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Hijacking Dr. Hofmann


David has accused Genevieve of stealing more than $1 million in the years preceding her flight to Paris. His group has presented the court with copies of nearly 200 checks that Genevieve allegedly duped Hofmann into signing. David says charges may be brought against Genevieve for kidnapping or theft, and hints at other avenues of possible attack. His primary goal, however, is to regain control of Hofmann. Genevieve took Dr. Hofmann “out of his home where he wanted to be, where he wanted to live, where he wanted to die,” David says. “Tell me why.” David believes that Genevieve is not motivated by love. He points to Hofmann’s precious pine tree: Genevieve had it chopped down and thrown out. (She had no choice, she says; the tree was infested.) If she loved Hofmann, David says, she never would have let that happen.

Genevieve is petitioning the court for alimony and equitable distribution of the couple’s marital property—after all, under New York law, she and Hofmann have been technically married for more than two years. The controlling law remains fuzzy, particularly if Hofmann dies before the dust settles. The legal precedent concerning men whose guardians successfully petition for annulment but are then dragged to Europe and pass away while the decision is appealed is surprisingly sparse. But it’s worth noting that the courts have consistently sided with David, however suspect his intentions may appear. And if Genevieve is a gold digger, she isn’t a particularly skilled one: With the bulk of Hofmann’s fortune tied up in what David calls an “ironclad” trust, it will be difficult, if not impossible, for her to get to it, whether or not she manages to remain married to Hofmann until he dies.

Genevieve is ready to settle. She wants enough money to maintain the admittedly lavish lifestyle Hofmann subsidized for most of her adult life, or at least enough to ensure she doesn’t become homeless. (The offer she allegedly made prior to losing the first round of the annulment battle—$50 million or half of the estate, whichever is higher—now appears comically optimistic.) She also wants a new guardian appointed, one with no personal stake in the dispute. And she must be allowed to care for Hofmann until his last earthly day. “Nobody will separate me from Dr. Hofmann,” she says. “No one.”

Recently, Lucy read the fortunes of all the dispute’s major players. She uses a regular deck of playing cards, not tarot cards, which terrify her with their images of devils.

She pulled a card for Arie David: the king of hearts. “The lawyer, something happen to him, not too strong like before,” she said, rather presciently. David at the time was recovering from pneumonia.

Lucy revealed Genevieve’s fate. “Queen, the diamond,” she said. “She is very unhappy, very unhappy now. But that’s normal.”

Finally, she looked into Hofmann’s future. She spread the cards across the table and picked one from the middle. A heart, which is promising, but a low one, the five. “Something trouble on the way,” Lucy told me. “But in the end, everything come out better. It take long time, but everything come better in the end.”


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