SAN JOSE — The two young daughters of a one-time prostitute have a valid claim to the estate of slain millionaire Ravi Kumra, a judge ruled Tuesday, deciding there is “clear and convincing evidence” that the girls are Kumra’s children and are entitled to a family allowance.
Whether they are entitled to half his estate — which is now in the hands of his two grown daughters from his recently ended marriage — has yet to be determined.
Keila Goggins, the mother of the 9- and 7-year-old girls, called the ruling “absolutely wonderful.”
“It is what he would have wanted,” said Goggins, 40, who lives out of state with her children. “It’s a wonderful start to making sure that my girls can get their colleges taken care of and their needs, so they would have no limitation on where they wanted to go and what they wanted to be.”
The ruling comes exactly five months after Kumra was killed in his Monte Sereno mansion Nov. 30 when suspected gang members with alleged ties to some of Kumra’s prostitute girlfriends allegedly broke in and bound and gagged him, then ransacked the house and stole jewelry, cash and coins. Kumra, a tech investor who once owned Saratoga’s The Mountain Winery concert venue and made millions in the wireless industry, died of asphyxiation. His ex-wife, who continued to live with him in the mansion since their 2010 divorce, was beaten and bound with packing tape. Three men and two alleged prostitutes are in custody awaiting trial. Goggins said Monday that she knew both of the women charged, Katrina Fritz and Raven Dixon, from her early days hanging out with Kumra at the mansion and was surprised when she heard they had been arrested.
The case has drawn national attention because of the shocking nature of the crime in an affluent Silicon Valley neighborhood, but also because the case revealed Kumra’s hedonistic lifestyle in which he surrounded himself with prostitutes who spent time at the house while Kumra’s wife, Harinder, still lived there. Lawsuits by former business partners have accused him of entering into a “sham divorce” in 2010 to shield his millions from creditors.
During the trial, the Kumra family contended, however, that if anything, the girls were the result of a “sperm donor” arrangement that would preclude them from making a claim on the estate. But Cain said in his ruling that the Kumras had presented no evidence that the girls were conceived through artificial insemination. In his ruling, he granted them $1,800 per child a month in family allowance. The Kumra family had no comment on the ruling, their public relations spokeswoman said Tuesday.
Goggins met Kumra through a friend with whom she worked at Carson City’s Kit Kat Guest Ranch. In her trial testimony before Santa Clara County Superior Court Judge Thomas Cain last month, Goggins said she and Kumra decided to have children together and he paid her between $3,000 and $5,000 a month to live in a nice house and be a stay-at-home mother. That’s the main reason she isn’t working, she said, although she said she also had a serious heart condition. She has lived out of state for a number of years.
“Ravi wanted to make sure I was home when the girls came home, to help them with their homework, to make sure they had a well-balanced, home-cooked meal on the table at 5:30 or 6, in the shower by seven, in bed by eight,” she said. “It’s about being able to take care of them the way he wanted me to and the way he had already allowed me to. If you look at the history, he’s been taking care of me since 2001, before I got pregnant.”
In the ruling, Cain said that Kumra is not only the biological father of the children, but that “he openly held them out as his own children and acknowledged them as such.” He often vacationed with the girls and their mother, including going to Disneyland. Kumra talked to the girls by phone and by email. The girls called him “Pappi.”
Goggins said she loved Kumra, and she was no gold digger. “It wasn’t about the money,” she said. “I’m not going to lie, it’s not that it didn’t help, but that’s not all I saw.”
While Kumra’s older daughters, ages 35 and 33 may not agree, Goggins said, “my girls deserve the best and that’s all I want for them and that’s what Ravi wanted for them.”
Monte Sereno murder: Prostitute’s daughters have valid claim on millionaire’s estate, judge rules
Julia Prodis Sulek
May 1, 2013