Sidney Kronenberg, who owned an East Williamsburg hardware business called Brown Industries Inc., died in 2010 with about $8 million that has been accounted for, according to court records. But his son, S. Harris Kronenberg, says there is much more money out there hidden in offshore accounts and under aliases - and he bases his belief on his dad's criminal past.
Does the name Kronenberg ring a bell? The late Sidney Kronenberg is perhaps most famous for being a part of a New York bribery and kickback scandal that Rudy Giuliani prosecuted in the 1980s. Kronenberg was convicted in the scandal but never received prison time.
When the hardware store owner passed away, it was discovered that his will disinherited his daughter and left his son a small portion of the total value of the estate. The son and daughter took the unusual step of hiring an expert to diagnose their father's mental condition after he was already dead.
This unusual step proved successful. The son and daughter were able to settle with the estate and received a large share of it.
As reported by DNAinfo in an article titled "Owner of Brooklyn Hardware Store Hid Tens of Millions of Dollars, son says," the son petitioned the court two years ago to take over administration of the estate. The son believes his father hid money all over the world using false names and social security numbers.
However, two years of searching has not produced any results.
This particular family struggle with an estate might have been unavoidable since it appears that Kronenberg did not get along with his children. Normally, the key to avoiding a family feud over an estate is open communication and that may not have been possible here.
It is smart to engage the services of an experienced estate planning attorney early in the planning process. He or she can help you navigate these treacherous waters.