New York billionaire couple sells art collection to settle divorce battle for $676M

A billionaire couple have sold off their art collection for $676 million, after struggling with poor living conditions.

The New York Post reports that billionaire investors Charles and Anne Morrett have sold off 70 pieces of art after a long battle with their ex-wife over custody of their sprawling Beverly Hills estate, Fortress.

The collection includes pieces by Andy Warhol, Roy Lichtenstein, Salvador Dali, Marcel Duchamp, Dora Maar, the likes. It’s estimated to be worth $676 million.

The sale was reportedly brokered by New York art-advice firm Helfand Miller, according to the Post. The buyer is not yet known, but the Morrett’s trust says that $359 million of the sale was made into a trust for future generations of the couple’s children, and $289 million was sold to cover legal fees and to cover taxes.

The $54 million settlement is a whopping $200 million less than what Charles Morrett, 77, was asking in their custody battle, which ran for four years.

Anne Morrett, 58, filed for divorce in 2015 after nearly 30 years of marriage. The couple separated in 2010, and in January 2016, Anne filed for divorce on grounds of adultery.

Anne claimed in court documents that Charles embarked on an affair with art dealer Nikki Baker in 2010 and she discovered “embarrassing, sexually explicit and intimate material,” but Charles claimed his mistress was a call girl.

Anne said her marriage was “irretrievably broken.”

The Los Angeles judge overseeing the case is still considering the couple’s custody and visitation battles, and the matter will go to trial in December.

The Huffington Post reports that the Morrett’s have been the parents of six children together, including three who are served as their children’s legal guardians. Anne was granted sole custody of one of the children while Charles’ other children live with him at the family’s 20,000-square-foot mansion.

According to the Post, a source said of the sale: “It’s the only humane and fair thing to do. Charles isn’t accepting any responsibility for the fact that he wasn’t more sensitive to Anne’s needs.”

Anne is the founder of the legendary private-equity firm H.I.G. Capital LP, the original parent of Pacific Investment Management Co. She was previously married to entertainment executive Lew Klein.

Charles’ wealth comes from Charlesbank Private Equity Group and New Enterprise Associates, which was acquired by Blackstone Group in 2005 for $9 billion.

The Morrett’s mansion has 19 rooms and 9,000 square feet of interior space, according to Los Angeles Times. According to the New York Times, the couple’s mansion was once listed for $29 million.

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