It’s real estate’s answer to an episode of Law & Order.
Julien Studley’s former personal assistant is suing the late Studley founder’s wife Jane for allegedly cutting her out of his will and subjecting her to wrongful imprisonment and assault and battery while she worked for the real estate executive.
The disgruntled former employee, Marion Rios, says she was Studley’s personal assistant for 35 years and was guaranteed an inheritance of $140,000 in his will before Jane conspired to shut her out. For her part, Jane denied the allegations and said that Rios had a history of mooching off her husband.
Studley is alleged to have promised the inheritance to Rios following the sale of his shares in his namesake company Studley (now Savills Studley) in the early 2000s, which resulted in Rios losing benefits such as her 401K account and her life insurance policy. They originally agreed upon $100,000, she says, but later upped the amount to $140,000.
But Rios, who was responsible for Studley’s schedule and banking, says she clashed with Jane, who tried to undermine her longtime relationship with Studley and frequently accused her of stealing from the family and shutting her out the couple’s bank accounts, the lawsuit alleges.
The tension hit a boiling point in October 2014, when Jane allegedly confronted Rios about missing funds from a family bank account and cornered her in her office, preventing her from leaving the apartment. Studley’s attorney, Gary Kreinik, called to advise Rios to leave the apartment or risk being punched by Jane, she says.
Rios was dismissed from her job following the incident and, when Julien Studley died of brain cancer in October, she found that his will had been amended to remove her $140,000.
“Jane interfered with Marion’s employment contract and with Marion’s agreement with Julien to be taken care of in his will,” Rios said in the complaint, filed Friday in State Supreme Court. “Jane unduly influenced Julien at a time when his mental faculties were diminished due to brain cancer.”
When contacted by The Real Deal, Jane denied the allegations, saying of Rios: ‘She knows why she was fired.”
She continued: “My husband was a very, very nice man. She [Rios] was the kind of person who always felt like she wasn’t getting enough from him. So many people used to ask him why he kept her.”
Jane, a Shanghai native, was Studley’s second wife following his short-lived marriage to a junior employee at the brokerage.
“After we got divorced, I decided, I’m not going to look for a wife; I’m going to look for someone to take care of me,” Studley told TRD in a 2008 interview. “Ultimately, I married Jane.”