Manhattan Real Estate Mogul Busted Again

Robert Kenneth Futterman is facing a felony charge in Southampton, along with a boating while intoxicated charge in Sag Harbor. Independent/Courtesy SHTPD

“He is a danger to this community,” Southampton Town Justice Barbara Wilson said about former Manhattan real estate mogul Robert Futterman, as he was being arraigned Wednesday, July 24, on a felony charge of driving while under the influence of drugs.

According to the Southampton Town police, Futterman, 60, was behind the wheel of a 2019 Ford 150 pickup on Montauk Highway when it collided with and T-boned a 2008 Nissan Altima that had entered the intersection at Newlight Lane a little before noon on Tuesday, July 23, in Bridgehampton. The driver of the Nissan, Erica Beremeo Palacios, 31, and her three-year-old child were medevacced to Stony Brook University Hospital with what were later determined to be minor injuries, the police said.

Inside the cabin of Futterman’s Ford, police allegedly found cannabis vapor sticks and cannabis candy, along with a quantity of marijuana, leading to two misdemeanor possession charges.

Southampton Town police brought in what they called a “drug recognition expert” to conduct field sobriety tests at the scene of the accident, which they said Futterman failed. The expert reported that Futterman’s ability to drive was impaired by drugs. During Futterman’s arraignment, prosecuting attorney Rudy Migliore said that Futterman was on a strong antidepressant, besides being high on THC, at the time of the crash. Migliore also said that Futterman refused to have blood drawn to test the level of drugs in his system at police headquarters. After his arrest July 23, Futterman was detained overnight, before being brought in to face Wilson.

The new charge is a felony due to a 2012 felony conviction for driving while intoxicated with children in the car.

Futterman was represented by Edward Burke Jr., who had a lot of legal knots to untangle with Wilson.

Seven days before this latest arrest, Futterman was arrested in Sag Harbor on a charge of boating while intoxicated. According to the police, a little after noon July 16, Futterman was operating a 2019 Tiara Yacht in the harbor at Sag Harbor when the Tiara struck and became entangled with the anchor chain of the 157-foot-long superyacht “Crili.” Police at that time said that Futterman was impaired by drugs. He was held overnight and released after posting $1000 bail.

The judge in Sag Harbor, Lisa Rana, was familiar with Futterman, since she also arraigned him recently in East Hampton Town Justice Court on two misdemeanor charges of driving a car without having a required ignition interlock device installed. Those charges were incurred during separate arrests which happened within a 15-hour period, between May 26 and May 27. On May 28, he received a speeding ticket in Southampton.

Futterman also is facing a possession charge in Texas. On April 30, he was taken into custody at Dallas-Fort Worth Airport after authorities reported finding chewable cannabis candies in Futterman’s bag.

During Futterman’s July 24 arraignment, Justice Wilson said about his string of arrests, “He just keeps coming back, and back, and back, like an Energizer Bunny.”

Wilson first inquired about where Futterman currently lives. Burke said Futterman was renting a residence in Montauk for the summer season. According to an online real estate site, the house was renting for $83,000 a month.

She asked about his employment. Futterman was once considered a commercial real estate guru, having helped spark the revitalization of Manhattan neighborhoods like Union Square, Times Square, and the Meatpacking District. His company eventually opened offices in LA, Las Vegas, Miami, and San Francisco.

RKF was founded by Futterman in 1998, using the initials from his name, Robert Kenneth Futterman. “It was acquired,” Futterman said.

Newmark Knight Frank acquired RKF last year, closing the deal in early September for a reported $60 million plus stock shares. Futterman was named chairman of the RKF division of Newmark Knight Frank. That lasted until May 28, when, after his arrest in Dallas, and the two arrests in East Hampton Town, and reportedly bizarre behavior at the office, he was fired from the company that bears his name.

Migliore asked bail to be set at $50,000, after running through the litany of recent arrests for Futterman. “He has shown a disregard for others, as well as for the rule of law.”

Burke asked for a much lower amount, saying that the recent arrests for not having an interlock device on his vehicles were caused by a Department of Motor Vehicles error. That requirement, Burke said, was supposed to sunset six months after his 2012 conviction. Burke said that he was personally working with the DMV to clear that mark off of Futterman’s record.

Wilson pointed out that Futterman was allegedly high on drugs when the crash happened. Burke said that Futterman has a prescription for certain drugs.

Wilson said she was surprised the District Attorney’s office hadn’t asked for higher bail, as she set it at $60,000.

Migliore asked that Futterman be required to wear a GPS bracelet if he posted bail. “He is a danger to the community,” Wilson said. Burke said his client would immediately be posting bail. “That’s wonderful,” Wilson responded. “He will be wearing a GPS bracelet.”

Futterman posted $60,000 in cash and was released.

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