March 25, 2023 | 9:14 a.m
Tragic billionaire Thomas H. Lee, who committed suicide at his Midtown East office last month, listed a relatively modest fortune of $25 million in his estate, court records show.
The funds likely represent only a fraction of the financier’s fortune, which Forbes has estimated at $2 billion.
Lee named his nearly 30-year-old wife, Ann Tenenbaum, as executor, leaving sons Stephen Lee, 52, and Robert S. Lee, 42, each for $10 million in his will, written in 2015.
Nothing else is due to the sons, he specified in the document, “not for lack of love or affection for any of them, but because they are otherwise well taken care of.”
His other three children are listed as beneficiaries of trusts, details of which have not been given.
Thomas H. Lee, seen in September 2000, was found dead in his Midtown office. BLOOMBERG NEWS
Tenenbaum inherits Lee’s homes, which include an apartment on Sutton Place and an estate in East Hampton, as well as personal “tangible” property such as furniture, pictures, artwork, silver, china, books, and automobiles.
Tenenbaum and Lee were married for nearly 30 years before he committed suicide last month.
His wife’s three siblings will also inherit $5 million each, according to the will.
Lee, 78, was found with a gunshot wound to the head.
No suicide note was found.
At a funeral on February 27 at Lincoln Center’s Alice Tully Hall, he was mourned by the likes of Bill and Hillary Clinton, who often stayed at his estate on East Dune Lane in East Hampton.
The married father of five and grandfather of two was known for buying mid-market companies, which he later flipped for huge gains, such as his famous 1992 deal to buy Snapple for $135 million.
Lee later sold the company to Quaker Oats for $1.7 billion — 32 times the asking price.
Thomas H. Lee was believed to be worth an estimated $2 billion.REUTERS
The assets listed in recently filed Manhattan Surrogate Court documents likely do not reflect the true value of the tycoon’s holdings, sources said.
“By no means was that all he had,” a source told The Post. “He had one of the nicest houses in the Hamptons – it must be worth at least $100 million. He had a lot of wealth.”
The Manhattan Surrogate Court document listed only $5 million in assets in cash, bonds, and securities; $5 million in business assets; $10 million in “tangible personal property”; and $5 million in real estate, legal filings show.”
According to his will, Lee’s wife’s three siblings will also inherit $5 million each. Joe Schildhorn/BFA.com
That $25 million is stuff he owned on behalf of Thomas H. Lee,” said the trust and real estate attorney, who is unrelated to the case.
Billionaires typically use trusts in planning their vast fortunes, and the financial and legal vehicles aren’t typically included in the surrogate’s court records, one expert noted.
An attorney for Lee’s estate has not returned any messages.
If you are struggling with suicidal thoughts or having a mental health crisis and live in New York City, you can call 1-888-NYC-WELL for free and confidential crisis counseling. If you live outside the five counties, you can call the 24/7 National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 988 or go to SuicidePreventionLifeline.org.
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