As you know, we’re a little obsessed with secretive Marvel chairman Isaac “Ike” Perlmutter here, probably because he is so darned secretive. And for a while we’ve been reporting on the crazy lawsuit involving Ike’s Florida neighbor, Harold Peerenboom, who lives in the same super swanky West Palm Beach FL condo development. The details of the suit are so labyrinthine they defy easy summarizing, but THR’s Eriq Gardner has done the heavy lifting. A kinda shorter version is that Peerenboom – a figure of some notoriety in Canada – sued Ike after a dispute involving the tennis court at the condo. A bunch of letters disparaging Peerenboom were sent to other condo dwellers, as well as prison inmates, and Peerenboom says that Ike and his wife, Laura, are personally to blame. And to prove it, now Ike is accusing Peerenboom of surreptitiously stealing samples of Ike and Laura’s DNA to check against the letters.
Not making this up. And there are a lot of legal grey areas involved:
Only about a dozen states have laws governing unauthorized collection and testing of a person’s genetic material. Florida is one of them, and now the mysterious and powerful Perlmutter is putting the law to use and claiming a conspiracy that stretches from those tennis courts to courtrooms in New York and Florida. This plot-twister might have begun as a petty feud among aging rich guys, but it now has grown to include Marvel itself, celebrity secrets and even a bit of science fiction.
Among the weirder details: Ike and Laura regularly dine with buddy Donald Trump at his Mar-a-Lago estate, and in a countersuit filed by Perlmutter, he claims that Peerenboom could have stolen the Donald’s DNA when the Canadian had his own lunch invite to Mar-a-Lago…because Peerenboom has a library of his neighbor’s DNA. Doctor Doom has nothing on this guy.
If this is all too rich for you to follow, here’s the corker where Marvel is concerned: Peerenboom is requesting a data dump of Marvel emails as evidence because he claims Perlmutter used office resources to dig up dirt. A judge hasn’t ruled whether this is applicable or, if it is, whether emails would need to be redacted to hide business secrets. If they aren’t, whoa nellie, wikileaks for the comics press.
As part of the article, THR hired artist Paul Tuller to render a court type illo of the reclusive Perlmutter, who hasn’t been photographed since the 80s. So, use a bit of your imagination here!
Heidi MacDonald is the founder and editor in chief of The Beat. In the past, she worked for Disney, DC Comics, Fox and Publishers Weekly. She can be heard regularly on the More To Come Podcast. She likes coffee, cats and noble struggle.