July 31, 2014

Bahamas official denies Cuban widow’s claims

The deputy prime minister of the Bahamas says he did nothing wrong in his handling of the estate of a wealthy resident.

Bahamas Deputy Prime Minister Philip Brave Davis has denied any wrongdoing in the case of the Cuban widow of a Bahamas resident who has complained that she has not received the full inheritance due to her.

“There is not, nor has there ever been, any formal challenge to the manner in which the estate was administered,” Davis, who was executor of the will of Franz Kohlrautz, said in a written statement issued Wednesday.

Davis’ statement came days after el Nuevo Herald published the complaints of Kohlrautz’ widow, Kenia Batista Mir, that she was cheated out of a large portion of the estate. The couple’s house in Freeport, in a neighborhood of $2 million and $3 million homes, was sold for $200,000 to a company headed by Davis.

The deputy prime minister’s office told el Nuevo last week that Davis could not comment on Batista’s complaints because Bahamian officials are not allowed to discuss their work in private practice. A member of Davis’ law firm, Philip McKenzie, told the newspaper on his behalf that Davis had done nothing wrong.

Davis went public, however, after reports in the Bahamas news media echoed Batista’s complaints.

“The gross distortions and aspersions being fueled by those who seek to make mischief cannot go unanswered,” Davis said, without mentioning el Nuevo Herald or any of the Bahamian reports.

Kohlrautz’s marriage was “very tumultuous, filled with much concern about his young wife’s behaviour and actions, and they had been estranged for a considerable period prior to the time of his death,” Davis said.

Batista, who was 25 when she met Kohlrautz, then 75, has denied there were any marital problems.

Davis also said there are documents and letters in which Batista expresses her agreement with the administration and distribution of the estate, and noted that she was represented by a lawyer of her own choice.

“Since that time, Ms. Baptista [sic] Mir has been represented by several prominent and highly respected attorneys who have each reviewed all documents and transactions related to the administration of the Estate and have been satisfied that I have acted properly and ethically at all times,” he added in his statement.

Batista’s current lawyer, Tiffany Dennison, told el Nuevo Herald that she had asked for but never received a detailed accounting of the estate from Davis and the Cuban woman’s previous lawyer, Carlson Shurland.

“I shall not be distracted by utter nonsense and lies as I serve my country and the interest of all Bahamians,” Davis concluded in his statement.

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