Just when you thought the long legal court fights between the family of Minnesota Vikings owner Zygi Wilf and former business partners was over, a new legal battle was waged late last week.
Zygi and Mark Wilf were involved in a two-decade-long legal battle over a real estate venture in which a judge ruled that the Wilfs owed their former partner more than $100 million in a settlement currently under appeal. On Thursday, the children of another former business partner are going after the Wilfs in court seeking similar restitution.
In the suit filed Thursday in a Freehold, N.J. court, the estate of Meyer Gold, a former business part with both Zygi Wilf and his father Joseph, claimed that recent evidence can prove that Gold was cut out of a business deal that should have reaped millions in profits for the Gold estate.
Joseph Wilf and Gold were business partners for years, well known in New Jersey as the “refugee builders” – a group of Holocaust survivors who settled in New Jersey and went into the real estate development business.
The lawsuit claims Zygi Wilf, who has power of attorney for his father, cut Gold out a partnership company called Amchu in which both Gold and Joseph Wilf were members. They were two of the three partners in the group, along with a third partner, Jacob Burstyn, whom the Wilfs bought out in 1995. The suit alleges that Gold was never given the opportunity to buy out Burstyn’s share.
The lawsuit claims that in 1997, Amchu sold partnership property in Fairfield, N.J. for $1.2 million to Fairfield Woodcrest LLC, a company that was also primarily owned and operated by the Wilfs. In 2003, a 50-year ground lease was signed that Fairfield Woodcrest would develop the property. The Gold children also claim that there is no evidence that their father received his one-third share of the $1.2 million sale price, but that is chump change in comparison to what the lawsuit seeks.
Contacted for comment by the Asbury Park Press newspaper, Peter Harvey, the attorney representing the Wilfs in the lawsuit, laid out the defense for the case, saying that the suit doesn’t have merit and didn’t mince words in his opinion concerning the suit.
“The Wilfs can’t stop anyone from filing a lawsuit as ridiculous or meritless as it might be – and this one is both,” Harvey told the newspaper. “These children of Meyer Gold have inherited $100 million in the estate and they want more, and it’s not warranted.”
Harvey went on the detail where he sees the flaws in the theory the lawsuit alleges, saying, “There are two parcels. The parcel of land Meyer Gold got the money from that sale and we have shown that. The parcel, which is the one they are talking about, the family claims the dad did not know about a building on land he owned for eight years.”
Harvey believes the case will be dismissed because it doesn’t hold water and New Jersey law will likely preclude it from moving forward.
“We will show two things,” Harvey said. “First, the lawsuit is barred by a statute of limitations, because (Gold) did know and didn’t care for eight years. We will also show that Meyer Gold did not want to be a partner in this project.”
At a time when the Wilfs are involved in one of the biggest real estate projects in Minnesota history, it would seem that the business partners of his past are still a part of his life even though their business partnerships dissolved years ago before anyone in Minnesota outside of the real estate community know the name Zygi Wilf.
Wilf lawyer calls latest lawsuit 'meritless'
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