Carnegie Deli lawsuit decision

So excited to tell you of this just before the Fourth of July!

It’s a scoop − of chopped liver maybe.

As I’ve previously reported here and here, the Carnegie Deli has been boiling over with contentions of its heir, Marian Levine, and her very estranged hubby, Sanford Levine, and his putative mistress, Penkae Siricharoen, and underpaid workers, and …

But there has been a decision! Of one part of this mess, anyway:

Famed Carnegie Deli’s owner will have to fork over more than $11,000 to her estranged husband, a Manhattan judge ruled Wednesday.

Marian and Sanford Levine are duking it out over how to divide their assets after 22 years of marriage. She has refused to allow her soon-to-be ex to own a piece of the lucrative business.

Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Matthew Cooper said Marian Levine’s 2012 tax returns show income of $1.1 million while Sanford Levine’s 2013 return shows $317,905. Those figures don’t include the much higher value of the business itself and the couple disagree about whether Sanford Levine owns a piece of that.

Levine, 72, wanted temporary maintenance support of $27,500 a month. His wife, 63, wanted to pay $5,400 per month. The judge, using intricate state formulas, set it at $11,579.25 and told her to pay Levine $90,000 toward his legal bills.

The divorce proceedings are separate from Marian Levine’s suits against Sanford and his alleged mistress, Penkae Siricharoen, claiming they withdrew funds from the company’s corporate account and her personal account. Marian also alleges that Sanford gave Siricharoen deeply discounted rent on an apartment above the Midtown eatery.

“It’s all smoked meat and mirrors,” Sanford Levine’s lawyer, Donald Frank, told the judge, referring to Marian Levine’s claim that his client and his alleged girlfriend stole more than $10 million from her while he ran the famous deli and its New Jersey production plant.

Frank said that any money Levine took was essentially payment for his services under a system worked out by Marian Levine’s father, who founded the business.

Marian Harper Levine, owner of Carnegie Deli, thought she should only pay $5,400 a month to her estranged husband. Jefferson Siegel/New York Daily News Marian Harper Levine, owner of Carnegie Deli, thought she should only pay $5,400 a month to her estranged husband.

“He (Sanford) worked hard and he was a good husband. All he ever got in return was scorn,” Frank said.

Patricia Hennessey, Marian Levine’s lawyer, insisted that the money was stolen and that Levine mismanaged the business, costing her client $2.65 million that the deli corporation must pay to settle a federal class action lawsuit with employees who had been underpaid and cheated out of overtime.

Cooper pressed Hennessey repeatedly on whether the U.S. Department of Labor had determined if Sanford Levine had pocketed the money not paid to workers.

Marian, left, and Sandy Levine, in happier times at their Midtown restaurant. David Handschuh/New York Daily News Marian, left, and Sandy Levine, in happier times at their Midtown restaurant.

“The Department of Labor doesn’t care who got the money,” she said.

Hennessey said proof of where the money went will come out later as employees testify about Sanford Levine’s management practices.

Marian Levine in a separate lawsuit has accused her husband and Siricharoen, a former hostess at the deli, of taking the funds.

Hennessey said Marian Levine “had an interest” in how the deli was run but “she was not in the restaurant on a daily basis…She never reviewed the books with him.”

Marian Levine sued her husband for divorce in 2013 after learning about the alleged affair. She filed the second lawsuit earlier this year.

I’m feeling buoyant, possibly due to the Fourth, so have included the entire Daily News piece, and all those gorgeous photos of the warring Levines. (She’s a lot prettier than he is.)

And let me note that Mr. Levine’s lawyer, Donald Frank, had a tasty line: “It’s all smoked meat and mirrors,” he said. Very cute, Donald.

Aren’t you glad you don’t own a famous deli and an unfaithful husband?

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