When New York City’s “Bad Santa” died, he left behind a lot of gold in some stockings.
Now the kids and estranged wife of Manhattanite Joel Krupnik, whose famously creepy Christmas displays of a skinny Saint Nick holding a severed doll’s head once made the cover of The Post, are fighting over his $8 million estate.
The Krupniks made their eccentric statement about the commercialization of the holiday outside their East 18th Street townhouse back in 2005, placing the un-jolly elf and the maimed doll next to a tree adorned with lights and naked, bloody, beheaded Barbies.
Some folks hated the display, with one group kidnapping the severed doll’s head and leaving a ransom note. A week after the story appeared in The Post, a retired Marine from New Jersey, disgusted by the gruesome scene, tore it down.
The Gramercy Park family later said they auctioned off the display for charity.
When Krupnik wasn’t dreaming up the nightmare before Christmas, he was making big money in real estate apparently. In addition to his three-story, three-apartment $6 million to $7 million Gramercy Park townhouse, he owned homes in Miami Beach and Pennsylvania, according to court records, and in one 18-month period collected nearly $500,000 in rental income.
The fight over Sick St. Nick’s riches began in October, about 10 months after Joel Krupnik died at age 70. That’s when wife Mildred, with whom Joel legally separated in 2004, went to Manhattan Surrogate Court trying to get a chunk of his cash.
Mildred Krupnik, 57, who still lives in the family home, filed a “right of election,” which under state law entitles a spouse to one-third of their partner’s estate. Joel intentionally left her out of his 2015 will, writing, “Mildred Krupnik shall not receive anything from my estate.”
Their three kids – Darla, Ariel and Charlton – are asking a judge to toss Mildred’s bid, saying they “reject” her claim to the fortune, noting the broken marriage was never repaired.
When phoned by a Post reporter, a flustered Mildred said only, “I don’t know what’s going on,” and hung up.
An irate Joel Krupnik made further headlines in January 2006, when he caught a kid leaving dog poop on the street in front of his house, chased the 13-year-old girl down, and smeared the feces on her back. He was unapologetic when arrested, and pleaded guilty to a harassment charge.