Love and war in Port Royal: Millionaire’s children battle for estate vs. ex-neighbor, lawyer
By Kluger, Kaplan, Silverman, Katzen & Levine, P.L. August 29, 2011
Filed under You Can’t Make This Stuff Up. A dramatic story out of Naples from naplesnews.com.
By AISLING SWIFT
Sunday, August 28, 2011
NAPLES — A successful multimillionaire in life, Frank Blumeyer of Naples knew where every penny of his fortune would go after his death.
He set up partnerships and trusts, using profits from his 30 years as an insurance company owner and his later business, Storage Inns of America, to provide for nine children, 22 grandchildren and 12 great-grandchildren.
Now, nearly a year after the 92-year-old patriarch was buried, his children are battling his former neighbors over his estate in courtrooms from Collier County to St. Louis.
The tangled web of litigation and love is like a made-for-TV movie.
There’s a suspended lawyer who has been in trouble with courts and state bar associations; a now-defunct escort service the lawyer operated with his current wife before his prior wife died of cancer; naked photos of his current wife found on Blumeyer’s computer; and allegations of elder financial fraud.
Eight of Blumeyer’s children allege his former Gordon Drive neighbors — suspended Naples attorney Allen Brufsky, 72, and his wife — used their father as a bank, siphoning more than a million dollars, while turning him against them.
In complaints to the Florida Department of Children and Families (DCF), Collier Circuit Court and The Florida Bar, they allege the Brufskys seduced their father, allowing him to take naked photos of Marcia Brufsky, 64, and have an affair so they could use his money. Emails show Brufsky even offered to sell his wife for $675,000.
The children allege the financially strapped couple used their father to finance a Port Royal home, obtain club memberships — even purchase a $439,000 mountain worth $11,100 from Marcia Brufsky’s father.
Now, Blumeyer’s children say the Brufsky couple is trying to get their hands on their father’s roughly $10 million estate, which stretches from Port Royal to Alabama and Missouri. And they want it to end.
“The First National Bank of Frank is now closed,” said Mary Blumeyer Miller of Seminole County in Central Florida, one of four daughters.
The Brufskys, however, say the Blumeyers are defaming them, dragging them into litigation — all because the children thought they were being disinherited.
This month, the Brufskys sued the estate and eight of the children. The lawsuit, filed by Allen Brufsky without an attorney, came one month after Allen Brufsky was denied reinstatement to The Florida Bar.
The Brufskys say the Blumeyers and the estate’s representative, attorney Douglas Rankin of Naples, are trying to intimidate them. Their lawsuit against the estate alleges abuse of process, malicious prosecution and defamation — for tarnishing their reputations and foreclosing on their $2.4 million home.
“I don’t try cases in the newspaper,” Allen Brufsky said, declining comment. “The complaint stands for itself.”
Rankin scoffed at the Brufskys’ lawsuit, calling it another attempt to stake a claim on Frank Blumeyer’s home.
“This whole thing is fraudulent,” Rankin said.
In mid-August, Brufsky arrived at the Collier courthouse with a $110 check to have each Blumeyer family member served with his lawsuit after wrongly serving only Rankin. It was a week after the $400 check that he used to file his lawsuit bounced.
“I told him I would not accept any more of his worthless checks,” Collier Clerk of Courts Dwight Brock said.
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The tangled allegations are laid out in emails, Collier court files, state Supreme Court orders, Florida, Connecticut and Alabama bar records and two cases filed last month in U.S. District Court in Fort Myers.
In federal court, Arthur Blumeyer, serving nearly 22 years in federal prison for money laundering, is trying to halt the $6.7 million sale of his father’s beachfront home and remove his brothers as estate representatives.
The Brufskys support him.
Allen Brufsky, who has been targeted by the IRS and sued over debts, operated a now-defunct Captiva escort service, Memorable Escorts, with Marcia, his current wife, before Ruth Brufsky died of cancer.
Allen Brufsky has been sanctioned by a federal appeals court over a “frivolous” appeal, scolded by a New York federal judge who discovered he was suspended, and investigated by The Florida Bar at least three times. He was suspended in November and denied reinstatement last month after a judge ruled he will “attempt whatever he thinks he can get away with.”
This month, after acceptance into the Alabama bar as a Connecticut lawyer, that bar slapped him with a restraining order and suspension after discovering his Florida suspension and a Connecticut reprimand.
His Florida bar problems began when he placed himself, his wife and Blumeyer on the board of a company he represented, F&G Research of Naples, then prevented F&G’s owners from accessing their own bank accounts.
Blumeyer’s family members say their father invested thousands of dollars on behalf of the company with little or no return.
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The friendship between the Brufskys and Blumeyer began in summer 2003, when the Brufskys rented a Port Royal home next to Blumeyer’s.
Marcia Brufsky, a registered nurse, brought her 4144 Gordon Drive neighbor a bottle of wine.
That December, the Brufskys bought a $3.4 million house on Galleon Drive. They soon sought Blumeyer’s help to pay for it.
In November 2004, the octogenarian began making payments on behalf of the Brufskys and the amount grew to more than $1 million. Eventually, he put the house in his and Marcia’s name and gave her a mortgage, then later a reverse mortgage, payable after death.
After Blumeyer died, the reverse mortgage became a $2.9 million lien on the Brufsky home. The Brufsky home went to foreclosure and the Blumeyer family filed a counterclaim in that case. In turn, the Brufskys decided to go after Blumeyer’s house.
The Brufskys told a judge that a new will made Marcia Brufsky a beneficiary, thereby erasing the mortgage Blumeyer had on their home.
Rankin called the paperwork bogus and said it was jeopardizing a $6.7 million sale of Blumeyer’s house.
The day the alleged will was signed, Rankin said, Blumeyer was celebrating his 80th birthday, surrounded by seven children and an attorney.
“There’s no way in hell he did a will that day,” Rankin said in an interview. “It was a day-long get-together. There is no such will.”
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Emails detail Blumeyer’s relationship with Marcia Brufsky and how they traveled together — a voyage on the Queen Mary and trips to Thailand, Canada, Chile and Argentina, where F&G Research’s partners lived. Allen Brufsky went with them on at least one trip.
By then, Blumeyer was getting angry at the on-again, off-again relationship with Marcia Brufsky and being a financier. Allen Brufsky’s emails alternated between giving them his blessing to be together to “Stay away from my wife!”
In one proposed deal in September 2005, Brufsky offered to “have (the) house sold and split any profit with Marcia and permit her to stay if you never see her again.”
In another, Brufsky wrote: “If I get $675,000, we will be even and you can have Marcia as your wife. Your choice. I will take care of the wedding.”
In 2006, Blumeyer gave Marcia Brufsky power of attorney. Relatives alerted DCF, but after three investigations, the agency determined Blumeyer wasn’t a vulnerable or exploited adult.
Blumeyer’s health began failing last year. Days before his Sept. 21 death, Marcia Brufsky, his health-care giver, emailed his family.
“The best thing you can do at present is to assure that he is comfortable and has rest without visitors,” Marcia Brufsky wrote. “… I will be issuing orders to minimize visitation.”
Miller won’t forget the last time she saw her father. She called the police.
“While I was feeding him lunch, Marcia and Allen (Brufsky) walked in … and he (Allen) screamed at me, ‘Stay away from Frank. You and your sisters killed him.’’’
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Blumeyer’s children say “Pop” had a sense of humor, a good heart, and was a “very religious and caring man” who donated millions to children, even helping build a children’s hospital in St. Louis.
He left most of his estate to his wife, Nancy, who died in 1996 at age 77, after a 56-year marriage. When Blumeyer died, that meant the estate went to his children and grandchildren.
Once estimated at $30 million, it’s dwindled. And the beach house sale set for September fell through.
The children blame the Brufskys.
“He is a good man who was exploited,” Blumeyer’s daughter said. “He is the victim.”
Frank Blumeyer Jr., of Pelican Bay, said: “The facts speak for themselves. It would take a real public relations genius to put a different spin on them.”
© 2011 Scripps Newspaper Group — Online