A real “Cinderella story” is unfolding in New York Surrogate’s Court, in the form of a lawsuit. A 14-year-old “love child” of late billionaire New York Magazine owner Bruce Wasserstein has filed suit against Wasserstein’s five other children for damages of more than $100 million, accusing them of being “evil stepsisters” that have conspired to keep her from her rightful inheritance.
The suit has been filed by attorneys representing Sky, the daughter of Wasserstein and Erin McCarthy, described as Wasserstein’s mistress. The lawsuit characterizes 45-year-old Vox Media CEO Pamela Wasserstein as a “bully” leading the group’s efforts to keep Sky from her share of the billionaire’s $2.3 billion estate.
A choice excerpt from the suit:
“This campaign against Sky has been pursued with particular zeal by Pam who serves as Sky’s trustee despite a plethora of conflicts and self-dealing.
“Pam, by her bullying, ostracizing and neglecting Sky … makes even the behavior of Cinderella’s evil stepsisters Drizella and Anastasia seem mild. But there is no Prince Charming in the Wasserstein family coming to save Sky.”
The suit goes on to accuse the Wasserstein children of more than just financial moves against Sky:
“Contrary to Bruce’s desires and intentions, the Sibling Trustees have rejected Sky’s attempts to build a relationship with them. They also have gone so far as to try to erase her from the Wasserstein family tree.”
It’s all enough to form what the suit calls a “continuing conspiracy, through psychological and economic bullying along with their other siblings and faithless fiduciaries, to deprive Sky of her rightful share of her father’s multi-billion dollar estate and to ostracize her from the Wasserstein family,” and now it’s going in front of a judge who will decide what will happen next.
Bruce Wasserstein died in 2009, leaving behind six children (not counting another born to McCarthy years after his death via frozen embryo) and several lavish real estate holdings, including a townhouse in London, an apartment in Paris, a 17–acre property in Santa Barbara, and most expansive of all, Cranberry Dune, a 27.5-acre oceanfront property in East Hampton reportedly worth over $120 million on its own.
The legal battle between Sky and the rest of the Wasserstein siblings is not new. In 2019 attorneys representing the then-11-year-old argued that she was being cheated on the above mentioned residences, claiming it was stipulated that she would receive her share of the properties in cash on the proviso that she never visit the homes. Her trust fund, which is controlled by the other siblings, was awarded more than $6.5 million “to close the gap” between her inheritance and what was taken away by the siblings.
In a press statement, Sky’s attorney William D. Zabel reiterated that the situation has allegedly created more than just financial damage to the child:
“No amount of money can undo the psychological damage to a young woman who since age 3 (she is now 14) has been the target of an insidious, relentless conspiracy to ostracize her from her family.”
A spokesperson for the Wasserstein estate also released a statement:
“Mr. Wasserstein’s estate and the family trusts were divided into portions of equal value for each of his six heirs, and a judge signed off on the framework of the division of assets years ago. The executors and trustees have at all times acted in accordance with their fiduciary duties. We regret that this matter continues to be litigated and will vigorously defend against these meritless objections.”
Sky is seeking a settlement of over $100 million, plus additional damages for “ostracism” and for an independent party to be appointed to oversee her trust fund.