A Miami Story


LA has Raymond Chandler, New York has Jimmy Breslin, and Miami has….attorney Jay Thornton?

In an “only in Miami” story, Jay spins a fanciful tale that has opposing counsel Luis Delgado shaking his head, perhaps in admiration:

For the first time since he was shot and nearly killed last May, Latin songwriter Estefano on Wednesday faced in court the man he accuses of hatching a murder plot against him.

Fabio ”Estefano” Salgado is suing former financial manager, Jose Luis Gil, claiming he conspired a plot with a West Miami-Dade Santeria church and recording studio handyman Francisco Oliveira.

”It was pretty chilling for him. He was looking into the eyes of somebody he believes betrayed him and planned his demise,” said Estefano’s attorney, Neil Taylor.

In Wednesday’s civil court hearing, Circuit Judge Ronald Friedman ordered that bank accounts and property tied to Gil would remain frozen for now.

Friedman ordered the assets frozen after the suit was first filed in November. Estefano’s civil attorney, Jay Thornton, told the judge it was important to “protect what is left of his stolen wealth.”

The suit alleges Gil stole millions from the songwriter, creator of hits for Latin heavyweights such as Marc Anthony, Shakira and Gloria Estefan.

Last week, Estefano’s attorneys filed an updated lawsuit to include the Ochosi Yoruba Santeria church, which they say received $2.4 million of Estefano’s money from Gil over the years.

Gil has not been charged in connection with Estefano’s shooting. He denies involvement.

Miami police say Oliveira, facing trial for attempted murder, shot Estefano in the chest and back of the head May 25 inside the songwriter’s waterfront mansion.

Estefano has returned to songwriting, his attorneys say.

In Estefano’s lawsuit, it is claimed his former financial manager “somehow acquired complete control over nearly all of Estefano’s funds and intellectual and other property.”

It also says Gil gave Oliveira ”unlimited access” to the studio’s bank account and even wired money to Oliveira’s wife after the handyman’s arrest.

On Wednesday, Gil’s attorney, Luis Delgado, stressed allegations in the lawsuit are a plot to overdramatize a simple contract dispute.

”I can’t even begin to address them, they’re so far-fetched,” Delgado said.

Let’s see — with all bank accounts and property of the client frozen, I suspect Luis will be addressing these claims shortly.