(NEW YORK) — Missing Florida millionaire Guma Aguiar’s wife told him she wanted a divorce just hours before he vanished from his fishing boat, the lawyer for Aguiar’s mother told ABC News on Monday.
It was the latest twist in a mystery that has sparked a vicious tug-of-war between his wife and mother over control of Aguiar’s $100 million estate.
Aguiar’s disappearance has triggered a barrage of rapid-fire legal filings by his mother and wife over the last few days, with the wife filing counter documents on Monday seeking control of her husband’s estate.
It was the third legal filing since Aguiar, 35, vanished last Wednesday when his 31-foot fishing boat washed up on a Fort Lauderdale, Fla., beach with the engine running and lights on, but with no sign of its Brazilian-born owner.
The U.S. Coast Guard and multiple police agencies launched a search for Aguiar, but the Coast Guard suspended their search last Thursday night.
Documents filed last week by his mother to secure control of her son’s assets suggest that Aguiar may be alive and in a “delusional state or be suffering from psychosis.”
But on Monday, a lawyer for Aguiar’s mother, Ellen Aguiar, 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 ABC News. “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.”
Court records show that Guma Aguiar filed for divorce from Jamie Aguiar in July 2011, but the couple did not go through with the divorce.
Baron said that Ellen Aguiar spoke to her son an hour before he got on his fishing boat, the T.T. Zion, and sailed off.
“She thinks he went off the deep end and got on the boat depressed [and then] jumped, fell or is somewhere clinging to life,” Baron said. “A mother’s optimism knows no bounds. She’s not thinking the worst.”
Guma Aguiar’s assets include $65 million in bank assets, $35 million in Israeli real estate, the $5 million Florida home he shares with his family, and seven cars and a yacht valued at over $3 million.
Court documents filed on Monday by attorneys for Ellen Aguiar and obtained by ABC News say that Guma Aguiar’s property is in “imminent danger” of being “wasted, misappropriated, or lost” by his wife Jamie Aguiar unless immediate action is taken to preserve the status quo.
The document alleges that his wife 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 claims 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.
Jamie Aguiar’s agent Suzanne Faulkner has been acting on her behalf and executing these actions, according to the document. Faulkner did not respond to request for comment.
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio
Madeline Holcombe, CNN
Emanuella Grinberg and Kwegyirba Croffie, CNN
Betsy Klein, CNN
Samira Said, CNN