Billionaire, 92, hit with 19 lawsuits, arrested, taken from his home

Billionaire, 92, is slapped with 19 lawsuits, arrested and kicked out of his NYC mansion amid battle with his DAUGHTER over his $1 BILLION art collection that includes Picassos and Warhols… but he says he still loves her

  • Hubert Neumann, 92, is embroiled in a legal battle initiated by his own daughter
  • It started when he opposed Belinda inheriting 80 percent of his late wife’s estate
  • She wants to sell art against her father’s wishes, with him now contesting the will

A billionaire has been slapped with 19 lawsuits, arrested and kicked out of his New York City mansion during a battle with his daughter over his $1billion art collection.

Hubert Neumann, 92, was given the boot from his $6million Upper West Side townhouse following the bitter fallout with Belinda and her husband Jeffrey Donnelly.

Donnelly had claimed the aging art collector had displayed aggressive behavior when he tried to remove the couple from his home, where they had been staying.

Security footage showed him sitting and watching cops quietly remove the billionaire from his mansion during the arrest three days before Christmas in 2018.

Belinda, the second of his three daughters, and her husband Donnelly had launched a campaign against her father when he opposed her claim to 80 percent of her late mother’s estate.

Neumann’s wife Dolores signed a will before her death in 2016, leaving most of her estate to Belinda and disinheriting her husband.

Art collector billionaire Hubert Neumann, 92, is embroiled in an intricate legal battle initiated by his own daughter and son-in-law that have seen him arrested

Hubert Neumann, 92, faced a restraining order that confined Neumann to the upper floors of his home

In May 2018, a restraining order was filed, confining Neumann and his partner Debra Purden to the fourth and fifth floors of his New York City Upper West Side townhouse

Neumann has long disputed the will, which he alleges is invalid because it was executed while his wife was receiving serious medical treatment. 

Neumann claimed that the will was secretly changed before her death to give Belinda 80 percent of the estate, and the other two daughters, Melissa and Debra, the remaining 20 percent. 

Neumann essentially fell out with Belinda when he asked her to share her mother’s estate equally with her sisters. He then began eviction proceedings against the Donnellys in May 2018.

Neumann’s legal team claim his daughter wanted to take possession of the collection, including a significant Andy Warhol artwork, with the intention of selling it. Neumann, on the other hand, insists on keeping the artwork as a family heirloom.

Nevertheless, despite the legal saga still remaining unresolved, Neumann still maintains that he loves his daughter – despite the turmoil.

‘I love Belinda and my two daughters equally, as I always have,’ he told The Sun. ‘I hope and pray we can put this family dispute behind us and restore peace and love within our family.’

Things came to ahead in 2018, just days before Christmas, when Neumann’s son-in-law, Jeffrey Donnelly, contacted the police to report an altercation at Neumann’s New York City townhouse. 

Neumann and his daughter Belinda are seen together in public at a Picasso show at the Museum of Modern Art in NYC in February 2011

Basquiat’s ‘Untitled (Tyranny),’ a 1982 64-by-96-inch acrylic and oilstick on canvas, is considered to be the crown jewel of the bunch

Basquiat’s Hall of Fame painting is another much coveted piece

Jean-Michel Basquiat’s ‘Flesh and Spirit’ painting that was once owned by the Neumann family. The work, divided into quadrants, features elements of a skeleton, a brain and a disembodied hand, along with words like ‘potato’ and ‘peso’ in addition to ‘flesh’ and ‘spirit’ 

He accused Neumann, who was then 86, of shoving him and violating a restraining order that confined Neumann to the upper floors of his home. 

Donnelly’s 911 call hears him described the incident as ‘an aggressive situation’, according to The Sun.

Surveillance footage captured the moment Neumann was handcuffed and escorted out by police officers, while Donnelly sat and watched from the stairs. 

Neumann spent a night sleeping on the freezing cold floor of a police cell, surrounded by vermin, while his daughter, son-in-law, and grandchildren continued to live rent-free in his townhouse, which also housed his entire art collection.

The following year, Neumann’s legal team appeared in family court, only to find that Donnelly’s lawyers had withdrawn their claims. 

The District Attorney’s office declined to prosecute the case, leading to the dismissal of the matter, denying Neumann the opportunity to clear his name.

It would be the start of a protracted legal dispute that had continued to unfold in recent years. 

Neumann sits in front of Roy Lichtenstein’s ‘Live Ammo (Take Cover!)’

More paintings from Neumann’s sought-after collection

Two paintings by French painter Gaston Chaissac adorn the walls of Neumann’s townhouse

The inside of Neumann’s townhouse looks more like a museum of fine art

Neumann, came to New York City in the early 1950s when he was in his early twenties. He was immediately captivated by the vibrant art scene. 

He became a prolific art collector together with his late father Morton and even played a role in the discovery of celebrated abstract artists like Jean Michel Basquiat. 

The Brooklyn-born Basquiat rose to fame as a graffiti artist in the late 1970s. Dolores Neumann befriended Basquiat during his brief career, which ended with his death in 1988. 

Neumann’s father, Morton, a Chicagoan who made his fortune in the mail-order business, began a collection that eventually blossomed into one of the finest in the United States, including works by Picasso, Picabia and Warhol. He died in 1985.

The art was split between sons Arthur and Hubert.

Most of those artworks, valued at more than a billion dollars, are now owned by two family trusts, both overseen by Hubert Neumann.

Neumann’s sought-after collection features renowned artists such as Picasso, Matisse, Warhol, Koons, and Miró, and is coveted by wealthy collectors and museums worldwide.

Neumann wished to keep the entirety of his collection intact and see it passed down to his daughters. 

In 2012, his daughter Belinda, along with her husband and children, moved in with Neumann to provide care but tensions flared when it was revealed that Belinda would inherit 80 percent of her late mother’s estate. 

Several painting by Catalan artist and sculptor Joan Miró 

Virtually no part of the wall is left uncovered with artwork adorning the walls everywhere

A painting by Jean Dubuffet entitled antonin Artaud aux Houppes

Another painting by Jean Dubuffet is seen on the walls

Neumann Hubert, right, is seen with his other daughter, Melissa, left, pictured in 2008

Neumann has never agreed with the will which he believed was changed and rushed through, despite a court ruling that affirmed his ex-wife’s sound mental state.

Belinda received a Basquiat painting after her mother’s death, which she promptly sold for $30.7 million, against the wishes of her father. 

She alleged in legal filings that her father had been written out of her mother’s will due to alleged abuse, a claim Neumann vehemently denies.

By May 2018, tensions escalated when Neumann attempted to evict the Donnellys from his home. 

In response, Belinda and her husband obtained a temporary order of protection, prohibiting any communication between Neumann and the Donnellys, despite them all living in the same house. 

By the end of May 2018, another restraining order was filed, confining Neumann and his partner Debra Purden to the fourth and fifth floors of the townhouse while locking the doors on floors two and three. 

It led to multiple 911 calls from the Donnellys, claiming Neumann had violated the order.

The drama continued until May 2019, when the Donnellys were finally evicted and ordered to pay $24,300 in rent, following a ruling by the New York Appellate Division.

In 2021,  Belinda, claimed her father ‘continues to use his father’s money and fraud as tools to control his children and, even more importantly for him, any and all works of art owned by any member of the Neumann family,’ according to court papers.

She alleged how he deprived his own children and grandkids of money left to them in family trusts, making it ‘as difficult as possible for his children to disobey him’.

The legal battles are continuing as Belinda and her husband seek to challenge Neumann’s control over her mother’s will. 

They argue that years of alleged abuse make Neumann unfit to fulfill his duties as trustee.

Neumann’s attorneys insist that these allegations be examined in court, believing that the billionaire can prove the claims false.

‘The apparent reason was clear. The Donnellys had gotten all the mileage out of the fictitious claims. They got Hubert restricted in his own house for months in the absence of a hearing,’ the Neumann’s attorney Jay Itkowitz said.

‘So after months of the false claims being out there, they simply dropped the claims as they no longer had any utility and in my opinion, would have been dismissed anyway.

‘So to avoid the embarrassment of a loss in family court, they simply withdrew the claims.’

Melissa Neumann, the Hubert’s youngest daughter will become the trustee in the event of her father’s death.

‘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,’ she told the New York Post earlier this year. 

‘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.’

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