Monday, May 29, 2017

Son charged in murder of hedge-fund founding dad

Thomas Gilbert Jr., after an arrest in the town of Southampton, N.Y

AP Logo BY | COLLEEN LONG

NEW YORK (AP) — In the hours after his arrest, a man accused of killing his hedge-fund founder father over a cut in his allowance talked to police about his diet and exercise regimen but nothing to do with the death, according to court papers released Thursday.

Tommy Gilbert, 30, pleaded not guilty to murder and other charges Thursday, appearing briefly in Manhattan state Supreme Court in an oversized orange jumpsuit. Authorities say Gilbert shot his father on Jan. 4 — then tried to make it appear the older man killed himself — after being threatened with a cut of a few hundred dollars in his monthly allowance.

Gilbert’s attorney, Alex Spiro, said during an argument objecting to photographers shooting images of his client that the case was largely circumstantial and did not have any witnesses.

“Because of the garb that they had him wearing, I think it’s prejudicial to have his photo published,” Spiro said.

He didn’t comment further.

According to court documents, Gilbert, who is trim with blue eyes and blond hair, was asked in the hours after his arrest by a detective how he kept in such good shape. “A lot of it is diet and exercise,” Gilbert said. He was asked if he ran marathons, he said, “I’m not a distance runner.”

But he didn’t speak about his criminal case, asking only to speak with his attorney.

Authorities say the son went to his parents’ tony home in Beekman Place and asked his mother for a word alone with his dad, Thomas Gilbert Sr. She left to get her son some food, and when she returned to the apartment about 15 minutes later, she found her 70-year-old husband with a bullet wound in his head and a gun resting on his chest with his hand over it, police said.

Investigators concluded the scene was staged to look like a suicide. In the younger Gilbert’s apartment in the Chelsea neighborhood, authorities found bullets, empty shell casings, 21 blank credit cards and a device for stealing card numbers, according to court documents. He also was charged with criminal possession of a weapon and criminal possession of a forgery device.

A 2009 Princeton University graduate, Gilbert Jr. circulated among the Manhattan society fundraiser scene, hung out in the Hamptons and recently filed papers signaling plans to start his own hedge fund.

He told authorities he made about $3,000 a month working full time in finance, according to court documents.

But police said he was in debt and had no recent work history. He also was facing a criminal contempt case accusing him of harassing a friend in the Hamptons — and he’d been questioned about a suspicious fire that burned down the friend’s father’s mansion, Southampton Town police said. No arrests have been made in the arson probe.

The elder Gilbert, also a Princeton alumnus, worked on Wall Street for more than 40 years, according to a bio on the website of his firm, Wainscott Capital Partners Fund. Founded in 2011, it concentrates on health care and biotech companies.


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