Judge sides with Fumo daughter in trust-fund case

In this Tuesday, July 14, 2009, file photo, former state Sen. Vincent Fumo exits the U.S. Courthouse in Philadelphia.
In this Tuesday, July 14, 2009, file photo, former state Sen. Vincent Fumo exits the U.S. Courthouse in Philadelphia. (ASSOCIATED PRESS)
Posted: August 02, 2013

A judge ruled against former Pennsylvania State Sen. Vincent J. Fumo and in favor of one of his daughters Thursday in a bitter legal struggle over trust-fund money.

Orphans' Court Judge Joseph D. O'Keefe appointed Sylvia DiBona, godmother to 23-year-old Allison Fumo, as trustee and declared the ex-senator's choice null and void.

The elder Fumo created a limited partnership to benefit Allison Fumo and his son, Vincent E., now 44. The family partnership and related trusts were worth about $2.5 million to the children.

After Fumo was convicted of defrauding the Senate and two nonprofit organizations, and attempting a cover-up, he borrowed $1.4 million from the partnership to pay part of the restitution and fines he owed as part of his sentence.

His son withdrew $533,000 after he turned 40, the minimum age for accessing the trust money.

Fumo picked Samuel Bennett, a Pennsylvania Turnpike maintenance worker who was the brother-in-law of his fiancee, Carolyn Zinni, as the trustee.

Bennett resigned after acknowledging he knew little, if anything, about his duties as a fiduciary.

Fumo then sought to have Anthony Repici, his former doctor, installed as trustee. The judge rejected Fumo's choice and sided with his daughter.

"This is what we wanted from the beginning," Don P. Foster, Allison Fumo's lawyer, said Thursday night.

"She now has a trustee she has confidence in," Foster said.

DiBona is the widow of G. Fred DiBona Jr., former chief executive officer of Independence Blue Cross.

Thomas A. Leonard, Vincent J. Fumo's lawyer, could not be reached for comment Thursday night.

Fumo is scheduled to leave a federal prison in Ashland, Ky., Tuesday morning after four years behind bars. He will live in a North Philadelphia halfway house and work as a $10-an-hour office assistant at his attorney's law firm.


Contact Robert Moran at 215-854-5983 or bmoran@phillynews.com, or follow on Twitter @RobertMoran215.

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