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Herbert Allen Signature-Forgery Suit Dismissed by Judge

Sept. 27 (Bloomberg) -- A judge threw out a lawsuit claiming Herbert Allen, the chief executive officer of Allen & Co., and his Broadway-producer cousin forged the signature of a dying relative to illegally evade collection of a debt.

U.S. District Judge Colleen McMahon in Manhattan yesterday dismissed the case, in which Excelsior Capital LLC claimed that Allen and cousin Terry Allen Kramer fraudulently transferred a family-owned Arizona ranch by forging the signature of C. Robert Allen III.

Excelsior claimed the two cousins were trying to block it from pursuing Robert Allen’s interest in the Arizona property to collect part of a $25.3 million court judgment against him. Members of the Allen family had owned the Arizona ranch for more than 50 years, according to McMahon. Robert Allen owned 18.3 percent.

McMahon ruled that the suit, in which Excelsior said Herbert Allen and Terry Allen Kramer forged Robert Allen’s signature on a deed with help from an Allen & Co. executive, failed to properly allege claims of fraudulent transfer and conspiracy.

“This lawsuit was a crude attempt to collect money from my late cousin by making ungrounded accusations against me,” Herbert Allen said in a statement today. “It is gratifying that in dismissing the case the judge recognized these accusations as ‘implausible’ and based on ‘sheer speculation.’”

Judd Burstein, a lawyer for Excelsior, didn’t immediately return a message seeking comment on the ruling.

The case is Excelsior Capital LLC v. Allen, 11-CV-7373, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York (Manhattan).

To contact the reporter on this story: Bob Van Voris in New York at rvanvoris@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Michael Hytha at mhytha@bloomberg.net

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