In their petition to be appointed guardians of Marvin, the great-nieces described him as being incapable, suffering from dementia, and unable to maintain a conversation or remember information passed to him.
Marvin said it had been his choice to live in the basement. There was a TV and exercise equipment, as well as a futon full of mattresses. But when Todd showed him the photo of himself taken shortly after, shirtless, Marvin was distressed at how thin he was. “When I look at it, it indicates that I was not getting food,” he said, “because my bones are visible.”
There were also financial issues. Four months earlier, in July 2018, as cancer ravaged Anita’s body, someone had helped Marvin change his willingness to leave the Dyker Heights home, worth more than $ 1.2 million. dollars, entirely to the great-nieces, rather than being shared between the two families, as it was before. Other accounts were also changed to favor Anita’s family, including beneficiaries of Anita’s will and $ 368,000 in life insurance policies, Todd said.
That Friday, days after Todd’s initial visit, Todd and his older brother Ralph, who lived in New York City, showed up at the Dyker Heights house and announced that they were taking their father to lunch. Instead, they started touring Marvin’s banks to withdraw his assets.
Police officers, notified by Anita’s family, texted Todd telling him to bring Marvin to a police station. They went to a Manhattan police station, then to one in Brooklyn, then to a hospital because Marvin’s blood pressure was “off the charts,” Todd said. Finally, around 2 a.m. and without telling his mother, Todd took his father to the apartment he shared with Felicia, in the Upper East Side apartment building where Todd grew up.
It was the first time Marvin and Felicia had seen each other in at least a decade.
Todd said he was only protecting his father’s property. In their request for trusteeship, the great-nieces accused Todd and his brother of “exerting undue influence and coercion” on Marvin to get his hands on his money, saying he “cannot keep up a conversation of some length because he cannot remember the information shared with him and therefore loses the thread of the discussion.
Marvin only saw Anita once, when he came home a few days after Thanksgiving to take his meds. In a very short video recorded on Todd’s cell phone, Marvin stands over his bed, apparently telling him he was leaving. “If you think I’m going to beg you,” can you hear him say, “I’m not.”