BNY Mellon Wealth Management And Its Chief Fiduciary Officer Accused Of Campaign Against Famed Sculptor's Heirs

Dec 02, 2013, 12:19 ET from Novick & Associates, P.C.

HUNTINGTON, N.Y., Dec. 2, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- In a Federal lawsuit filed in the New York Eastern District against BNY Mellon, and retired real estate lawyer Martin Newman, the sons of Norman Mercer, a renowned East Hampton sculptor who died in 2007 at ninety-one, accuses the bank and Joseph Samulski, the Chief Fiduciary Officer of BNY Mellon Wealth Management, of conducting a five year campaign against them.

Howard and David Mercer, retired West coast businessmen, allege that Samulski and BNY, a trustee of trusts created under the will of their late father, has been responsible for orchestrating and implementing a five-year campaign to harass and retaliate against them for suing the bank in January of 2009.  That lawsuit, which resulted in the payment of a seven-figure settlement to the Mercer brothers, alleged that BNY and Newman aided and abetted Mercer's widow, fourth wife and former dancer, Carol, an East Hampton heiress, of looting Norman Mercer's multi-million dollar BNY retirement account, the bulk of which he left in trust to his children.

That suit also accused Carol Mercer of encumbering the Mercer's Robert Stern designed East Hampton estate by writing checks to herself starting on the very day Norman Mercer died, against a BNY home equity line of credit secured by the house. The loan was alleged to have violated the couple's post-nuptial agreement, in which Carol had agreed not to encumber the house after Norman's death, and to leave fifty percent of the proceeds from its sale to Norman's children upon her death.

The new suit accuses BNY and Newman of violating the 2009 settlement agreement, as well as of Breach of Fiduciary Duty. The suit, which seeks specific and unspecified punitive damages, accuses Newman and BNY, under the direction of Samulski, of initiating, approving and aiding Carol Mercer's illegal invasion of the corpus of the Mercer trust in a scheme to loot the trust's assets.

An exhibit attached to the complaint is a 2004 letter by Norman Mercer, who at the time was still sculpting while battling cancer, to his oldest son David in which he explained his reasons for selecting BNY as a trustee.

Mercer wrote, "The trust and all its benefits will be disbursed by an expert organization involved in estate administration, and all of my heirs' interests will be expertly protected and fulfilled". The letter goes on to say, "These details are only outlined here in order for you to realize how I was able to receive acceptable terms (from Carol) that I sought to protect my loved ones".  BNY is alleged to have violated every fragment of trust Norman Mercer put in the bank he had been doing business with for over forty years.

The case is Howard Mercer and David Mercer v. BNY Mellon, N.A. and Martin D. Newman (13 Civ. 5686)


Donald Novick, Novick & Associates, P.C.


(631) 547-0300


SOURCE Novick & Associates, P.C.