News :: Family

Alleged Boyfriend Battles Businessman’s Partner Over $300M Estate

by Jason St. Amand
National News Editor
Wednesday Sep 26, 2012
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The former private chef and alleged boyfriend of a well-known New York City investment broker says he has been robbed of his share of the businessman’s fortune thanks to the businessman’s jealous partner, the U.K. tabloid the Daily Mail reported.

According to the article, Joseph Ouellette, who worked for Christopher Browne for 18 years before he died in 2009, said that Browne’s partner Andrew Gordon convinced the broker, whose investments and income went well into nine figures, to leave Ouellette out of his will. Ouellette filed court papers in Manhattan this week in which he claims he was entitled to $4 million after Browne died of a heart attack three years ago at the age of 62.

The suit maintains that Gordon, 51, manipulated Browne while he was in bad health and got him to fire Ouellette from his cooking job, which left him homeless, and to leave him nothing in the broker’s will.

Browne’s will stated that Gordon, an architect, was to get his $75 million East Hampton property and his $25 million Park Avenue apartment but Ouellette says he wanted more. The article notes that a court filing says a 1999 version of Browne’s will stated that $4 million was to go to his longtime personal chef, who was also allegedly his boyfriend.

Browne began dating Gordon, in 2003 but the cook claims the former chief of value investment firm Tweedy, Browne (the investment company Browne ran) changed his will to leave Gordon with $100 million and cut Ouellette’s share down to $500,000. Additionally, the Daily Mail points out that there are court papers that say Browne intended to leave Ouellette with the Park Avenue apartment, which he purchased for the chef and his family.

But in 2007, the will was changed again after the businessman was involved in an accident and suffered a severe head injury. Ouellette claims his share of Browne’s massive estate was reduced to just $100,000 and a prevision that allowed him to stay in the Manhattan apartment for just six months -- and only if he was still working for Browne.

The suit goes on to assert that just a few weeks before Browne died of a heart attack, Gordon fired Ouellette, and he and his family were forced to leave the building.

"It’s a shame that someone so loyal was treated so poorly by someone so rich," Ouellette’s attorney Tom Mullaney told the New York Post.

Gordon denies Ouellette’s allegations and says Browne was capable to be in full control of his money and life while he changed his will. Gordon also said that he did not put any "undue influence" on him to make the changes.

Tweedy, Browne boasts blue-chip clients like Benjamin Graham and Warren Buffett. At one point, the company managed more than $10 billion in value investments. Browne was best known for buying stocks when they were at their lowest and waiting for them to skyrocket before selling.

The businessman was also a philanthropist. He donated $10 million to the University of Pennsylvania, where he graduated with a B.A. in history, and funded AIDS research at New York’s Rockefeller University.

Another lawsuit concerning a gay man and a will occurred August. Frank Mandelbaum, a New York City businessman who founded the ID verification company Intelli-Check, had his will set up so none of his money would go to his grandchildren if his son Robert Mandelbum, a 47-year-old court judge, does not marry "the child’s mother within six months of the child’s birth." The problem is, Robert is gay and married his partner, Jonathan O’Donnell, in August 2011.

Now Robert is in the midst of a court battle over his father’s money and argues that O’Donnell is the only "mother" his 16-month-old son knows. The couple had a baby had a child through a surrogate soon after they tied the knot, EDGE reported.

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