Billionaire Hubert Neumann arrested during bitter family feud over ‘world-class’ art collection reminiscent of HBO hit ‘Succession’
It was three days before Christmas when cops arrived to arrest aging billionaire Hubert Neumann at his NYC townhouse.
His own son-in-law had called the cops on him amid a huge family feud over their astonishing art collection.
Hubert, now 91, was hauled away on December 22, 2018, at age 86, after Jeffrey Donnelly, married to his daughter Belinda, accused him of a ‘shoulder shove’.
He spent the night sleeping on the freezing cold floor of a police cell, surrounded by vermin.
Speaking about the moment he was put into a cell with two other men, Hubert, who was 86 at the time, told The Post: “These guys said, ‘Hey man, what are you doing here?’ Because they said I was an old guy. I said, ‘My family put me in jail.’ They said, ‘What kind of family you got, man?’”
More than four years later, the battle has only got worse.
It is so reminiscent of HBO hit ‘Succession’, that Hubert’s youngest daughter Melissa Neumann, who remains close to her dad, admitted: “I had to stop watching it as it hit too close to home.”
Neumman, a Chicago mail-order cosmetics heir, has a collection of art ranging from Picasso, Miró, and Matisse to Warhol and Koons, which he began collecting 50 years ago with his late father Morton.
Neumman was and is prolific, befriending artists including Basquiat before they found fame, still buying up-and-coming artists, and building a collection that he sees as his legacy.
But he’s embroiled in a legal fight over the future of the artwork, brought by Belinda, the second of his three daughters.
She is attempting to get him thrown out of two trusts he oversees.
Hubert fears that if she succeeds, she could sell most or all the art collected over five decades.
In 2021, The Post revealed the family was fighting over a George Herms sculpture – after previously falling out over Basquiats.
Now we can reveal the full ugly extent of the battle, with Hubert’s arrest being matched by accusations that he was a wife-beater.
This was alleged during a court fight over Hubert’s ex-wife Dolores’ will. Neumann claimed it was secretly changed before her death to give Belinda 80 percent of the estate, and the other two daughters the remaining 20 percent.
A court recently ruled that Dolores was in sound mind when she made the amendment.
With a slew of ongoing court cases about the two trusts that Hubert oversees, a spokesperson for Belinda and Jeffrey told The Post: “Hubert’s physical abuse of Dolores is just one element of his 40-plus years of fraud and criminality which, as alleged and will be proven in ongoing litigations.”
Neumann has denied all allegations of wife-beating; the claims have not been ruled on by a court.
The spokesperson for the Donnellys highlighted a head-spinning slew of allegations made in court.
They include that Neumann “fraudulently altered” a co-op stock certificate to steal Dolores’s 50 percent ownership of a jointly-owned apartment, “falsely claiming” that he is the sole owner of more than $100 million of art “which he in fact co-owned with Dolores and/or his daughters”, “fraudulently siphoning” off millions of dollars from his daughters’ trusts to pay 50 percent of his and his girlfriend’s lavish lifestyle…” and stealing Belinda’s stock in a family corporation which owns hundreds of millions of dollars worth of art.”
In response, Jay Itkowitz, attorney for Hubert, said the Donnellys were “throwing dirt”, adding: “The subject here is why daughter Belinda and her husband Jeffrey Donnelly would cause an 86-year old father and grandfather to be arrested a few days before Christmas 2018 because of an alleged ‘shoulder check’ by Hubert Neumann, as stated on Jeffrey Donnelly’s police report. As a result, Mr. Neumann was kept overnight, and he had to sleep on a concrete floor for his own safety in an NYC jail.”
Hubert said Belinda, 56, her husband Jeffrey, 55, and their three children moved into Hubert’s home back in September 2012, ostensibly to care for him in his old age – and paid no rent.
To this, they claim he asked them to move in.
But he fell out with Belinda when he asked her to share her mother’s estate equally with her sisters.
Hubert started eviction proceedings against the Donnellys in May 2018.
They were set to be thrown out that same month, but two days before the eviction date, Belinda and Jeffrey got a temporary order of protection (TOP) against him in family court, accusing him of threatening them with physical harm.
They also sued Hubert in the supreme court for financial damages, seeking to remain in the house.
And this was just the start.
On May 25, 2018, the Donnellys called the police, claiming that Hubert had violated the order.
The police visited, and questioned Hubert, but no arrest was made.
On May 29, 2018, Belinda and Jeffrey’s lawyer filed a second restraining order, requiring Hubert and his live-in partner Debra Purden, a writer and curator, to stay only on the fourth and fifth floors of the house, and lock elevator doors to the second and third floors, which kept him from gaining access to his art collection and valuable documents. (The family court later required the locks to be removed from those two doors for safety reasons).
The Donellys also called the police on Hubert on two more occasions, on June 11 and September 21, 2018, claiming Hubert violated the TOP.
But things really escalated on December 22, 2018, when Jeffrey called 911 — in a call heard by The Post — and claimed Hubert had shoved him.
Later, in his hand-written police report the night of the arrest, Jeffrey said: “[Hubert] was passing [Jeffrey] on the staircase and shoulder checked [Jeffrey] into the door causing [Jeffrey] to fear for the safety of his family.”
Recalling the day, Hubert said he arrived home to see Jeffrey sitting amid boxes in the entry hall to the house.
Hubert walked past Jeffrey on the stairs and peeked into the dining room on the second floor.
Jeffrey then allegedly slammed the doors before Hubert could see into the room.
This was caught by a video camera that Jeffrey had set up without Hubert’s knowledge.
On the tape, obtained by The Post from public records, Hubert is heard saying “You pushed me.”
Hubert then went up to his bedroom on the fifth floor, where at 6 pm, police knocked on his door.
“The police said, ‘Will you please dress up because it’s cold’, and so I had to change and put on a coat and hat. Basically, I got the impression that the police were reluctant to arrest me. So they put handcuffs on me, for the first time in my life, and it hurt — it hurt.
“I walked past Jeffrey who was sitting there, no expression on his face as he looked at me in handcuffs, and I walked into a paddy wagon. I couldn’t even believe it was happening.”
It was then that cops told him he had violated the protection order.
Hubert was taken to a precinct near his home where he said he was “freezing cold and disoriented.”
“You lose all your sense of privacy,” he said: “So I say, ‘I have to go to the bathroom’, I get walked out, and the guy’s looking at me going to the bathroom. And it’s humiliating.
“I was frightened. I heard scratching that I feared was rats. I heard screaming from inmates in other cells. I was very frightened.
“You say how do I feel? I feel I’ve lost my privacy. I can’t even believe it.” He was fingerprinted and interviewed, “then I had to go to sleep, and there’s a stainless steel bench. I said, ‘I’m not sleeping on that, I’ll fall off and break a hip or something’. So I lay down on the floor. A cement, cold floor.
“It took me a long time to get to sleep, finally there’s a cop in the cell and he taps me. and says, “I’m just checking you’re still alive’.”
Debra and Melissa soon arrived at the precinct with pizza and a dressing gown for Hubert but were banned from seeing him.
Melissa, a noted art collector herself, said: “I was just worried for his safety.”
He burst into tears when he eventually saw Melissa and Debra the next morning at the criminal court downtown after he was booked.
But, on February 6, 2019, Jeffrey withdrew his family court complaint without giving Hubert the chance to present evidence that the case was false, and on July 15, 2019, the Manhattan DA’s office announced they would not prosecute and the matter was dismissed.
Hubert allowed the matter to be unsealed.
In April 2019 the NY Appellate division denied the Donnellys’ bid to appeal the eviction, and they were ordered to move out by May 15, 2019, and pay back $24,282.57 in rent.
They now live in midtown.
For Hubert, the hurt remains.
After his arrest, he was delayed twice by customs while coming back into the country as his record was still tagged with his arrest.
Yet he repeatedly told The Post: “I still love my three daughters, including Belinda. I just want peace and love in my family.”
Melissa, who is set to take over as a trustee in the event of her dad’s death, said: “In my capacity as a trustee I want to be objective as I can, on a personal level I think it’s going to be very hard to repair a family like this.
“This all didn’t have to happen this way, the reading of my mother’s will definitely changed my life trajectory and my sister’s trajectory.
“She is my older sister and had always been somebody I looked up to and we helped each other, the personal part is what I think hurts the most for me.”
Renowned Queen Elizabeth II portrait on display at Art Galley of Peterborough – Global News
As he stood in the Art Gallery of Peterborough looking at the large portrait of Queen Elizabeth II, Alex Bierk says he can “hear my dad painting on it, being excited about working on it.”
The city councillor spoke passionately about his father David Bierk as the portrait went on public display Wednesday evening for the first time since it was removed from the Peterborough Memorial Centre last fall where it hung over the ice for nearly five decades.
“So intuitively and immediately I’m connected to my dad’s big presence and his energy when I view this work,” Bierk told the audience.
READ MORE: Art Galley of Peterborough acquires Queen Elizabeth II portrait from Memorial Centre
In February, the gallery acquired the eight f0ot-by-12-foot portrait, which was first installed at the arena in January 1980 and remained there until the State Funeral of the Queen on Sept. 19, 2022.
Original commissioning documents, held at Trent Valley Archives in Peterborough, state that if the painting ever needed to be removed, it should be donated to the Art Gallery of Peterborough, or the Peterborough Public Library, whichever was preferred.
Briefly in 2003, the painting was removed from its original location due to arena renovations. However, public protest saw the portrait rehung.
Bierk follows in his father’s footsteps as an oil painter and says the portrait is a labour of love. He recalled running around the Memorial Centre as a kid looking up at the painting. Bierk’s brother Zac is a former Peterborough Petes player. David died in 2002 at the age of 58.
“The painting intersects my dad’s love of sports and his life as an artist and how it hung over Zac’s head all those years he played for the Petes,” Alex said.
The portrait was launched as part of the gallery’s Special Project: Tea with the Queens exhibition, a short-run project to showcase David Bierk’s painting, Portrait of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II before it goes into collection storage joining the Permanent Collection.
The portrait will hang in the gallery until June 29 alongside works by artists who are Indigenous, queer, and living with disabilities.
“We’ve got a lot of works by David Bierk so it’s pretty exciting to have this joining a number of his other pieces,” curator Fynn Leitch said.
There will also be a series of afternoon tea sittings or “Tea with the Queens,” hosted by local drag performers Betty Baker and Sahira Q. Seatings will take place on June 11 and June 14 from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. and June 22 at 4 p.m. Tickets are available to purchase in person at the gallery or by calling 705-743-9179 during regular business hours.
Mayor Jeff Leal recalled he and others taking classes under David Bierk who was seen as an “artistic genius” and helped many to “develop a unique love of the arts.”
Bierk says his family is appreciative of the gallery for accepting the painting.
“The amount of calls I got asking if I was going to take the painting — no!” he quipped as he waved his hands. “We’re really glad it’s here. It’s safe and being a part of the collection at the Art Gallery of Peterborough will ensure it will live on in our community in really beautiful ways — ways like I felt when I walked into this room tonight.”
Also launched Wednesday was Wayfinding: Works from the Youth Art Mentorship Program, a collection of works by youth artists Amber Rose, A. Carabine, Charley Pesonen, Kellan Mackenzie, Lauren Armstrong, and Mujgan Hussein Zada who spent the last three months working with artist-mentor Spencer J. Harrison. The goal was to explore the professional practice of being an artist and produce an exhibition of their work. The youth were selected by a jury of arts professionals earlier this year.
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© 2023 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.
Andy Warhol paintings sell for $936,000 at auction
Four Andy Warhol paintings that were part of the Winnipeg Art Gallery’s collection have sold at auction, with the money being used to help increase the Indigenous art collection at the gallery.
Four colour silkscreens of Queen Elizabeth II created in 1985 were on the auction block Thursday at Cowley Abbott Auctioneers, where the realized price when the auction ended was $936,000.
A spokesperson for the gallery says the money from the sale will go towards an endowment that will sit for at least one year. The gallery will use the accumulated interest to begin purchasing artwork by Indigenous artists to add to its permanent collection.
While the Winnipeg Art Gallery contains the largest public collection of contemporary Inuit art, only around one per cent of its collection is from First Nations and Metis artists.
The artwork by the famed pop artist was estimated to sell for between $700,000 and $900,000. It was donated to the WAG in 1999 by a collector.
-With files from CTV’s Taylor Brock
Jaw-dropping immersive environmental art exhibit ‘Arcadia Earth’ is coming to Toronto this fall
Just when you think Toronto has been spoiled enough with world-class interactive art exhibits we get yet another one.
But we’re not complaining.
A jaw-dropping immersive environmental art exhibit called Arcadia Earth is coming to Toronto this fall and from the looks of it, it’s not one to pass up.
After a wildly successful run in New York, Las Vegas and Saudi Arabia, the exhibit is making its way up north for its Canadian debut.
Visitors can experience a 17,000-square-foot journey through planet Earth in all its glory and weaknesses.
The exhibit combines both large-scale art installations and technology.
“Arcadia Earth Toronto will transport visitors to the heart of global challenges such as overfishing, plastic waste, and biodiversity loss,” the exhibit creators said in a statement.
“From an underwater world built from salvaged commercial fishing nets to a large-scale beehive made from thousands of pages of reclaimed books, the spaces promote individual empowerment and equip guests with actionable suggestions to help protect the future of our planet.”
The exhibit will officially open in the fall of 2023 and set up shop at The
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