An allegedly dementia-riddled Queens woman left her nearly $6 million estate to the sons of a disgraced Bronx Congressman, and her family is demanding answers.
Manhattan lawyer Mario Biaggi Jr. — whose late father and namesake served 19 years in the House of Representatives before he was convicted in a pair of corruption scandals — insists he’s done nothing wrong handling the affairs of Lucy Petretti.
Longtime Whitestone resident Petretti, who died in July 2020 at age 90 without any children, owned two commercial properties in the neighborhood which had been in her family for decades.
The lots on Powells Cove Boulevard sold for a whopping $6.3 million earlier this year, as a fight over control of Petretti’s estate winds through Queens Surrogate Court.
Petretti was suffering from “progressive dementia and had taken a dramatic turn for the worse” when she signed the 2018 will bequeathing her estate to the Biaggis, her family charges in court papers.
“She was confused, had memory loss and behavioral disturbances … was paranoid and refused to take her medication,” the relatives contend in the legal filing.
Petretti’s memory was so bad, she thought her brother Raymond died in 2017 — a full decade after his actual death — “and she held a funeral service for him as if he had just died,” her family said.
Petretti’s niece, Barbara O’Flynn, even called the city Department of Adult Protective Services in June 2019 about her aunt — which prompted an investigation of Mario Biaggi Jr., he claims in his own Manhattan Supreme Court lawsuit. Biaggi wasn’t charged.
Biaggi accused O’Flynn of having a “malicious motive” for making the call. He said he and his brother Richard were friends with the Petretti family for “half a century” and slammed Petretti’s niece with a $1.5 million defamation suit in Manhattan Supreme Court last week.
“I didn’t do anything wrong here,” he told The Post. “She wanted to say that her aunt wasn’t properly cared for, that she wasn’t getting medical attention. That’s totally not true, I have all the medical records.”
He said Petretti knew what she was doing when she made her 2018 will, calling claims about her mental state “total garbage,” he added.
“I was just being a decent person doing what I was supposed to do for a lady I’d known since I was 6-years-old,” he said.
Biaggi has it all wrong, said O’Flynn’s lawyer. The Florida woman had questions about the care her aunt was getting, called Biaggi, “and didn’t get answers, and all she wanted to do was get information through APS,” her attorney, Harvey Corn, said.
Petretti bequeathed about $37,000 in modest amounts to friends, charitable organizations and O’Flynn, who is due $10,000 under the 2018 will, while the Biaggi brothers are to equally split whatever is left.
Richard Biaggi, also an attorney, recalled in an August court filing how the families spent dozens of holidays and celebrations together as well as “numerous summer days on the Petretti’s family’s boat, fishing under the Whitestone and Throgs Neck Bridges and beyond” with Lucy’s brothers.
“All those times [Lucy] would pack our Italian lunches and frequently have pasta waiting for us upon our return,” said Richard, father of state Sen. Alessandra Biaggi, in the court filing. Alessandra is currently running for Congress as a woke progressive.
It wasn’t until a Sunday dinner in 2004 that Petretti and her brother Raymond discussed their estates with the Biaggis, Richard claimed.