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John Leguizamo's Mom-in-Law Hides $17.5M San Remo Apt Sale: Lawsuit

By James Fanelli | June 12, 2015 7:46am | Updated on June 12, 2015 5:35pm
 Lisa Bishop says in court documents that her stepmother won't provide the details of the family's $17.5 million apartment in the swanky San Remo.
John Leguizamo's Mom-in-Law Accused of Hiding Sale of San Remo Apartment
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UPPER WEST SIDE — The mother-in-law of John Leguizamo is hiding the pending sale of her $17.5 million apartment in the celeb-studded San Remo to keep from paying her estranged stepdaughter a cut of the proceeds, new court documents charge.

Rona Maurer, whose daughter Justine is married to the "Summer of Sam" actor, is accused of breaking a stipulation agreement by not informing her stepdaughter, Lisa Bishop, that she had found a buyer for her 12-room pad in the swanky Upper West Side building.

Bishop's lawyer, Lawrence Silverman, filed a petition in Manhattan Surrogate's Court last week claiming he only found out about the sale going into contract when a friend who is a real estate broker gave him a heads up.

Silverman searched online and found on the website of real estate brokerage firm Brown Harris Stevens that the Central Park West apartment had indeed gone into contract. 

Maurer, 77, is accused of withholding information on the sale because she doesn't want to give Bishop her 50-percent share of the net profits, which their stipulation agreement calls for.

"As Mrs. Maurer has breached the stipulation multiple times and has declared her displeasure with it, there is every reason to believe that she will continue to violate it by keeping the terms of the sale of the apartment a secret, not informing Mr. Silverman of the closing and not paying the beneficiaries and law fees out of the proceeds of the sale," Bishop says in the petition.

Bishop and Silverman have asked a Manhattan Surrogate's Court judge to order Maurer to hand over any contract and offers on the sale of the apartment. They also request that the proceeds of any sale be held in a constructive trust so Bishop can get her stake.

The stipulation agreement, inked in 2013, ended a bitter eight-year lawsuit that began when Rona Maurer's husband, Jack Maurer, sued her.

Jack, who made a fortune as an executive at a financial research and consulting firm, claimed in his lawsuit that Rona, his second wife, misled him into signing documents handing over control of the San Remo apartment and his Hamptons home.

Despite the lawsuit, Jack and Rona remained married until he died at 86 in 2005. The lawsuit was ongoing at the time of his death and Bishop, his daughter from his first marriage, took over the legal action in Manhattan Surrogate's Court. 

Bishop's petition says Rona pleaded to settle the lawsuit on the eve of the trial's start in 2013. Under the stipulation agreement, Rona would pay settlements to Bishop and Jack Maurer's two siblings and $500,000 in legal fees to Silverman.

Rona was to fund the payments by selling the Hamptons home in Quioque and the San Remo pad, according to the petition. Bishop is owed $2.5 million and 50 percent of the net proceeds of the sale of the apartment, which has five bedrooms, six-and-a-half bathrooms and a library and overlooks Central Park. 

Bishop claims that so far Rona has not given her and Silverman any information on offers for the Quioque property, despite it being on the market for a year. But the San Remo apartment recently got an offer and went into contract in April for $17.5 million — $1 million less than the listing price, according to the petition.

When Silverman learned of pending sale, he contacted Rona's lawyer, Francis Harvey. But Harvey told Silverman that he was unaware of the sale, according to the petition.

A week later Harvey told Silverman that Rona had hired another attorney for the San Remo sale and refused to provide a copy of the contract.

"Obviously, Mrs. Maurer's secrecy, her refusal to disclose the offer, the contract and the name of her attorney is a cause of great concern," Bishop says in the petition.

The petition also claims that Rona's daughters, Justine Leguizamo and Nicole St. John, have failed in their roles as the executor of Jack Maurer's estate by not getting Rona to abide by the stipulation agreement.

The San Remo has been home to many mega-stars including Bono, Steven Spielberg and Dustin Hoffman.

Silverman declined to comment on the sale.

Harvey declined to comment on the petition, but said that Rona had kept Bishop and Silverman in the loop.

"She informed everybody of what the story was," he said.

Justine Leguizamo met her husband while working as a costumer on the set of "Carlito's Way."