Mom and Wife Get Personal in Battle Over Missing Man's $100 Million Fortune

Guma Aguiar's wife and mother have filed numerous lawsuits for control.

June 26, 2012, 11:00 AM

June 26, 2012 — -- Missing millionaire Guma Aguiar's mother and wife are waging a vicious legal battle over control of his $100 million fortune through a barrage of rapid-fire lawsuits filled with direct attacks on each other.

It has been one week since Aguiar was last seen and his mother Ellen Aguiar and wife Jamie Aguiar have already made three legal filings in a tug of war over who will be put in control of his estate.

In a new court document, Jamie Aguiar accuses her mother-in-law of being "incapable of looking out for the interest of anyone but herself," saying the mother "consistently drove a wedge between the family."

Guma Aguiar, 35, vanished last Wednesday when 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.

A lawyer for Aguiar's mother suggested that the millionaire was in a despondent mood when he got onto his boat last week.

"An hour before he got on his boat, the wife told Guma she wanted a divorce," attorney Richard Baron told "I'm of the belief that that's what pushed him over the deep end. He loved his wife. He did not want a divorce."

Documents filed last week by his mother to secure control of her son's assets suggest that the Aguiar may be alive and in a "delusional state or be suffering from psychosis."

On Monday, Jamie Aguiar filed a counter-petition against her mother-in-law so that she could be appointed conservator, or temporary guardian, of her husband's assets.

"Rather than rally around her family in this most difficult of times, Ellen Aguiar instead focused on being first to the courthouse, petitioning this Court to serve in a position she is ill-suited to hold as she is incapable of looking out for the interest of anyone but herself," Jamie Aguiar said in her filing, obtained by

Jamie Aguiar called her mother-in-law an "impediment" to the investigation into Guma Aguiar's disappearance and accused her of persuading police investigators to give her "critical pieces of evidence," including Guma Aguiar's cell phone and wallet, which were found on his boat.

"These items were subsequently returned by Ellen Aguiar's attorney, but not before she made a few phone calls and possibly deleted critical voice and/or text messages," Jamie Aguiar said in the filing.

"She's a liar," Baron told today, referring to Aguiar's wife.

"[Ellen Aguiar] never asked for the phone. She never asked for the wallet. That's complete and utter fantasy. It's creative writing," Baron said. "It's a third-rate novel."

Baron said that Aguiar's mother was at a vigil at the site where the boat had washed up when police said to her, 'I guess these belong to you" and handed her the cell phone and wallet. Ellen Aguiar wanted to know who her son had called before his disappearance but could not check because the phone was locked with a password she did not know.

Ellen Aguiar gave the objects to her attorney who returned them to authorities, Baron said.

"While Jamie Aguiar has been home grieving and trying to add to the search efforts being conducted privately and in conjunction with the authorities, Ellen has been attempting to take control [of] the Jamie and Guma's assets without even providing Jamie with notice."

Missing Man's Mom and Wife in Nasty Fight Over Fortune

Jamie Aguiar also claimed that she and her husband had been supporting his mother for the past several years, including providing her with a home and a car, giving her the use of a credit card and even putting Ellen Aguiar's fiance on the payroll.

"This is irrelevant to the appointment of a conservator," Baron said. "She worked for Guma. She ran the whole Israel show, including the sports teams and the real estate."

"Although Ellen Aguiar purports to have the best interest of her grandchildren at heart, the record will reveal that her actions consistently drove a wedge between the family by seemingly flaming the fumes of Guma Aguiar's paranoia," the document said.

Ellen Aguiar's filing told a very different story.

Her court documents said that Guma Aguiar's property is in "imminent danger" of being "wasted, misappropriated, or lost" by Jamie Aguiar unless immediate action is taken to preserve the status quo.

The document alleged that Jamie Aguiar fired Aguiar & Associates' CFO "without any reason or justification whatsoever and without a majority vote for the remaining officers to do so."

It also claimed that his wife contacted the chairman of the board of Hapoel Jerusalem, a basketball team owned by Guma Aguiar, and instructed him to take no further action with the team, including paying the salaries of employees.

"The Absentee's Wife has taken such actions without court order, without power of attorney, and without any other authority to do so," the document states.

The court document was an amended version of a document filed last week by Ellen Aguiar with the Broward County Circuit Court in which she filed to become the conservator or temporary guardian of Aguiar's estate. Following backlash from her daughter-in-law, Aguiar filed for money management company Northern Trust to gain control.

"The only person that Guma trusted at the end was his mother," Baron said.

The devoutly Jewish Aguiar is known for being the main sponsor for an elite Israeli soccer team and making multi-million dollar charitable gifts to Jewish organizations, he has also had a number of personal transgressions.

He has been arrested several times, including for drug possession and driving under the influence, according to court records. He is also currently on probation after pleading no contest to domestic violence charges.

In 2010, he was involuntarily admitted to an Israeli psychiatric hospital after his erratic behavior.

Aguiar made his fortune in 2006 when he and his uncle Thomas Kaplan sold their Texas-based energy company for a reported $2.5 billion. The two have been in a messy legal battle since 2009 over the division of the money.

They went on to say that he was the victim of what amounted to "psychological terrorism."

In 2011, he was appointed an emergency guardian after his wife and mother petitioned a Miami-Dade judge for one.

The couple has four children, the youngest of whom is 10 months old. They also have a 3-year-old son, a 4-year-old daughter and a 7-year-old son.

A hearing on Thursday at the Broward County court has been scheduled to appoint conservatorship.

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