In re Bolton, 2022-30940

CourtNew York Surrogate Court
Writing for the CourtRita M. Mella Judge
PartiesIn the Matter of the Cross-Petition of Victoria Bolton and Alfonso Qahhaar, for Appointment as Administrators of the Estate of CALVIN RAMSEY, Deceased, In the Matter of the Cross-Petition of Kimberly Phillips, for Appointment as Successor Temporary Administrator and Administrator of the Estate of CALVIN RAMSEY, Deceased,
Decision Date15 April 2022
Docket Number2019-1502/C,2022-30940,2019-1502/A

In the Matter of the Cross-Petition of Victoria Bolton and Alfonso Qahhaar, for Appointment as Administrators of the Estate of CALVIN RAMSEY, Deceased, In the Matter of the Cross-Petition of Kimberly Phillips, for Appointment as Successor Temporary Administrator and Administrator of the Estate of CALVIN RAMSEY, Deceased,

No. 2022-30940

Nos. 2019-1502/A, 2019-1502/C

Surrogate's Court, New York County

April 15, 2022


Unpublished Opinion

DECISION AND ORDER

Rita M. Mella Judge

Decedent Calvin Ramsey, former basketball player and New York Knicks broadcaster, died intestate on March 25, 2019. In the months following his death, competing petitions for the appointment of an Administrator for his estate were filed in this court. The first petition, by Ivane Phillips, identified decedent's distributees as seven nieces and nephews, the children of two predeceased alleged half-siblings of decedent, related through decedent's father (hereinafter referred to collectively as the niece/nephew class). With the consent of the other six members of this class. Letters of Temporary Administration issued to Ivane Phillips on June 21, 2019.

Thereafter, a cross-petition was filed by Alfonso Qahhaar and Victoria Bolton. Cross-Petitioners alleged that decedent's distributees are in fact two maternal first cousins, Mr. Qahhaar and Mary El-Amin (hereinafter referred to collectively as the cousins). Among the papers filed with Cross-Petitioners' application is a document appearing to have been executed by Ms. El-Amin on August 15, 2019, titled "Waiver of Citation, Renunciation and Consent to

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Appointment of Administrator," in which Ms. Bolton is designated to serve as an Administrator (the designation). Cross-Petitioners argue that no father is identified for decedent on either his birth certificate or death certificate and maintain that decedent's father and thus the paternal side of his family is not established and that the niece/nephew class is not entitled to inherit from decedent's estate. Because Cross-Petitioners identify cousins as decedent's distributees, the Public Administrator of New York County was made a party to this proceeding (SCPA 1123[i][2]).[1] A verified answer to the cross-petition was filed by Ivane Phillips, along with an Affirmation by her counsel and a copy of decedent's birth certificate, which lists Calvin Beaver as decedent's father and Ruth Mae Ramsey as decedent's mother and indicates that Mr. Beaver and Ms. Ramsey were not married.

The parties appeared by counsel before the court on October 22, 2019, on an application by the Temporary Administrator regarding access to certain estate assets and on the cross-petition. In light of the dispute regarding decedent's distributees, the court imposed a bond in the amount of $400, 000 on Ivane Phillips's Letters of Temporary Administration and directed Cross-Petitioners to amend their petition to identify unknown distributees and cause citation to issue on them in order for the court to proceed to make a kinship determination. Nothing further was filed with respect to the Cross-Petition until recently.

In the summer of 2021, Kimberly Phillips, another member of the niece/nephew class, filed her own cross-petition and therein advised the court that Ivane Phillips had died on January 11, 2021, leaving the decedent's estate without a fiduciary. Kimberly Phillips asks the court appoint her as Administrator, and requests Letters of Temporary Administration to protect estate assets and prevent the funds in an estate account from being turned over to the state's unclaimed

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funds. Kimberly Phillips has the support of the niece/nephew class, but for one individual, Shahara Ogelsby, who, according to Kimberly Phillips, is not in fact a distributee of decedent.

Citation on Kimberly Phillips's cross-petition issued to Alfonso Qahhaar, Victoria Bolton, Mary El-Amin, and the Public Administrator of New York County, returnable before the court on April 12, 2022. The cousins' cross-petition was restored to the calendar for...

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