Face of Abuse
What Ira Gollobin Did - & Why . . .
Ira's Son-in-Law Speaks
This essay is my attempt to set forth a largely-unknown truth about Ira Gollobin - how in the last few years of his life, Ira changed in ways that hugely affected the way he treated half his family. And I want to share what I believe are the reasons he did what he did.
Much of what I say here is based on my personal experiences with Ira over some two decades. To some extent, it is also based on what my wife (Ira's daughter), who knew him well, has told me. And it is also based on what others in the Gollobin family who knew Ira for many years have told me or my wife.
I have tried to clearly say whenever I am dealing in personal opinion or surmise as opposed to fact. I hope that distinction is consistently clear to the reader. If there is a question about this or if anything is factually incorrect here or anywhere on this site, please e-mail me so I can immediately make it factually correct.
Who Am I?
I am fortunate to be married to one of Ira Gollobin's two daughters. And I am the fortunate father of Ira Gollobin's only biological granddaughter. I knew Ira Gollobin for 23 years - not as a lawyer but as a father, father-in-law, and grandfather.
For those of you who knew and respected Ira's politics or professional side, I am not here to argue with you. And for those of you who enjoyed dinners, conversations, or visits with him, I'm not here to disagree with those memories. I, however, have a far darker story about Ira as a family man I believe must be told.
Let me start by saying that for some 30 years I ran an ethical and very well-regarded national PR/media firm (all Fortune 50 clients). My firm and I produced wonderful media (happily, my clients agreed), and we won virtually every national and international media award there is to be had.
It is also worth saying that what my wife and I possess is solely by our own hard work. I inherited nothing and was the product of a broken home and an alcoholic mother.
In today's world of over extended credit and lousy financial habits, my family and I are fortunate to be completely debt-free and live on a lovely 40 acre estate near the Blue Ridge Mountains in Virginia. By most measures, we are well off. And we got here the honest, old-fashioned way; we earned it all ourselves.
I admit up-front that I am tough in my assessment of people, but I believe I am fair.
Ira Gollobin, The Man
I never dealt with Ira as a lawyer; others did, and I leave it to them to tell you how wonderful he was at that. For every one he helped, I am glad.
Instead, I dealt with Ira as my wife's father, as my daughter's grandfather, and as a father-in-law. (Click Here for a few other details) I dearly wish that I could write much good about Ira Gollobin in any of these roles, but I can't.
Unfortunately, and without any equivocation, Ira Gollobin showed himself to be a most astounding failure as a father-in-law. He was arrogant, self-important, and wouldn't allow for any disagreement on any subject. And, far more important, Ira showed himself, especially in his later years, to be an awful, abusive father to my wife and an awful, uncaring grandfather to my daughter - his only biological grandchild. He turned out to be a child abuser - and a horrific, hypocritical monster whose only real interest was seeking out and rewarding those who stroked his maniacial ego.
For all of Ira's public talk (and he did a lot of that) about equality and about the importance of caring for one's health, working hard, doing social good, and the value of reading and intelligence; when it came to actually acting on these principles within his family, Ira ended up punishing the daughter who lived his values and, in my estimation, rewarding the daughter who didn't.
Let me say it again. I am not here judging Ira as a lawyer. Here I write about Ira Gollobin as a private person, as a father, a father-in-law, and a grandfather - roles that I believe are every bit as important as a person's "day job" - and roles that often reveal much about what a person really is.
As a lawyer and social activist, Ira liked to be seen as working to reduce inequality and promote justice. But what Ira did at the end of his life was to knowingly and purposely create injustice and inequality within his family - massively hurting one of his two daughters and brutally punishing his only biological granddaughter for no good reason. This is something no decent father or decent grandfather should or would ever do. See the Face of Abuse
If you had any dealings with Ira Gollobin, you know he loved to show off by quoting passages written by others (Piaget was a favorite, and if he could quote something in a foreign tongue to show off all the more, he happily did). Another favorite was Lincoln, and I recall Ira quoting Lincoln's "With malice toward none, with charity for all, with firmness in the right . . ."
Well, let me assure you, Ira - ever the hypocrite - was a direct contradiction to Lincoln's fine words. At the end of his life, Ira did show malice - and no care or charity to half his family. And what he did to one of his daughters and to one of his grandchildren was anything but right.
What Ira Gollobin did and why he did it is not a pretty tale. There is a deep and ugly truth about Ira Gollobin's personal side that he carefully hid from the world - and it's the story that's told here.
Ira's "Principles" - And Who Actually Lived Them
Ira liked to think of himself as a logical man. He professed strong principles and values throughout his life - but ignored them when he had to make one of the most important decisions at the end of his life.
Here's what Ira said he believed in, along with comments -
While I believe that my wife, my daughter, and I have done a far better job actually living the principles that Ira so often espoused, I don't think the way either of his daughters (and their families) chose to live their lives should have been much of a factor in what Ira did with his estate. I strongly believe (as does my wife) that both families should have been treated absolutely equally in his estate planning. And we said this to Ira on various occasions.
The truth is, Ruth and her family live a rather typical "American life" - and they aren't bad people because they don't seem to live Ira's various "principles" to any great degree. As a supposedly-loving father and grandfather, Ira should have been happy that both of his daughters had families of their own, were living what they each considered full lives, and loved him. Given all that, he should have treated his two daughters the same.
That said, it's also worth saying that Ira should have been extra pleased that at least his younger daughter (and his only biological granddaughter) actually lived in accord with many of his supposedly-cherished principles and values.
My reason for taking the time to contrast Ira's two daughters is to show how cruel and hypocritical Ira was to leave his entire estate to only one daughter and one set of grandchildren - while for no good reason punishing the other half of his family by disowning them. In the end, Ira's vaulted and oft-stated principles proved to mean less than nothing.
Why Did Ira Give ALL to One?
In my opinion, what Ira really, deeply, truly cared about had little to do with the fine principles he so often espoused and that I discussed above. Rather what Ira in the last several years of his life cared about more than anything was which one of his daughters was better at stroking his obsessively-huge ego - as well as which one (mis)represented herself as somehow the more caring and loving of the two.
Family members have said that my wife's sister, Ruth, has been saying bad things to them about my wife "for 30 years." In my opinion, there's every reason to believe that Ruth talked the same way to Ira for the same "30 years" - and it finally had its effect.
Ego - Ira Gollobin's Single Most Important "Principle"
Had Ira been balanced and rational, he would have taken one daughter's bad-mouthing of the other with a grain of salt. But he wasn't. In fact, very few people have any idea of just how enormous Ira's sense of self-importance was - nor the amount of ego-stroking affirming his "brilliance" he repeatedly required and ultimately rewarded.
In case you think I am overstating just how obesssive and enormous Ira Gollobin's ego really was, first please consider this definition -
Next, please consider these two facts -
During one of Ira Gollobin's visits to our home, he told me in all seriousness that he considered himself (and these are Ira's exact words) "one of the three most important men who ever lived" Asked who the other two were, Ira told me, "Christ and Marx."
And, on a different occasion, he told my wife that without question, his book would become as "valuable to mankind as the Bible."
I had occasion to discuss Ira Gollobin's statements with several very well-respected psychiatric professionals and got very similar responses. What I learned is that Ira fits the rather classic definition of a malignant narcissist - probably the worst of the conditions within the larger family of meglomania or delusions of grandeur.
The hallmarks of a regular, acute narcissist are an unreasonable self-love coupled with the delusion that he or she is much greater, more important, more powerful and more influential than they could possibly be. (Just consider Ira's very clear statements that he is an equal to Christ and that his book is as important as the Bible for proof.)
What moves narcissism (which is bad enough) toward malignant narcissism is the further belief that it's OK, even necessary, for the narcissist to damage, hurt, even eliminate anyone who the narcissist believes poses a threat to their overblown vision of themselves. This, too, lines up with the vicious actions Ira took against us as a family - namely, we just didn't provide support for his delusions of grandeur.
For me, Ira was clearly deluded - and his words say much about the astounding level of god-like adoration he demanded; adoration that I think only a fool (or someone seeking his largess) could or would give. And one of the few things that my family wouldn't in good conscience do for Ira was to pander to his obsessive - even paranoid - need for unquestioning support of his grandiose self-image.
(For another glimpse of how Ira Gollobin was able to twist reality and justify whatever he wanted, Click Here to read about a significant insurance fraud and coverup that he did early in his life.)
You, of course, are free to ask any professional what they think of someone who believes himself to be as important as Christ and who believes his writing is as valuable as the Bible. See what diagnosis you get.
Sadly, in the last decade of Ira's life, nodding one's head to Ira's self-congratulatory rubbish became the required price of admission for Ira Gollobin's so-called love and fairness. We were willing to engage in spirited conversation, cook the meals he wanted, research any topic he was interested in, give him appropriate love and attention, take care of him and his wife in old age, and more. But feed his narcissism - No. And that's the core reason why he punished us.
One additional observation. Ruth Basta may very well believe that Ira's rewarding her with his estate is some sign of moral virtue on her part. What I was told by highly-qualified psychiatric professionals is that it is very common to see malignant narcissists like Ira seeking and surrounded by what might be called "narcissistic pilot-fish" who unquestioningly preen, groom, and otherwise support the delusions of the narcissist. They went on to say that these "pilot-fish" are often rewarded for being, in effect, the ego-courtesans of the narcissist - but this is simply a reflection of the narcissist's sickness (and, in many cases, the self-serving nature of the "pilotfish"), not a genuine, healthy relationship. To me, this explains a lot about why Ira did what he did . . .
For Ira, Ego-Strokes Win Over "Principles"
For the record, Ira repeatedly told us (in person, on the phone, and in writings) that he planned to treat his daughters (my wife and her sister, Ruth) equally - even though his two daughters had made very different choices in their lives (and even though Ira on several occasions told me that he thought Ruth's life choices were inferior to my wife's).
In my opinion, Ira's promise to treat his two daughters equally was right - and, had he done it as promised, it would be the very sort of legacy that Ira (were he a truly loving father and grandfather) should have left behind.
But, sadly, Ira Gollobin wasn't the loving and principled father and grandfather he painted himself to be and which his daughter Ruth Gollobin-Basta seems to want everyone to think.
Ignoring both principles and promises, Ira viciously betrayed his younger daughter - the daughter who, in my opinion (and his), actually lived the principles Ira espoused.
Instead, he lavishly rewarded his other daughter, Ruth - a person who, as far as I can tell, in no significant way "lived" Ira's stated principles of a healthy lifestyle, social activism, and intellectual strength.
And when I say "rewarded," I mean completely. With the exception of two embarassingly-small donations to two organizations, Ira gave his daughter, Ruth Basta, every dollar he had, every object in his city apartment, the apartment itself, every book, every dish, everything.
Ira's promises and his pontifications about his principles meant nothing in the end. In my opinion, the only thing that ended up mattering was who provided the abject adoration of his "brilliance" - and that paid off handsomely for Ruth who, in my opinion and based on what others in the family have told me, falsely represented herself as the only daughter who "really" cared for Ira.
How Could A Father Do This?
I believe that a truly loving father should have shared his estate with these two daughters - they both deserved that. (That's my wife on the left with her sister, Ruth.)
The trouble was, Ira proved to be stupid enough, narcissistic enough, and emotionally needy enough to reward the care and feeding of his ego above all else - and he ultimately made his heartless decision to damage one of his daughters and her family in large part based on that.
In the end, the fact that our family actually lived Ira's oft-stated principles meant nothing to Ira. Nothing. Nor did many decades of my wife's love for him. Nor did my wife's talking with him at length virtually every day. Nor her researching any piece of information (hearing aids, Social Security rules, medical procedures, etc.) that interested him. Nor decades of preparing whatever food he wanted when he visited. Nor decades of thoughtful gifts. Nor that in our family, Ira had an extraordinary, competent, and high-achieving granddaughter. Not even the offer my wife and I made to care for him and his wife in old age.
In the end, none of it mattered as Ira showed himself to be narcissistic, deluded, unforgiving, easily-tricked, and ultimately dishonest to his principles. What he did, for me, is simply child abuse. To see why the term applies, Click Here.
And Cowardly, to Boot . . .
Ira didn't even have the courage to tell us (or anyone else besides his lawyer and possibly Ruth Basta) of his vicious decision to deprive his other daughter and his grandchild of any of his estate.
Why? I can guess - because that would have meant taking at least some public responsibility. It would have meant facing up to the consequences of his acts.
Instead, Ira Gollobin lied, executed his secret and wicked plan, and left the breaking of the news, like some stinking pile of offal, to be surfaced after he was dead when he wouldn't have to take any heat for the damage he purposely caused.
And Ira probably thought he could get away with it because my wife (the daughter he so viciously disowned) is basically very quiet, never spoke badly of her sister, and wasn't likely to come to New York City to tell anyone what he did.
But what Ira Gollobin, the supposedly "devoted and loving father" did was so egregious, so damaging, that my wife and I have each decided to speak out Of course, all this is my story and it's my sole opinion of Ira Gollobin, one of the most wicked faters and grandfathers I can imagine. To read my wife's thoughts on her father, Ira Gollobin, please Click Here.
At the end of his life, Ira Gollobin turned his back on half of his family - a family which represented some of the best of Ira's stated principles and values. He took advantage of my wife's love, basked in her deep trust and caring, and abandoned her like garbage for no good reason. And he purposely hurt his one biological granddaughter - an innocent and meritorious young person who deserved far better from her grandfather.
He knowingly and purposely chose to cause pain and do damage when it would have been as easy - and far more just - to be kind and gracious and leave behind a laudable legacy of caring and love.
. . . Dark and despicable deeds - all vastly at odds with Ira Gollobin's carefully-nurtured public face.
This is as much a part of his legacy as the good he did in his professional life.