By: Jane Musgrave
June 16th 2015
WEST PALM BEACH — The legal battle between between Lois and Paul Pope — one of Palm Beach County’s most famously dysfunctional mother-son duos — has heated up again and this time guns are involved.
Having followed a court order to stay clear of his well-known philanthropist mother for two years, Paul Pope today filed a petition in Palm Beach County Circuit Court, asking a judge to lift a restriction that prevents him from possessing firearms.
The restriction was imposed in 2013 when his 82-year-old mother, the widow of National Enquirer founder Generoso Pope, got a restraining order against him. Claiming it is a violation of his Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms, Pope, 47, of Delray Beach wants County Court Judge Reginald Corlew to give him his guns back.
In the petition, Pope notes that he has not violated the restraining order. Further, he said, he needs to protect his family.
“Paul Pope remains concerned that a Kidnapping and Ransom Policy of Insurance was issued or applied for in connection with his children,” wrote his attorney Mike Pike. “Thus, part of the relief requested herein is to allow Paul Pope to maintain a firearm for protection just like any other American citizen is permitted to do under the U.S. Constitution.”
Attorneys representing Lois Pope, who owns a $16.2 million oceanfront home in Manalapan, weren’t immediately available for comment.
In the petition, Pope also claims that the restraining order, which was based on allegations that he was threatening and harassing his mother, was just a ruse to keep him from publishing a tell-all book about the fortune his father amassed while building his publishing empire, possible discrepancies in the assets he left behind and other family secrets.
While Lois Pope was interviewed for the book he has tentatively titled “Confessions of a Rich Kid from Hell,” she later withdrew her permission and cooked up the restraining order as a way to stop its publication, Pike wrote.
This, he said, is further reason to modify the restraining order. “The state of Florida does not have a legitimate interest in whether Paul Pope discloses the Pope Family secrets or whether Ms. Pope will be embarrassed by such disclosure,” Pike wrote. “Even assuming a reasonable objective exists… this court’s order prohibiting Pope Paul from his constitutional right to bear arms is not reasonable related to that objective.”
State prosecutors ultimately dropped a stalking charge against him after he agreed to the restraining order.
In the petition, Pike lists the various lawsuits that have punctuated the mother-son relationship. But, he notes, until two years ago, no allegations of physical harm were raised. “The constant underlying theme of each and every action between the parties is money and has always been money,” Pike wrote.