Don Drapkin was once one of Ron Perelman's closest associates. A former lawyer at Skadden, Arps, Drapkin spent 20 years working for Perelman's holding company MacAndrews & Forbes as his chief dealmaker and "strategic thinker." He was so close to Perelman, in fact, that the billionaire mogul once likened him to a brother. Until, that is, Drapkin jumped ship in 2007 and joined Lazard as the firm's vice chairman at the invitation of Lazard chief Bruce Wasserstein. The split seemed uncharacteristically amicable at the time—Perelman announced that Drapkin had "done a terrific job," and he'd "miss him." But the relationship seems to have taken a turn for the worse since then. Perelman just hit Drapkin with a lawsuit.
The cause for the suit? Perelman is looking to get out of the separation agreement that Drapkin signed with MacAndrews & Forbes in 2007, a golden parachute that provided Drapkin with a total of $15.5 million through 2012.
Perelman claims his former top lieutenant failed to abide by the deal when he failed to return a series of documents that Drapkin's secretary had saved on her laptop. He also argues that Drapkin violated the terms of the company's medical insurance plan by keeping his daughter on the family insurance plan even though she was over 18 and didn't qualify.
Sound petty? It won't be if Perelman manages to win the case. He still owes Drapkin $5 million, which he's hoping to avoid having to pay out. The full suit is below.