Reporting Liz Collin
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MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – More than 20 years and 100 days of testimony have passed in a case that’s pitted a brother and sister against some of the most powerful real estate moguls in New Jersey – the Wilf brothers
In a hearing Monday, Judge Deanne Wilson decided how much money the Wilfs had to pay for defrauding former business partners in an apartment deal in the 1980s.
Wilson said the plaintiffs – Ada Reichmann and her brother, Josef Halpern – deserve $36 million in punitive damages. Halpern’s attorney says his client client’s decades-long dispute with the Wilfs has taken a toll on his health.
“The Wilfs didn’t just take a little extra money. They robbed their partners!”
But Reichmann and Halpern say they were removed as partners from the 700-unit apartment complex called Rachel Gardens, and therefore missed out on millions in revenues.
“This was no accident,” Wilson said. “It was done on purpose.”
No one from the Wilf family was in court to hear today’s decision, but the partners that set out to own and manage this 700-unit New Jersey apartment have rarely missed a day.
Ziggy Wilf must cover 60 percent of the damages. Leonard and Mark Wilf are to each pay 20 percent.
When the compensatory and punitive damages are added up, the Wilfs are on the line for $84.5 million total.
A Vikings spokesperson said Monday that nothing decided in New Jersey will in any way impact the construction of the new Vikings stadium.
The spokesperson also added that the Vikings do not believe the judge’s decision will stand on appeal.
The case is one of the longest running civil lawsuits in New Jersey history, with more than 100 days of testimony. Also, Wilson’s decision took 22 months and a 1,200-page opinion.
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