The second wife of the late John Paterakis petitioned on Wednesday to have his son and daughter removed as his estate’s personal representatives, as they and other family members called the explosive allegations she has made against them “outrageous.”
The petition, filed Wednesday afternoon in Orphans’ Court of Baltimore County, is the latest salvo in a family feud over the estate of the wealthy bakery magnate and Harbor East developer, who died at age 87 on Oct. 16, 2016.
Making allegations similar to those in a suit she filed Monday in Baltimore Circuit Court, Roula Paterakis’ petition claims she is being denied her “rightful share” of what she said is a $1 billion estate by the six children from his first marriage, a son-in-law, a grandson and a business associate. The widow, who began living with the H&S Bakery owner in 2001 and married him in 2015, is seeking a third of his estate in her suit.
In the petition, Roula Paterakis alleges that the siblings designated as the estate’s representatives, William Paterakis and Venice Paterakis Smith, also known as Vanessa, took and diverted millions of dollars in cash and “falsely” valued his estate at $155,354.87.
The Paterakis siblings made their first public statement about the legal fight on Wednesday, denouncing the allegations in a statement issued by one of their attorneys, Steven A. Thomas.
“The Paterakis family regrets that Mrs. Roula Paterakis, the widow of the late John Paterakis, has chosen to bring a lawsuit against his children and others,” they said. “The lawsuit contains allegations and assertions that are believed to be without merit and of questionable motivation. As in all such situations, merely making outrageous claims and accusations does not make them true.
“The entire Paterakis family remains committed to their father’s passion and love both for Baltimore and the businesses that they all have helped to build and create,” the statement said. “Please be assured that the family intends to vigorously defend the family’s good name and the legacy of their father and will endeavor to adhere to the wishes expressed in his last will and testament.”
The statement drew a response from Roula Paterakis’ attorney, Arnold M. Weiner, who said it did not address specific allegations in either the lawsuit or the petition to Orphans’ Court.
“Notably, the general statement released by the lawyers for William Paterakis and Venice Paterakis Smith and the other defendants does not address any of the serious allegations made in the detailed 40-page complaint that was filed in the Circuit Court for Baltimore City on Monday,” Weiner said in a statement. “Nor do they address any of the serious allegations that are made in the petition to remove William Paterakis and Venice Paterakis Smith as personal representatives of John Paterakis’ estate, filed today in the Orphans’ Court for Baltimore County.
“We look forward to presenting the evidence to those courts and to hearing what the defendants themselves will have to say in those proceedings,” he said.
In her petition, Roula Paterakis alleges that the two siblings have a conflict of interest as personal representatives of the estate given that, as her lawsuit claims, that they took their father’s “cash hoards” and “play money” accounts.
“As Personal Representatives of the Estate, William and Venice have duties to collect and marshal those very same assets which they are concealing for their personal benefit,” the petition states. “The personal interests of William and Venice are, thus, irreconcilably at odds with those of the Estate for which they are acting as Personal Representatives.”