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Judge dismisses charges made by Paterakis' second wife in lawsuit against the bakery magnate's children

A judge has dismissed charges made by Roula Paterakis, the second wife of the late John Paterakis, that his children diverted millions of dollars of his fortune to deprive her of her “rightful” inheritance.
A judge has dismissed charges made by Roula Paterakis, the second wife of the late John Paterakis, that his children diverted millions of dollars of his fortune to deprive her of her “rightful” inheritance. (Colby Ware / Baltimore Sun)

A Baltimore County Circuit Court judge has dismissed charges made by the second wife of the late John Paterakis that his children diverted millions of dollars of his fortune to deprive her of her “rightful” inheritance.

Judge Colleen Cavanaugh dismissed five of seven charges made by Roula Paterakis against her husband’s six children from his first marriage and others, the bulk of an explosive lawsuit the widow had filed in November over an estate she estimated to be worth $1 billion.

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Paterakis, who turned his immigrant father’s rowhouse bakery into a huge commercial operation and developed the Harbor East neighborhood, died in October 2016.

His widow had charged that Paterakis’ children took millions of dollars in “cash hoards” that their father kept in safes and elsewhere, and transferred other sums into trusts, as a way of keeping the money from her. At a hearing on Wednesday, Cavanaugh dismissed counts that included unjust enrichment and interference with inheritance.

“We are thrilled with the court’s thorough and well-reasoned decision,” said attorney Jeffrey E. Nusinov, who represents two of Paterakis’ children, William J. Paterakis and Venice “Vanessa” Smith. “All the accusations of theft and fraud, which were brought in a failed attempt to pressure one of the most respected families in Baltimore, have been completely dismissed.

“With this distraction put to bed, the Paterakis family will continue to honor John Paterakis’ true testamentary wishes and his legacy of supporting Baltimore.”

Arnold M. Weiner, who represents Roula Paterakis, declined to say how his client might proceed.

Cavanaugh’s order Wednesday did not involve two final counts: defamation and invasion of privacy.

The widow also has petitioned Baltmore County Orphans’ Court seeking to remove William Paterakis and Vanessa Smith as the personal representatives of their father’s estate.

“We are disappointed by the ruling, and we are considering our options at this point,” Weiner said.

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