Heirs to Wet-n-Wild cosmetics fight over Acker’s estate

If there’s one thing the heirs to the Stanley Acker Wet-n-Wild cosmetics fortune can agree on, it’s that they’re embroiled in some annoying lawsuits.

The latest litigation is an adversarial proceeding filed Sept. 1 in U.S. Bankruptcy Court White Plains by David and Karen Acker against their brother Mark Acker, in which they seek to prevent him from using the bankruptcy to overturn a judgment near of a million dollars.

Wet-n-Wild Eyebrow Pencil

As the sole administrator of their father’s estate, David and Karen claim, their brother drove up costs that “plagued and undermined the…estate.”

But Mark Acker says he had to file for Chapter 11 protection because a court judgment that was rendered against him in Florida was filed in Rockland County by his siblings, thus blocking his attempt to sell his house and pay the creditors.

Stanley Acker created the Wet-n-Wild cosmetics brand and manufactured the products at a factory in Nyack. By 1984, the company employed more than 600 people, according to a news article, and distributed lipsticks, nail polishes and other cosmetic products in more than 100 countries.

He sold the company in 1997, for over $100 million. He died in 2008.

His estate and a trust fund were deposited in Palm Beach County, Florida, where Acker and his wife wintered. Mark Acker was the administrator and sole trustee.

David, who lives in Vermont, and Karen, who lives in New York, say Mark’s administration of the estate has led to numerous duplicate lawsuits.

In 2020, a Florida court entered a $960,000 judgment against Mark and for David and Karen, mostly for legal fees.

The judge found that Mark’s testimony was not credible and that he violated a 2010 settlement agreement with his siblings. He had acted in his personal interest rather than the best interests of the estate, for example, interfering with an IRS audit and making false conspiracy allegations to the IRS.

Mark Acker filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy reorganization on June 15, declaring $757,464 in assets and $1.8 million in liabilities.

His main asset is a 50% stake in a $1.5 million home in Suffern that he and his wife cannot afford, according to a bankruptcy affidavit. They rent the house and live in an apartment in Haverstraw.

The Florida court judgment of $960,000 is his primary liability, and he lists it as disputed.

Mark Acker retired from the South Nyack Police Department after being seriously injured in a 2019 motorcycle accident while on duty for the Rockland Sheriff’s Department. His only income comes from Social Security disability and workers’ compensation benefits. Last year he earned $30,443.

“I filed this case under Chapter 11 in order to have the opportunity to stabilize my personal life,” he states in the bankruptcy affidavit, “to liquidate most of my non-exempt assets and to formulate a reorganization plan.

Part of the plan is to have Florida’s lien against his house voided, sell the house, pay off the mortgage, and use his 50% share of the balance to pay off creditors.

David and Karen are asking the bankruptcy court to declare that the debts of the estate, including the court judgment of $960,000, cannot be canceled because they are the product of willful and malicious conduct, fraud, embezzlement and breach of fiduciary duty.

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