Adam Hochfelder Sobs to Kids in Court

For Adam Hochfelder, it’s been a rapid fall from atop the Helmsley building.

In 2003, Mr. Hochfelder bestrode the golden landmark and we called him the young real estate baron who “buys and builds Manhattan.” The hulking man with an equally large ego stunned the city when he bought part of the building at the tender age of 27, and amassed a commercial real estate portfolio of 7 million square feet in just a few years. But it was all over just as quickly.

Late yesterday, the 39-year-old former real estate baron broke down and sobbed in a Manhattan court when a judge sentenced him to up to eight years in prison for scamming banks, small investors and family members out of $20 million.

“I know you want to sleep over in jail, but they won’t let that,” he sobbed, apparently speaking to his two boys, 8 and 10, who were not in court.

It seems an almost too-perfect foil to an image of the ostentatiously loving father in 2003, when he already knew how to call in a favor from Donald Trump—but only for the sake of his children.

“Hi, Rona, it’s Adam,” Mr. Hochfelder said to Mr. Trump’s executive assistant. “My two sons are dying to see the parade tomorrow, and I didn’t know if Donald had any space in any of his buildings over there to view the parade …. ”

A few minutes later, Rona called back. “Donald got my boys into Trump International to see the floats go by,” he said when he got off the phone, his face breaking into a wide grin. “They’re going to be so thrilled.”

Adam Hochfelder Sobs to Kids in Court