Troubled missing 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 ABCNews.com today.
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 today 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 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 search suspended their search last Thursday night.
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."
But today 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 ABCNews.com. "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.
"I'm hoping he's alive," Baron said. "I'm hoping he does get divorced. She's shown her true colors."
Baron said that Ellen Aguiar spoke to her son and hour before he got on his 31-foot 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."
The 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 today by attorneys for Ellen Aguiar and obtained by ABCNews.com 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.
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.
"She doesn't want to be in a dispute with her daughter-in-law," Ellen Aguiar's attorney Richard Baron told ABCNews.com. "This is not about power or greed. It's just about preserving the status quo. All she wants to do is find her son and get the conservatorship to protect the assets and her family."
Court documents show that just last month, on May 11, Guma Aguiar had amended his declaration designating primary guardianship over his personal property "in the event of my incapacity" from his wife Jamie Aguiar to his mother.
Jamie Aguiar's attorney condemned Ellen Aguiar's original filing for conservatorship.
"She files motions in courts trying to take over everything while the divers are still out looking for Guma's body," attorney Bill Scherer told the Associated Press. "It's bizarre."
He said that Ellen Aguiar's attempts to gain control of the estate have added to the family's stress about the disappearance.
"[Jamie Aguiar is] hoping that he's had another mental breakdown and that he's out there somewhere and will come walking back when he gets himself stabilized," Scherer told the AP.
Bill Scherer did not respond to request for comment from ABCNews.com today. Baron denounced Scherer's comments.
"For him to say that [Ellen Aguiar] was on a money grab or that was she did was wrong was outrageous," Baron said, insisting that his client is simply trying to "do what Guma would have wanted" and "stop the fighting."
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.
- Family & Relationships