Two rabbis helped facilitate a truce between missing millionaire Guma Aguiar’s feuding mother and wife, who took their $100 million battle to a Florida courtroom today.
Aguiar, 35, vanished last Wednesday; his 31-foot fishing boat washed up on a Fort Lauderdale beach with the engine running and lights on, but with no sign of its Brazilian-born owner.
In the days following Aguiar’s disappearance, his wife, Jamie, and mother, Ellen, filed five legal documents fighting for control of his assets, valued at over $100 million. Aguiar has actively supported Jewish charitable organizations.
While Aguiar’s wife wanted control, his mother was fighting for control to be handed over to a third party — Northern Trust, a wealth management company selected by Aguiar to take care of his assets should anything ever happen to him.
A court hearing to appoint conservatorship was expected this evening. But earlier today two rabbis and a congregant, who made up a committee formed by Aguiar as a group of advisors, kicked into place a legal mechanism that gave Northern Trust control of the assets. The court agreed to it.
“Without putting out one shred of evidence, what my client wanted happened serendipitously,” Ellen Aguiar’s attorney, Richard Baron, told ABCNews.com after the hearing.
A representative for Northern Trust could not accept control immediately, saying the company’s lawyers had to approve the move first. The parties will be back in court on Tuesday for Northern Trust’s decision.
If Northern Trust accepts, it will have control of all of Aguiar’s U.S. assets, valued at more than $50 million. But control of his millions in Israeli assets is still up for grabs; the Florida court did not have control over international assets.
For now, both parties agreed to the truce.
“Hell hath no fury like a mother and daughter-in-law scorned turned into the court really bringing the parties together,” Baron said.
But the hearing was not without emotion. Jamie Aguiar cried in the courtroom and Ellen Aguiar’s attorneys said they were “outraged” at the suggestion from Jamie Aguiar’s attorney that Guma Aguiar could have staged his own disappearance.
Earlier today, a handwritten note on a 2011 legal filing obtained by ABCNews.com showed that Guma Aguiar objected to the appointment of his wife “to serve in any capacity” over his person or property.
Hours before the court hearing, each woman made another legal move slinging insults in two new legal filings obtained by ABCNews.com.
Aguiar’s body has not been found and there has been no proof that he is dead.
“The evidence will show that the Counter-Petition was the only way for Jamie Aguiar to protect the interests of herself and her children from what is sadly the latest in a long line of Ellen Aguiar’s pervasive, persistent, and ill-advised attempts to disrupt the home life of Jamie, Guma, and their children and seize control of their finances,” Jamie Aguiar’s attorney William Scherer wrote in a filing on her behalf.
Ellen Aguiar’s attorney Richard Baron fired back in a responding filing: “The Counter Petitioner [Jamie Aguiar] threatened the Absentee with divorce which drove him to the mental instability which led directly to his disappearance and then has the unmitigated gall to act as the grieving widow. Nothing could be further from the truth.”
Ellen Aguiar’s filing included as evidence Guma Aguiar’s power of attorney document, which was signed on July 1, 2011.
Source: ABC News