Estate lawyers challenge claims made by Buddy Cianci’s fiancée

Vincent A. Buddy Cianci

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — Lawyers for the family of late Providence Mayor Vincent A. “Buddy” Cianci Jr. are objecting to claims made by Tara Marie Haywood, Cianci’s fiancée at the time of his death, that she is entitled to a portion of his estate.

Documents show the estate’s attorney, John Harpootian, has submitted an objection to Haywood’s petition, as well as a statement disallowing claims made by the woman who was set to wed the 74-year-old until he died in January.

Haywood’s lawyer, state Sen. Frank Lombardi, said the estate’s denial of his client’s claim is standard legal procedure.

“This isn’t something where we’re at each others’ throats and we’re fighting and that sort of thing, not at all,” Lombardi told Eyewitness News.

Cianci’s nephew and executor, Brad Turchetta, declined comment. A date for both parties to appear in court has yet to be determined.

In May, Haywood filed a claim against Cianci’s estate in Providence Probate Court seeking to receive “an amount to be determined.” The documents said she “provided services” to the former mayor “throughout their relationship.”

In addition to the compensation claim, Haywood requested that the court legally recognize her as Cianci’s spouse under common law. The couple dated for almost two years and were engaged in December 2015, a month before Cianci died following a battle with cancer.

If the court legally recognizes Haywood as Cianci’s common-law wife, she would be entitled to roughly half of whatever Cianci left behind, according to Lombardi.

Court documents obtained by Eyewitness News show Cianci’s probate estate is valued at $48,475, with its assets listed as furniture, a car, a boat and numerous works of art, including an original landscape painting by George Whitaker. However, Lombardi said he believes Cianci left behind additional personal assets that were placed in trust.

“We will endeavor to conduct some discovery to determine what, if anything, he owned outside of that trust that could be placed in the probate estate,” Lombardi said.

Cianci’s will dates back to 2002 and predates his relationship with Haywood. It called for the vast majority of his wealth be put into a trust and left to his grandchildren. The contents of the trust, and their estimated value, are not public.

Lombardi said Haywood will likely file a Superior Court claim seeking money from the trust, as well.

“This isn’t someone who is trying to attack the grandchildren and say, ‘The heck with the grandchildren, it’s all me.’ It isn’t that at all,” Lombardi said of Haywood. “I think it’s someone who has standing to be considered an integral part of Buddy Cianci’s life.”