Guma Aguiar

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Guma Aguiar
Guma Aguiar.jpg
Guma Leandro Aguiar

(1977-05-31)May 31, 1977
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
DisappearedJune 19, 2012 (aged 35)
Port Everglades, Broward County, Florida, United States
DiedDeclared legally dead January 29, 2015
Other namesGuma Kaplan Aguiar[1][2]
Known forJune 2012 disappearance
Jamie Black (m. 2005)
Parent(s)Otto de Souza Aguiar
Ellen Kaplan

Guma Leandro Aguiar (May 31, 1977 – disappeared June 19, 2012; declared legally dead January 29, 2015[3]) was a Brazilian-born American energy industrialist and millionaire businessman who split his time between the United States and Israel. Aguiar was recognized as a philanthropist who supported a variety of Jewish causes including Nefesh B'Nefesh and the March of the Living.[4] In July 2009, Aguiar invested over $4 million (USD) in support of the Beitar Jerusalem Football Club.

On June 20, 2012, Aguiar was reported missing after his unoccupied boat was found on Fort Lauderdale Beach.[5] The day before Aguiar went missing, a federal court judge ordered his mental health records be presented to the court as part of a lawsuit between him and his uncle Thomas Kaplan.[6]

Aguiar was declared legally dead in January 2015.

Early life and education[edit]

Aguiar was born on May 31, 1977[7] in Rio de Janeiro. He was one of four children[8] of Ellen[9] (née Kaplan), a Jewish mother,[10] and Otto de Souza Aguiar,[11] a Christian father. His mother is the sister of billionaire investor Thomas Kaplan,[10] and his father was an artist and model.[11] Though Ellen is halachically Jewish, she considers herself a born-again Christian; Guma was raised as a Christian and the rest of the Aguiar family practiced Christianity as well.[10] At age 26, Aguiar returned to Jewish observance after meeting rabbi Tovia Singer.[12] However, because he was born to an halachically Jewish mother, he did not need to formally convert.

His family moved to Fort Lauderdale, Florida when Aguiar was one year old.[10] He graduated from the Westminster Academy Christian School in 1995.[10][13] Aguiar enrolled at Clemson University in Clemson, South Carolina but dropped out after one year.[10]


Aguiar was the vice chairman and chief executive officer of Leor Energy. Aguiar began his career as a clerk on the floor of the NYMEX in 1999 where he focused on the energy markets, with particular emphasis on natural gas. Transitioning from daily trading activity to the long-term physical markets, Aguiar joined with his uncle, Thomas Kaplan, in 2001 to manage a portfolio of family investments ranging from venture capital to private equity and debt. During this time, he served as a director of several public and private companies and was given responsibility for creating a U.S.-based energy company focused on aggressive early-stage oil and gas exploration. After assembling a diversified portfolio of energy properties in Louisiana and Texas, ranging from unconventional natural gas to shallow oil, Aguiar identified and executed Leor's acquisition of its flagship property in the Deep Bossier of East Texas in 2003.

In 2005, under Aguiar's executive management, Leor Energy engineered financings which fully capitalized the projects in Leor Energy LP. Included in these transactions were Leor Energy Lp industrial alliance with Encana, a natural gas producer in North America and the Leor Energy Lp joint-venture partner in the Deep Bossier. Under Aguiar, a mezzanine financing with hedge-fund Amaranth Capital LLC[citation needed] was achieved.[14] Leor Energy has a financial alliance with its first strategic equity partner, Goldman Sachs & Co.

Aguiar joined Cadence Resources in July 2002 and served as a Member of the Board of Directors of Corporate Development until June 30, 2003.[14]

Philanthropic activities[edit]

Aguiar was the director of the Lillian Jean Kaplan Foundation and was involved in numerous philanthropic activities.[15] He donated more than US$8 million to fund the activities of Nefesh B'Nefesh, a Zionist organization which promotes Aliyah (Jewish immigration) from North America and the United Kingdom to Israel. He was a supporter of the March of the Living, which organizes educational programming in Poland and Israel to enable students to better understand the Holocaust and the rebirth of Zionism and the creation of the modern Jewish state of Israel.

For his philanthropic activities, in April 2009, The Jewish Week recognized Aguiar as one of the "36 under 36″ (one of 36 of the most influential Jewish leaders under the age of 36).[16]

In 2008, Aguiar founded the "Defender of Jerusalem Award" which recognizes public figures who have taken uniquely strong stances in support of Jerusalem.[17]

In October 2009, Aguiar and his wife Jamie served as the co-chairs of the "Facing Tomorrow" Conference in Jerusalem organized by Israel's President Shimon Peres. During the conference, Aguiar was featured on a panel with the President and offered his vision of Israeli society and culture from the perspective of one of the country's most recognized entrepreneurs.

Jerusalem sports[edit]

On July 21, 2009, Aguiar announced an investment of over US$4 million to support the Beitar Jerusalem Football Team which, despite a massive fan following, had grown into financial distress and was on the brink of collapse prior to Aguiar's financial contributions. Aguiar was motivated to purchase the team out of his love for the sport combined with a passion for Jerusalem and Israel.

In September 2009, Aguiar took his commitment to Jerusalem sports to the next level when he invested over $1.5 million in the city's leading basketball franchise, Hapoel Jerusalem.

Since these investments, Aguiar became a fixture in Israeli social circles and regularly met with members of Knesset and local political and business leaders.

Aguiar managed the teams and was in contact with the general managers of both Betar (Itzik Kornfein) and Hapoel (Dani Klein). In November 2009, Aguiar travelled with Kornfein to Brazil with the goal of scouting out players for the Betar team. He made an effort to be at team practices and met with the players and staff of both teams.

Beitar fans attribute Beitar's winning the Toto Cup on 26 January 2010 to Aguiar's financial backing, although it was won while Aguiar was hospitalized in a psychiatric facility. About a half an hour after winning, Itzik Kornfein[18] took the Toto Cup to the psychiatric hospital but was not permitted to enter. He asked the security staff to take in the trophy to the hospitalized Aguiar.

Personal life[edit]

In 2005, Aguiar married his Westminster Academy high school sweetheart, Jamie Elizabeth Black.[10] Jamie graduated from the University of Florida with a degree in Public Relations.[19] They had four children,[10] Jacob, Lilly, Jonathan, and Leo[20] and celebrated both Christmas and Hanukkah.[21] The process of immigration to Israel was an act described by himself as a personal dream.[citation needed] Prior to his disappearance, Aguiar divided his time between the Yemin Moshe quarter in Jerusalem and South Florida.

Aguiar was friends with Alan Dershowitz.[22]

Aguiar was a Zionist.[22]

Criminal history[edit]

Aguiar pleaded no contest to drug charges in 2009 after police found marijuana in his car during a traffic stop in Florida.[23][24][25][26] Aguiar publicly stated that the police were out to get him and that "When I got to the prison [an officer] took my kippah off and then tried to convert me to Christianity."[27] Aguiar hired Alan Dershowitz to represent him.[28]

Aguiar's wife Jamie filed a domestic violence protective order against him in the summer of 2011. He then filed for divorce, but both the domestic violence allegations and the divorce filing were stopped.[23]

Mental health[edit]

Aguiar's mother has said that Aguiar experienced his first psychotic episode at age 19 and that he was diagnosed with severe bipolar disorder and psychosis.[6][19][29]

Aguiar was admitted to psychiatric hospitals several times.[23][30]

On January 14, 2010, Aguiar was involuntarily committed to a mental hospital in Israel by his mother.[31][32][33][34][35]

In 2011, due to his mental illness, his wife Jamie and mother Ellen petitioned a Miami-Dade judge for guardianship over Aguiar. The court agreed, and appointed an emergency guardianship over Aguiar.[36]

Two days after his disappearance in June 2012, Aguiar's mother filed documents in Broward County, Florida court to become conservator of his nearly $100 million fortune. In Ellen Aguiar's petition, she wrote that Guma "disappeared as the result of mental derangement or other mental cause" or disappeared "under circumstances indicating that he may have died, either naturally, or accidentally." It further stated that he suffered from "severe bipolar disorder."[37]

Aguiar was sued by his uncle Thomas Kaplan. As part of that lawsuit, the judge presiding over the case, John O'Sullivan, found that Aguiar's psychosis "manifested itself in both grandiose and paranoid delusions," for example, Aguiar's belief that he (Aguiar) was being followed by snipers.[33] On the day Aguiar disappeared, a federal judge in Florida issued an order appointing an independent medical examiner to see if Aguiar was psychologically sound enough for a deposition in the case.[33]


On June 20, 2012, Aguiar's 31-foot, center console Jupiter boat, named the T.T. Zion,[38][39][40] landed on Fort Lauderdale Beach east of East Las Olas Boulevard around 1:15 a.m., with its navigation lights on and engines still running, according to the Sun-Sentinel. Sea Tow, the company that Fort Lauderdale authorities contracted to tow the boat, said that the vessel appeared seaworthy and did not believe a mechanical problem had occurred. Aguiar's wallet and cell phone were found on board, but no sign of him or any other passenger was found. Authorities on ATVs searched up and down the beach, but found no sign of Aguiar. The Coast Guard commenced a search at sea.[5][39] A search of his house found that his watch and wedding band had been left behind.[41] In July 2012 and June 2013, the Ft. Lauderdale Police Department said that even though the investigation remains open, there have been no significant leads in the case.[42][43]

Aguiar was declared legally dead on January 29, 2015, two years and seven months after his disappearance.[44]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Kamph, Stefan (2012-09-21). "Guma Aguiar's Apt.: Magic Mirror, Dolce & Gabbana Bathtub and More". Retrieved 2013-12-02.
  2. ^ "Fla. judge tosses out embezzlement case against NbN donor". Retrieved 2013-12-02.
  3. ^ Sun-Sentinel, South Florida. "Broward judge declares missing millionaire dead". Retrieved 2016-05-24.
  4. ^ ASHER ZEIGER and JTA, Body feared to be that of Guma Aguiar found on Florida coast, June 22, 2012, Retrieved December 4, 2013
  5. ^ a b Trischitta, Linda (2012-06-20). "Millionaire Guma Aguiar's ghost vessel comes ashore on Fort Lauderdale beach". Archived from the original on 2012-06-23. Retrieved 2012-07-09.
  6. ^ a b Kamph, Stefan (2012-06-28). "Guma Aguiar's Mental Health Records Were Requested in Federal Court a Day Before He Vanished". Retrieved 2013-12-02.
  7. ^
  8. ^ "Missing Fort Lauderdale millionaire's mother, wife face off in Broward courtroom". Retrieved 2016-06-24.
  9. ^ "'Vanished' Millionaire Guma Aguiar's Estate Divided among Heirs". Arutz Sheva. Retrieved 2016-06-24.
  10. ^ a b c d e f g h Florida Sun Sentinel: "Turmoil and depression haunted missing Fort Lauderdale millionaire Aguiar" By Linda Trischitta and Robert Nolin June 30, 2012
  11. ^ a b Kamph, Stefan (2012-09-20). "The Mystery of Missing Fort Lauderdale Millionaire Guma Aguiar". Retrieved 2016-06-24.
  12. ^ "Israel's Abramovich uses football to unite Jerusalem | The Jewish Chronicle". 2009-10-15. Retrieved 2012-07-09.
  13. ^ Trischitta, Linda (2012-04-23). "Guma Aguiar video: Interview captures missing multimillionaire in happier moments". Archived from the original on 2013-10-30. Retrieved 2013-12-02.
  14. ^ a b "Guma Aguiar: Executive Profile & Biography - Businessweek". 2003-06-30. Retrieved 2013-12-02.
  15. ^ "Multimillion-dollar family feud in court". tribunedigital-sunsentinel. Retrieved 14 June 2015.
  16. ^ "36 Under 36 2009: Guma Aguiar, 33 - The Jewish Week". The Jewish Week. Archived from the original on 3 March 2016. Retrieved 14 June 2015.
  17. ^ "Perry in Israel to Receive Defender of Jerusalem Award". NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth. Retrieved 14 June 2015.
  18. ^ "קורנפיין נסע עם גביע הטוטו לאגיאר". 2010-01-26. Archived from the original on 2013-01-08. Retrieved 2012-09-28.
  19. ^ a b "Guma Aguiar: Missing Fort Lauderdale millionaire's life was in turmoil - Sun Sentinel". 2012-06-30. Retrieved 2013-12-02.
  20. ^ "Document 3 :: Ellen Aguiar v. William Natbony, et al :: 1:2011mc00290 :: New York Southern District Court :: US Federal District Courts Cases :: Justia". Retrieved 2013-12-02.
  21. ^ The Daily Mail: "Wife of millionaire who mysteriously vanished on night-time boat ride tells of her heartache as she spends first Christmas alone with their children" December 25, 2012
  22. ^ a b "New Clues in the Mysterious Disappearance of Multimillionaire Guma Aguiar". 2012-08-27. Retrieved 2013-12-02.
  23. ^ a b c "Missing oil tycoon Guma Aguiar was spiraling out of control before vanishing at sea, friends say". CBS News. 2012-06-26. Retrieved 2013-12-02.
  24. ^ "Guma Aguiar: Missing Fort Lauderdale millionaire's life was in turmoil - Page 2 - Sun Sentinel". 2012-06-30. Retrieved 2013-12-02.
  25. ^ Stefan Kamph (2012-09-20). "The Mystery of Missing Fort Lauderdale Millionaire Guma Aguiar - Page 5 - News - Miami". Miami New Times. Retrieved 2013-12-02.
  26. ^ "Fort Lauderdale, FL - Multimillionaire Who Accused Broward Deputies of Anti-Semitism Takes Plea Deal". Retrieved 2013-12-02.
  27. ^ "Alan Dershowitz enlisted by Guma Aguiar to take on Fla. law". Retrieved 2013-12-02.
  28. ^ "Israeli billionaire in psychiatric hospital". Israelity. 2010-01-14. Archived from the original on 2013-11-02. Retrieved 2013-12-02.
  29. ^ "Missing Millionaire Guma Aguiar's Billionaire Uncle Thomas Kaplan Is Suspicious - ABC News". 2012-07-03. Retrieved 2013-12-02.
  30. ^ Trischitta, Linda. "Guma Aguiar missing: Turmoil and depression haunted missing Fort Lauderdale millionaire". Archived from the original on 2013-10-30. Retrieved 2013-12-02.
  31. ^ "Page 2: Rabbis Facilitate Truce Between Missing Millionaire Guma Aguiar's Mom and Wife - ABC News". 2012-06-28. Retrieved 2013-12-02.
  32. ^ Tracy, Marc (2010-01-15). "Prodigal Son - by Allison Hoffman - Tablet Magazine – Jewish News and Politics, Jewish Arts and Culture, Jewish Life and Religion". Retrieved 2012-07-09.
  33. ^ a b c "The Tragedy Of Guma Aguiar And A $2 Billion Texas Gas Fortune". Forbes. Retrieved 2013-12-02.
  34. ^ "Betar sponsor in psychiatric hospital | JPost | Israel News". JPost. 2010-01-17. Retrieved 2013-12-02.
  35. ^ "Jerusalem - Court Orders Guma Aguiar To Psychiatric Hospital". Retrieved 2013-12-02.
  36. ^ "Page 2: Troubled Florida Millionaire Guma Aguiar Missing After Empty Yacht Washes Ashore - ABC News". 2012-06-21. Retrieved 2013-12-02.
  37. ^ "Missing millionaire Guma Aguiar - Sun Sentinel". 2012-06-22. Retrieved 2013-12-02.
  38. ^ Trischitta, Linda; Burstein, Jon (2012-06-20). "Millionaire missing after boat washes ashore on Fort Lauderdale beach". Sun Sentinel. Retrieved 2013-12-02.
  39. ^ a b Trischitta, Linda (2012-06-22). "Guma Aguiar missing: As the search ends for missing millionaire, mother seeks to protect his assets". Archived from the original on 2012-06-24. Retrieved 2013-12-02.
  40. ^ "Yacht tender washes ashore without owner Guma Aguiar". 2012-06-21. Retrieved 2013-12-02.
  41. ^ Stebner, Beth; Keneally, Meghan (2012-09-03). "Guma Aguiar: Missing millionaire left his wedding ring and watch behind on night he disappeared... but he bought [sic] along a special Jewish text for 'solace'". Retrieved 2013-12-02.
  42. ^ "New Clues in the Mysterious Disappearance of Multimillionaire Guma Aguiar". 2012-08-27. Retrieved 2013-12-02.
  43. ^ Trischitta, Linda (August 18, 2013). "Guma Aguiar: Fate of Missing Fort Lauderdale Millionaire Still A Mystery One Year Later". Sun Sentinel. Fort Lauderdale, Florida.
  44. ^ Trischitta, Linda (January 29, 2015). "Broward judge declares missing millionaire dead". Sun-Sentinel. Retrieved 2016-05-24.