Missing Millionaire Guma Aguiar Portrayed Tenderly by Videographer

PHOTO: Guma Aguiar of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., steering his fishing boat the T.T. Zion in March 2011.
Share
Copy

Nasty court battles over missing millionaire Guma Aguiar's $100 million fortune have focused on the troubled businessman's rocky marriage and legal woes, but video footage shows Aguiar relaxing with his wife and children on the very boat that would wash up on the beach without him.

The video shows Aguiar gently helping his wife and daughter onto his fishing boat, the T.T. Zion. When he scoops up his young daughter, he says, "I love you. I missed you."

Guma Aguiar, 35, was last seen June 19 in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. Early the next morning, 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.

The footage was shot by Aguiar's close friend and filmmaker Jerry Levine in March 2011. Levine had been working on a biographical documentary about Aguiar as well as more political film about devoutly Jewish Aguiar's views on the Middle East and his involvement with Israeli sports teams.

As Aguiar drives the boat, he tells Levine about how the boat has pictures of all of his children as newborns and how he thinks of the boat as his "little motorcycle" that he likes to sail out to the Bahamas to fish.

At the end of the video, Aguiar walks down the boardwalk hand-in-hand with his wife and child. The couple has four children between the ages of 10 months and 7.

When Levine asked him whether he goes on the boat to clear his mind, Aguiar paused and replied, "I have a hard time clearing my mind anywhere, but this is a good place to try."

"He was a very at ease guy, very comfortable in his own skin," Levine told ABCNews.com. "He was funny, personable, charismatic."

But Aguiar also suffered from bipolar disorder, depression and stress from a number of legal battles, most notably with his billionaire uncle Thomas Kaplan over the division of the $2.5 billion sale of the company they ran together.

"When he was at the top of his game, he could juggle like a juggler with, like, 12 balls," Levine said. "You'd see so many balls in the air. He really could do it, but when this disease would kick in, he'd lose grasp of that edge and all those balls would start falling down."

Despite Aguiar's troubles, Levine does not believe that his friend committed suicide.

"I don't think for a second he killed himself. It never even crossed my mind," Levine said. "A person like that was episodic, but still had his kind of capability and wasn't all of a sudden going to take his life, certainly without leaving a note or doing something pretty obvious. The guy had a lot of guns that were accounted for. I mean, come on. You don't want to die in the cauldron of a storm."

Levine said it could be possible that Aguiar's fate was a "tragedy of the sea," an accident caused by a stormy night and the breaking of a critical piece of the boat, or Aguiar took off on his own and is alive somewhere.

"Anything is possible, especially the longer you knew him, the more that was true," Levine said. "He could be delusional when he's worst, so maybe when this boat was coming to shore, he jumped off."

Levine said it's possible that, "This is a show. He's watching the show. He doesn't care if people think he's dead or not and he's holed up in a hotel somewhere just watching."

Levine said he still holds out hope that Aguiar was suffering a delusional episode and will return safely.

"I still hope for the best, but the more time goes by, we're expecting the worse," he said.

Levine also insists that the portrayal of Aguiar's mother, Ellen Aguiar, and wife Jamie Aguiar as feuding gold-diggers has been manufactured by attorneys for legal purposes.

"Jamie was put into a very untenable position. Most women would have walked on him many years ago," Levine said. "She was a stoic wife, she really was. And eventually she couldn't hold that up anymore. She's a victim in all of this. She's a bystander and she's trying to keep it all together and the same is true for his mother. She's one of the people in his circle that he really trusted, that he could talk to."

In the week after Aguiar's disappearance, his wife and mother filed a flurry of legal documents seeking control of his assets and fortune.

The documents were filled with bitter accusations from both sides. Ellen Aguiar claimed that her son was distressed the night he took off on the boat because his wife had told him she wanted a divorce. Jamie Aguiar's attorney's accused Aguiar's mother of riding on his "gravy train" and taking advantage of his wealth.

A Florida court gave neither woman control, instead appointing conservatorship to outside attorneys who will manage Aguiar's assets and legal involvements while he is absent.

"These are people that were trying to do the right thing for Guma," Levine added. "[They're] all people that worked with each other to help Guma. It's only since there's legal action that attorneys are making it personal."

Levine often traveled with Aguiar and filmed him working in places like Haiti and Israel.

"This is guy with huge potential. He wanted a platform to do good," Levine said. "He wanted to build a soccer field in Gaza. He wanted to donate thousands of soccer balls and uniforms. He had the kind of profile in Israel where he probably could have pulled that off and that's the tragedy.

"That's what's sad and that's what people can't see," he said. "If you only look at the disease part, you're only seeing a slice. This was a prominent slice, no doubt, but it wasn't the slice that defined him."

Florida police are still investigating Aguiar's disappearance as a missing person investigation. They do not currently suspect foul play.

Join the Discussion
You are using an outdated version of Internet Explorer. Please click here to upgrade your browser in order to comment.
blog comments powered by Disqus
 
You Might Also Like...