The siblings of celebrity chef Rocco DiSpirito want to oust him as the executor of their mother’s estate. They claim that he’s made off with the rents from a Brooklyn apartment building she owned and failed to pay the property taxes.
The New York Post’s recent article, “Siblings of celebrity chef want him out of late mother’s estate,” reports that the 87-year-old Nicolina DiSpirito made hundreds of meatballs a day on DiSpirito’s 2003 reality show, “The Restaurant.” She became a personality in her own right and a celebrity who would frequently walk the red carpets with her TV-star son.
Nicolina passed away in 2013. She named Rocco as her executor and left half her estate to him. She split the other half between her other son Michael and daughter Maria.
Rocco has delayed the probate process and has accumulated needless expenses that are draining the estimated $1.5 million estate, his siblings charge. The unpaid taxes and water bills for his mother’s Pacific Street building, which has six units and a storefront, have reached more than $23,000, according to court papers. Rocco won’t sell the building, even though the family could get about $800,000 for it, Michael and Maria claim. Rather than dividing up their mom’s personal belongings, as she instructed in her will, Rocco’s incurred tens of thousands in unpaid bills to store what his siblings estimate is less than $20,000 worth of personal property.
“Rocco DiSpirito’s neglect, waste, inaction and misconduct accomplishes nothing other than increased expenses and legal fees for the estate,” the siblings wrote in court papers seeking Rocco’s removal as executor.
There is a specific procedure to remove an executor from a will, after the death of the testator: an interested person must file for a court proceeding. An “interested person” is defined as an individual or business that has a stake in the estate assets.
There are several reasons why a probate court may decide to remove an executor from an estate. A judge will typically only remove an executor, if it can be shown that he or she is incapable of performing the necessary duties, is unsuitable for the position or has become disqualified since the deceased appointed him or her. The executor must act in good faith and with the best interests of the beneficiaries in mind. If an executor does a poor or careless job of managing the estate, it can be grounds for removal.
Reference: New York Post (July 7, 2018) “Siblings of celebrity chef want him out of late mother’s estate”