Family Fights for Missing Millionaire’s Estate in Court

Wife and mother of missing man both appeared in court Thursday

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Jamie Aguiar sat tearfully in court Thursday as lawyers haggled over who will get control over his missing, estranged husband’s multimillion-dollar estate. Her attorney William Scherer spoke about his main concern. (Published Thursday, Jun 28, 2012)

    After lawyers for the wife and mother of missing millionaire Guma Aguiar haggled in court Thursday over who will get control of his estate, the answer could be neither side.

    William Scherer, the attorney for Aguiar's wife, Jamie Aguiar, said at day's end that an agreement has been reached.

    Missing Millionaire Was Extremely Depressed in Past Year: Mother

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    Multimillionaire Guma Aguiar hasn’t been seen since he headed off on his boat into rough seas June 19. His disappearance is mostly likely the result of mental derangement, according to court papers filed by his mother. Ellen Aguiar told NBC 6 her son was depressed in the past year. (Published Wednesday, Jun 27, 2012)

    "Glenn Goldstein, hopefully, he will be appointed to stand in Guma's shoes to resolve the litigation, and hopefully he can settle it," Scherer said.

    Goldstein has been part of Aguiar's legal team over the years. His official appointment could come next week.

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    Police released surveillance video of missing millionaire Guma Aguiar. Psychiatrist and police talk to NBC 6 about the mysterious disappearance of the man. (Published Saturday, Jun 23, 2012)

    On Thursday afternoon Jamie Aguiar sat tearfully in a Broward courtroom as lawyers argued over who would get to control her husband's millions in assets.

    She broke down as Fort Lauderdale Police Sgt. Steve Novak told the court that no new leads have surfaced in their search for Guma Aguiar, 35, who has been missing since he steered his boat into rough seas and disappeared June 19, according to authorities. The boat washed ashore last week without him.

    At issue is who is best fit to handle the remaining fortune of Aguiar, who has spent about $80 million of his $180 million fortune, according to Scherer.

    His mother, Ellen Aguiar, has asked that a neutral third party, a bank, take control of the estate to maintain peace in the family until her son's whereabouts are known.

    "It's a horrible situation, we suffered for a long time to see him so distressed," she said.

    Jamie Aguiar’s lawyer argued that she is most fit.

    “Ellen Aguiar is an enabler who enabled Guma to do these things that were irrational, like spending $30 million of the family’s assets,” Scherer said.

    According to a document dated March 5, Aguiar designated his wife as guardian of his person and property and his mother as the alternate, in the event of his incapacity. But in a similar document executed just two months later, Aguiar designated his mother and then brother as guardians.

    Ellen Aguiar filed for control of her son’s estate last week, and then amended her petition this week as she asked that a bank handle the estate, court records say.

    Guma Aguiar made a fortune when the Texas-based energy company he ran with his uncle was sold for a reported $2.5 billion in 2006. But he has been embroiled in lawsuits with his uncle, Thomas Kaplan, over money since the sale of their company.

    Aguiar’s Fort Lauderdale home is valued at $5 million, according to the court petition filed by his mother for control of the estate. His luxury yacht is valued at $2 million. The petition also states he has $25 million in stocks and bonds and $15 million in cash.

    "Our foremost concern is to protect the welfare of Jamie Aguiar and her four children," Scherer said Wednesday.

    Ellen Aguiar still believes her son could return.

    "Without the evidence of the body, we're all hoping Guma could come back," she said.