A CORRUPT New Town solicitor is suing his own elderly mother, who suffers from dementia, for £350,000 in a claim that would seize her nest egg for old age.
Michael Karus, who was jailed for three-and-a-half years for embezzling £400,000 from a pensioner’s estate, has already hit the headlines after suing his sister for £11 million over ownership of his property empire.
Now the disgraced solicitor has launched a legal action against his mother, Mary Karus, who is believed to be in her late 70s and in poor health.
Lawyers for the 50-year-old claim his mother owes him the cash from the sale of a home in Craigleith View following its repossession and sale last year for £725,000. But lawyers for the widow told the Court of Session in Edinburgh that Mrs Karus used her share of the sale as her retirement fund. They added that Karus was “not trusted in relation to financial matters” by his parents, dating back to at least the early 1990s. Power of attorney for Mrs Karus has been taken up by her daughter Anielka McElvogue – the sister Karus is currently suing.
In his latest action, Karus claims that his mother and late father bought a flat for him in Mansfield Place in the 1960s whose title, because of his young age, was held by them.
In 1991 Karus sought to sell the property to help fund the purchase of a family home as he was set to marry, but discovered he would be liable for capital gains tax. After seeking tax advice, Karus alleges that his parents agreed to having joint title deeds with him for the Craigleith View home, which was bought for £225,000, to minimise tax.
Karus, who now lives in Moray Place in the New Town, claims he spent £200,000 upgrading the property and paid the £1900-a-month mortgage. But lawyers for his elderly mother said that Karus’ parents had “no confidence” in him, and he was “not trusted in relation to financial matters” so Mrs Karus “deliberately retained a proprietorial interest” in buying the Craigleith home.
Her lawyers told the court that the home’s mortgage defaulted after Karus was jailed for embezzlement in October 2009, and Barclays Bank sold it for £725,246 last July, leaving £578,781 in cash to be split between mother and son as joint title holders. Her “financial position in retirement”, they added, now rested with the sale proceeds.
Karus’ claim for £350,000, plus interest, from his mother is set to be heard again at the Court of Session at a future hearing.
David Wilson, from Warners solicitors, which is representing Mrs Karus – who lives just streets away from her son in Gloucester Place – said its client was “quite unwell” and would not be commenting on the case. Karus’ solicitor, Andersons LLP, was contacted for comment but did not reply.
Karus is suing his 52-year-old sister after transferring much of his property portfolio into her hands following his ban from acting as company director in 2004.
Karus was known to boast of being a “shark” who preyed on vulnerable victims. Two of the firms he transferred to his sister were GWS Property Ltd (Great White Shark) and Mako Property Ltd – named after the shark.
The former pupil of Merchiston Castle School was jailed after admitting embezzling £413,052 while acting as executor of the estate of Edith Hampton, 89, who died in 2003.