Hedge Fund Manager Wins Lawsuit Against Perelman

Jan 30 2012 | 2:04pm ET

New York hedge fund manager Donald Drapkin will get his last $16 million from former mentor and friend Ronald Perelman, a jury has ruled.

It took the Manhattan federal court jury just 90 minutes to decide that Perelman's MacAndrews & Forbes had violated its 2007 separation agreement with Drapkin, who had worked at the buyout house for two decades as vice chairman and in-house investment banker. Drapkin alleged that MacAndrews failed to make $16 million in payments as promised; the firm said it withheld the money because Drapkin himself had violated the deal by withholding documents and attempting to convince its life sciences head to leave the firm.

While much attention before the trial, which took just three days, focused on the soured friendship between Perelman and Drapkin and their increasing bitterness towards one another, the judge barred evidence about their relationship.

Drapkin's failure to have his secretary delete MacAndrews documents from his laptop were the primary focus of MacAndrews' defense against the lawsuit. But Drapkin's lawyer told the jury that the firm was simply looking for a reason to break its deal.

"These so-called material breaches were nothing more than phony excuses," he said.

MacAndrews executive Barry Schwartz said the firm was "disappointed" by the verdict and would "review all appropriate post-trial options."

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