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New York couple's long asset battle heads to Supreme Court

The owner of Brooklyn's Smith Street restaurants Pacifico, Gowanus Yacht Club and Patois married in 1998. In 2009, his wife filed for divorce, and for two years the couple has been battling over asset division.

The wife of the restaurant owner is taking her estranged husband and brother-in-law to court. The complaint alleges the husband sold off the couple's marital home in Carroll Gardens and handed half the profits of the sale to his brother.

That was not what the court ordered, according to the 43-year-old woman, who said her financial life has become extremely challenging because of her former spouse's reported asset shifting. She is taking her grievance to the Brooklyn Supreme Court.

Proceeds from the sale of the couple's home were to be divided between the husband and the wife, according to an alleged earlier divorce agreement. The brother-in-law was to be reimbursed for any "specific contributions" to the property, which the wife claims was an investment that amounted to nothing.

The wife's divorce attorney said a sum of $115,000 was to be placed in escrow after the property sale and divided by the court between the spouses. Instead, following the home's sale, only $28,000 was put into escrow. According to the pending $1 million lawsuit, which includes a request for damages, the husband's brother got half of the profits from the property sale.

An attorney representing the restaurant owner dismisses the wife's claims. The lawyer asserts that the couple had agreed the balance of the home sale - not a specific amount - was to be deposited in escrow. It will be interesting to see how the court decides in this property division dispute.

Source:, "Tempers boil: Wife sues owner of Brooklyn's Patois, Pacifico in fallout from home-sale payout," Oren Yaniv, Aug. 22, 2011

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