Lawsuit Alleges Lawyers Duped Dying Businessman

Aug 25, 2011
The widow of a Chicago area businessman says she was coerced into signing a prenuptial agreement.

In a case demonstrating the importance of settling prenuptial agreements and estate planning matters with loved ones, the widow of Thomas McNamee, a prominent Chicago-area businessman, has sued her late husband’s attorneys and business partners, disputing the disposition of his estate, the Chicago Tribune reports.

The plaintiff, Heather Rooney, says she and McNamee planned to wed after he was diagnosed with brain cancer in 2008. Her suit alleges that moments before walking down the aisle, lawyers pressured her into signing a prenuptial agreement that did not accord with McNamee’s wishes, according to the Tribune.

Rooney alleges these attorneys then manipulated McNamee into signing a revision to his last will and testament, giving two of his business partners discretion in disbursing payouts to Rooney and other McNamee beneficiaries from a $3.5 million trust fund, the news source reports. Rooney says a previous will established a $500,000 trust fund specifically for her.

Todd Cohen, an attorney representing defendant Timothy Mahoney, told the Tribune that Rooney was not pressured into signing the prenuptial agreement, and her suit is “frivolous.”

In a separate lawsuit, Leo Shales, a long-time friend of McNamee, alleges he was fired from his job managing a restaurant formerly owned by McNamee because he refused to testify that his late friend was of sound mind at the time he signed his will, according to the Chicago Sun-Times.