The heir to a frozen health-food empire was ordered quarantined and barred from seeing his three kids after he went out “partying” amid the coronavirus crisis — and openly left a stash of drugs in the Hamptons home where they were staying with a nanny, The Post has learned.
Larry Praeger — whose late dad, heart surgeon Peter Praeger, co-founded Dr. Praeger’s Purely Sensible Foods — claimed he had to make a telephone call before ducking out around 4:30 p.m. on April 29, according to court papers.
But Prager, who’s now CEO of the company famed for its veggie burgers, didn’t return for about seven hours and appeared “intoxicated” when he finally showed up around 11:30 p.m., estranged wife Brenna Praeger claims in the Manhattan Supreme Court filing.
In the meantime, the couple’s kids began texting and FaceTiming with Brenna around 7 p.m. because they were “upset” and “scared” that their dad hadn’t come home, according to the legal papers, which are tied to the couple’s bitter divorce case.
One child even sent texts that said “my head Hurts to death” and “Mommy I feel like I’m bout to die,” a screenshot that’s part of the filing shows.
Brenna hopped into an Uber and rushed from Manhattan to the couple’s five-bedroom, three-bathroom house in Water Mill, getting there around 11:15 p.m. and allegedly finding “unknown drug substances, pills and drug paraphernalia strewn along the countertop in her master bedroom.”
“The drugs were fully exposed with no efforts to conceal them,” the court papers say.
Brenna claims to have shot photos that show what appear to be psychedelic mushrooms in a plastic baggie, as well as a tin of cannabis-infused mints, a vaping device and a small, pyramid-shaped object in a gold wrapper.
The photos also show two bottles of prescription pills, one of which appears to be labeled with Larry’s name and to contain “amphetamine salts,” which are used to treat ADHD and narcolepsy.
Brenna claims she also found “similar paraphernalia and drugs” in a safe in the home in May 2019, with a photo showing items including a rolled-up plastic bag, a crinkled bundle of aluminum foil and a carrying case for a “Kingpen”-brand cannabis vaping pen.
About 10 minutes after Brenna arrived at the Water Mill house, Larry returned, and she locked the door to the garage to keep him out, which prompted him to start screaming, pounding on the door and “threatening her that she would never set foot in this house again,” court papers say.
Larry somehow got inside but allegedly left when Brenna agreed to hand over a backpack from the bathroom full of unknown items that she “was never able to photograph.”
Court papers say Brenna had spent nine days at the house with the kids before leaving them there with Larry on April 26.
“Within 72 hours of Mr. Praeger being responsible for the parties [sic] Children, he left them with their nanny…so he could go out partying,” court papers say.
Brenna’s April 30 filing sought an emergency order awarding her temporary custody of the kids and exclusive use of the Water Mill home, as well as drug testing of Larry within 24 hours and random testing afterward.
A source familiar with the matter said that Justice Douglas Hoffman granted the requests and that Larry was undergoing 30 days of random, twice-weekly urine and hair-follicle testing for drugs including psilocybin and LSD.
Hoffman also ordered Larry quarantined for 14 days, the source said.
Larry’s lawyer declined to comment.
Brenna couldn’t be reached and her lawyer didn’t respond to inquiries.
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