For the past few years, Marvel Chairman and Trump advisor Ike Perlmutter has been involved in an ongoing dispute with fellow billionaire and Palm Beach resident Harold Peerenboom which started over a feud to control the local tennis club at the Sloan’s Curve neighborhood where the two men live. In a saga that really does show once and for all that obscenely rich 1%ers are just like us, the feud has involved allegations that the Perlmutter sent hate mail to friends, neighbors, and prison inmates accusing Peerenboom of pedophilia and anti-semitism, while on the other side, Perlmutter and his wife Laura have accused Peerenboom of stealing their DNA. You know, just like normal folks.
The case has gone back and forth, with the latest court decision falling in Ike Perlmutter’s favor, ruling that Perlmutter’s Marvel Entertainment emails would not have to be turned over to the court, and dashing hopes that we might get to see some evidence of the Fantastic Four conspiracy as a side effect. Now, in another setback for Peerenboom’s case, former employee David Smith has denied colluding with, or ever even talking to, the Perlmutter, despite Peerenboom’s claim that Smith was paid by the Perlmutters to act as a scapegoat for the hate mail campaign in case they were ever found out. This development comes via a new report from the CBC.
Indeed, U.S. authorities did intercept a package attributed to Smith containing similar letters, including one addressed to Peerenboom’s wife threatening to send more letters to prisoners accusing Harold Peerenboom of molesting children unless the Peerenbooms leave Sloan Curve (and presumably relinquish and control of the local tennis club). In part, the letter read: “These letters invite the convict to come visit your husband — they provide your address here in Florida and Canada. Be a good mother and sell your place here on Sloan’s Curve.”
In a signed affidavit, Smith says that he never “participated in a conspiracy, or acted in concert with them … or any other persons, in a hate mail campaign to defame or fame or otherwise harm the plaintiff.” He says, in fact, that he didn’t send the letters at all, or any letters. He claims that the criminal charges of extortion, forgery, and criminal harassment against him will be dropped later this year.
So did Smith send the letters, or not? And if he did, was he doing it on his own behalf (Smith reportedly parted ways with Peerenboom’s company, Mandrake, on unpleasant terms), on behalf of Peerenboom to frame the Perlmutter’s, or on behalf of the Perlmutters to clear themselves and/or frame Peerenboom? We may never really know the truth behind the events that began when Peerenboom wanted to replace Perlmutter’s favorite tennis instructor, but the one thing we can be sure of is that if Marvel really wants to reinvigorate interest in their comic books, they should stop trying to come up with fictional drama and just publish an autobiographical comic about Ike Perlmutter and Peerenboom’s epic rivalry… so long as someone can figure out which one is the superhero and which one the villain.