The wealthy Reichmann family of Toronto has avoided an expensive public trial, resolving a long-running lawsuit in which a son sued his elderly father who in turn filed a claim against his older brother.
The multimillion dollar case was supposed to go to trial this week, with six weeks scheduled in Ontario Superior Court to hear the complex dispute in the family, which is known for commercial real-estate development. But after eight years of pretrial skirmishes, eleventh-hour talks have led to a confidential settlement.
In 2013, Abraham Reichmann sued his father, Ralph, and mother, Ada, saying they were denying him his rightful share of the family wealth, and had mismanaged and misappropriated trust funds set up for him and his children. Ralph, who is nearing 90, brought his brother Albert, who is in his 90s, into the lawsuit as a third-party, saying that as a fellow trustee of a family trust he shares any liability.
Ralph denied his son’s allegations and said he had given generous “gifts” of up to $40,000 a month for 30 years, which he was legally entitled to stop giving.
In 2015, a judge said the case “cries out for settlement,” adding that the cause of the “unfortunate family rift” was not clear to him. Since then, in court filings that contained bitter allegations of breach of trust from Abraham and of being an unemployed failure from Ralph, the two sides engaged in a drawn-out legal battle.
“My clients are pleased to inform you that the legal proceedings involving their son Abraham have now been settled,” Luis Sarabia, a lawyer for Ralph, said in an e-mail.
Tom Curry, a lawyer for Abraham, said his client is glad that the litigation has concluded without the need for a trial.
David Sterns, a lawyer not involved in the case, said “settlements often occur at the doorstep of the court because the parties themselves know best what a fair and proper result is. … Unfortunately, they often need to go through multiple rounds in the ring before coming to that realization.”
The Reichmanns were once among the world’s biggest developers and richest families. Even after the company Olympia & York Developments Ltd. – founded by brothers Ralph, Albert and the late Paul – went bankrupt in the early 1990s, substantial wealth remained in the family.
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