Grandmother Nicolina DiSpirito may have become famous making hundreds of meatballs on her son Rocco’s television show “The Restaurant,” but that doesn’t mean he’s doing right by his siblings or her estate, according to The New York Post’s recent article, “Siblings of celebrity chef want him out of late mother’s estate.”
Michael and Maria, siblings of celebrity chef Rocco DiSpirito, have filed a lawsuit to get Rocco removed as executor of the estate. They accuse him of failing to pay property taxes and taking the rent payments from an apartment building she owned in Brooklyn.
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.
In most cases, a judge will only remove an executor, if it is proven that she or he is not capable of performing the duties required, is unsuited for the position or has become disqualified since the decedent appointed her or him. The executor is required to act in good faith and with the best interest of the beneficiaries in mind. Grounds for removing an executor include doing a bad or negligent job of managing the estate and its assets.
Reference: New York Post (July 7, 2018) “Siblings of celebrity chef want him out of late mother’s estate”