Gay Parents | Law - Gay, LGBT | New York

Manhattan Businessman's Last Will And Testament: My Son Will Get Straight, Or My Grandkids Get Nothing

OdiousMandelbaumWhen Manhattan businessman Frank Mandelbaum died in 2007, he left behind a $180,000 trust for his grandchildren. There are now three Mandelbaum grandchildren, one of whom belongs to Frank's gay son, Robert, and his husband, Jonathan O'Donnell. But Frank Mandelbaum was apparently a terrible person, so in his will he left a proviso: The funds could be disbursed to Robert's kids only if Robert married their mother, "within six months of the child's birth."

It's not that Frank Mandelbaum was particularly attached to the mother of Robert's child. (At the time Frank wrote his will, Robert didn't have a child.) He just didn't like that his son was gay. Happily, Robert Mandelbaum is uniquely suited to fight his father's twisted will. He's a judge.

From the New York Post:

... [the] will prompted Robert Mandelbaum, a Manhattan Criminal Court Judge, to argue in a court battle over the estate that his longtime partner Jonathan O’Donnell is the only “mother” their 16-month-old son, Cooper, knows.

... The Manhattan Surrogate’s Court has yet to approve a settlement to ignore Frank Mandelbaum’s demand as discriminatory and against New York law.

The settlement is the only way to solve the dispute over Cooper, Robert Mandelbaum claims in court papers, because the will “imposes a general restraint on marriage by compelling Robert Mandelbaum . . . to enter into a sham marriage” — which he says violates state law supporting marriage equality.

Frank Mandelbaum's widow, a loveless old biddy named Ann Freeman, has testified in court papers that Robert's son, 18-month old son, Cooper, is undeserving of his inheritance because he's being raised by gay parents.

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  1. I can't believe the guy is fighting to get his disgusting father's money. I wouldn't want anything from a pig like that. I would go spit on his grave and then pretend I never knew him.

    Posted by: borut | Aug 19, 2012 2:03:34 PM

  2. Agreed ! @BORUT

    Posted by: Reppin2 | Aug 19, 2012 2:07:56 PM

  3. So the old man died a bitter, angry bigot? Good. It sounds like his wife will die the same way, based on her "testimony".

    Posted by: luminum | Aug 19, 2012 2:16:09 PM

  4. I don't think it's as simple as that. His poor son deserves to be treated with the same respect as his cousins (same goes for any future children they might have).

    Posted by: Mikey | Aug 19, 2012 2:17:30 PM

  5. Making your grandkids suffer for something their father did/is that they had no control over? Where is the justice in this? Even from an anti-gay perspective it makes zero sense.

    Posted by: Mary | Aug 19, 2012 2:18:27 PM

  6. I want to see Robert get the money, just so his mother has to live knowing that their bigotry will not be tolerated under the laws of the state of New York, of which I am a proud resident and gay parent!

    Posted by: Mark | Aug 19, 2012 2:21:15 PM

  7. That stupid old bigoted couple don't deserve grandchildren. But I am glad the will is being contested.

    Posted by: Jay | Aug 19, 2012 2:29:02 PM

  8. anyone ever read Henry James' "The Heirness"?

    Catherine Sloper's final decision in regards to her father's wil would seem fitting for this situation....

    Posted by: LittleKiwi | Aug 19, 2012 2:29:30 PM

  9. Talk about thinking of the children...

    Posted by: Robert Ellison | Aug 19, 2012 2:39:18 PM

  10. "Cruel? You call me cruel? I HAVE BEEN TAUGHT BY MASTERS!"

    Posted by: David Ehrenstein | Aug 19, 2012 2:42:00 PM

  11. If I had a dad like that I'd legally change my last name.

    Posted by: Brad | Aug 19, 2012 2:49:25 PM

  12. How awful! I've never heard of this situation before... I wonder how often it actually happens. And yes, the will's ridiculous stipulation *should* be fought.

    Posted by: Oz in OK | Aug 19, 2012 2:54:25 PM

  13. I don't think the terms of the will should be contested, or contestable. The coercive terms of the will are a foul-hearted father's final flip-off to his gay son, and are absolutely vile. But a will reflects the final wishes of the father, and the probate court should not interfere with the will any more than if Old Man Mandelbaum disinherited a mixed race grandchild. Leave the money. Walk away. Don't look back. The grandchild will grow up better off for not having the old man in his life. Rejoice. Be happy.

    And $180,000? That's kind of paltry to begin with. I thought the Mandelbaums had crepe money.

    Posted by: World's Greatest Dad | Aug 19, 2012 2:59:11 PM

  14. knew i could count on you D.E. :-)

    Posted by: LittleKiwi | Aug 19, 2012 3:04:32 PM

  15. I "assume" and hope Robert wins his case in court for his and his son.

    Then another possible twist: Roberts siblings "gift" their nephew the correct portion. Which I believe in this current tax season is "tax free"--till the end of Dec 2012. That of course if the siblings have a good relationship.

    It's all about "grandpa and eventually grandma" turning in their grave for eternity.

    Posted by: anthony | Aug 19, 2012 3:04:51 PM

  16. If the terms of the will are that he must marry the mother within six months, and only that, then the solution is quite simple.

    Marry the mother within six months. After a short period of time, the will will be executed and the funds distributed according. Once that happens, you file for divorce and get on with your life.

    Posted by: Randy | Aug 19, 2012 3:04:54 PM

  17. Also, make sure the will is published on a website, and mail a copy to all of his dad's friends and family members, with a letter stating that he disinherited his grandchildren to punish the son for being gay.

    That will totally rip his reputation with most people, which is exactly what he deserves. It will serve notice to any other parent that their children will make their bigotry known to everyone, and they might think twice about doing such a hateful thing.

    Posted by: Randy | Aug 19, 2012 3:07:27 PM

  18. Lastly, make sure that advocates for "traditional marriage" know that this father would rather his son enter a sham marriage than enter a true one, and that this seems to be fine with all "traditional marriage" proponents.

    Ask them whether doing the father's bidding will insure the institution of marriage forever more.

    Posted by: Randy | Aug 19, 2012 3:09:24 PM

  19. Sad. And gross. But it was his money.

    I wouldn't want my will to be usurped, so to me, I'd just forget about the money. But the money isn't for me, it's for the kid, so I can see why someone would challenge it, it's not done out of selfishness, it's done for the kid.

    Still, that wasn't what the money was intended for, so I don't know. Must be nice to have problems centered around free money. I just wonder how much the lawyers are going to get, and if it's worth the stress and heartache, being constantly reminded of what a turd my dad was. That kind of pain never really goes away, I don;t think that anybody that hasn't experienced it can really appreciate what it's like. It's awful. It's a wound that never really heals. I'm going to go cry now and try not to think about my own relativist and how hard they've made my life.

    Posted by: BeckieSays | Aug 19, 2012 3:12:09 PM

  20. The religious right always says that we should not allow gay marriage because it punishes children unjustly by not giving them both a mother and a father. And yet here they are, punishing an heir because of something the heir (the grandson) has absolutely no control over.

    Also, all I can think of is this:

    Posted by: NOMComments | Aug 19, 2012 3:13:20 PM

  21. If you really want to re-write Dad's reputation, start drafting that tell-all memoir about incestuous, child sexual abuse, to be published upon Mom's death.

    Posted by: He Who Laughs Last | Aug 19, 2012 3:21:18 PM

  22. Lying is the lowest form of creativity...

    Posted by: BeckieSays | Aug 19, 2012 3:27:40 PM

  23. Righty TP - "Don't punish a child for the sins of his father."

    Oh wait, we're not talking abortion? Oh, oh, it's about the gays?

    Well screw that little kid then. He gets nothing because his fathers are faggots.

    A-holes like Frank make me want to believe in hell.

    Posted by: KP05 | Aug 19, 2012 3:28:32 PM

  24. @Beckie: Fiction. Heard of it?

    Posted by: He Who Laughs Last | Aug 19, 2012 3:28:56 PM

  25. @Beckie: Fiction. Heard of it?

    Posted by: He Who Laughs Last | Aug 19, 2012 3:28:57 PM

  26. 1 2 3 »

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