Decades ago, local real estate mogul Max M. Farash put a few of his not-inconsiderable assets into a trust fund to benefit his wife, Marian M. Farash.
Under their arrangement, assets that remained in the trust when Marian died would go to their only child, daughter Lynn.
Yet more than two years after Marian Farash passed away, Lynn Farash hasn't seen a penny of the $2.2 million that remained in her mother's trust fund — and now a local judge is being asked to decide whether she should receive the money at all.
The alternative view is the funds should go into a separate trust that ultimately would disburse a part of the funds to the family charitable foundation, which could eventually become the largest such foundation in the Rochester area's history.
Arguments in the case, expected later this fall before state Supreme Court Justice John Ark, are the latest link in a long chain of legal skirmishes growing out of the costly and sometimes-contentious guardianship of Max and Marian Farash. On Friday came news that Farash's grandnephew, to whom he had entrusted the presidency of his property management company, has been arrested on charges that he stole thousands of dollars from the firm.
Max. M. Farash, now 96 and living in a Webster nursing home, was declared mentally incapacitated in April 2007 by a different Supreme Court judge.
Farash's fortune, estimated to be as large as $500 million, is now guided by a court-appointed property guardian, James C. Gocker. The Rochester lawyer also was property guardian to Marian Farash until her death at age 89 in July 2007.
Gocker has near-total control over Farash assets, which include about 5,000 apartment and townhouse units in the Rochester area and Florida. Since his appointment, Gocker has cataloged and reorganized Farash's holdings, revamped the family foundation and the Farash Corp. and investigated unspecified financial irregularities alleged to have occurred before his appointment.
For that work, Gocker and several lawyers, accountants and others who have advised him had been paid more than $3.1 million from Farash's funds through May of this year, according to court records.
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