Surrogate Nora Anderson
Executor John Vartanian sought summary judgment dismissing his brothers’ objections in this contested accounting proceeding. Decedent’s will directed the estate, whose principal asset was a rent-stabilized/controlled apartment building, to be sold and the proceeds distributed equally among the three sons. Objectants asserted John failed to sell the building in a timely fashion and failed to maximize the potential value to it by “occupying the apartment” John and decedent resided in—and signed a 25-year renewal lease—and paying below market rent. The court rejected the objection, noting John listed the building for sale shortly after being appointed, his attorney prepared eight different contracts of sale for buyers who decided to forego the sale, through no fault of John’s, and the building was sold for more than the “closing date value.” Further, the court also rejected objectants’ assertions that legal fees and disbursements for John were excessive and benefitted him individually. It found objectants failed to submit any proof to support their claims, noting John’s counsel affirmed all work was conducted on the estate’s behalf. Thus, conclusory allegations will not defeat a summary judgment motion, which was granted in full.