Published On: Thu, Jun 26th, 2014

Judge Rules Against Revlon heiress Samantha Perelman In Case Against Her Grandfather’s Estate

-James Cohen_and_Samantha_Perelman_Shankbone_2009_Vanity_Fair-wikimedia-commons

Yesterday a Judge finally ruled in a long running case brought by Samantha Perelman against the estate of her late grandfather Robert Cohen. The Judge ruled that Samantha does not deserve a bigger share of his estate.

Billionaire Ronald Perelman’s daughter Samantha, ably aided and abetted by Perelman himself as executor of her mother’s estate, had been fighting Robert Cohen’s multimillion dollar estate for several years in the New Jersey courts, at a cost of millions of dollars in legal fees.

Robert Cohen was the founder of the successful Hudson News media distribution business, one that was ultimately inherited by his own son James Cohen, leaving Samantha’s mother Claudia, and then Samantha herself after her death, effectively substantially disinherited when Robert finally died in 2012 at the age of 86.

Samantha’s case had essentially asserted that Robert Cohen had been unduly influenced by his son James. Three months ago James Cohen, Samantha’s Uncle, and today the CEO of Hudson Media Inc, had finally given his own personal testimony in a Bergen County New Jersey, Superior Court over the disposition of this father Robert Cohen’s estate.

Judge Estela M. De La Cruz wrote a 119 page opinion to document the essentials of the complicated case and to demonstrate her conclusions. Clearly the Judge tended to believe the evidence that Robert’s son James had provided about his father’s soundness of mind, and his ability to make his own choices concerning the inheritance and disposition of his estate.


Claudia,    Cohen  Ron,    Perelman  Samantha's mom


In her opinion, the Judge wrote that it seems that James Cohen and his father enjoyed “a remarkably harmonious relationship” when they worked together in the Hudson News business. She therefore concluded “the court finds it very unlikely that James Cohen somehow ‘coerced’ or ‘dominated’ his father, or that his father could even be ‘coerced’ or ‘dominated.’ ”

The judge also concluded that while Robert Cohen suffered terribly from Parkinson’s disease, gradually leaving him unable to speak and move, he nevertheless remained “legally competent” and was perfectly capable of choosing his bequests for himself.

Accordingly, the judge concluded Robert Cohen’s decisions to reduce his granddaughter’s bequests were the result of “his own free will.” In addition, “bitter litigation” initiated by the Perelmans to declare him incompetent, even while Robert was still alive, were themselves likely also valid reasons for the decisions Robert Cohen made about the Perelmans.

As a consolation prize, the Judge did award Samantha Perelman to be reimbursed for all her legal bills for the case, ruling that she had at least had a reasonable basis to challenge her grandfather’s will, and had not simply been acting frivolously.

James Cohen said in a statement after the verdict was announced that he very much hopes the judgment now “puts an end to Ronald and Samantha Perelman’s relentless litigation against my family.”

“The Perelmans’ losing lawsuits made my father’s final years a misery, forced a desperately ill man to undergo a demeaning and excruciating videotaped ordeal to prove he was in his right mind, and cruelly and wrongfully accused me of manipulating my father and cheating my own family members, who are his other heirs, ” Cohen also said in the statement.

A spokesperson for the Perelmans expressed disappointment at the verdict.


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