When we last checked in with Marvel Chairman Ike Perlmutter’s feud with neighbor and fellow billionaire Harold Peerenboom, a court had ordered Perlmutter to hand over emails sent through Marvel’s servers (except those sent to his wife) due to a company policy that the court ruled overrode Perlmutter’s expectation of privacy. The interest in Perlmutter’s emails exists because Perlmutter is alleged to have sent letters to residents of his and Peerenboom’s Florida neighborhood, as well as Peerenboom’s friends, family, and business associates, accusing Peerenboom from everything from child molestation to supporting Hitler’s Final Solution. Additionally, Peerenboom alleges that Perlmutter sent threatening letters to local prisoners pretending to be Peerenboom. In a counterclaim, Perlmutter claims that Peeronboom stole his DNA in order to prove he sent the letters.
All of that sounds pretty crazy, but it’s worth remembering that this fight all started with a perfectly reasonable dispute, by which we mean it was always bat**** crazy, because it’s all over control of a local tennis club. So at least there’s a good reason.
Things have taken a turn in Perlmutter’s favor, however, as an appeals court has now ruled that Perlmutter’s emails to his lawyer are also exempt from examination, according to a report from THR. “Given the lack of evidence that Marvel viewed any of Perlmutter’s personal emails, and the lack of evidence of any other actual disclosure to a third party, Perlmutter’s use of Marvel’s email for personal purposes does not, standing alone, constitute a waiver of attorney work product protections,” read the ruling. It’s good news for those worried about the implications for attorney/client privilege, though it doesn’t prevent Perlmutter from handing over other emails, and who the hell even knows what could be in the emails this guy sends?
The setback hasn’t deterred Peerenboom, who is still trying to prove Perlmutter was behind the anonymous hate mail. Peerenboom’s team is looking into supposed email aliases from which Perlmutter allegedly communicated, including one under the alias of Avengers: Infinity War director “Tony” Russo. Peerenboom’s lawyers have also asked the court to force Perlmutter to reveal more details about his role at Marvel, after the court case has already forced Perlmutter to reveal that he is not Marvel’s CEO, as it was long believed, but its Chairman.
His added concerns about revealing e-mails may be less about their content but rather the principle of his privacy being invaded. Prior to this year, Perlmutter was basically a recluse, having avoided being photographed in public for decades. He was a target of Sony Wikileaks in which a number of embarrassing revelations were made, but it was the general act of exposure that concerned him more than the contents. However, Perlmutter has now found himself uncomfortably exposed due to his connections with President Donald Trump. Perlmutter has recently joined the Donald Trump presidential administration as an advisor on veterans affairs. Perlmutter, who donated $1 million to a Trump campaign charity event designed to upstage the Republican primary debate, has been photographed at least three times since Trump took office, has ridden with the president on Air Force One, and recently attended a veterans affairs listening post to which actual veterans affairs groups were not invited. Ike’s wife, Laura Perlmutter, donated $500,000 to Trump’s campaign, and also served on his Inauguration committee.
Last week, it was revealed that Perlmutter had donated an additional five million dollars to a pro-Trump super-pac in support of Trump’s political agenda.