Tampa attorney sues former partner killed in 2015 plane crash

in Local Courts by

gene-odomWhen lawyer Ralph Odom II died in a 2015 plane crash, he left his estate with a $2.9 million debt.

Now, a year after his death, Odom’s partner is suing that estate for money owed on behalf of their law group.

Odom and his business partner, Nick Martinez, 56, shared the ownership of Martinez-Odom Law Group. From 2013 to 2015, Odom borrowed money from the business for personal use.

Odum was to pay the loans back, however, he died shortly before Thanksgiving 2015.

On Nov. 9, 2015, Odom, then 40, was flying to Georgia in a Cessna 441 plane when it crashed, killing him and Lester Hathcox, a longtime pilot for WFLA-TV and the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office. It is unclear from court documents which of the men were flying the plane. A docket available online shows former partner Martinez declined to be the personal representative of Odom’s probate case.

Nearly $600,000 of the $2.9 million borrowed was used to pay off Odom’s mortgage on a property at 2706 Little Rd. in Valrico. Martinez claims he never agreed to this.

In February, Martinez-Odom Law Group filed a claim against the estate for the money owed. Two months later, a personal representative of the estate responded by objecting the claim.

The suit argues the estate was unjustly enriched and requests a payment to be made for the money owed and court fees.

Odom left behind three children: Taylor Leanne Odom of Plant City; and twins Ethan Gene and Madelyn Rhae Odom. Odom’s father, Ralph Odom, is the representative of his estate.

Odom devised his property to his two youngest children. However, his father petitioned to have the property split equally amongst the three children. The petition was filed May 2016.