Bethenny Frankel has made no secret of the fact that she's angry her ex, Jason Hoppy, continues to live in the NYC apartment they once shared. But according to newly filed court documents from her bitter divorce case, leaked to Radar, she believes he "duped" her into signing the documents that have allowed him to do so — and someone may have even forged her signature!
Frankel and Hoppy have been at war over the luxe Tribeca apartment that they bought in 2011. The purchase was made through a trust, but according to court documents obtained by Radar, Frankel "claims that she executed the trust agreement without understanding it. Specifically, she claims that when she signed, she believed, based on her communication with her husband, that the trust 'was only to maintain privacy given her public recognition and that the husband would only be managing the property for her benefit.'"
"She never read the trust agreement before signing it, and does not recall ever being shown any part of it except for the signature page," the documents state.
What's more, "it is also undisputed that neither Bethenny, Jason, nor the trustee was ever present in the office" of the attorney who allegedly witnessed their signatures on the trust agreement, according to the documents, and none of them had ever met him before the agreement was signed either.
Even more shockingly, other documents signed by Frankel and Hoppy as part of the purchase are "unenforceable and invalid," the papers claim, and Hoppy's own mother is to blame!
Hoppy's mom is a notary in Pennsylvania, and her stamp and signature appear on some of the signing documents. However, the documents state "that she is a 'notary public in and for the State of New York,'" which is not true. Frankel "claims, and Hoppy does not deny, that neither party" ever went to Pennsylvania to sign the forms.
As such, Frankel "questions whether the signature purporting to be hers … is in fact hers at all, a claim which the husband does not deny …"
Despite the snags, the purchase of the apartment closed on August 18, 2011, funded by a loan in the amount of $2,300,000 and by approximately $2,700,000 from an account in Frankel's name. Frankel claims that she took out the loan.
On November 28, 2011, Hoppy was appointed sole successor trustee of the trust — for privacy reasons, Frankel says she believed. Now that they've split, however, that means he gets to stay there.
Frankel insisted in the court papers that Hoppy "duped her into executing the trust agreement, in order to make the apartment joint property under the prenuptial." She "alleges that the apartment was purchased with her separate property, and seeks an award of the apartment to her on that basis."
On May 4, the judge ruled that "it is undisputed that the signatures of the parties … were not acknowledged in the presence of the person claiming to have acknowledged those signatures. It is also undisputed that the power of attorneys were not even signed in the state where the notary public was credentialed, Pennsylvania."
"Contrary to Jason's argument," the judge said, "the trust agreement is a matrimonial agreement, since it was made between spouses and purports to govern property ownership as between them. Accordingly the trust agreement is subject to strict formality requirements."
"Where no valid trust was created by reason of failure to comply with the formalities … any transfer into or out of the putative trust is null and void. Accordingly the transfer of the apartment into the trust was null and void."
"The deed must be reformed in order to reflect the proper identity of the purchase, since the trust never existed, and cannot therefore have taken title to the apartment."
The judge asked Frankel and Hoppy to do that, and refile their motions as needed.
Translation? More court time ahead for Frankel and Hoppy!