A titan of New York real estate and property development has dropped a bombshell on his wife and sparked a multi-billion dollar divorce fight.
Harry Macklowe, 79, confessed to his wife last month that he’s been involved in a long-running affair with a younger woman.
Linda Macklowe, 78, is a Guggenheim Foundation trustee and the impetus behind the couple’s enormous art collection, valued at $1 billion, according to some reports.
Over the course of their 57-year-long marriage, they’ve raised two children and, according to press reports, never signed a prenuptial agreement. It’s safe to assume that this one is going to get ugly.
Harry Macklowe is a famed real estate developer who has owned the General Motors Building and developed the Apple Store on Fifth Avenue.
His Macklowe Properties, active since the 1960s and currently helmed by his son, William, owns a number of New York landmarks, including 400 Madison Avenue, 540 Madison Avenue, and Two Grand Central Tower.
The company is currently developing 432 Park Avenue, whose construction began in 2011 and which is the tallest residential building in the world. Units are available now, for the low, low price of $17 million and up.
Known as something of a gambler, Harry purchased a number of buildings in 2007 through a series of short term loans, defaulting on many of them in 2008 as the market collapsed.
He’s bought and lost more of New York’s skyline than many see in a week.
He’s estimated to be worth $2 billion, and it’s likely that his wife will have plenty of reason to go after as much of it as possible.
According to Page Six, Harry told her last month about his affair with Patricia Landeau.
Landeau 60, is president of the French Friends of the Israel Museum, which is located in Jerusalem. The two apparently met at a museum event.
Harry and Linda are donors to the Israel Museum and regular attendees at its annual New York gala.
To make matters worse, it turns out that Harry had been housing his mistress in one of the buildings he owns.
For the last two years, Landeau has lived at 737 Park Avenue, which has been home to luminaries such as HBO CEO Richard Pleplar, French financier Raymond Svider, and Russian princess Kristina Kovalenko.
Harry didn’t just spill the beans about his affair, either. He told Linda that the marriage was over and he was moving in with his girlfriend – and immediately did just that.
Landeau is the mother of four children, and according to sources who spoke with Page Six, she is French, blond, and very attractive.
From Linda’s perspective, Harry’s announcement was, “completely out of the blue.” Harry “moved straight in with his girlfriend.
Harry is almost 80, he’s been married for [almost] 60 years, and suddenly he has a girlfriend,” according to Page Six’s sources.
During Memorial Day weekend, the new couple was spotted partying in the Hamptons. Harry and Linda own a home on Georgica Pond, where Harry has famously feuded with neighbor Martha Stewart.
Steven Spielberg and Calvin Klein also live in the exclusive enclave, and the area served as the Summer White House for Bill Clinton in 1998 and 1999.
According to Page Six, the whole situation is very public and very much in Linda’s face, and friends believe Harry could have handled it much better.
At the same time, the two have a long history of complaining loudly and publicly about one another.
In her 2014 book “The Liar’s Ball,” about the GM Building, author Vicky Wade wrote about their marriage, comparing it to an Edward Albee play.
Linda has built what one friend described as “an astonishing art collection,” that includes works by Franz Kline, Mark Rothko, and Gerhard Richter.
Many of those pieces are said to hang at the Georgica Pond house, which will undoubtedly matter very much to both parties in the coming months.
Ironically, Harry and Linda’s daughter Elizabeth Swig only recently concluded a heated, five-year-long divorce, walking away with, among other things, a waterfront house in the Hamptons.
Hopefully Harry won’t treat it as an opportunity to let his daughter and his new love get to know one another.
How the $2 billion fortune, and the $1 billion art collection, are distributed is anyone’s guess, but you can imagine that the lawyers working on this case will stop at absolutely nothing to protect their clients’ interests.
Whether it’s making sure that Linda, after nearly six decades of marriage, moves on with the resources to live lavishly every day for the rest of her life, or protecting Harry from having to pay out an excessive portion of the incredible fortune he’s built, they’ll have their work cut out for them.
Your divorce may not include billions in assets and wealth or the Manhattan skyline itself, but getting the best deal possible so that your wealth and standing is protected in the future is every bit as important as it is for the Macklowes.
In a divorce your shared assets must be properly appraised, and significant decisions about what you want and what you’re willing to part with have to be made.
Getting clear-headed guidance about all the elements of your divorce, from child custody and support to spousal maintenance and property division, is the best way to end up with a settlement agreement that protects you for the long term.
At Zelenitz, Shapiro & D’Agostino, our experienced team of Brooklyn divorce attorneys understands the intricacies of today’s divorces, and how important it is that you get the resources you need to live the life you want.
Whatever the cause of your divorce, we can help you pursue the strongest possible case to get the largest possible award in the end.
If you’re considering divorce in Brooklyn, call us today at 718-725-9601 for a free consultation with an experienced divorce lawyer.