Abe Haruvi’s New York City real estate empire might not be his for much longer following a domestic violence arrest at his South Florida estate.
The New York Post reported police were called to the 66-year-old’s Palm Beach home Dec. 9. They reportedly found Haruvi’s wife, Giovana Stephenson, with a red mark on her chest and she claimed Haruvi “scratched and hit” her during an argument. Haruvi was charged with misdemeanor battery and Stephenson obtained a restraining order against him.
Haruvi pleaded not guilty to battery charges filed by state prosecutors. He told the Post he was “looking forward to being found innocent of all charges.”
Regardless of the outcome of the criminal case, divorce is a certainty, according to the Palm Beach attorney Stephenson hired after the domestic incident.
“A divorce will occur,” Joel Weissman told the Post. “From my client’s perspective, the marriage is not salvageable.”
The couple has a prenuptial agreement, Weissman said, which could cost Haruvi the Palm Beach mansion, $8 million and more. The alleged incident could trigger a “bad boy” clause, increasing the amount Haruvi needs to pay in a divorce. That is where his real estate holdings come into play.
Haruvi and his brother Arthur own more than 30 buildings spanning 500 apartments in New York City, a $200 million empire. But they have been struggling with liquidity during the pandemic, as about 40 percent of their rentals were vacant at one point. A source told the Post that Haruvi “does not have a lot of cash lying around.”
Complicating matters, the brothers have been squabbling over the portfolio.
Last year Arthur arranged to refinance a $53 million mortgage that was in default. Abe refused to sign off on it, leading Arthur to sue his brother. According to the Post, the complaint was withdrawn after the brothers settled the matter.
Abe Haruvi has kept a low profile since making some bad headlines a decade ago. In 2010, a housekeeper at the Palm Beach residence sued him and his wife, alleging she was forced to work extreme hours and was pushed and slapped by Stephenson. The lawsuit was eventually withdrawn, according to the Post.
In 2012, tenants and community activists protested at an East Village apartment complex, accusing Haruvi of giving tenants 60 days to move out. Haruvi was previously criticized for evicting rent-stabilized tenants by claiming he needed their homes for personal use.
[NYP] — Holden Walter-Warner