Family feuds for control of Olde Mistick Village and Groton Plaza Court

May 7 – The descendants of Martin Olson, the shopping center mogul behind the decades-old development of Olde Mistick Village in Stonington and Groton Plaza Court on Long Hill Road, are fighting in the probate court for control of two of the region’s biggest retail centres.

Only one of Olson’s children is alive, 85-year-old Joyce Olson Resnikoff, and her siblings’ children are trying to wrest control of her father’s trusts from her, which still own the two malls and are meant to benefit generations of his heirs.

They allege in probate court filings and a related Supreme Court lawsuit that Resnikoff and her son Christopher Regan made “self-dealings” from managing the trusts, with Regan’s management company winning lucrative non-bid contracts.

Payments are being made to Regan that are “unnecessary, unjustified” or for projects that are not “professionally” completed, the trustee cousins ​​allege in a filing.

The probate court motions also allege that Resnikoff made improper distributions of assets from the trusts to her son.

Resnikoff’s nieces and nephews are also trying to stop their aunt from selling the trust’s key assets, $21.5 million Olde Mistick Village and $7.1 million Groton Plaza, to her son. The deals are set forth in separate purchase and sale agreements signed by Resnikoff and Regan.

According to the applications, the properties were not placed on the open market and were not properly valued.

Motions to halt the sales and remove Resnikoff as chief trustee of the trusts that own the centers are due to be heard in a trial beginning June 1 in New London probate court.

I left a message for Regan’s attorney, Robert Tobin of New London, but never heard from him again.

When I called the Olde Mistick Village office, Resnikoff answered the ringing phone and answered my questions.

When asked about the charges in her son’s overpayment lawsuit, Resnikoff told me that he and she work very hard seven days a week.

When I asked about her nieces’ and nephews’ allegations that they were short-changed as beneficiaries of the trusts, she said her parents had already received plenty of money from her father’s estate.

When I asked her to leave a message for her son to call me if he wanted to comment on the court proceedings, she said there was no need, she was the trustee and she would be the person to do it would speak .

Resnikoff had previously been involved in the administration of her father’s trust by a co-trustee, her brother Jerry Olson, who died in 2019. Her other brother Martin died in 2020.

Some of the probate court filings allege that Resnikoff continued to administer the trusts alone after Jerry Olson’s death, although a co-trustee was required.

“Joyce Resnikoff has for many years been left unrestrained in her fiduciary duties and has acted in the best interests of her or her children without regard to her duties under the law and as a fiduciary,” the cousins ​​said in a filing.

In the absence of a co-trustee following the death of her brother, Jerry Olson, a filing alleges, Resnikoff attempted to take her older brother, elder Martin Olson, to a bank near his home in Maine to have someone there notarize his signature on a document certified.

According to the court record, the transaction was stopped when Martin’s lawyer became aware of what was happening and drove to the bank to stop it.

The New London probate court is returning to some post-COVID-19 normalcy, and the June 1 trial will be held in person at City Hall’s Council Chambers.

I would think they could probably sell tickets and popcorn for what could be the opening public salvo of the region’s most prominent family feud.

This is the opinion of David Collins.

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