Barneys heir prepares explosive revealing book on retailer’s disappearance

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An heir to the fallen luxury empire Barneys plans to write an explosive revealing book about the retail icon’s demise, sources said – and he’s pointing fingers at the rest of his family.

Bob Pressman – whose now-defunct grandfather Barney Pressman founded the channel in 1923 – is in talks with publishers to talk about his elderly mother and siblings in a sensational talk that chronicles the family’s excesses and recounts how she lost control of the business, The Post learned.

According to an inflammatory two-page proposal for the book obtained by The Post, Fred Pressman – who organized the transformation of his father’s menswear business into a luxury mecca in the 1960s – was “a good person and nice “who” was quite close to her parents “and who” worked 7 days a week “.

However, the proposal also claims that Fred Pressman “had a very long affair with a well-known Parisian. Fred established a Paris office for Barneys New York… which made the Paris business convenient and frequent visits to France easy to justify.

Fred Pressman’s wife, Phyllis, “found out about the case but never told Fred to avoid any interruptions in his glamorous lifestyle or Fred’s continuing cash flow,” the proposal claims. .

Bob Pressman, who declined to comment on the proposal when contacted by The Post, has “been sitting on these crazy stories for 50 years” and “is fed up with hiding the truth about his family,” according to a source close to the situation. . He is 67 years old and is now semi-retired from Triton Equity Partners LLC – a retail investment firm, according to his LinkedIn page. He lives in Greenwich, Connecticut.

Fred Pressman, son of Barneys founder Barney Pressman, is said to have been a kind and hardworking man, but who had a long-term affair with a Parisian woman and opened a Barneys office in France to justify his frequent trips to the country. , according to a new book proposal.
Bettmann Archives / Getty Images

Phyllis Pressman – who recently listed the Hamptons beach house she and her late husband built 40 years ago for $ 52.5 million – will be a prime target of the book, according to the proposal. Fred Pressman died in July 1996 – six months after his sons Gene and Bob filed Barneys in bankruptcy court over an overly aggressive expansion. Since then, Bob has had only intermittent contact with his mother, according to the source.

Fred is described as “a wealthy, classy guy” who “grew up among the upper crust of Central Park West and dated society and the WASP-y women in Manhattan”. But according to the book proposal, his mother “wanted him to marry a middle-class Jewish woman.”

A “blind date” brought together Fred and Phyllis

Fred and Phyllis met “on a blind date in New York City” when Phyllis was 19, according to the proposal. They married a few months later and raised four children in a 28-room mansion in Purchase, NY, which had a pool, tennis court and in-home staff, according to the proposal.

A black and white photo of Phyliss Pressman seated with porcelain in the background
Phyllis Pressman, the author’s mother and wife of Fred Pressman, seen in this 1993 photo, will be a prime target of the book, according to the book proposal.
Michael Schwartz / New York Post

The proposal goes on to claim that Phyllis “ran the Pressman house in Purchase like a dictatorship.” Contacted by The Post this week, Phyllis Pressman, 92, disputed the claims in a telephone interview.

These included the assertion of the proposition that she had grown up on the outskirts of Long Island, in Hewlett, in the five cities. In fact, she says, she grew up in Cedarhurst and Lawrence. She also made it clear that she was 20 when she and Fred got married.

“Fred was the love of my life,” Phyllis Pressman told The Post. “She was a very unique person.”

Gene Pressman in a tuxedo standing next to a model wearing a dress
The book claims that Bob Pressman’s older brother Gene Pressman’s lavish design for Barneys New York’s flagship product on Madison Avenue went over budget by more than $ 200 million.
Getty Images

The book proposal also targets Bob Pressman’s older brother, Gene. The couple ran Barneys as co-CEOs in the 1990s, with Robert overseeing finance and Gene taking on the most visible and glamorous roles as the face of the company, attending exclusive parties with luminaries from around the world. fashion, including Vogue editor Anna Wintour.

“Gene was reckless with money and women,” the book proposal states, adding that he had a tough lifestyle and “was known to hang out at Studio 54 in Manhattan.”

On the business side, the book claims that Gene Pressman’s lavish design for the
Barneys New York’s flagship product on Madison Avenue is over $ 200 million over budget.

Shoppers looking through men's suits and shoes inside Barneys in the 1980s
Fred Pressman is renowned for designing the transformation of his father’s menswear business into a luxury mecca.
New York Post

Subsequently, Barneys was forced into bankruptcy, the book proposal claims. “Gene didn’t care because he was living under the multiple illusions of his failed success and smugness.”

An expansion plan that some qualify as too aggressive

In addition to lavish spending, press reports on Barneys’ 1996 bankruptcy cited an overly aggressive expansion plan and a difficult relationship with a Japan-based business partner. In a statement to the Post, Gene Pressman hit back, denying accusations of the book proposal.

“It’s sad that Bob has such a relaxed relationship with the truth, one of the many reasons our family is so disappointed in him,” said Gene Pressman. “Thanks to the love and support I received from my family, I have been fortunate enough to live a life dedicated to supporting the arts, creating beautiful things, cultivating innovative ideas.”

Shoppers look at the wares inside Barneys
Barneys was an iconic source for luxury fashion before filing for bankruptcy.
Frank Leonardo / New York Post

Pressman’s older brother added that, “As far as Barneys is concerned, Bob conveniently forgets that he was in fact the co-CEO responsible for the financial stability of the company, a role in which, by all means, he massively failed. “

The book proposal, on the other hand, claims that Bob “quarreled with his family all the time while building the Barneys New York Madison Avenue store,” protesting the huge tab that was being racked up.

Sisters Nancy and Elizabeth sue Bob

Three years after filing for bankruptcy in 1996, Bob was slapped by his sisters, Nancy Pressman-Dressler and Elizabeth Pressman-Neubardt, who accused him of stealing $ 30 million from them, claiming he had taken more than its fair share of the business in the reorganization. The sisters had worked as buyers in the company.

The exterior of the Barney's building in 1983
The iconic Barneys building seen in 1983.
Robin Graubard / New York Post

“The Pressman sisters are trying to reinvent issues that were carefully considered and resolved or dismissed in conjunction with the Barneys Inc. Chapter 11 case upheld by bankruptcy court over six months ago,” Bob Pressman said in a statement. at the time. “They just don’t like this result,” he added.

A New York judge awarded the sisters $ 11.3 million in 2002. Their brother appealed the verdict. The book promises unreported details of more than three years of litigation that followed, according to a source.

Nancy Pressman “was known to be very loud and opinionated publicly. She
dropped out of college, ”says the book proposal. Liz Pressman “was the spoiledest and the youngest,” the proposal claims, adding that she enjoyed “spending her daddy’s money.”

Nancy declined to comment. Liz did not respond to a request for comment.

As for Bob Pressman, the proposition says that he “was known as the boring one because he didn’t like to party all night long… He was left alone and felt that the other three children were obnoxious and spoiled kids… Bob liked it. say he was “the adopted” because he felt like he was from another family. “

It is not clear whether the book will delve into recent Bob Pressman titles. In 2017, court documents revealed he had a hot affair with a 38-year-old woman he met at a resort in San Juan, Puerto Rico. Pressman claimed North Carolina woman Anna Purcell left their $ 17,000-per-month rental home in Greenwich after suffering a stroke, forcing him to call 911 himself and withdraw thousands of dollars from his wallet while in hospital.

Purcell – who Pressman said had accepted gifts including a $ 127,300 Cartier engagement ring and $ 40,000 for a Jeep Grand Cherokee – claimed in court documents that she was unaware Pressman was married to the ‘era. After Pressman dumped her, he claimed she tried to extort more than $ 12 million from him, threatening to tell his wife about the matter. Purcell’s lawyer called Pressman’s allegations “total fabrication.”

Purcell died in 2019, according to public documents, which did not disclose the cause of death.

Pressman’s book would be only the second written about his family and Barneys, which filed for bankruptcy for the second time in August 2019, wound up his business and sold his brand to a licensing company for $ 270 million. In 1999, William Morrow published “The Rise and Fall of the House of Barneys: A Family Tale of Chutzpah, Glory and Greed”, by Joshua Levine, but without the cooperation of the Pressman.

While the book is still in its infancy, Pressman has had preliminary contact with many publishers, according to the source. He is preparing for a possible litigation to stop the publication, but “wants to publish his story,” the source added.


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