More than three years after tycoon Raymond Perelman sued his son Jeffrey, in 2009, he is suing longtime friend, lawyer and confidant Arlin Adams. Adams was the Schnader Harrison lawyer recruited by Raymond’s late wife Ruth to negotiate a conciliation with Jeffrey, after he contentiously split from his father’s company in the late ’80s. That pact, settled in 1990, included an agreement to hand over to Jeffrey some subsidiary companies held by the family business, RGP Holdings. Nineteen years after that plan was hatched, Raymond decided his son had breached the contract and swindled him out of $24 million. Jeffrey claimed, successfully, that it was all sour grapes: Raymond was just bitter about giving up his money, and didn’t want Jeffrey’s wife, Marsha, to have any stake in RGP. In March 2010, Raymond lost and Jeffrey kept his stake. Raymond’s appeal of that decision was denied in April this year.
Then this September, according to court documents, Raymond homed in on a new target—Adams, the lawyer who drafted the 1990 pact. Perelman, who said in the lawsuit that he used to “spend several days each year at [Adams's] home in West Palm Beach, Florida” now claims that his old friend, by drafting the contract incorrectly, essentially enabled Jeffrey to manipulate its terms, behind his back. Perelman is suing Adams for breach of contract—there are also other charges relating to the drafting of his late wife’s will—and in what seems like a pretty petty amount for a billionaire, he’s only asking for $75,000.
Why is this news now? After three months trying the case in South Florida, Perelman and Adams, both in their 90s, decided to move it to Philadelphia, where it’ll be tried in federal court in Pennsylvania’s Eastern District. In 2009, Raymond Perelman unsuccessfully sued Schnader Harrison, but not Adams, for bungling the very same agreement.