News & Opinion | May 30, 2017 2:20 pm

The Bizarre Case Involving a Reclusive Marvel Exec, Hate Mail, and Trump Lawyer

Comic book exec now claiming extortion in tennis court–related case.

The Bizarre Case Involving Marvel Exec, Trump's Lawer
U.S. President Donald Trump shakes Ike Perlmutter, CEO of Marvel Entertainment, hand before signing an executive order at the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs April 27, 2017 in Washington, DC. (Brendan Smialowski/AFP/Getty Images)

This case could prove to be the polar opposite of “love thy neighbor.” As The Hollywood Reporter explains, Marvel’s reclusive CEO Ike Perlmutter began a war of words (and then a legal one) with wealthy Palm Beach neighbor, Harold Peerenboom—the founder of multinational executive search firm Mandrake Management—over the management of their shared community tennis courts.

That’s when things got interesting—and decidedly out of hand.

At some point, hate mail started spewing out of an anonymous source to neighbors, accusing Peerenboom of a sexual assault coverup and being pro-Hitler, and of course, all fingers pointed in the direction of Perlmutter. His culpability seemed fairly cut and dry.

But then the Department of Homeland Security intercepted a package that included a hate-mail-making kit, and learned that it had been sent by a David Smith to himself. Who’s Smith? A former employee of Peerenboom. Which has led now to speculation that the entire hate-mail campaign was an elaborate extortion plot, orchestrated by Peerenboom and Smith, on Perlmutter.

Even more interesting is the lawyer involved in Peerenboom’s side of the case: Marc Kasowitz, the same one representing President Donald Trump as outside counsel in the Russia-collusion case. And a recent court filing by Perlmutter, a friend of Trump’s, states that “There is reason to believe that Peerenboom and Kasowitz knew—or at least suspected—that David Smith was responsible for the hate-mail campaign from the start.”

That kind of plot twist might not even be believable in the pages of a comic book.