A decorated NYPD veteran whose wife is accused of seducing and starving a notorious elderly attorney to death to seize his $15m estate claims he gave the fling his blessing, DailyMail.com can reveal.
Ex-cop William Frawley reveals in new court papers that he had already come out as gay and started a relationship with a man before his wife Shamin started sleeping with Burt Pugach, who was four decades her senior.
Pugach became infamous in the 1950s for hiring goons to blind his lover Linda Riss before marrying her when he got out of prison 14 years later.
The 93-year-old’s death on Christmas Eve sparked fresh intrigue amid claims he was conned into bequeathing his fortune to Shamin, his caregiver and ‘girlfriend’ of the past four years.
Shamin ‘Sheila’ Frawley’s husband William revealed in court papers obtained by DailyMail.com that he had already come out as gay and started a relationship with a man, giving his wife his blessing to have an affair with Burt Pugach
Frawley, 52, claims she had been in an ‘intimate relationship’ with late New York lawyer Burt Pugach (pictured together in 2019) after meeting him in 2016. Frawley had served as his caregiver until his death
A group of his former friends have sued in New York City Supreme Court, arguing that 51-year-old Shamin, also known as Sheila, manipulated Pugach into changing his will and then withdrew food until he starved.
They say the notion that Pugach would leave his money to his caregiver rather than the charitable foundation for the blind that he set up with his beloved wife Linda, who died in 2013, is absurd. The friends are also pointing the finger at William, 55, and the couple’s son, Nicholas Frawley, 26, who is still in the NYPD.
Their attorney, Peter S. Thomas, claims that William turned a blind eye to his pretty, brunette wife engaging in sexual activity with the ailing millionaire because he was in on the scam.
He further accuses both William and Nicholas of using their expertise in ‘surveillance technology’ to record all of Pugach’s meetings and phone calls.
In a new affidavit, obtained exclusively by DailyMail.com, William insists, however, that he had been estranged from mother-of-four Shamin for years by the time she hooked up with Pugach in 2016.
‘The last time I was sexually intimate with my estranged wife was 2013. It was after that experience that I realized I could no longer live a lie anymore and that I had to be true to myself,’ he reveals.
‘In 2014, I became romantically involved with a man. During this time I realized that I was in fact a homosexual.’
The Frawleys’ accusers say William was still living with Shamin when Pugach suffered a stroke last year and moved into their Flushing, New York home.
They say he pretended to be his wife’s father to maintain the illusion she was single, while she held Pugach a virtual prisoner and coerced him into changing his will.
William, who earlier this week switched his Facebook profile picture from a photo of Shamin and himself arm in arm to a New York Mets logo, claims otherwise in his February 22 reply.
‘In 2015 I separated with my estranged wife, Shamin, and moved out of our marital home to my current residence which we own jointly,’ he states.
‘Shamin and I have an amicable relationship and are raising our younger children together.’
Frawley has similarly denied any wrongdoing, insisting her 31-year marriage was over by the time she started dating Pugach and that they were in a serious, loving relationship.
In a new affidavit, obtained exclusively by DailyMail.com, William insists, however, that he had been estranged from mother-of-four Shamin for years by the time she hooked up with Pugach in 2016. ‘The last time I was sexually intimate with my estranged wife was 2013. It was after that experience that I realized I could no longer live a lie anymore and that I had to be true to myself,’ he reveals
The latest filings include an affidavit from Grzegorz Wolski, a doctor of physical therapy who treated Pugach on a weekly basis after his stroke. ‘At no time did I ever notice that Mr Pugach was being coerced or controlled by anyone,’ he writes
Her attorney, Jonathan Strauss, insists the former pals are making ‘baseless, despicable’ allegations to ‘obtain money that they are not entitled to’.
‘Plaintiffs baseless accusation of Shamin’s alleged undue influence upon Mr Pugach is built solely upon their mere disparity in age,’ he writes in a reply to their filing.
‘An age disparity between two people who love each other over a long period of time is not proof [of] undue influence. Instead such an allegation is ageism, plain and simple.’
Pugach became a household name in 1959 when he hired thugs to attack Linda Riss, a 22-year-old secretary with whom the married attorney had been having an affair.
When Linda broke off the relationship and got engaged to another man Pugach warned her: ‘If I can’t have you, no one else will have you, and when I get through with you no one else will want you.’
True to his word he hired three thugs who splashed her with lye, though he later claimed in interviews that he merely asked them to beat her up. The abrasive chemical, commonly used in alkaline drain cleaners, left Linda blind in one eye and nearly blind in the other. She hid her injuries behind trademark oversized sunglasses for the rest of her life.
Her decision 14 years later to marry Pugach when he finished his sentence – by then divorced from his first wife and disbarred because of his felony conviction – dumbfounded friends and family while gripping the media.
Against all odds, their second act lasted for 39 years and became the subject of numerous articles, a book and the smash hit 2007 documentary, Crazy Love.
Pugach revised his will at least five times after Linda succumbed to heart failure, gifting differing amounts to friends, but always leaving the bulk of the money to the Burton and Linda Pugach Charitable Foundation for the visually impaired. The foundation was left with nothing, however, when the will was updated for the final time in October last year.
Frawley has insisted her marriage to William (pictured together in 2011) was over by the time she became Pugach’s girlfriend and that the pair were a ‘monogamist’ couple
Pugach shot to infamy in the late 1950s when he hired goons to blind his young lover Linda Riss with lye for ending their affair, yet married her 14 years later (pictured together)
By then the elderly socialite was completely ‘smitten’ with Shamin as well as totally dependent on her for his daily care, according to Thomas.
‘While still married, with her husband’s participation in the scheme, she used the romantic and sexual leverage she had over Burt Pugach to get him to change the beneficiaries on all of his accounts and in his will.’
Shamin ‘isolated him, mistreated him, manipulated him, and once she got what she wanted from him, she starved him to death,’ he writes in a February 3 complaint.
Thomas says the day Pugach died $150,000 of his money was transferred to an unknown savings account. His assets were frozen, however, after a judge granted the former friends a temporary restraining order.
Pugach’s former attorney, Peter Gordon, Gordon’s wife Maris, and friends Joel Jacobowitz, Tal Priel and Cindi Weiss, are alleging undue influence, unjust enrichment and disgorgement. Gordon and his wife say they were due to receive $1m from Pugach’s estate before the revisions.
Jacobowitz claims he was similarly written out of $5m. The foundation had been due to receive $10.5m, it’s claimed.
Her decision 14 years later to marry Pugach when he finished his sentence – by then divorced and disbarred because of his felony conviction – dumbfounded friends and family while gripping the media. Pictured: The couple in 1974
Strauss says last October’s will was drawn up without any undue influence, that Frawley was entitled to withdraw money for funeral costs and that Pugach’s death certificate listed natural causes rather than anything nefarious.
He also claims that Pugach freely admitted to setting up the charitable foundation as a ‘vehicle to lessen his tax exposure’.
‘The plaintiffs herein are not sons, daughters or relatives of Mr Pugach’s in any legal manuta that would entitle them to anything from his Estate,’ Strauss writes.
‘Instead, the plaintiffs are attempting to acquire Mr Pugach’s hard earned money by deceit, feigning their devotion to him and stating, to their benefit, what his last wishes would be.’
The latest filings include an affidavit from Grzegorz Wolski, a doctor of physical therapy who treated Pugach on a weekly basis after his stroke.
‘At no time did I ever notice that Mr Pugach was being coerced or controlled by anyone,’ he writes.
‘Mr Pugach was taken care of both physically and mentally in the most compassionate way possible. It was obvious to me that he truly loved Shamin more than anything.’
Burt Pugach was ‘enchanted’ with glamorous caregiver – echoing intense obsession he had for his late wife, friends say
Grieving pals told DailyMail.com how Burt Pugach became ‘enchanted’ with his glamorous younger caregiver – echoing the intense obsession he had for his late wife Linda.
The rich widower is said to have become instantly smitten with Shamin ‘Sheila’ Frawley after striking up conversation during a 2016 meal at Ben’s Kosher Deli in Queens.
‘Burt was a flamboyant guy, fur coat, gold watch, nice car,’ said attorney Peter S. Thomas, who is suing Frawley on behalf of three of Pugach’s closest friends.
Grieving pals told DailyMail.com how Burt Pugach became ‘enchanted’ with his glamorous younger caregiver – echoing the intense obsession he had for his late wife Linda
‘In March, when Burt went into Sheila’s house and was paralyzed, he still had the idea he would get better and eventually move out.
‘She convinced Burt to swing more than $15m from the estate to her in a new will drafted by a new attorney.’
Peter Gordon, one of the three people suing Frawley, claims she coerced Pugach into changing his will.
‘She was married, she was with her husband when they met. But he was enchanted with their family, this woman, her husband and their children,’ Gordon, who is also a lawyer, told DailyMail.com.
Social media accounts suggest Frawley has two young daughters, whom she regularly takes to New York Mets games.
It’s not immediately clear what credentials she has as a caregiver though it’s believed she had previously worked as a home health aide.
Court entries seen by DailyMail.com reveal Frawley filed for divorce from her husband William, 55, in October.
Frawley hung up when reached by telephone and did not respond to further requests for comment.