Legal Blog: Will Bethenny Frankel Get Her Tribeca Pad Back After Judge Rules Trust Used To Purchase Property Is Invalid?

Posted on May 21 2015 - 11:11am by Stacy Slotnick, Esq.

RHONY_bethenny-frankel-buys-million-dollar-apartment

Emotional trust is like paper. Once it is punctured it can’t be perfect again. A trust as a legal instrument under New York law does not tolerate imperfections either.

A judge recently declared that documents used to secure a trust for Bethenny Frankel and Jason Hoppy’s Tribeca apartment is null and void. The purchase of the apartment on Hudson Street, which Jason refuses to leave, closed in 2011 and was supposedly funded by a loan in the amount of $2,300,000.00 and by approximately $2,700,000.00 from an account in Bethenny’s name. “I’m the richest homeless person in Manhattan right now,” Bethenny told broker and “Million Dollar Listing New York” star Fredrik Eklund on a recent episode of the “Real Housewives of New York.”

The New York Times best-selling author claims she took out the loan but the signature on the trust documents may not have been hers. She says she was “duped” into signing the documents and someone may have forged her signature. The Skinnygirl founder avers she never read the trust agreement before signing it, and does not recall ever being shown any part of it except for the signature page.

“[I]t is also undisputed that neither [Bethenny], [Jason], nor the trustee was ever present in the office” of the attorney who allegedly witnessed their signatures on the trust agreement, according to documents obtained by Radar Online. In instances where no trust is created by reason of failure to comply with the formalities necessary for a valid trust, the judge held the transfer of the apartment into the trust was null and void.

Perhaps this is the reason Bethenny has a spring in her step in addition to a new short and sassy hairdo courtesy of the Serge Normant Salon (stylist to the stars).  She may have lost some length on her tresses but she won the “Battle For Tribeca” – maybe. 

The judge found the trust agreement here is a matrimonial agreement, since it was made between spouses and purports to govern property ownership as between them. The home that Skinnygirl built, which features furniture and fabrics from Ikea and Restoration Hardware, was purchased through a trust during the marriage. Under New York law, the trust agreement is subject to strict formality requirements. 

In Matisoff v. Dobi, 90 NY2d 127 (1997), the Court of Appeals held that in accordance with New York law, without the proper acknowledgment, a marital agreement is unenforceable. The courts will not be permitted to enforce agreements that, although signed, do not comply with the strict directives of being acknowledged in a manner required to entitle a deed to be recorded. Agreements must be executed in writing; signed by both settlor and trustee; and acknowledged by a notary public or signed by two disinterested adult witnesses. 

The matrimonial agreement between Bethenny and Jason was unenforceable because its acknowledgment was not taken by a person authorized to acknowledge the execution of a deed in New York (notary) nor did two impartial adults witness their signatures.

I unearthed an important decision in which New York County Supreme Court Justice Ellen Gesmer (the same judge presiding over the Frankel v. Hoppy divorce) discussed New York formalities required in a marital agreement.  In J.R. v. E.M., 2014 NY Slip Op 51094[U], the day after the husband and wife were married in New York City, they sought a “Matrimonial Property Agreement,” much like the one involved in Frankel v. Hoppy. After commencing her divorce action, the wife, like Bethenny, claimed she did not see the Agreement. Since marital agreements encompass weighty personal rights, relinquishment of property, and family interests, the formality of acknowledgment must be followed.

The judge here ruled, “It is undisputed that the signatures of the parties … were not acknowledged in the presence of the person claiming to have acknowledged those signatures. It is also undisputed that the power of attorneys were not even signed in the state where the notary public was credentialed, Pennsylvania.”  Could Bryn’s grandmother be headed to jail for notarial misconduct?

The sweet little lady who took Bethenny bridal dress shopping on “Bethenny Getting Married?” is also a warrior in the “Battle For Tribeca.” Carol Hoppy, Jason’s mom, is the notary listed on the trust in question, but she is not registered in New York, and neither party signed documents in her home state of Pennsylvania, where she is licensed.

According to Radar Online, Carol is a notary in Pennsylvania, and her stamp and signature appear on some of the documents, however the documents state, “that she is a ‘notary public in and for the State of New York,’” which is not true. Bethenny “claims, and [Hoppy] does not deny, that neither party” ever went to Pennsylvania to sign the forms.

A notary public shall act as a trusted third-party record-keeper and impartial witness who does not profit or gain from any document or transaction requiring a notarial act, apart from the fee allowed by statute. The entire judicial system relies on a notary’s faithful and competent discharge of his or her duties with regard to deeds, mortgages, contracts, trusts, etc.  A notary cannot engage in sloppy or nefarious notary practices, otherwise he or she will be subject to potential disciplinary action (fines or jail) and liability (from those impacted by the notary’s reprehensible ways).

Examples of notarial misconduct include: 1) the notary notarized an instrument without the signer being present; 2) the notary failed to establish the identity of the signer by satisfactory evidence; 3) the notary failed to execute proper notarial procedures; and 4) the notary knew the document contained false statements, and the notary notarized the document anyway.  If a notary’s official negligence or misconduct is the cause of a person’s financial losses, such person (Bethenny, in this case) may sue and recover damages from the notary public. 

The judge here remarked, “The deed must be reformed in order to reflect the proper identity of the purchase, since the trust never existed, and cannot therefore have taken title to the apartment.” The judge asked both parties to refile their motions as needed. Bethenny argues that since the trust has been declared null and void, she should be awarded the apartment since said dwelling was purchased with her separate property. That strategy isn’t foolproof: The Tribeca flat is likely subject to equitable distribution because it is marital property acquired during the marriage.

There is yet another wrinkle in the “Battle For Tribeca.” Bethenny claims she executed (signed) the trust agreement believing, based on her communication with her husband, that the trust “was only to maintain privacy given her public recognition.” Bethenny could assert that because Jason “duped” her into executing the trust agreement in order to make the apartment joint property, she should get the $5 million mansion in the sky.

In November 2011, just over one year before Bethenny filed for divorce, Jason was named as the sole successor trustee of the trust, reportedly to ensure Frankel’s privacy, which is de rigueur among rich Manhattanites.

To keep their real-estate transactions as tight-lipped as possible, affluent and famous people form limited-liability companies (LLCs) and trusts to purchase Manhattan property secretly. They bury multimillion-dollar real-estate deals under legal entities that may be nearly untraceable. “Million Dollar Listing New York” star Fredrik Eklund told Wendy Williams about his new book, The Sell: The Secrets of Selling Anything to Anyone while regaling her with tales of how he tries to keep high-profile client real estate deals anonymous, which proved slightly unsuccessful when Wendy showed an image of Fredrik taking triple threat Jennifer Lopez to look at properties.      

Grab your gavel, join the conversation, and let us know what you think about the “Battle For Tribeca.”  We wish everyone a meaningful, relaxing, and safe Memorial Day weekend filled with plenty of reality TV binge-watching. 

 

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About the Author

Stacy Slotnick, a.k.a. The Foxy Jurist, holds a J.D., cum laude, from Touro Law Center and a B.A., summa cum laude, from the University of Massachusetts Amherst Commonwealth Honors College. Stacy is the recipient of the Honors Deans Award; Simon and Satenig Ermonian Memorial Scholarship; College of Social and Behavioral Sciences Opportunity Scholarship; and College of Humanities and Fine Arts Scholarship. She is also a William F. Field Alumni Scholar, an honor bestowed upon the most academically distinguished students. In law school, Stacy won two CALI Excellence For The Future Awards® and received an Achievement Scholarship. She is a member of the New York Bar. As an entertainment lawyer, Stacy counsels clients on contracts, branding, and public relations strategy. She negotiates with agents, producers, production companies, and lawyers to secure rights to projects on behalf of high-profile clients. Her clever, spirited, no holds barred legal analysis can be found in articles for The Huffington Post. * Facebook
 
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  • Jennymckitty

    Am I reading this correctly? Jason and Bethany established a trust to protect her privacy when purchasing the loft. Jason is in charge of the trust so he is maintains that the loft is his despite the legal separation and impending divorce.

    • Stacy Slotnick

      Yes, the separated spouses created a trust to purchase the property. Then, Jason, as the trustee, gets to make decisions on behalf of the beneficiaries (as well as pay taxes, maintain the dwelling) with regard to the property. What do you think?

      • Jennymckitty

        So he is getting the judge to order Bethany to pay to maintain the property while he lives there free and she can’t sell it without his permission? Wow.
        A blind man could see they were having problems before they purchased this loft. It sounds like he very shrewdly put himself in a position where he would be able to live there regardless what happened to the marriage. It sounds like he was thinking long term. Looks like his experience in real estate is paying off. I am going to disregard the “I never saw the whole thing”. It is obvious that the signing wasn’t properly witnessed and I’m glad.

        • Stacy Slotnick

          But see now the judge has declared the trust NULL and VOID, which means it is like it doesn’t even exist. Bethenny and Jason are permitted to refile motions as to who should get the property now that the trust has been declared invalid. Bethenny might say that her funds were used to get the loan while Jason will argue the property should be split 50/50 because it was purchased during their (short-lived) marriage.

          • Jennymckitty

            So now Bethany could file a civil suit against Jason’s mom? This would definitely give her some leverage in getting Jason to hurry and settle their divorce. I don’t know if his mom was completely aware of how the trust could benefit Jason. She certainly knew that it wasn’t legal to notarize the documents in that manner.

          • My God, I pray Bethenny does not take this that far. She would look like a real villain in the public eye if she sues Jason’s mother.

          • Stacy Slotnick

            That’s a good point unless her attorneys can show that her estranged mother-in-law profited and cheated her out of significant money by falsifying documents.

          • StuckinSeattle

            If in fact all of this was done to Bethany with malicious intent and/or because of greed, then Jason & his mother are responsible for putting Bryn in one messed up situation.
            I hope Bethany can use the misdeeds as leverage to make them sweat & then resolve this and move on.
            This all hits home with me due to the fact I was in a similar situation many years ago with my ex. It is a horrible feeling to know you were set up & your trust was violated..

          • Stacy Slotnick

            I am so sorry to hear you were in a difficult and taxiing situation years ago. I hope you came out of it on the other side. I think your use of the word “trust” is so poetic and important. It is the way I started out this blog because Bethenny does feel like she was violated in the same way trusts — as a legal tool — cannot be acquired through fraud or forgery.

          • StuckinSeattle

            Aww thank you Stacy! As you said in an earlier post, this is a fascinating case. I think the upside to all of this is that Bethany has the financial means to live life to its fullest, plus she has an adorable little girl.
            In the end even if Jason & Bethany can’t resolve their personal issues I do hope his mother & Bethany can find common ground. It would make the situation easier for Bryn & Bethany.

          • Stacy Slotnick

            You are absolutely right. Bethenny has enough money to live several lifetimes, and live them quite well. It might be time to check out of the litigation and offer a settlement so that everyone can move on. Preserving the relationship between grandma and granddaughter is no doubt important. I just hope Carol didn’t do anything illegal or commit fraud/forgery.

          • Jennymckitty

            She doesn’t have to actually file suit. Jason just has to be made aware of the fact that she could. He has used this trust to his advantage for over a year. He is getting more in child support and alimony in two months than some people make in a year while living rent free. They need to settle this fairly and quickly.

          • Jason sounds like a lazy, using freeloader. He had a six figure salary job before so he’s more than capable of taking care of himself.

          • Jennymckitty

            I agree. I was initially on his side when he was fighting against Bethany getting sole custody. Once they settled on joint custody, it should come down to Jason honoring the prenup and get a job.

          • RealitytvJunkie

            I think Jason’s done pretty well out of the separation. I would be thrilled if someone gave me all that money every month and let live rent free.

          • rasta

            I really don’t think Beth should give an itchy badger’s azz about how anyone feels. She’s been dragged through molten lava ever since this divorce started. He was made to look like a prince. I would go avter the rotten queen that laid that rotten egg in a red hot minute. I’m sure she’s never been what Beth considered a qualified grandmother.

          • Stacy Slotnick

            Bethenny may well have a viable claim against Carol in civil court. The district attorney could also file criminal charges (but that is unlikely). You are exactly right that the situation created by the invalid trust now gives Bethenny major leverage regarding property, maintenance and child custody issues.

  • StuckinSeattle

    Stacy, could any charges be brought against Jason & his mother? Could Bethany use that as a bargaining tool to retain full ownership of the apartment? I tend to believe Bethany wasn’t fully aware of what she was signing, I don’t see what purpose it would have served her to not have everything done correctly.

    • Stacy Slotnick

      You are spot-on. There could be civil and/or criminal charges filed against a notary (Carol Hoppy) if the elements of wrongdoing can be proven. Also, when a notary engages in misconduct, they could be subject to a fine of $500 all the way up to $10K.

      The court could grant Bethenny the apartment because 1) she used her own funds to purchase it and secure the loan and 2) Jason engaged in a fraud regarding the real estate trust. This second element is subject to debate but definitely it could create an opportunity for Bethenny to move back into her Tribeca apartment.

      Moreover, I didn’t talk about this in my article but it isn’t out of the question for Bethenny to use Jason and his mother’s alleged fraud regarding the trust/marital agreement to win custody of Bryn. Think about it this way: Would a court want Jason, if he has committed a fraud regarding legal documents, to maintain shared custody?

      • StuckinSeattle

        Thank you Stacy! I am always so impressed with how fast you respond to questions.
        I hadn’t thought about the custody issue, it will be interesting to see how this all plays out.

        • Stacy Slotnick

          It is my pleasure, and thank YOU for the great questions and well-reasoned opinion. 🙂 I completely agree it is an interesting idea whether the trust that was declared null and void impacts custody. The fitness of the parents, criminal behavior of the parents, and the stability of the parents are all factors that affect custody decisions. Even though the parties settled custody issues, a judge can always open an agreement if it is in the best interest of the child.

      • cheryl

        so Jason was willing to fight for this apartment knowing his own mother was involved in documents not being straight up? and he was willing to have her put under scrutiny to keep apartment?

        • Stacy Slotnick

          That’s a good point. Do you think Jason or his mom was the driving force behind the trust agreement not being “aboveboard?” Or, was it an honest mistake not witnessing the agreement being signed and/or having a notary from PA notarize an agreement in NY? It’s a fascinating case.

  • Stacy, thanks for another informative blog. Is there any way Jason can lay claim to an apartment he did not help pay for? What’s the likelihood of the judge giving Jason the apartment?

    • Stacy Slotnick

      The reason Jason could still split the proceeds from a sale of the apartment 50/50 is because the property was purchased DURING the marriage making it subject to equitable distribution under New York’s rules. However, Bethenny’s attorneys might put forth case law from other jurisdictions establishing that because the funds used to pay for the apartment (and loan) were from her (allegedly), she should get the apartment outright. I don’t think that will happen but you never know. Now, if there was wrongdoing and misconduct on Jason’s part to secure the trust agreement, a judge could declare her the outright owner of the apartment. What do you think in terms of who should get it?

      • StuckinSeattle

        Possible forgery, fraud etc…….I’d be going for his jugular at this point (legally that is) haha. I always thought there was a creepy element to that guy & now it seems his true colors are shining through for all to see

        • Stacy Slotnick

          I agree. If she wants to get nasty, there are a slew of motions her attorneys could file to not only win back the apartment but get Jason in trouble with the law if it can be proven he engaged in forgery or fraud. There is still a little girl she might have to co-parent with Jason so it depends on what her big picture goal is. There are no easy answers. Do I think criminal charges will be filed? No. So many people agree that there was always something a little “off” about Jason and could it have been the fact he was an opportunist? Maybe.

        • Just a jersey girl

          I agree there is something to say about a guy willing to get married on TV

          • Stacy Slotnick

            It was a bad sign on “Bethenny Getting Married?” when they went for a joint bachelor/bachelorette party and Bethenny said she was less than 100% sure of marrying him. Not good at all. Do you think Jason was an opportunist all along?

      • Thanks Stacy. What a mess. How long can this divorce drag on for? At this point the only people winning are the lawyers…racking up $$$ in legal fees.

        • Stacy Slotnick

          That is true. Every call to one’s attorney could be costing the parties hundreds of dollars (though Bethenny is paying both side’s counsel fees) and court appearances are much more expensive. I hope the attorneys are discussing settlement with their clients over maintenance and property because the divorce could drag on another 2 or 3 years at the rate things are going. If you were Bethenny or Jason, would you be settling at this point, which is two years into the divorce proceedings?

          • Jennymckitty

            What motivation did Jason have until now? He isn’t paying his lawyer’s fees. He’s living rent free. Bethany is taking care of Bryn’s tuition and insurance. He is getting mor in two months in child support and alimony than some people earn in a year and he only has Bryn’s 50% of the time. Why would he care when this is settled?

          • Stacy Slotnick

            There is still emotional stress attached to a divorce but more important, Jason could outright lose the Tribeca property because of the fraud and forgery associated with the trust set up to buy the apartment. Therefore, it would behoove him to consider taking ownership while forgoing maintenance.

          • Jennymckitty

            Do you mean take over payments?

          • Stacy Slotnick

            He gets the apartment but of course, he has to continue to pay the mortgage unless Bethenny opts to pay off the loans in lieu of giving him maintenance/alimony.

          • Diane69802

            He should just let her have it and maybe she won’t prosecute him for forgery and and fraud…..and his mother for that matter

          • Diane69802

            Absolutely!

          • Bethenny would be foolishness not to try and settle this ASAP. It’s financially and emotionally draining. I don’t see any upside to dragging it out longer.

          • Stacy Slotnick

            That’s a very good point. The upside of anger is walking away.

      • Diane69802

        I think Bethenny should get it, not only was her HER money but he is clearly done some dirty dealing in regards to the paperwork not to mention getting his mom involved in the conspiracy….Shame on that jack ass

        • Stacy Slotnick

          I know. If only she had purchased it before they were married … If Jason committed forgery or fraud (or his mother did), Bethenny has leverage, and she should use it as she sees fit, right?

  • italiano bambino

    Mmmm hope she gets her apartment back

    • Stacy Slotnick

      It seems very unfair that it was her hard work that made the apartment that Skinnygirl built possible in the first place. If she purchased the home prior to her marriage to Jason, it would be easier for her to regain the property outright.

      • MorningYawn

        But if he were a woman, and situations reversed, would we think differently – man should take care of ex and let her have house.

        • Stacy Slotnick

          That is a valid point. I personally wouldn’t feel different and I think the length of marriages must be taken into account when deciding maintenance, support, property distribution but that isn’t necessarily the law.

        • Jennymckitty

          I think if the woman came into the marriage earning a 6 figure salary and was married for two years, I would expect that woman to go back to work. If a woman was doing the same thing Jason is, I’d call her a gold digger. If Jason had supported Bethany through the lean years, while she was establishing herself, I’d feel a little differently. However, he didn’t even know her then.

        • rasta

          Man should take care of woman in cases like this because he is a MAN. And yes I am all for equal rights for women. But until MAN can push a baby out his penis, suckle it with his breasts, take care of it night and day ALONG with caring for his wife…tthen dammit MAN SHOULD NOT get child, spousal support of full custody if the woman is deemed sane with valid maternal instincts.

      • Diane69802

        What about the pre nup, the Giggilo I mean Jason knows exactly what he is doing trying to bilk her out of everything he can..He won’t get a job, he tells her he is out to ruin her……gets his mom to break the law……

        • Stacy Slotnick

          Good question, Diane. The prenup outlines that all of Bethenny’s business deals, endorsements, Skinnygirl, are hers. The contract was, however, modified after the couple got married likely with regard to Bryn to ensure she was taken care of.

  • MorningYawn

    Bethany is supposed to be this great businesswoman, sitting on a $100 million fortune she made through the development and sale of her business. BUT she never asked to read the trust agreement? Never had an attorney review?? And was fine signing papers that were notarized by someone she KNEW was not liscensed in NY? Sounds like a Teresa defense, and I’m not buying it. I don’t completely understand the issues with the trust, lol, but I find these points very hard to get past.

    • Stacy Slotnick

      My guess is that papers are shoved in her face to sign constantly. That does not excuse one’s failure to methodically review paperwork and make sure one is aware of the content on every page of an agreement (not just the signature page). But Bethenny also claims that may not be her signature and her signature may have been forged. Thank you so much for contributing here. You make an excellent point about the need to review legal documents.

      • MorningYawn

        Thx Stacey! But I assume Bethanny was aware that they were putting a trust together to purchase the home for privacy reasons?? If she didn’t sign these papers, she wouldn’t think to ask where they were, what happened to trust agreement? Or could there have been an “I’mtoo busy, you sign it for me” wink, nod… ? I’m not trying to be a pain, just devils advocate… It all just doesnt ring true true to me

        • Stacy Slotnick

          You are absolutely right, MorningYawn. She knew the trust existed so wouldn’t she bother to see its contents and where the money she worked so hard for was being spent and disbursed? Playing devil’s advocate is welcomed as we can get to the bottom of these cases if everyone chimes in.

          • MorningYawn

            Thx! I’m a conspiracy theorist at heart! 😉

          • Stacy Slotnick

            Haha. No, you think logically. The judge looked at the documents, heard the allegations, and found that the trust was invalid because of the notary issue and the fact there weren’t two witnesses to attest to the parties signing the agreement. As to why Bethenny didn’t follow-up is a good question but in terms of the validity of this agreement, it didn’t really matter at this juncture.

          • Jennymckitty

            Did Bethany sign all the pages in the trust or just a signature page?

          • Stacy Slotnick

            It appears just the signature page although some trusts have the parties initial each page of the document. Based on what we’ve read about the judge’s Order, it doesn’t seem likely she had to initial each page.

          • Jennymckitty

            IDK. We will have to wait and see if she claims what she signed and what was filed are two different things.

        • Diane69802

          What if the papers she signed are not THESE papers that Jason actually has…..”devil’s advocate” says he might have switched the paperwork…..

      • Diane69802

        She is too smart to sign something without reading it, I think Jason conned her and got his mother involved in breaking the law as well

        • Stacy Slotnick

          If that is true, and that working theory is ENTIRELY plausible, what should the punishment be? Should Bethenny file a civil lawsuit? Should the judge in the divorce proceedings award the property to Bethenny? It’s a tough question.

          • Nancy Krystofik

            I really hope that Bethenny gets to keep her Skinny Girl apartment. if she must press charges on the Grandmother to achieve this, I hope she does it. Wonder if she would sell her new place, and move back into the first property. I also read she owns 2 properties in Bridge Hampton. Is she spending more money than she makes, or is she still in the green?

          • Stacy Slotnick

            It is my understanding that she is doing very well financially with the deal from Skinnygirl, which could pay for several lifetimes of living luxuriously.

          • Nancy Krystofik

            Thanks for that info Stacey, I may have heard her brand was not doing as well, and showing back up on the HWNY must be just for the exposure, seems like she doesn’t like the other ladies much, I know I like watching her, and I may pick up a product or two from Skinnygirl. Stacey, do you think she staged that visit with her step-father to prove she has a caring Granfather figure for Bryn, could things like this help her out in her divorce battle?

          • Stacy Slotnick

            You make an excellent point. She needed a weekly platform to promote her and her brand, which may have resulted in her coming back to RHONY.

            Absolutely it is possible she invited her step-father on to the show to support her argument that she has family. The only problem is that her step-father was part of her past, which included alcoholism and abuse. It’s not a great argument that Bethenny has family when that family may have engaged in poor choices and illegal behavior.

            Thank you, Nancy, for all your wonderful comments and thoughts.

  • Susan Thorne Zavagli

    If I were Bethenny and had her wealth.. I would let him keep the damn loft ..if he agreed to no alimony and half the child support he is getting…..

    • Stacy Slotnick

      I like your thinking. Do you think her attorneys have advised her to move on from the Tribeca flat but she cannot because she sentimental about it for she designed the apartment from her Skinnygirl earnings?

      • RubyT

        Bethenny, sentimental? Thanks for the chuckle, Stacy.

        • Stacy Slotnick

          I aim to please. 🙂 I’m guessing from your response you don’t think Bethenny is a sympathetic character. What do you think will AND should happen to the apartment in the divorce? You’ve totally piqued my interest.

          • RubyT

            i believe that jason married bethenny because he loved her. i believe that bethenny loved the idea of being married and hoped jason could make her happy, but their relationship seemed one sided. i think he’s the more emotionally injured party…and she can’t be wrong…but i don’t agree with any of their antics at this point. shared custody was just. the apt should be sold and divided equally, with no spousal support. the only thing they should share equally, aside from brynn, are joint bills relating to her…health insurance, dental, school, etc. i know i’m not taking the law into account, and agree that we need it, but sometimes i think the law gets in the way, and certainly drags things out. i have no idea how it will end, but i know it needs to.

          • Stacy Slotnick

            Ruby, I loved reading your remarks. You make excellent points about the psychology behind the marriage that are extremely valid. I also think the apartment — at this point — should be sold and divided equally because the law is pretty clear that it is subject to equitable (50/50) distribution.

            If Jason or his mom forged documents or committed fraud to obtain Bethenny’s signature, how does that change your opinion of who should get what? (Bethenny claims she executed the trust agreement believing, based on her communication with her husband, that the trust “was only to maintain privacy given her public recognition.”)

          • RubyT

            I don’t really believe that Jason or his mom maliciously tried to deceive bethenny. I think they tried to shortcut a step with no thought of divorce or consequence in mind. It’s possible that bethenny knew it, too. It seems suspicious that it took this long to come to light. That said, whether we agree with the law or not, we all have to follow it. But I still think it should be split.

          • Stacy Slotnick

            I think is an entirely fair perspective. Maybe Jason and Bethenny thought they could circumvent steps that weren’t necessary but the problem is, a notary understands his/her duties and knows better. He/she can’t claim to be a notary in NY when he/she is credentialed in PA. Carol is the notary listed on the trust in question, but she is not registered in NY, and neither party signed documents in her home state of PA, where she is licensed.

          • RubyT

            Yes, that’s the sticky part. You can’t skirt the law even if it’s to help your kids.

          • Stacy Slotnick

            Exactly. As a lawyer, I take accusations made against any notary very seriously because they are supposed to be an impartial witness who does not profit or gain from any
            document or transaction requiring a notarial act, apart from the fee allowed by
            statute. The entire judicial system relies on their honesty and integrity.

      • Diane69802

        She has wanted to sell it but Jason won’t

        • Stacy Slotnick

          What’s his deal then?

          • rasta

            He wants to WIN! Thanks to his mom he played his dirty game with shaved dice. He’ll do anything, even mentally damage his own child just to WIN his game of thrones. Hopefully the throne he wins will be the toilet in his mommy’s house.

          • Stacy Slotnick

            Your use of language and imagery is unparalleled. If Jason used his Mom to forger or fraudulently procure Bethenny’s signature on those trust docs, that is not only sinister and illegal but you are 100% right that it is a sign he wants to win at all costs, and people like that — who do not know right from wrong — can be very dangerous.

    • Diane69802

      Why should he get child support anyway, she has joint custody!

      • Susan Thorne Zavagli

        Ah…….the fickle finger of the court…….he doesn’t work and claims to have no money….I don’t think Bethenny has a problem with child support for Brynn…as for spousal support… he doesn’t deserve a penny…..I’m sure he has been advised by his legal team not to work

  • Chloe

    Great blog, Stacy. My best friend use to work as a paralegal for a major family law firm. I always remember her statement when we’d talk about pre-nups and her work for the firm, “There wasn’t a pre-nup written that I couldn’t break.”

    • Stacy Slotnick

      Thanks Chloe. That’s a great quote from your friend. Prenups are indeed frequently overruled and held to be invalid. I must say, I work with fabulous notary publics who double-check and triple-check everything and make sure all requirements are met. We shouldn’t allow this case to change our minds about notaries and the important role they play in the judicial system. A few bad eggs — if that is what this is — doesn’t change the industry.

      • Chloe

        When Jason engaged his mom to act as notary on this legal document he had no idea one Bethenny would use that against him. I wonder if Jason’s mom will lose her licensure over Bethenny’s allegations.

        • Stacy Slotnick

          That is a distinct possibility as is Bethenny suing Carol if there was negligence or wrongdoing.

          • Chloe

            If Bethenny decides to sue Carol, her daughter will never forgive her. That’s just cruel and taking things too far.

          • Stacy Slotnick

            It is a very tough situation. When children are involved in a divorce, a parent’s choices usually take on a different meaning and lead the parent to make decisions they might not make if children weren’t part of the equation.

          • Just a jersey girl

            Stacy, Maybe this situation with Carol might make Jason more willing to bend on some of his issues too. I definitely think there is more to him than the simple guy from Pa.

          • Stacy Slotnick

            Haha. It is always the quiet ones … Definitely if his mom committed negligence or criminal acts regarding the document that gives Bethenny leverage over Jason to settle (split assets, property, maintenance). In exchange for giving Jason less maintenance and property, Bethenny won’t file suit. I don’t know how or whether that will actually come to fruition since Carol is Bryn’s grandmother.

          • Diane69802

            Oh yea, when you read about the things he has said and done to Bethenny and to their child…..not to mention the fact that he won’t get a job…….I think he was a con artist all along

          • rasta

            I don’t think Bryn is old or smart enough to know why her mom sued nana. Bryn should by DNA , know exactly why after 12. There will be enough RHONY footage and all the court docs and blogs and above all the “jobless” actions of her able bodied father to form clear opinions. Her mother’s love and sacrifice too will triumph over all.

  • Yolie

    If Bethenny thought she signed an erroneous document why didn’t she voice concerns before now? And I highly doubt Bethenny would sign anything without independent lawyers reviewing it.

    • Stacy Slotnick

      Great point. We are talking about a lavish and expensive property made possible by a trust and she didn’t think to follow-up as to its contents? What do you think the outcome should be regarding the apartment?

      • Yolie

        I feel Bethenny should just let it go. Give the apartment to Jason and cut her losses. Bethenny just bought and renovated another $4+ million NYC apartment. She’s rich and in my opinion the headache is not worth it. I think Bethenny is a bit of an egomaniac driven by vengeance to win at all cost.

        • Stacy Slotnick

          You make a very persuasive argument for Bethenny to walk away from the Tribeca apartment. She may indeed be holding onto it because of her ego and because she feels she was “duped” into the agreement to put the apartment into a trust.

          • Yolie

            “Shit happens” pardon my language but if Bethenny doesn’t realize that quickly this fight may cost her the money she worked so hard to earn.

          • Stacy Slotnick

            Smart people do dumb things. No question. I always tell my clients, “See the forest through the trees.” Pardon the cliche, but you have to realize the big picture. She has already shelled out hundreds of thousands of dollars in legal fees (if not a million). It could get costlier still, as you note.

          • Just a jersey girl

            Stacy,
            I applaud that comment. I think you are correct in plain English it is time for Bethenny to cut her losses. I think the apartment should be sold and the proceeds split between the two of them.

          • Stacy Slotnick

            Thanks! You are really so kind and I appreciate the post very much. I’m glad you view this case through a similar lens. Since the apartment was acquired DURING the marriage, I think it is likely that the judge orders the sale of the property and the parties split the proceeds 50/50. That is assuming, however, there was no fraud or forgery in procuring the trust. If Bethenny and Jason continue to fight about the trust that set up the purchase of the Tribeca home, you can bet they will describe fraud, forgery, etc. claims in detail in new motions. Remember, the judge invited the parties to refile their claims/defenses as to the matter.

          • Diane69802

            which is what Bethenny has been trying to do! You guys make her see like the villain when that jackass is as he said to her “out to ruin her”….he told her that.

          • Stacy Slotnick

            That’s an excellent point. He has been quoted in the media as saying he’s out to get her. Whether those quotes were taken out of context and/or incorrectly attributed to him is another story. The point is both parties need to stop the bleeding by settling maintenance and property issues if they want the matter to be resolved imminently.

          • rasta

            And that’s why I think, even though Beth iS bleeding money, she is like a tiger in this fight. She won’t mind blowing nearly 10 mill just to gamble on sticking a pineapple BACKWARDS up this jerk’s azz. Beth is angry that he thinks he’s smarter than her. Hell, if needed she would change lanes and hire bastard O.J.’s team to ream him properly. Anger is a BEAST! And I know how she must feel. Never happened to me but when I see how all these women out here are losing everything to sorry lazy men it just gget’s my ire!

          • Yolie

            You’re so right, Stacy. A smart business woman doing a dumb thing. She better start thinking with her head and not the vengeance in her heart.

          • Stacy Slotnick

            Now that is a potent quotable, Yolie. Nicely worded. There is no question divorce — perhaps more than any other legal battle — brings out the worst in people. Do you see a resolution/settlement or will the divorce case go to trial?

          • rasta

            But if Beth just “gave up” that expensive condo that she planned two years for, SHE wouls still have to pay for it’s upkeep! How can that be “cutting her losses”? Sounds like a slam dunk for him.

          • Stacy Slotnick

            If she settled out of court, she could fashion an agreement in which she gives him the apartment for reduced spousal support (maintenance). The maintenance she does give him he would have to use to pay the mortgage, which dips into what he can spend on vacations, shopping, clothes, etc. Classic tale: He ends up selling the apartment because he doesn’t want to spend the maintenance he does get on a large mortgage.

    • Diane69802

      The point is she didn’t sign them, she never went to Pennsylvania and his mother notarized that it was signed in New York and there were never any witnesses…I do not believe for one minute that Bethenny would have signed anything without her attorney, not buying it, someone forged her name and I wonder who that would be….

  • RealitytvJunkie

    Every time we sign a legal agreement we are expected to honor it. Why should this be any different? Bethenny knew exactly what she was signing.

    • Stacy Slotnick

      That’s a very fair point. Why do you think the judge, then, rejected it and deemed it “null and void.” Was there something else going on in this case?

      • rasta

        As you’ve revealed, there was indeed something wrong with the case. Forever, we had no clue WHAT Jason’s job was. Then we find that it involves a bit of litigation. He takes Beth to meet his seeming sweet family in some homey looking town in PA. One would have thought they both were retirees. Their home, just a single non descript place. Thing I noticed that stood out to me was his surfer freind who practically came over to size Beth up as he practically sat at Jason’s feet. Gaydar going off all over the place. Wonder how many nights HE’S spent at Tribeca. And surprise of all, sweet grandma notarized whatever papers she could to knowingly dupe Beth out of HER property. We saw in episodes how they’d just show up at her cramped apartment without notice with intention of taking Bryn to their hotel. That seemed to spook Beth. Seeming more like a goulish scheme to get a baby for their gay son to me. Along with all the monetary trimmings. IJS

        • Stacy Slotnick

          Fantastic recap/explanation! There is MUCH justification for your analysis.

        • Diane69802

          Interesting perspective

  • Dave

    As usual, the only winners are the lawyers. When will couples learn it’s best to come to an agreement because if you don’t you will be giving a hell of a lot more away.

    • Stacy Slotnick

      I concur. The money wasted fighting CAN be obscene. Not all divorce cases go this route but I’ve seen divorces where one might label the parties “middle class” and the parties spent 80K in a year on divorce filings, discovery, motions, etc. It isn’t cheap to get divorced. This is why we encourage law schools to continue to stress mediation and negotiation practices/classes so that litigation isn’t always the route taken.

    • RealitytvJunkie

      Great point, Dave.

  • TLCville

    Why don’t they just sell?? Is this because they think it’s stable for the child to have that home ? If so. I disagree. A child needs stable parents. Not a big fancy apartment. And if this is the case. Bethenny and Jason are being selfish

    • Jennymckitty

      Up until this point, Bethany couldn’t do anything with it.

      • RealitytvJunkie

        They should both just agree to either give it to Jason or sell it. I think Bethenny is greedy.

        • Stacy Slotnick

          Do you think Bethenny wants her Tribeca apartment back or would she be willing to take 50% from the sale of the home? Tell us in what way you think Bethenny is greedy and how that manifested itself in her divorce case.

          • Elizabeth Fisher

            She just recently moved into her new apartment that was just renovated. I’m not a fan of Bethenny’s by any means, but she now has this brand-new fabulous apartment. I say she should cut her losses and sell the Tribeca apartment and just split it with Jason and get this over with. Or have Jason buy her out.

          • Stacy Slotnick

            Great points. She has the new place and lots of money. Some people think that Bethenny should throw money at the problem and settle the divorce already. Do you think she feels she needs to be vindicated in court and prove that Jason or his mom committed fraud and forged the trust agreement?

          • RealitytvJunkie

            I get the sense Bethenny wants to leave Jason penniless, homeless and destitute. I feel like she’s projecting the anger she has for mom on Jason. That’s just my personal feeling.

          • Stacy Slotnick

            Thank you for your thoughts. Bethenny is a polarizing figure. It is fascinating to read people’s opinions. Some people agree with you wholeheartedly. Others think Jason is shady and committed a crime with regard to the trust. To me that says a judge will have a hard time deciding who should get what.

          • Diane69802

            I think she wants to abide by the pre nup but Jason wants to “ruin” her as he has told her many times. I think he is jealous that she is so successful and he wanted to live that lifestyle. I think he knew she was a golden goose when he married her and could see the writing on the wall. He is a very ugly man according to the things he has said to Bethenny and to Bryn about Bethenny. Gold Digger

          • Diane69802

            They have shared custody so when Bethenny has her half of the time Jason has plenty of time to GO GET A JOB!

        • Diane69802

          BS! Jason can get a job and buy his own place! He doesn’t need to live off the sweat of Bethenny’s back

        • rasta

          How can Bethenney be greedy when everything was bought with her hard earned money? Would YOU just give a man that HATED YOU as much as this creep a multi mill condo?

        • Diane69802

          Greedy? She worked her Ass off for that business!

        • Diane69802

          Besides, he won’t even get a job!

      • TLCville

        I don’t understand how Bethenny left so many things undone. She is a tie it UP 100% type of gal .. Well. We all know that sometimes LUV SUX

      • TLCville

        What’s your opinion ?who’s side are you leaning to ?

        • Jennymckitty

          I was on Jason’s side initially. I didn’t think that Bethenny should have sole custody. Now that they have shared custody, I hoped they would settle. The more I read about this, the more shady Jason sounds. He worked his entire life and was able to earn an enviable amount of money selling real estate. Now he seems to be content to just allow Bethenny support him.

    • Stacy Slotnick

      Good points. Well stated. There may be much psychological warfare going on with the apartment between Jason and Bethenny. It may be an ego trip or power play. If one knows the other wants it they will do anything to keep him/her from getting it in the divorce. Do you think Bethenny is fighting for the apartment because she thinks the trust that set it up was fraudulently procured and wants to see justice prevail?

      • TLCville

        IMO Bethenny wasn’t ready to get married. I do think she was ready to be a mom. And I have no doubt that she is a good mom. She should’ve just had the baby and not the man. It can be done. I did it !!!!!!!!!!!!! And I think once Jason realized this. He got nasty. BUT .. He should’ve seen the huge red flags way before the wedding. I was so hoping they would stay married. I really was.

        • rasta

          I agree with just having the baby and not the man. Only thing is, if you’re a celebrity or woman of wealth like Bethenney, you should probably leave the country, have a fling until you’re preggo, and get hell out of dodge. If not, you could wind up like Halle Berry. Then have a few more flings with guys of choice to muddle the trail. When kid turns 18, tell her/him who real dad is if necessary. Hell, just tell them they were adopted.

        • Stacy Slotnick

          Thanks as always for your comments. “Bethenny Getting Married?” proved she had yet to work through all her issues and bringing someone to share her life with into the mix was a poor choice. I can still remember her saying she wasn’t 100% sure in Atlantic City that Jason was “the one.” Yikes. That isn’t good. I agree the relationship probably turned sour after Bethenny had Bryn because what she really wanted was to be a mom. She told Jill during season three that she knew she would be a mom but she didn’t know if she would be a wife. Interesting prediction, right? When Jason realized this dynamic, everything went haywire.

          • Lila

            Agree. I honestly believe she used Jason . She wanted it all and wanted it all at the same time.That doesn’t always work unless you compromise and sacrifice. Not simple. She invested more in her reality shows than her marriage. And as much as I like Bethenny -from these shows, because I don’t Really know her-there are two sides to the story.

          • Stacy Slotnick

            Great point. I think that the issue with the trust is truly despicable if in fact it is proven true that her signature was forged and/or a fraud was committed to secure the agreement.

          • Diane69802

            Interesting….now I honestly believe just the opposite….I think he used her…..he knew she was a golden goose and couldn’t wait to get his hands on her $$$

          • Lila

            When it comes to divorce, people change. I don’t think he’s innocent in this whole mess , but if you can remember ,towards the end of her show Bethenny gets Married, it was written all over his face he wasn’t on board with a lot of her doings. Things were going sour with the marriage back then, and perhaps that’s when he started making plans. He saw this divorce coming sooner than Bethenny did.

        • Diane69802

          I think he got Jealous that he was not going to be entitled to her money due to the pre nup

      • TLCville

        And that blows my mind. That Jason and family did that. I guess we all got duped. And that pisses me off. I was on their side !!!!! We see these people’s lives on TV. We become invested. And I really though at first. They would make it. DAMN

        • Stacy Slotnick

          Remember, too, that Jason is Carol’s only surviving son. They dealt with her other son’s death in a very respectful light on the show. At the same time, because Jason is his parent’s only son they might be protecting him more and being less objective. They did seem like a nice family from rural Pennsylvania when they were first introduced on the show. But looks can be deceiving. Sometimes when parents see their kids struggling, they will do anything — sometimes even engage in illegal acts — to protect/help them. The fact is there was this discrepancy with the notary paperwork, as Carol is credentialed in Pennsylvania, not New York, but the papers allegedly showed she avowed she was a notary in New York.

        • Diane69802

          I guess he knew how to play it up on the camera

          • rasta

            He sure did! All during that counselors boat ride. The time they were suppose to get on helicopter he took Bryn and walked away from camera, when she had that quaint dinner with him to talk things out he wouldn’t say anything. That’s pretty much when she started saying things like “In case I die, I want certain persons to take Bryn”. She was scared and desparate. She says she had that gut feeling but married him anyway because she wanted Bryn to have married parents. But her gut turned out to be as right as rain. I feel sad for her, but she’s a superwoman and when smoke continues to clear and the world finally knows who this jerk really is, I’m sure she will feel vindicated and the money will not be missed. She’s spent 5 miserable years fighting with this demon. Time to move on.

      • TLCville

        In your opinion. Who do you think is playing the power trip more. ?

        • Stacy Slotnick

          That’s a great question. I think you have two people here with huge egos, and a healthy ego is good but big egos get in the way of thinking logically. Bethenny doesn’t want Jason getting nearly as much as the law might allow because he didn’t contribute to her success. Jason, on the other hand seems like he wants to be a kept man and not lift a finger. As a PR move, not working or capitalizing on his name recognition is foolish. He could very well work at a top real estate firm or go back into pharmaceutical sales, an industry that is thriving. I think they both are playing for power but for very different reasons. What say you?

          • TLCville

            Jason flew under my radar. And I hate that !!!! I really thought he was good for B and that she could relax with him. And be happy. He PISSES me off more than she does …. And his mother ?? I feel the same about her. I am on the fence about who deserves what. And wait !!!! Did they have a prenup ??? I don’t recall hearing about one. Did I miss that ?????

          • rasta

            That’s what vultures do. They circle then swoop down when you’re vulnerable. These men watch these Bravo shows just like we do. That vulture “Brooks” that has taken Vicky for mucho money, even had her in court losing $260ty k behind his fraudulent schemes and he’s still milking her purse. Kim Richard’s bulldog looking leech who moved in on her after kids moved out. The young men scooping up whatever Sonya has left. Someone will soon go after Ramona too. They study them, their likes, needs, temperment amd annoyances. It’s easy to step up and be that man THEY’VE DESCRIBED they want. When all they really want is their money.

      • TLCville

        Bethenny confuses me. On one hand. She’s the strong woman who wants no pity for her past. But then. She pulls the victim card that quickly turns into almost bragging about how screwed up her life was. BUT I will say again. I think she’s a good mom. I hope I’m right about this especially. Ok my rant for the night is over. Thank you

        • Stacy Slotnick

          Haha. You aren’t ranting in the slightest. Your opinions are ALWAYS welcome here. I think she is probably a great mom and wants what is best for her daughter but the way her past still defines her despite the therapy makes me wonder a lot about her mental health even though she is a phenomenal businesswomen. I’ve noticed that some people who were abused as children, either emotionally or physically, are able to overcome or at least live with their past by helping others. Philanthropy is seeing the world outside yourself and learning to make amends with the fact that like isn’t perfect and everyone goes through hard times.

      • RonnieIsBack

        The War of the Roses for sure

        • Stacy Slotnick

          Excellent way of putting it.

  • Diane69802

    Bethenny wants to sell….Jason says its his!

    • Stacy Slotnick

      What is Jason’s best argument for why the apartment should be his?

      • rasta

        His eyes are as hollow as a syfy demon. His answer should probably be likewise.

  • Jennymckitty

    If Bethany gives Jason the loft, will he sign the divorce papers or does he want more? This is a man who earned a good living up to the time he married Bethany. He didn’t support her during the years she put in the hard work trying to establish her brand. I don’t feel he is entitled to spousal support. I don’t feel he is entitled to the loft. They should sell and she should give him 50% of the equity.

    • RealitytvJunkie

      Jason shouldn’t be entitled but he doesn’t want to move so Bethenny can continue to fight and waste close to a million dollars in legal fees or come to a amicable solution which is give him half of the apartment.

      • Jennymckitty

        Yes, I agree but is this all he wants? I don’t know how much else he is asking for.

        • Diane69802

          No he keeps adding more….now he wants money for vacations that he has been accustomed to having for the past two years…..Seriously

          • Jennymckitty

            He has no pride. $12,000 child support to care for a child 2 weeks a month with tuition for daily preschool and insurance being paid by Bethenny and $7,000 spousal support living rent free….ugh. I would love to know what he is doing with all that money.

          • rasta

            Well…his gay surfer friend DOES need that haircut from his favorite barber in Philly. Don’t know if you saw that ep.

          • MidwestMiddie

            Living with Bethenny has NEVER been a vacation!!!!!

          • rasta

            Well then again you’ve never lived with her. But I bet in a New York minute if judge said that jerk could have half the apartment, he would rather LIVE with her than sell it.

          • MidwestMiddie

            Hmmm
            Have YOU lived with her?
            Fact – She was a bitch on her Bravo Show.

          • rasta

            No,I haven’t lived with her either. But I LOVED her on previous seasons of RHONY. I’m thrilled she came back because the show is #1 thanks to her. Most folks don’t like her no nonsense approach. They hate her on point genius. The quick spontaneity she has about business and life. This, as I saw it, was also one of the nuances that jerk probably didn’t like. He couldn’t keep up! Allz he wanted to do was kick back and watch tv, also expect her to refresh his snacks and beer. Bet he HATES the subway, he could never catch a bus or train anyway because hhe’s too slow.

          • MidwestMiddie

            It’s good to know someone, besides Bethenny, LOVES
            Bethenny. lol

            Boy did she need you during her Spring Book Signing when
            fewer than a dozen “fans” showed up.
            : )

          • rasta

            LMAO! Thanks! I’m indeed her forever fan!

          • MidwestMiddie

            : )

    • Stacy Slotnick

      Thank you for your thoughtful comments. The amount of spousal support (maintenance) is based on the lifestyle the couple had while they were married, the ability to pay support, and the reasonable needs of the person who will be receiving support. In determining the amount and duration of maintenance, courts in NY also consider:
      1) the duration of the marriage and the age and health of both parties
      2) the present and future earning capacity of both parties
      3) the ability of the party seeking maintenance to become self-supporting and, if applicable, the period of time and training necessary therefore
      4) reduced or lost lifetime earning capacity of the party seeking maintenance as a result of having foregone or delayed education, training, employment, or career opportunities during the marriage
      5) the presence of children of the marriage in the respective homes of the parties
      6) the wasteful dissipation of marital property by either spouse

      • Jennymckitty

        Thank you, Stacey. I always learn so much reading your articles and enjoy reading them so much. I appreciate the amount of time you put into writing them and thoughtfully answering all our questions. How do you see this playing out?

        • Stacy Slotnick

          Thank YOU for taking the time to express such meaningful sentiment. I am so pleased you find my articles absorbing so much so that it makes you want to ask questions and post your thoughts here. I am deeply appreciative.

          On to the $100,000 question: At a certain point, no matter how much money one has, divorce becomes cost prohibitive. Just ask Michael Jordan and Rupert Murdoch, who are worth more than Bethenny and ended up settling their divorce cases. I think there will be more motions filed compelling discovery to produce witnesses and documents but in the end, the property and assets will be split in a settlement. Bleeding money for now might be feasible for Bethenny but gushing it won’t work in the long term. Jason’s impetus for settling has more to do with his lack of proof that he’s tried to earn a decent living and the trust agreement issues. I hope this helps, and thank you again for your tremendous words!

      • Diane69802

        ok, so married 2 years…..what the heck could he have lost

      • gyleches

        So then he really shouldn’t even get any or not much correct?

    • rasta

      But of COURSE he wants more! He even tried to make her procur for HIM an insurance policy on herself worth who knows what that SHE would have to pay for In case she “ddies”

    • Diane69802

      I think the court records show that is what Bethenny wants to do but he keeps dragging this out because he has “investors” paying his attorney bills

    • gyleches

      I totally agree! He can’t even afford that place (unless she pays for it of course). If he was a woman they’d call him a gold digger, what a spoiled brat.

  • rasta

    I think Bethenney should not threaten Jason but state in front of the judge that is he is willing to move out of her apartment, she will not proceed to justifiably SUE THE SOCKS OFF HIS GREEDY SH*TTY AZZED MoM! No wonder these scum suckers were willing to camp out in her apartment when she came by to collect Bryn. They’ve done everything along with that Jerk to make this woman miserable, KNOWING she had no siblings or parents to turn to. People can be heartless disgusting malicious untrustworthy creeps!

    • Diane69802

      He has told her many times he wants to ruin her….

  • Lila

    This is who has the more power here. And she says she was ‘duped’? into signing? Do any of these housewives Read First before signing? Sounds to me Jason knew this marriage was doomed before Bethenny did. What a mess. Sadly it all gets down to resentment and greed. I still can’t understand why Bethenny can’t just buy or rent a home temporarily while this mess is going on, ( instead of living in a hotel while her New apt is being renovated) for her and her daughter for stability as she says she wants ; but she claims she cannot even Rent for legal reasons. What are those legal reasons?

    • Stacy Slotnick

      Bethenny may have been “duped” insofar as signing the trust agreement thinking it was only being created to purchase the Tribeca property anonymously. Jason may have said, “I did the research and everything will be the same we just need to have this trust agreement so that your name doesn’t appear on any of the realty paperwork. Even though you or I would have investigated our rights and responsibilities under the agreement while not relying on the other beneficiary (a spouse), Bethenny was “in love” and thought Jason was her forever marriage. It isn’t a pleasant thing to be critical of a spouse but when signing legal documents, you must have your attorney review it and ensure you are protected and understand what you are signing.

      Her attorneys may have advised against renting for tax reasons or because that serves as another asset the courts could include when calculating maintenance (spousal support).

      • Lila

        I understand now about not renting, but what about the new apt she bought and is renovating? Wouldn’t that fall into the same category more or less? Tax reasons? Why buy an Apt while you’re going through a divorce? This is all so confusing.

        • Stacy Slotnick

          Tax law is indeed one of the most confusing, dense areas of legal practice. Suffice it to say, Bethenny’s attorneys may have advised her on the advantages of home ownership versus rental property. Moreover because the Soho apartment was purchased after the marriage it wouldn’t be subject to equitable distribution. Perhaps another realty TV case in the future will deal exclusively with tax law issues, and we can dive in to all the nuances! Have a wonderful day.

          • Lila

            Thanks Stacy. Makes sense to me now. Lol Yes a new reality tax law show is not a bad idea! Have a good weekend.

          • Stacy Slotnick

            Wonderful! I’m so glad. Let’s brainstorm a new show featuring tax law. 🙂 I bet we could cast it in a second. Have a wonderful weekend!

          • Lila

            I bet we could! 😀

  • Trippinhhard

    Hey the foxy lawyer, Stacy your blogs are always point on.. Umm I need you to contact me @Samra1116@hotmail.com, I would like for you to help me with something.. I don’t do FB, Twitter or nothing but emails and posting.. My brains can’t handle all that crap.. Thanking you in advance.. Samra

  • RonnieIsBack

    I am a notary also and it is really frowned upon if you notarized documents of a relative…IJS

    • Stacy Slotnick

      Excellent and valid point. When it comes to family members, it is recommended that New York notaries decline to notarize documents. The reason behind this is that because the role of the notary is to remain impartial about the results of documents, it can be hard to a notary to successfully fulfill their role when it comes to family members.

  • Guest

    Hi Stacy, I’m a NY attorney and I enjoyed reading your analysis. I’ve been following this litigation with interest. Without knowing all the facts of course, I’m convinced that Jason is gold-digging here. The parties were married for only a very short time, yet his spousal support requests are those of a long-married, stay at home spouse who has foresaken a career to raise the kids. I also found it interesting that he did not deny any aspects of her court testimony on the things he did to try to make her living in the apartment a nightmare so that she would be forced to vacate. Something is definitely amok here and I think it is that he is a scorned spouse who did not want a divorce and is now trying to wring every penny from her. I can’t deny I’ve been shocked by the amounts of support the judge has awarded thusfar; I would never expect such awards from a 2 year marriage.

    • Stacy Slotnick

      Thank you for including your thoughts on the Frankel v. Hoppy divorce. It may be that his attorneys have made lofty or unreasonable maintenance requests because they want to leave room for negotiation. Certainly one factor to be taken into account by the judge or parties (if they settle) regarding maintenance is the length of the marriage, and I agree entirely that the marriage was of limited duration, therefore, limited maintenance should be awarded. Moreover, Jason is an able-bodied and educated individual that should be gainfully employed now that their daughter will be going to school full-time.The temporary maintenance awarded here was significant but the final maintenance award should be conservative. His arguments for maintenance and property seem very far-reaching but it could be a strategy devised by his counsel to get just a sliver of what they are asking for. It is a twisty, topsy-turvy case that has more wrinkles than a bulldog. Thank you again for commenting here and I am very glad you enjoyed my analysis.

    • Fritz the. At

      Jason probably realized that Bethany used him and married him for reality show opportunities. As soon as the shows ended, the marriage ended. I don’t blame him for feeling used as well as their daughter being born into a sham marriage for ratings.

      • Diane69802

        Maybe he used her…..maybe he knew she was going somewhere with her product and saw a golden goose in the making…..

        • rasta

          I think I’m your #1 fan Diane! Keep up the great work!

    • Kimberly

      He is definatly gold digging !I don’t need a law degree to see that! He is going for the Jugular!!

    • Ann

      Because she drew first blood in the separation by going for full custody, not because he’s gold digging.

  • Diane69802

    Same as his argument for not getting a job and asking the court to give him money for the vacations that he had become accustomed to……..Gold digger

  • Diane69802

    Frankel also said Hoppy threatened to “destroy” her, called her “garbage,” and said “Get ready, we’re going to war,” after she filed for divorce.

    “You’re already losing fans. I’m going to ruin you,” she said, quoting Hoppy.

  • Diane69802

    She said he also sabotaged her Skype calls with Bryn, asking the little girl “to say goodbye after 30 seconds” and saying during story time that “mommy should be the witch” or that “she should play Ursula.”

    • Kimberly

      He is such an asshole. .uggh!!

  • Diane69802

    “If I was reading to her in bed, he’d crawl in bed and make faces at me,” she said.

    • Kimberly

      Omg that’s creepy

  • Diane69802

    She also claimed he recorded her, checked her e-mail and sent a private investigator to follow her. She called Hoppy “relentless” and “angry,” calling his actions “torture,” and even accused him of mistreating their family dog, Cookie. She told the justice Hoppy would lock the dog in the storage unit and drop her off at a doggie hotel without telling Frankel where she was until much later.

    • Cypress Knee

      Where are you getting all of this information?

      • Ann

        From her weed induced delusions.

  • rasta

    As far as litigation goes. Why can’t it work for Bethenney the same as it has been working for men these days? Usher Raymond has sole custody of his kids. Deon Sanders has sole custody. Ludicrous as well and the list goes on. Sherri Shepherd’s case makes me sick. Court seems to favor men who have more money than spouse and are given custody and no spousal support to wives. Halle Berry wasn’t even married to her parasite, yet he’s awarded $20tyk a month! Brittany Spears and that slovenly skank K-Fedderline drove her nutz with $$$ she has to pay him.Sick justice.

  • Kimberly

    I think Bethanny should get it! !Jason is really going 4 the juggular! He gets almost 30k a month in child support,I mean really, this was shady with using his mom as the notary? (Especially since she is not a legal notary in Ny only Pa.) Really he never has to wrk again ,there that dam same words I keep hearing-*Living in a manner of which he had been a custom to * This was Bethanny’s dream, her vision, her company, her money! Jason? I’m losing all respect for him The one good thing that came out of this marriage was that’s beautiful little girl Bryn…..As far as Bethanny goes, she is a strng successful beautiful business young woman, she knows alot of ppl,This could be a great time in her life. #LetHerLive

    • gyleches

      If they have Brynn 50/50 why should he get support? She gave him that postition in her company now he can get one somewhere else. I agree with you and still can’t figure out whats up with her pre-nup. For someone as business savvy as she is it should be iron-clad especially since they were only married a couple of years. I hear you; no respect for this man.

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  • Dena Hound

    It appears Carol Hoppy’s notary status was expired when she stamped this transaction. Check the Pennsylvania notary website!

  • Joseph

    A man gold digger.Man up get a job.Support yourself.Can’t be accustomed to much.Divorce longer than the marriage

    • Ann

      He has a career. He stayed to raise his daughter, not visit her. That’s what he’s fighting for.

      • gyleches

        They can sell and split the profit and he can buy a new place. That apartment was over the top anyway.

  • gyleches

    This is all so crazy!! How is Jason able to stay in the apartment??? I can’t believe a judge wouldn’t either award it to the one who paid for it or make them sell it and split the proceeds. This judge must be as evil as the one that tool Kelly Rutherfords kids away from her. That little girl doesn’t need a mansion to live in and she certainly doesn’t need to be around such animosity. Jason is as slimy as they come and the judge is 2nd.

    • Ann

      Why should he have to leave? It’s marital property and they’re still married. If the situation were reversed and Hoppy was the women, you’d be signing a whole different tune. Hoppy got duped and then the witch tried to take his child.

      • gyleches

        LOL don’t presume to know me. The place should be sold and the profit split. It’s worth quite a lot. Regardless of if it’s a man or a woman (that’s what my ex and I did; sell and split the profit) and her prenup should be honored. They weren’t even married 3 years! He was never duped and she never tried to take his child. He was on her payroll the whole time and got used to living the high life and he also got a settlement. He needs a job, not a mansion. I don’t care for her personality at all but this whole thing is a joke. Why would a judge let it drag out for 3 years? This is horrible for Brynn who is the most important person of all.

        • Ann

          You are misinformed. SHE filed and went for FULL CUSTODY. He reacted to her being vicious. Do a little research before opening your useless pie hole.

          • gyleches

            Wow you are so rude. Pie hole, really? Are you an adult? I’m always shocked when adults talk that way to each other. You make yourself sound like white trash. Physical custody is different. It includes visitation. She never wanted him to not see Brynn.