Gossip extra

Father-in-law of Adam Sandler accused of fraud

 
ALBERTO PIZZOLI / AFP/Getty Images

jose@gossipextra.com

While Adam Sandler’s pro-family movie Blended comes out nationwide this weekend, a member his own family has been hit with accusations of fraud.

Father-in-law Joe Titone, a lawyer and former Florida state representative, is a target of a lawsuit filed in Miami-Dade County that alleges he lied when he claimed to represent the victims of theft then pocketed most of the settlement he negotiated.

Titone, father of Sandler’s wife Jackie, is the subject of a Florida Bar Association complaint in connection with the lawsuit filed against him and Broward businessman Darren Baysinger.

Titone, 67, of Pompano Beach, is accused of participating in a scheme to defraud an investor who died shortly after buying $100,000 in merchandise bound for Jamaica.

Here’s what allegedly happened: In 2010, Miami investors Ernesto Liebster and Ken Manfredi bought 2,000 locks from a Texas company.

The two were about to sell the locks at a good profit when things went south: The goods mysteriously vanished from their Miami warehouse, according to records, and Liebster died.

Enter Titone, whose background is rather colorful.

Sandler’s father-in-law was a three-term Democratic state lawmaker when, in 1992, he was disbarred after pleading guilty to perjury and unlawful compensation (he did serve out his term). And he was sentenced to a year suspended jail sentence and four years’ probation in connection with the double charging of a client.

Titone’s law license has been reinstated, and he’s practicing again.

Now, the administrator of Liebster’s estate claims that, shortly after Liebster’s death, Titone helped Baysinger form a shell company that was named as plaintiff against the locks’ shipping agent. This, despite the fact that neither Baysinger nor Titone, the shell company’s lawyer, had anything to do with the merchandise.

Titone, according to Liebster’s heirs, was never asked to represent them nor discussed suing the shipping agent beforehand. In fact, they say, Titone filed the lawsuit over the missing locks without their knowledge.

In time, Titone negotiated a settlement for the theft, according to court papers, and received a $25,000 settlement from the shipping agent.

Titone deposited the money in the trust account of his attorney brother, Anthony Titone, and eventually pocketed $15,000, with most of the rest going to Baysinger.

Joe Titone, according to the paperwork, ducked the Liebsters’ process servers for weeks but eventually was served by Broward Sheriff’s Office deputies.

He disputes the allegations.

“I know the plaintiffs socially,” Titone said. “But I can’t discuss anything else.”

Said Michael Reppas, the Liebsters’ lawyer: “My clients have been completely taken advantage of.”

prom letdown

Well, troubled pop star Justin Bieber stood up his Miami prom date after all.

A teen model from Miami Senior High School had been squawking all week that Bieber was supposed to take her to the school’s prom Friday night at Jungle Island.

He never showed up, and was spotted partying with the pretty people at the Cannes Film Festival on the French Riviera.

His expected presence by the side of senior Yovanna Ventura, a would-be model whose social media accounts are stacked with photos with Bieber on the beach, may have been just a rumor.

But the fact is adults took it seriously: A courthouse source told Gossip Extra that if Bieber had showed up, he would have been served a new lawsuit.

Read more Jose Lambiet stories from the Miami Herald

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