The contentious litigation over Oleg Cassini’s multimillion dollar estate is showing no signs of subsiding. Despite the ongoing court battles, Doyle is advertising an upcoming sale of the Oleg Cassini estate.
But Peggy Nestor, whose sister Marianne Nestor Cassini was married to the designer, said of the advertised sale, “It’s not authorized. It’s objected to and they will be sued.”
A Doyle representative declined to comment Thursday about how the company came to become in possession of any Cassini-related possessions. Appraisers and specialists from the auction house are said to be hurriedly cataloguing items at the Oyster Bay Cove property. Doyle’s entire international client base in 92 countries received a save-the-date e-flier for the planned event.
Recipients were informed that a catalogue would be posted online May 15 and a sale is scheduled for June 6. In addition to an assortment of fashion memorabilia related to Jacqueline Kennedy and other renowned clientele, there will be clothing, accessories, autographed letters, photographs, luxury automobiles, arms and armor. About 800 lots are expected to be offered for sale, according to someone familiar with the project. Continental and English furniture from the 18th and 19th centuries, decorations, silver and other mementos from the designer’s Long Island and Gramercy Park properties are said to be going under the gavel.
But Marianne Nestor Cassini’s attorney Vincent Reppert of Reppert Kelly said he will be back in court Friday to oppose an application to seek the sale of the Oyster Bay Cove property. “The entire matter is being vigorously disputed,” Reppert said, referring to the complicated legal battles.
Cassini, who died in 2006 at the age of 92, is widely known for dressing Jackie Kennedy during her White House years and for being romantically linked to Princess Grace of Monaco before she married Prince Rainier. For decades during Cassini’s lifetime and after his death, Marianne Nestor Cassini and her sister Peggy have led the New York-based Oleg Cassini Inc. The fragrance business is Oleg Cassini Parfums.
Some were unaware until the designer’s death that he and Marianne were married. Cassini had previously been married to the Academy Award-nominated actress Gene Tierney. The couple had a severely physically challenged daughter Daria, who died in 2010. Months before Tierney and Cassini divorced in 1948, they reconciled briefly and another daughter, Christina, was born. Christina Cassini, who was known as “Tina,” died in 2015. Four of her children have taken legal action to try to claim half of the estate.
Nestor Cassini has had court battles with her late husband’s offspring for more than 13 years. John Barnosky, the attorney for the four children of Tina Cassini, was unavailable Thursday, according to a representative in his Uniondale, N.Y., office.
In late January, Nestor Cassini was released after being held for six months in a Nassau County jail for defying a judge’s order to turn over financial statements and business records, among other material. At that time, she described the incident as “an abuse of power” and alleged the judge breached her own served order.
Another matter of dispute between the two camps is an execution issued by the Supreme Court of the State of New York in Nassau County in favor of judgment creditor Jeffrey DeLuca, public administrator of the Nassau County as administrator C.T.A. of Cassini’s estate. That was made against judgment debtor Marianne Nestor Cassini. That called for the sale at public auction of the East 19th Street townhouse at the New York County Sheriff’s office. That too is being contested. Separately, DeLuca resigned from his post last year.
New York County deputy sheriff Nicholas DeSilvio deferred a request for comment Thursday night to the city’s registrar office, citing his office’s policy not to comment on liens.
In accordance with the terms, the sheriff’s office will be selling the right, title and the interest the judgment debtor has in the property, and it will make no claims as to the background of the property. Prospective bidders are to do their own research on the property and know that the mortgage carries with the property and any junior liens will be distinguished. All bidders are advised to bring at least 10 percent of the maximum they are willing to bid for the property. Should the winning bid fall short at the time of the knockdown the auction will continue until the next winning bid has the 10 percent needed in cash, check or money order.
The Doyle e-flier indicated that property from that location will be sold pursuant to the New York City Sheriff’s Office property execution seizure, according to Doyle. But there has been ongoing litigation back and forth about what does and does not belong to the estate at that Gramercy property. The plaintiffs are also said to be trying to pull into play the East 63rd Street townhouse that is owned by Peggy Nestor, but that is also being disputed. Several floors in that Upper East location were used by the Cassini company.
Nestor noted that the designer never sold anything related to the Kennedy family during his lifetime. She recalled how the designer once told former Massachusetts Sen. Ted Kennedy on an A&E televised program, “‘I am the samurai for your family'” and Teddy said to Oleg, ‘You are a member of our family.’ That really meant a lot to Oleg,” Nestor said. “You know what — I stand on that. He was a member of the family. Anyone looking for cheap sales is ridiculous.”