June 3, 2023

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The man did not give the New York City building to the Lenape Indians


March 25, 2023 | 3:54 p.m

This cat is now a fat cat.

The millionaire who once vowed to return his historic West Village estate to the Lenape Indians didn’t leave a cent to the tribe when he died last year — but he did give a portion of his $14 million estate, his black cat, Mali.

Jean-Louis Goldwater Bourgeois, who died Dec. 8 at the age of 82, left his cat and $50,000 in cat care to a close friend in Queens, according to court documents.

“I give my black house cat, my money, and/or any other pets that live with me upon my death to my friend, David Schonberger. I also give David Schonberger $50,000 for the care and maintenance of my pets, including payment of veterinary health care insurance premiums.” According to the will of Bourgeois.

Schönberger can not be reached.

But Bourgeois was much less forthright when it came to the Weehawken Street property that made it headlines in 2016, when it announced it wanted to give the 1834 clapboard building to the original inhabitants of Manhattan—the Lenape tribe.

The Weehawken Street home is believed to be worth at least $5 million now

Bourgeois was “horrified” that the island had been “taken over by whites,” he declared at the time, describing the structure as “a souvenir of the Grand Theft.”

He reached out to Anthony Van Donk, former chief of the Ramabuge Indians, who are part of the Lenape Nation.

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But by 2019, they had a falling out, and the deal never went through.

Van Donck said he had no ill will towards Bourgeois, whom he considered a friend, and praised the guardianship of this four-legged friend.

“Well, Mali was worth $50,000. He said…she can meow with the best of them.” She was an amazing cat. She was always there for him, and for him, until the very end. It was about as good a cat company as a cat can be.”

Anthony Van Donk (left) and Jean-Louis Bourgeois are related but had split as of 2019.
John Curtis Rice

The son of artist Louise Bourgeois, a sculptor who died in 2010 known for her large sculptures and affinity for spiders, Jean-Louis left nearly $15 million benefiting friends, an adopted son, and his mother’s Easton nonprofit. .

Bourgeois ordered his executors to sell his remaining property – leaving the Weehawken Street house to no one.

The three-story log house, which his family’s company bought in 2006 for $2.2 million, is worth at least $5 million. It was once part of a city-owned market building that included a pool hall, gay bars, and an adult video store.

Bourgeois who also owned property in Africa, bequeathed his property in Mali to Abdelkarim Bakary Soumano, who is often referred to as Bourgeois’s adopted son, and his apartment in Putnam County in Soumano.

Bourgeois’ 2016 pledge made the front page of The Post.

He then instructed his co-executors—Somano and Bourgeois’ brother, former New York Criminal Court Judge Alan Bourgeois—to sell any remaining residential property, and Schönberger to prepare a list of charitable organizations to receive any remaining money from the estate. .

Alain Bourgeois declined to comment on his brother’s estate, but said “no decision has been made” on Weehawken’s estate.

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Sumano, his wife and daughter received US$100,000 in a bourgeois bequest. The Manhattan native also requested that he be buried near his wife, Carolly Bellos, in New Mexico.

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