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But an attorney for Reichmann argued that the case did involve a theft. “To me, ‘stealing’ and ‘theft’ is the same thing,” he said.
“This is not a criminal proceeding,” the judge reminded him.
In a moment of levity, one of Wilf’s lawyers confessed in the hallway Tuesday that cheering for the Vikings was not part of his job description. He was, he said, a Philadelphia Eagles fan.
As the judge began her third week of discussing her decision, she focused at one point on the analysis of how much the Wilfs should have charged in management fees for Rachel Gardens.
Wilson said that, given the Wilfs’ numerous real estate holdings, she had doubts how much time the Wilfs themselves had actually spent managing a 764-apartment complex. The case explored “how much time could the Wilfs spend on Rachel Gardens. [The] answer was, not much,” she said. The judge had earlier said the Wilfs had charged “grossly disproportionate management fees.”
She said even assigning the Wilfs a “hypothetical” 5 percent in management fees presented a problem. In examining the records for Rachel Gardens, she explained, “there’s not a single number” that showed that the Wilfs had charged a 5 percent management fee — in fact, some figures indicated that fees nearly eight times that amount were being charged.
“I’m not allowing hypothetical [management] fees,” she said finally.
Millions at stake
There have been some small victories for the Wilfs. For example, this week the judge exempted a period from 2002 to 2006 in which Reichmann could collect enhanced damages from the Wilfs.
But an amended complaint filed in 2009 by Reichmann stretches for 72 pages, and details the animosity that now envelops the two sides. Reichmann’s brothers, Abe and Josef Halpern, entered into the Rachel Gardens deal in the 1980s with Harry Wilf and Joseph Wilf, the father of Zygi and Mark Wilf. “From 1988 to the present, the [Wilfs] have engaged in a persistent and systematic pattern of fraudulent actions aimed at stealing as much money as possible” from the plaintiffs, the complaint asserted.
The Wilfs, however, said the original partnership for Rachel Gardens was changed in 1988, and that a new legal entity — Pernwil Associates — was formed. The reason, according to the Wilfs: to exclude Abe Halpern from the partnership’s management because they complained he had misappropriated money from other partnerships involving the Wilfs.
Outside the courtroom this week, Josef Halpern said he had not talked to the Wilfs since 2006, and that they “threw me out of the building” in 2002.
“Millionaires, billionaires — why are you doing this?” he said of the Wilfs.
Halpern is quick to give the names of others, including his family members, whom he claims were also victimized by the Wilfs.
For the judge, who plans to retire when the case ends, the trial pushes the envelope on almost a daily basis. Wilson admitted this week that she had found herself reading an 1894 legal case to try to help form her decision in the Wilfs’ case.
“There’s just not a lot of law on some of these issues that have been brought up in this case,” she said.
Mike Kaszuba 612-673-4388
|San Diego||7:25 PM|
|Washington||12/15/13 12:00 PM|
|San Francisco||12/15/13 12:00 PM|
|Seattle||12/15/13 12:00 PM|
|Chicago||12/15/13 12:00 PM|
|Houston||12/15/13 12:00 PM|
|Buffalo||12/15/13 12:00 PM|
|New England||12/15/13 12:00 PM|
|Philadelphia||12/15/13 12:00 PM|
|Kansas City||12/15/13 3:05 PM|
|NY Jets||12/15/13 3:05 PM|
|Arizona||12/15/13 3:25 PM|
|New Orleans||12/15/13 3:25 PM|
|Green Bay||12/15/13 3:25 PM|
|Cincinnati||12/15/13 7:30 PM|
|Baltimore||12/16/13 7:40 PM|
|North Dakota St||73||FINAL|
|New Mexico St||48||FINAL|
|Utah Valley U||62|
|Army||12/14/13 2:00 PM|
|(12) Penn State||79||FINAL|
|South Dakota St||83|
|Utah Valley U||70||FINAL|
|Aug 9 - vs. Houston||7 pm||X||27-13|
|Aug 16 - at Buffalo||6 pm||X||20-16|
|Aug 25 - at San Francisco||7 pm||X||34-14|
|Aug 29 - vs. Tennessee||7 pm||X||24-23|
|2013 regular season|
|Sep 8 - at Detroit||Noon||X||34-24|
|Sep 15 - at Chicago||Noon||X||31-30|
|Sep 22 - vs. Cleveland||Noon||X||31-27|
|Sep 29 - vs. Pittsburgh (in London)||Noon||X||34-27|
|Oct 6 - Bye|
|Oct 13 - vs. Carolina||Noon||X||35-10|
|Oct 21 - at. NY Giants||7:40 pm||X||23-7|
|Oct 27 - vs. Green Bay||7:30 pm||X||44-31|
|Nov 3 - at Dallas||Noon||X||27-23|
|Nov 7 - vs. Washington||7:25 pm||X||34-27|
|Nov 17 - at Seattle||3:25 pm||X||41-20|
|Nov. 24 - at Green Bay||Noon||26-26|
|Dec 1 - vs. Chicago||Noon||X||23-20|
|Dec 8 - at Baltimore||Noon||X||29-26|
|Dec 15 - vs. Philadelphia||Noon|
|Dec 22 - at Cincinnati||Noon|
|Dec 29 - vs. Detroit||Noon|