Daughter accused of defrauding mom, forcing her out of White Bear Lake home
Widow says she was cheated out of home, money
By Emily Gurnon
Updated: 06/26/2009 11:36:57 PM CDT
The 80-year-old widow trusted her daughter, a real estate agent, to take care of her money and the family home.
The daughter bought the house from her mother and promised to let the elderly woman live there, and her mother's expenses would be paid with the proceeds.
Instead, Penny Draves took the money and forced Mirella Greene out of the home in White Bear Lake where she had lived for years, Greene claimed in a lawsuit filed Friday in Ramsey County District Court.
According to the lawsuit:
Draves told Greene that she could help her mother with her financial affairs by adding her name to Greene's accounts.
Draves could then pay all her mother's bills, and when her mother passed away, she could share the money with her sister without having to go through probate, she told Greene.
She also suggested the mother sell the home to Draves and her husband, Richard. That way, they could "care for Mother so that she could spend the rest of her days at the family home surrounded by her good memories and personal belongings," the lawsuit said. Draves acted as the real estate agent.
Greene was supposed to receive about $327,000 at the home's closing. But she did not know that the improvements the Draveses made to the home on Otter Lake Road — ostensibly to add to Greene's privacy — were subtracted from the share she was to receive. Instead, she received $240,000.
Draves then used that money herself, the lawsuit said, "leaving Mother destitute."
A message left on Penny Draves' work cell phone was not returned Friday afternoon.
Edina Realty, where Draves is an agent, also is named as a defendant. A reporter was told late Friday that no one from Edina Realty was available for comment.
About April 9, Greene asked the Draveses when they were going to pay her back.
In response to the demand for payment, the suit says, Penny Draves allegedly said, "When you get the hell out of here, I will pay you back."
The Draveses then forced Greene to move out, despite her age and a heart condition, the suit claimed. They refused to allow her back in to get her personal effects and family heirlooms.
The lawsuit claims the Draveses committed fraud, breach of contract and undue influence, among other charges. It also claims Edina Realty was negligent in allowing Draves to enter into the purchase agreement with Greene for the home and to extract the costs of home alterations from the sale proceeds.
Greene's attorney, Perry de Stefano, said he could not comment on where Greene lives now. The lawsuit lists her address as down the street from the family home.
Emily Gurnon can be reached at 651-228-5522.