Ad
Ad

Skinny-dipping at center of latest battle in billionaire art-dealer divorce

A contentious divorce between a prominent New York City art collector and his wife has led to charges of infidelity, assault and fraud.

The Daily Mail reports that 47-year-old David Mugrabi is in middle of a high-ticket, acrimonious divorce from 39-year-old wife, Libbie.

Mugrabi’s family owns a $5 billion art collection, including the largest set of Andy Warhol works in the world.

Details of the couple’s disputes have been the subject of gossip and tabloid coverage since September, when divorce proceedings were initiated in Manhattan Supreme Court.

One incident reportedly involved a confrontation between Libbie and a female houseguest over the Fourth of July. According to the Daily Mail, Libbie accused the guest of having sex with her husband after the houseguest, David and several others skinny dipped in their pool.

The houseguest told the New York Post that nothing sexual happened.

“It was fun,” she said, “as if we were teenagers.”

The next morning, Libbie reportedly entered the houseguest’s room and told the houseguest, “I am Mrs. Mugrabi.”

“I said, ‘I know you’re Mrs. Mugrabi. I’m not trying to be Mrs. Mugrabi,’” the houseguest reportedly said.

A nanny was accompanying Libbie and recording the exchange on a phone. The houseguest told the New York Post she suspects Libbie wanted to use the recording as leverage in the divorce.

“She was putting words in my mouth, and I was really scared because she started to threaten me with my job and a community of collectors I work with,” the houseguest said.

There also have been accusations of physical violence.

Libbie has reportedly alleged that David assaulted her as she was attempting to move a half-a-million-dollar sculpture from the house.

When David confronted Libbie about this, he allegedly pushed her to the floor, shoved her out of their apartment and called her, her sister and friend “lowlifes” and “gold diggers.

Claims of infidelity have been raised on both sides. Aside from the houseguest who Libbie claimed was having an affair with David, the Jewish Voice has reported rumors that he also has a 26-year-old lover.

Meanwhile, questions have been raised as to whether Libbie has been cheating with advertising executive Donny Deutsch. Both have repeatedly denied the allegations and have characterized their relationship as merely friendly.

“I’ve never had an affair on my husband,” Libbie said. “I don’t believe in adultery. I’m a religious Jew.”

The divorce is expected to be costly for David, who did not have a prenuptial agreement when he married Libbie 13 years ago. The couple regularly spent more than $3 million each year.

Soon after David filed for divorce, a judge ordered him to pay Libbie $25,000 each month in child support while also covering private school tuition for the pair’s two children.

David and Libbie have multiple homes. They bought a house in the Hamptons for $3.75 million in 2007 that includes a tennis court, swimming pool and guest house. They bought a three-bedroom condo in 2014 on Manhattan’s Upper East Side that is valued at $4 million; this is where David is staying during the divorce while Libbie has tended to stay at the Hamptons estate.

The couple also had a townhouse on the Upper East Side, but David transferred ownership of it to a limited-liability company for $72 million. His brother has control over the company.

Libbie said she was shocked to find out about the property transfer, alleging it was a “fraudulent scheme to deprive her of marital interest in the home.”

A family friend told the newspaper that Libbie had spent five years working to renovate and update the residence.

Another unresolved issue the divorce raises: Who owns all of the art?

Libbie was notified in July that art worth hundreds of millions of dollars had been removed from the couple’s home in the Hamptons.

Upon hearing this news, she lied down on a couch and began crying, according to one of Libbie’s friends who testified in court.

“This is real. This divorce is clearly happening,” Libbie is said to have told the friend.