RI lawmaker’s mom sues him over control of iconic Block Island hot spot

NEW SHOREHAM, R.I. (WPRI) — The mother of state Rep. Blake Filippi is suing him over control of Ballard’s on Block Island.

The civil case pits the District 36 Republican and one of his brothers against their other brother and their mom. Court documents indicate both sides claim the other has lied to gain control of millions of dollars in assets connected to the iconic beachfront restaurant and bar.

“Mom and Steve had no choice. We control all their income.”

Ballard’s has been owned by the Filippi family since the 1950s and, according to the lawsuit, control of the business and the $5.3 million property is in a trust involving Marion Filippi and her sons, Steven, Paul and Blake.

Blake Filippi is currently the House minority whip.

His mother and brother Steven, who manages Ballard’s, are suing Blake and Paul, claiming they were part of an “abusive scheme” to gain control of the trust and business assets.

“In 2015, apparently not satisfied with the distributions they were receiving from the 2007 trust, Defendants devised a scheme to undermine their mother Marion’s trust powers,” the plaintiffs’ motion for summary judgment states.

According to the lawsuit, Blake and Paul exchanged text messages in October 2015, after they had seemingly taken control of the trust.

“It’s not the outcome, but the falling in line that I’m shell shocked over,” Blake texted, according to the document.

“I know. Mom and Steve had no choice. We control all their income,” Paul texted in response.

The defendants are countersuing, alleging 25 counts, including claims of fraudulent misrepresentation – deceit, defamation, and breach of contract.

Among their claims, they state their mother, “with Steven’s assistance, caused Ballard’s LLC to unlawfully borrow $2,500,000” in 2014 without approval from the trust.

According to one of the documents, the three brothers bought Block Island’s Hotel Manisses in 2015.

None of the parties would comment about the lawsuit. A hearing is scheduled for next week.

Send tips to Target 12 Investigator Walt Buteau at wbuteau@wpri.com and follow him on Twitter @wbuteau.