NEW YORK, N.Y. – A man accused of killing his hedge-fund founder father over an argument about a cut in his allowance pleaded not guilty Thursday to murder.
Tommy Gilbert, 30, appeared briefly in court in an oversized orange jumpsuit. Authorities say Gilbert shot his father — 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 an eyewitness.
“Because of the garb that they had him wearing, I think it’s prejudicial to have his photo published,” he said.
He didn’t comment further.
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 Manhattan’s Chelsea neighbourhood, authorities found bullets, empty shell casings, 21 blank credit cards and a device for stealing card numbers, according to a court complaint. He was also 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 signalling plans to start his own hedge fund.
But he was in debt and had no recent work history, and his mother told police he had a tense relationship with his Wall Street father, authorities said. 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.