capitalized on the bogus claims. They ensured that Hubert was in his own house for several months in isolation and a complete absence of hearings, Neiman’s lawyer Jay Itkowitz said. “After several months of false claims, they simply abandoned them as they no longer made sense and, in my opinion, would have been rejected anyway. So to avoid an embarrassing loss in family court, they simply dropped the lawsuits.”
Melissa Neumann, the youngest daughter of the Huberts, will become trustee in the event of her father’s death.
“As a trustee, I want to be as objective as possible, but personally, it seems to me that it will be very difficult to restore such a family,” she said. “It shouldn’t have happened this way, the announcement of my mother’s will definitely changed my life trajectory and my sister’s trajectory. She is my older sister, I always looked up to her, we helped each other, but most of all I am hurt by the personal side of this issue.
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