Tuesday happens to be the 500th day that the ailing finance titan Lionel Pincus’ $35 million, 7,000-square-foot, 14-room duplex in the Pierre has been on the market, and so Wednesday’s Observer takes a long, hard gander at its insanely great floor plan.
But Tuesday has turned out to be something a lot more special: Mr. Pincus’ two sons and a limited liability corporation filed a suit in State Supreme Court that raises their ongoing feud with their father’s companion, Princess Firyal of Jordan, to near-Astor proportions.
Soon after the news broke that Mr. Pincus’ apartment had come on the market for $50 million, which made it the city’s second most expensive co-op listing, it was clear that the princess and the two sons, Henry and Matthew, did not get along. There were reports that she had hired expensive private eyes to follow them, and that she had lost a lawsuit in Surrogate’s Court to block the sale of the massive apartment, which she wants for herself.
But in asking the court to keep the princess from impeding a sale of the apartment, Tuesday’s 21-page suit makes gargantuan, neon-colored claims about the couple’s relationship and the apartment’s history. According to the sons, the princess (who “has a long history of dating wealthy men”) began seeing Mr. Pincus in the mid-90s, after his wife of 28 years passed away. She allegedly “authored letters that instructed Mr. Pincus’ Trustees, his sons and his daughters to treat Princess Firyal as Mr. Pincus’ wife… then secretly arranged for her personal assistant to type the letters on Mr. Pincus’ letterhead, destroyed all evidence of her authorship of the letters, and caused Mr. Pincus to sign them,” according to a copy of the suit obtained by The Observer.
Things get worse from there. “As Mr. Pincus’ health and mental capacity declined,” the suit says, “Princess Firyal’s spending rose dramatically,” which means she apparently spent $1.07 million in one month, and $17 million on outfitting the Pierre apartment, which was “ill-suited for Mr. Pincus’ physical state.” The suit is peppered with decoration details that are a wonder to behold: She apparently got $21,000 candlesticks; a $38,000 exercise room sofa; a $129,000 console table; a pair of Tang dynasty pottery horses that cost more than $750,000; and a $65,000 mirror.
But worse than simply spending gobs of money while he was ailing, the suit says she got her sickly companion to change his estate plans so that she would get the apartment, plus her pick of his art collection and $35 million in cash, after his death. “Mr. Pincus was unable to comprehend those changes,” the suit says–a purposeful echo of the ongoing Astor case. A representative for the plaintiffs had no comment.
“Princess Firyal has been the love of Lionel Pincus’ life,” her spokesperson, Jim McCarthy, said in a statement Tuesday evening. “Her every action has always been to care for him and preserve his well being. She is shocked and pained by public accusations that have been distributed to the news media, even before any court papers were formally filed and served. These disgraceful assertions are false, outrageous, and utterly without merit. It is a certainty that Lionel Pincus would never have tolerated this kind of behavior.”