Le Divorce

John (Jack) Welch Jr., the former chairman of the $131 billion General Electric Corporation, recently lost the sprawling $11.25 million

John (Jack) Welch Jr., the former chairman of the $131 billion General Electric Corporation, recently lost the sprawling $11.25 million condo at the Trump International Hotel and Tower that was owned by his former employer, G.E. Mr. Welch was forced to purchase the 3,600-square-foot apartment for his ex-wife, Jane Beasley, following their rancorous divorce settlement in July. City transfer records list the sale at $10.7 million, while a G.E. spokesperson said that Mr. Welch paid the corporation $11.25 million for the property.

The two-year divorce proceedings were spurred on by Mr. Welch’s extramarital dalliances with Suzy Wetlaufer, an editor at the Harvard Business Review , which came to light in March 2002 after the editor commissioned a front-page profile of Mr. Welch for the publication.

In 2002, as the bloody divorce dragged on, Mr. Welch started having to answer questions from reporters and G.E. shareholders as the details of his $9 million compensation package came to light in court documents released during the proceedings.

Following public outcry over corporate scandals and executive greed at Enron, WorldCom and Tyco, Mr. Welch answered pointed questions about his lavish pension, which, in addition to the Trump International condo, included use of G.E.’s corporate jet; gourmet meals and wine from Jean Georges; choice tickets to Knicks, Yankees and Red Sox games, as well as to the U.S Open and Wimbledon; laundry service; four country-club memberships and satellite TV at his four homes, among other perks.

Under public pressure, Mr. Welch relinquished many of his benefits and agreed to pay G.E. $2.5 million annually for the services.

Ultimately, his divorce agreement with Ms. Beasley required the executive to fork over nearly half his net worth, valued at approximately $500 million, to his 51-year-old former wife.

According to court papers issued in Superior Court in Bridgeport, Conn., the judge ruled that Mr. Welch would either have to convince General Electric to transfer the title to Ms. Beasley, or be required to pay her $15 million tax-free for the purchase.

City records show that Ms. Beasley paid $10.7 million for the 47th-floor condo at 1 Central Park West in October.

Gary Sheffer, a spokesman for G.E., confirmed that Mr. Welch made the purchase on Ms. Beasley’s behalf.

“The deal was pursuant to the terms of the divorce. Jack paid the purchase price to G.E. on behalf of his ex-wife,” Mr. Sheffer said. “The purchase price was based on independent appraisals.”

In 1997, G.E. paid $8.5 million for the apartment, which Mr. Welch used as his exclusive corporate residence. He also has homes in Connecticut, Massachusetts and Florida.

William Zabel, a lawyer for Ms. Beasley, didn’t return calls seeking comment.

At 1 Central Park West, Ms. Beasley will now enjoy the use of a 3,600-square-foot apartment featuring eight rooms, three bedrooms and five and a half baths, with 10-foot ceilings and full park views to the north and east.

Dr. Deepak Chopra, the alternative-health guru who’s written more than 35 books on alternative medicine that have sold more than 20 million copies worldwide and is best known for founding the California-based Chopra Center for Well Being, has traded up his Manhattan real-estate holdings, dumping his one-bedroom pied-à-terre for a larger two-bedroom midtown condo on the 69th floor of the Park Imperial building at 230 West 56th Street.

In August, Dr. Chopra and his wife Rita sold their one-bedroom pied-à-terre at 150 West 56th Street for a modest $619,000. The couple purchased the apartment for $367,000 back in 1998. In October, Dr. Chopra paid the full asking price of $1.715 million for his new midtown perch. The 1,551-square-foot apartment covers four and a half rooms and features two and a half bathrooms and expansive south and west exposures.

The Park Imperial, the building housing the Random House publishing giant, is one of midtown’s most desired addresses. The residential apartments start on the 48th floor and end on the 70th, with expansive views of the Manhattan skyline-Central Park to the north and the Hudson River to the west.

Lisa Calka, the president and owner of L.G. Calka real estate, who had the exclusive, declined to comment. Dr. Chopra was traveling on a book tour promoting his new release, The Spontaneous Fulfillment of Desire , and didn’t return calls seeking comment.

Dr. Chopra and his wife currently reside in La Jolla, Calif., near the La Costa Resort and Spa, where the Chopra Center is based. Their former Manhattan one-bedroom covered 725 square feet, with one and a half bathrooms and both skyline and Hudson River views.

Dr. Chopra was named one of the Top 100 Icons and Heroes of the 20th Century by Time magazine in 1999. In the 1980’s, he worked in Boston, where he founded a successful endocrinology practice before moving to California and becoming an internationally recognized health expert.

Recent Transactions in the Real Estate Market


230 East 71st Street

Two-bedroom, one-bathroom co-op.

Asking: $499,00. Selling: $470,000.

Maintenance: $1,103; 61 percent tax-deductible.

Time on the market: 65 days.

MAKE ROOM FOR NANNY Co-op boards are notorious for complicating even the most well-intentioned renovation plans. When this couple in their 30’s had children, the entrepreneur and his wife, who is a conservator at the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum, found themselves in need of more apartment space to accommodate their growing family. They settled on this prewar co-op and bought two apartments with the idea of combining the two residences into a four-bedroom duplex-that is, until they presented their plan to the co-op board. “They realized the board didn’t allow residents to combine units on different floors,” said their broker, Jacky Teplitzky, a vice president with the Corcoran Group who had the exclusive on both apartments. So, for five years, the young couple lived in the upstairs apartment while a live-in nanny stayed with the children in their unconnected second apartment one floor below. Eventually, this bifurcated lifestyle became too much of a hassle, and the couple decided to find the space for their family under one roof and unload their disparate spreads. The family is soon to be happily reunited in a condo several blocks uptown, near East 90th Street.

“They didn’t want to be separated from their children anymore,” Ms. Teplitzky said. The buyers of their co-op were young newlyweds who were attracted to the prewar quality of the apartment, located in a building that dates back to 1927. The 900-square-foot apartment features northern and southern exposures, a windowed kitchen and hardwood floors. The sellers also recently sold the apartment where the children and nanny had been living for $465,000.


53 N. Moore Street

Two-bedroom, two-bathroom condo.

Asking: $1.375 million. Selling: $1.37 million.

Charges: $1,013; taxes: $1,120.

Time on market: six months.

NOW, BREATHE When an investment-banking couple in their 30’s recently wed and were getting ready to have a baby, they decided it was time to leave the glamorous loft lifestyle for the space and tranquillity of the Westchester suburbs. They found someparents-to-bethatfelt Tribeca’s WashingtonMarket Park had all the green space they needed.After rentingin Chelsea, the buyers-who also work in finance-settled on this 1,887-square-foot loft. “The sellers wanted space and a backyard, and the buyers loved the location close to the park,” said Elaine Schweninger, a broker at Douglas Elliman who, along with fellow Elliman broker Craig Liddle, represented the sellers. “With both couples expecting babies, it was like one big Lamaze class during the closing.” The apartment, converted to loft space in 2000, featured a private elevator entrance, designer open kitchen, expansive factory windows and beamed ceilings from the original structure. Ruth Hardinger and Michael Norton, also of Douglas Elliman, represented the buyers.


Just when there seemed to be a glut of $20 million–plus apartments on the Upper East Side market, the estate of the late Lucho Noboa, the famous Ecuadorian business magnate and one of the richest men in South America, has made an entry.

Noboa’s gilded triplex penthouse at the storied Art Deco building at 740 Park Avenue just hit the market for $26 million, and within two days jumped to $28 million. His 72-year-old widow, Mercedes Noboa, has lived in the 16-room apartment, which spans the 17th to 19th floors, for more than 20 years, after she and her husband purchased it from the late Warner Brothers chairman, Steve Ross.

Patricia Patterson of Sotheby’s International Realty, who had the exclusive listing, didn’t return calls seeking comment.

Amy Barral, a spokeswoman for Ms. Noboa, said that her client would be looking for a smaller Upper East Side residence.

“She’s lived there a long time and decided it was time to move,” Ms. Barral said. Sources familiar with the family said Ms. Noboa routinely travels a lot, and decided she no longer needed a sprawling Manhattan residence.

Ms. Noboa’s triplex is one of the most luxurious apartments in Manhattan and is in one of the city’s most famed buildings. The three-floor spread encompasses 16 rooms and features eight bedrooms, six and a half bathrooms, multiple terraces, two maid’s rooms and a massive screening room installed by Mr. Ross-complete with movie-theater-style seating.

The building-located on the corner of Park Avenue and 71st Street-has been home to some of Manhattan’s most powerful residents, including John D. Rockefeller Jr., Edgar Bronfman, Ronald Lauder, Henry Kravis, Marshall Field, Faith Golding (the first Mrs. Ronald Perelman) and Steve Ross’ widow, Courtney Sale Ross. The building also holds the record for the most expensive co-op purchase in New York City history: In March 2000, financier and Blackstone Group chief executive Stephen Schwarzman paid $37 million for Saul Steinberg’s 34-room triplex penthouse, which had been part of the original Rockefeller estate. Most recently, oil billionaire David Koch and his wife purchased the duplex formerly owned by the Japanese ambassador for $17 million, after moving out of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis’ former Fifth Avenue apartment.

The apartment comes on the market on the heels of the $28 million listing of former Tyco chief Dennis Kozlowski’s spread at 950 Fifth Avenue. In the spring of 2000, Mr. Kozlowski purchased the 12-room apartment-which features 12-foot ceilings, south and west exposures, and open park views from the master bedroom and living room-from Mr. Schwarzman before he landed the Steinberg triplex at 740 Park. Compared to the regal Noboa spread, brokers with knowledge of the apartments feel that Tyco’s 10th- and 11th-floor duplex is vastly overpriced. “They’re nuts asking that amount,” said one broker familiar with the Tyco property. “It’s in a different league from the Noboa property.”

The Noboas are among the most powerful families in South America, running a vast conglomerate that spans transportation, mining, banking, insurance and agriculture. The Noboa banana division controls more than 35 percent of Ecuador’s banana exports and is one of the largest exporters to the European market. When the company’s founder, Luis Noboa Naranjo, died in 1994 at the age of 78, his heirs erupted into a contentious legal battle over control of the company which ended in a nine-year, $20 million lawsuit. Alvaro Noboa, the younger of the two Noboa sons and a two-time Ecuadorian presidential candidate, finally gained control of the company. In 1997, Mercedes Noboa sold out her shares for a reported $300 million.

Le Divorce