Lawyers for Palm Beach Gardens real estate entrepreneur Ilia Mogilevsky have asked a judge to throw out the 21-count federal suit against him, calling it “baseless” and “an attempt to leverage” his pending divorce.
On Jan. 16, Mogilevsky’s mother-in-law, Tamara Filippova, filed the 158-page suit, which cites the federal Civil Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, or RICO.
It claims Mogilevsky — in collusion with local business partners, lawyers, notaries public and others also named as defendants — defrauded Filippova, who lives in eastern Siberia, out of more than $8 million by forging documents to move dozens of Florida properties to his name from hers.
Mogilevsky, 40, and his wife Natalia, 39, who are immigrants from Russia, filed for divorce Nov. 2. On Nov. 11, she was arrested, charged with biting her husband’s wrist in front of the couple’s children, ages 12 and 3, at their BallenIsles Country Club home. The domestic-battery charges are pending, as is the divorce.
The lawyers for Ilia Mogilevsky, in a “motion to dismiss” filed Feb. 6 in U.S. District Court, said that of the more than 400 allegations made by Filippova, most used the term “upon information and belief.’”
According to Black’s Law Dictionary, that’s a legal phrase used when a person believes what he has said is true, even though some facts may be missing.
Mogilevsky’s lawyers said the suit against him boils down to his mother-in-law having provided him money she now wants back but that the lawsuit, while voluminous, is short on specifics.
And the lawyers said Filippova can’t cite RICO because it covers only alleged crimes against U.S. citizens.
They said any part of the lawsuit that would survive a direct dismissal are nothing more than “immaterial, impertinent and scandalous allegations” about previous lawsuits involving the couple and “must be stricken” as unrelated to the new suit, and that they’re included only for “harassing and embarrassing Mr. Mogilevsky.”
The lawsuit by Filippova “was outrageous in and of itself,” Gregory Coleman, Ilia Mogilevsky’s lawyer, said Friday. “It is nothing but a series of lies and misrepresentations.”
Gary Rosen, the lawyer for Filippova, said Friday he’s assembling an amended complaint that will “clear up all the items that Mr. Mogilevsky’s attorney claims is not clear or specific, and eliminates the ‘upon and information and belief’ phrasing.”
On Feb. 5, Rosen’s firm filed a separate lawsuit against Ilia Mogilevsky’s lawyers themselves. It says those lawyers took action to block Filippova from selling her interest in the the BallenIsles home in which Ilia and Natalia Mogilevsky have lived. The new suit says the son and daughter-in-law own only 1 percent of it. Palm Beach County property records show the mother-in-law as the buyer of the home in December 2013, at $2.05 million.
Rosen has said he intends to forward all his findings about alleged misdoings by Ilia Mogilevsky to the U.S. Attorney for possible criminal investigations.
And while Filippova’s suit lists Natalia as a defendant, and alleges she helped her husband mislead her mother, Rosen has said Natalia “was duped by Ilia.”
Stuart Kaplan, who represents Natalia in her domestic-battery case, has said she plans to countersue him in federal court.