Filomena Tobias, Heat Middle-Finger Lady, Has Drug-, Death-, and Divorce-Filled Past
Turns out Filomena Tobias, the woman captured in that now-iconic photo flipping off Joakim Noah during last night's Heat-Bulls game, might be the most bizarrely interesting woman in the world. How bizarrely interesting? Well, this is the nut graph from a 2008 New York magazine story about the death of her fourth husband:
The hedge-funder Seth Tobias was found dead in his pool. His hard-partying wife has been accused of his murder by her internet psychic, who also says the hedge-funder was having an affair with a male stripper named Tiger. And it just gets more sordid from there.
Yeah. That kind of crazy.
Filomena discovered her lifeless husband floating face down in the pool of his Jupiter mansion in 2007, and it set off one of the biggest Palm Beach scandals of the decade. A fight for his $300 million estate ensued, with Seth's brothers claiming Filomena had drugged and killed her husband. (She was cleared of any charges.) An internet psychic later claimed Filomena had confessed to him that she lured her hubby into the pool with promises of sex with a male stripper named Tiger (because he had tiger stripes tattooed across his body).
Filomena, also known as Phyllis, was once an Italian Catholic school girl in New Jersey. At the age of 18, she married her first husband, Vince Racanati. The couple had a daughter but divorced after a year. She soon remarried to a stock broker named Arthur Tolendini; that union lasted three years.
She then moved to Palm Beach and walked down the aisle with Jay Jacknin, a divorce attorney. The two stayed together for almost a decade and had two children, but Jacknin filed for divorce in 2002 after he claimed Filomena had racked up a bunch of debt on secret credit cards. However, Filomena stayed in the couple's home throughout the divorce, and police were called to the home three times in 2003. Jacknin claimed each time that Filomena had physically assaulted him. Eventually, restraining orders were filed, and Jacknin said his estranged wife was on a cocktail of Xanax, Ritalin, Vicodin, and cocaine. During this time, she began dating Seth Tobias. Interestingly, Jacknin had introduced the two.
According to New York, the relationship was dramatic from the get-go:
Seth and Phyllis's relationship was insane, even in the early days. Phyllis blasted Seth about his coke habit, but they both were heavy drinkers, especially of champagne. A former Circle T [Seth's hedge fund] employee says he personally saw Phyllis give Seth coke and use the drug herself on many occasions. (Jacknin denies those claims.) Seth questioned Phyllis's emotional stability. They each accused one another of infidelity. It went back and forth like that.
Eventually the two eloped in 2005. The marriage included hard partying, numerous fights, and many visits from the police. But in each instance, the pair refused to press charges or charges were dropped.
Oh, and Filomena also began consulting an online psychic named Ash about everything.
After Seth's death, Ash came forward and told police that Filomena had confessed to him that she had killed her husband after promising to arrange a tryst with Tiger the stripper, though no charges were ever filed.
It appears Filomena is doing just fine these days. The man she was with at the Heat game is reportedly her fifth fiancé, a VP at a wealth management firm in Atlanta.
So it appears this bird-flipping episode is actually the least crazy thing she's ever been involved in.
Get the This Week's Top Stories Newsletter
Every week we collect the latest news, music and arts stories — along with film and food reviews and the best things to do this week — so that you’ll never miss Miami New Times' biggest stories.
- Facebook Killer Derek Medina Found Guilty
- St. Louis Rams Player Stedman Bailey Expected to Survive After Drive-By Shooting in...
- With Beckham's Little Havana Stadium Just About Dead, Overtown Could Be Next