Heat fan Filomena Tobias made headlines long before flipping off Bulls' Joakim Noah
The female Heat fan who responded to the Game 2 ejection of Bulls center Joakim Noah with a bold middle finger directly in his face has a checkered past that would make even Chris "The Birdman" Andersen blush.
After referee Scott Foster tossed Noah early in the fourth quarter of Miami's 115-78 blowout win over Chicago at American Airlines Arena on Wednesday night, Noah endured some direct abuse from Filomena Tobias on his way to hitting the showers. Tobias appeared to lean over the railing and shout at Noah as security escorted him to the locker room, and she again let her voice be heard by Bulls forward Taj Gibson, who was ejected by Foster moments later.
The Sun-Sentinel reports that Tobias is the widow of a financial investor who did commentary work on CNBC and further reports that she was accused of murdering her former husband, Seth Tobias, by his brothers.
Here's the newspaper's account.
The woman whose one-finger salute has become an Internet sensation overnight is Filomena Tobias, the widow of former CNBC commentator and financial wizard Seth Tobias, said Filomena Tobias' daughter, Victoria Racanati, when reached by phone by the Sun Sentinel.
"She's embarrassed, but she is being a good sport," the daughter told the Sun Sentinel on Thursday. "She was having fun just like any other fan. All she has to say is that people need to get a life."
On Sept. 4 2007, Jupiter police and paramedics found Seth Tobias drowned in his pool. Medical examiners ruled he had a lethal mix of alcohol, cocaine and the sleeping pill Ambien in his system. A five-month police investigation concluded there was no foul play, and prosecutors declined to pursue a criminal prosecution.
Tobias' brothers - Samuel, Spence, Scott and Joshua - accused his widow of murder in a civil battle to keep her from grabbing their late brother's $25 million fortune under Florida's "slayer statute."
Under the settlement, Tobias's brothers Sam and Spence took complete control of Tobias Brothers Inc., a private company, which makes it difficult to value. Filomena inherited "the balance of the estate" which would include the couple's $3.3 million Jupiter home. Under Florida law, the "inventory" of an estate is sealed.
About $3.2 million in cash was to pay for attorneys' fees and be divided among Tobias's parents, brothers and two friends. A New Jersey condominium will be sold and divided among the same people.
That settlement means everything is totally settled and that there is nothing more to see here, right? Wrong. So very wrong.
SBNation.com points out that the New York Times ran down the wild lives and times of the Tobiases in a 2007 story full of exotic cars, sex, drugs and further intrigue that would make for a good sequel to Scarface.
A former assistant to Seth Tobias has told the police that Filomena Tobias confessed to him that she had cajoled her husband, who was on a cocaine binge, into the water, promising him sex with a male go-go dancer know as "Tiger." A lawyer for Filomena Tobias has called the claims outrageous.
In March 2006, the police were called to the Tobiases' home because of a domestic disturbance. A few days later, Seth Tobias filed for divorce. It was one week before the couple's first anniversary.
The Tobiases later reconciled. But the divorce filings included a laundry list of accusations. Filomena Tobias claimed that she had caught him having an "adulterous affair" and that he had "gambled away tens of thousands of dollars and used other funds on illicit habits." She asked the court to award her $46,000 a month for living expenses. He argued that she was constantly spending too much money.
Even after the couple reconciled, they fought constantly, mostly over money, according to several friends, who asked not to be named for fear of being associated with the case. At one point, Filomena Tobias bought a Porsche on her credit card and then cried when her husband told her to return it, one friend recounted.
They also secretly frequented a gay bar called Cupids in West Palm Beach, in a strip mall on a thoroughfare. It was there, Ash said, that Tobias met Tiger. Adiel Hemmingway, Cupids' longtime manager, said: "Seth used to come in here back when it was crazy." Tobias often came to the club with his wife, he said, as a flat-screen television blared hard-core gay pornography.
New York Magazine then jumped in with a deep, riveting profile in 2008 that rocketed this suspicious death a few levels deeper into true insanity, noting that Filomena Tobias paid a "300-pound gay con man and Internet psychic with a long criminal history" named Billy Ash as much as $2,500 per month for his advice. The magazine also reported that at least one of Seth Tobias's former coworkers believed Filomena would be his downfall.
Seth and Phyllis split up for a while, with Seth returning to New York. The former Circle T employee says that Seth told him that Sam Tobias was concerned, warning his brother, “That woman is going to kill you or bankrupt you.”
Tobias’s marriage was also tanking. Phyllis would often appear at the office and demand cash. “Give me 15,000 f------ dollars. Give me 15,000 f------ dollars,” she hissed on one visit, according to the former Circle T staffer. Tobias had promised Phyllis that he would stop using cocaine, but she didn’t believe him. In the fall of 2005, the couple was having dinner at Bice, a Palm Beach restaurant, with six other people. Just after sitting down, Phyllis jumped from her seat and placed her lips over Tobias’s nose and began sucking. She was searching for cocaine residue.
Over the last weeks of Tobias’s life, the couple fought over home renovations, over Tobias’s cocaine use, and, of course, over Ash. Seth again threatened to leave her. “This divorce is going to cost me a lot less than the last one,” Tobias told his driver in August. “I’ve lost a lot of money since then.”
OK, finally, we're done here. No, wait, not quite yet. Jezebel.com makes it clear that Seth Tobias was actually Filomena's fourth husband, meaning that there are at least three men out there who can probably sympathize with Noah right now.
This story likely ends with "The Real Hecklers Of Miami-Dade County" reality show coming to the Oxygen network sometime next fall. The Sun-Sentinel reported Thursday that Tobias received a warning from the Heat for her behavior at Game 2 but has not been banned from future games. Game 3 between the Heat and Bulls is set for Chicago on Friday. The series is now tied at one game apiece.