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Catering Queen Left with Empty Plate—Alleges Fraud

Former Huntington Town House Owner Claims Former Partner Bilked Her of Millions

The woman who owned and operated the huge Huntington Town House catering business on Long Island has filed suit against her former lover, claiming that he defrauded her of millions of dollars. Rhona Silver says in her lawsuit that she was introduced to businessman Barry Newman , a real estate developer, by a rabbi in 2003. On their first date, according to Silver, Newman flew her to Boston on a private plane, where the two had a seafood dinner. On their next date, he allegedly took her to Rome.

As their relationship developed, claims Silver, she came to trust Newman and turned over control of her finances to him. She likened his presence in her life to that of Maurice Tempelsman, who managed Jackie O’s affairs after the death of Aristotle Onassis. A single mom at the time, Silver was moved by Newman’s promise to “take care of you and your family forever.”

In 2007, according to court documents, Newman negotiated a deal to sell the Huntington Town House property to Lowe’s Home Improvement, a sale that netted $38.5 million. Silver, however, claims that she never saw any of the profit from the sale of the property. Furthermore, she claims that, even though she owned the property, she was never advised of a time and place for the closing of the sale, did not attend the closing, and personally signed no documents to complete the transaction. Instead, she alleges, Newman forged her signature on the relevant sales documents, took the proceeds from the sale, and skipped town.

The documents accompanying Silver’s lawsuit include an affidavit from a forensic document examiner, who asserts that at least two of the three signatures purported to be Silver’s on the closing documents are forged. Examiner Andrew Sulner says that all three are exactly identical, which in essentially impossible with personal signatures. He concludes that at least two and possibly all three signatures are fakes.

Silver, who now runs an online catering business, claims she is now without the resources to support herself and must rely on friends to get by. Newman, though, claims that Silver was “a damsel in distress” when he met her and that Silver used the proceeds from the sale to fund a “lavish lifestyle.”

Famed Caterer Says Ex-Lover Defrauded Her

Contact an Experienced New York Divorce and Family Law Attorney

At the law office of Chris Palermo, Esq., we bring more than 13 years of experience to men and women in divorce and family law matters, representing clients across Long Island. To learn more about our practice, see our divorce and family law page.  For an appointment, send us an e-mail or call us toll free at 1-800-483-1527. We have offices located in Huntington, Hauppauge, Garden City, Babylon and New York City.