Billionaire Ronald Perelman must pay $4.3 million to his ex-wife Ellen Barkin’s Applehead Pictures LLC after reneging on a agreement to invest in the film production company, a New York appeals court ruled.
Barkin, an actress who starred in “Palindromes” (2004) and “The Big Easy” (1987), founded New York-based Applehead Pictures with her brother George Barkin in November 2005. The decision by the Appellate Division, First Department affirmed a trial court’s January ruling on the 2007 suit.
Perelman, the chairman of cosmetics maker Revlon Inc., agreed to make capital contributions to Applehead Pictures in 2006 and 2007, totaling $3.4 million, according to the decision. Perelman didn’t approve of Barkin’s acting career, and they agreed the company would let her continue working in film, the decision said. The couple married in 2000 and entered into a separation agreement and divorce in February 2006.
“The primary issue presented is whether two separately executed agreements -- a marital separation agreement and a business operating agreement -- can be deemed to be one integrated contract,” Justice Eugene Nardelli wrote in the unanimous opinion. “We hold in the negative.”
The court rejected Perelman’s argument that Barkin’s alleged breaches of the separation agreement relieved him of his obligations in the business agreement.
“This is an unfortunate decision,” Christine Taylor, a spokeswoman for Perelman, said in an e-mail. “We still maintain Ms. Barkin should not be entitled to any additional money beyond the enormous settlement she received five years ago. She said Perelman had “moved on” and left it to his attorneys to handle the “still-pending claims against Ms. Barkin and others based on their misconduct in managing and controlling Applehead Pictures.”
Perelman had countersued in New York state Supreme Court, alleging Barkin misappropriated Applehead funds to finance personal expenses.
New York attorney Jacob Buchdahl, who represents Applehead, said his client were “thrilled” with the appeals court decision.
“As far as Applehead is concerned, Perelman won’t truly have moved on until after he satisfies his obligations,” Buchdahl added. He called the pending claims “nonsense” meant to distract. They will only result in more money going to Applehead, he said.
The $4.3 million award includes more than $900,000 in interest.
The case is Applehead Pictures LLC v. Ronald O. Perelman, 602606/2007, New York Supreme Court, New York County (Manhattan).