A glimpse inside the mind of Guma Aguiar


Guma Aguiar, the troubled multimillionaire who disappeared Tuesday, has a long history of mental illness. Over the course of years, he's been Baker Acted several times for psychotic epsodes and was once institutionalized in Israel after claiming to have interviewed an Israeli soldier captured by Hamas. His billionaire uncle and former business partner, Thomas Kaplan, alleged in court papers that Guma has a Messiah complex and believed he was going to become the Prime Minister of Israel. His wife, Jamie, has filed domestic violence complaints against him alleging abuse and threats. His disease has made life a home, where the couple have four young children, "a living hell," said her attorney, Bill Scherer.

His erratic behavior has led to several arrests and a rough run-in with the Broward Sheriff's Office in which he accused deputies of anti-Semitism. Now he's disappeared after one of his boats, the T.T. Zion, came ashore early Wednesday during a period of rough seas without him on it. Found in the boat were his cellphone and wallet. There is no doubt he's under a lot of pressure: Kaplan is suing him for fraud and Guma's $220 million share of the natural gas company that made both men fabulously wealthy. And Kaplan had gotten the clear upper hand in the suit, partly due to Aguiar's actions, which included hacking into Kaplan's email account to get confidential information. When caught, Aguiar blamed it on his bipolar disorder.

His wife is also suing him over the couple's prenuptial agreement, which would pay her $500,000. saying it was fraudulent because Guma knew at the time of the 2005 marriage that he was worth hundreds of millions of dollars.

Now, after his disappearance, Ellen Aguiar, his mother has filed court papers seeking to take over his estate, claiming her son is likely dead. The papers were filed on Thursday, the day after his boat washed ashore and while the Coast Guard was still actively searching for him. That has angered Guma's wife, who attorney says the mother is overstepping the bounds. "Her behavior is bizarre to the extreme," said attorney Scherer, "including filing papers while the divers are still looking for the body of her son."   

To get a glimpse inside Guma's mind, here's findings of fact from the federal court case: 

Aguiar suffers from severe bipolar disorder and psychosis. Bipolar disorder is characterized by episodes of mania and depression. Manic episodes are sustained periods of increased activity and energy associated with euphoria or irritability and Bipolar disorder is a form of mental illness that affects two to three percent of the American population ... Aguiar's psychosis manifested itself in both grandiose and paranoid delusions. In the spring of 2008, Aguiar expressed the grandiose belief that he is or could be the Messiah. With respect to his paranoid delusions, Aguiar has stated on multiple occasions that Kaplan was trying to kill him. Aguiar believes that he has been poisoned, that he was shot in the back from a helicopter, that snipers have been following him and that the medical staff at an Israeli hospital were injecting him with poison in order to kill him.
Aguiar's bipolar disorder first manifested itself in 1997 when he was Baker Acted at a Florida psychiatric hospital for approximately 12 days. At the time, Aguiar was 19 years old. Aguiar experienced the onset of another manic episode in mid-June 2009 and is still recovering from this episode. From approximately June 2009 through January 2010, Aguiar was also psychotic. ... Aguiar may have been psychotic at other times. ... An individual who is manic may attempt to alleviate the symptoms of a manic episode, such as a decreased need for sleep, racing thoughts or distractability, by self-medicating. In Aguiar's case, he experienced racing thoughts, insomnia, talkativeness, rapid speech and irritability when manic. Aguiar is presently in treatment .... In addition to mental illness, Aguiar has a substance abuse problem. Substance abuse can often follow a manic episode and can exacerbate existing manic symptoms. Aguiar self-administered legal and illegal substances including alcohol, marijuana, Xanax (an anti-anxiety medication), Ambien (a sleeping pill), anabolic steroids (testosterone) and OxyContin (an opiate). Some of these substances are consistent with an attempt by Aguiar to self-medicate his manic symptoms. However, Aguiar's steroid use is not indicative of an attempt to self-medicate Aguiar's mental illness ...