A homeless man living out of a 1995 Range Rover, William Tavoulareas, was arrested by Palm Beach Police after he somehow got rid of a parking enforcement boot on the vehicle.
And with a felony theft charge pending for the disappearance of a $300 device, the former Miami Beach resident was found indigent by a local court and assigned a tax-funded public defender.
Never mind that, in an only-in-South-Florida twist, Tavoulareas is the multimillionaire heir to an oil fortune.
The man known on the streets as Tav happens to be a son of former Mobil CEO William P. Tavoulareas, an in-your-face oilman who stirred the company into one of the top grossing in the world before he passed away in 1996.
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“Trust me, my brother has millions in his trust fund,” said Boca Raton shipping magnate Peter Tavoulareas. “But he’s been having psychological problems. The family has tried to help him countless times. We tried to have him move in with family, but it appears he just wants to be homeless.”
When reached through SMS texting after he was released from the county jail on his own recognizance, Tavoulareas, 56, William wrote he is just “relaxing” in Palm Beach and he didn’t want to discuss his situation.
But his brother Peter did talk about it.
William, Peter said, is college educated and lived in a posh house in London for years. He even owned a 70-foot yacht that he eventually sold.
He lived in a condo on Ocean Drive in Miami Beach five years ago, according to records, after divorcing his ex-wife. She was the product of an English real estate development fortune, and she and Tavoulareas have an adult son.
Their engagement in 1988 was covered by The New York Times.
Recently, however, William’s presence on police blotters is what has made the news.
He’s been arrested at least three times on charges of driving the Range Rover without a valid license, and even got picked up in Palm Beach for exposing himself. That 2013 charge was tossed out.
The arrests, says Peter, show his brother’s mental health is only deterioriating.
“And his behavior is getting worse,” Peter said. “We hope the judge in this theft case is going to notice he needs to be treated instead of sent back on the street.
“The thing about my brother is that he is acting irrationally, and he knows he is,” Peter said. “It’s been as tough for his family as for Palm Beach Police.”