Thelen Reid Brown Raysman & Steiner’s representation of the estate of a wealthy Mexican politician has landed the law firm in a controversy worthy of a steamy telenovela.
For over a decade, Robert J. Reger, a partner in the New York office of San Francisco-based Thelen Reid, was the lawyer for Emilio Martinez Manautou, a physician-turned-politician who held a number of positions in the Mexican government, including governor of the state of Tamaulipas, directly across the Texas border.
Reger advised Martinez on the creation of two trusts, the so-called Family Trust and the so-called EMM Trust. The latter, which contained $7 million, named as sole beneficiary a Texas woman, Alicia Trevino, who also had a 12 percent interest in the Family Trust. A source familiar with the situation described Trevino as Martinez’s longtime mistress.
Reger was co-trustee of both trusts.
Martinez died in December 2004, but his daughter Letizia Martinez de Gonzalez is now claiming Martinez came to suspect Reger and Trevino had developed a relationship. Based on his suspicions, Gonzalez alleges, Martinez removed Reger as co-trustee a few months before he died and also made plans to disinherit Trevino.
The main drama is playing out in San Antonio probate court, where Trevino has sued Gonzalez, who replaced Reger as trustee, over her alleged transfer of $4 million from the EMM Trust to the Family Trust, in which Gonzalez has a 50 percent interest.