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Murder Trial Looming, Battle Begins Over Novack Family Fortune

MIAMI (CBS4) - In a few weeks, Narcy Novack is scheduled to go on trial in a New York federal court for the murder of her husband Ben Novack Jr.

But another court battle is also brewing -- this one for the Novack family fortune.

At stake, between $6 million and $10 million.

When Narcy Novack was charged in 2010 with arranging not only Ben's murder but also the brutal killing of Ben's mother, Bernice, prosecutors said Narcy's motive was clear. They argued what she did was part of "a diabolical plan by a woman who was intent on eliminating her husband and taking his family fortune for her own."

Ben was the son of Ben Novack Sr., who once owned the famed Fontainebleau Hotel on Miami Beach. The Novack family estate includes millions in property as well as Ben Jr.'s collection of Batman memorabilia that is believed to be worth more than $2 million.

"He has six warehouses full of Batman memorabilia," Narcy complained to detectives after she found stumbled upon Ben's bloody corpse in a New York Hilton. She told detectives the two of them used to fight about his "obsession" with all things related to the Dark Knight.

"I mean really that stuff has no value," she told detectives, adding: "we used to go back and forth, he used to say that was ignorant of me about Batman and that I didn't know the value of the thing."

Today the fate of that collection is in doubt. A judge has blocked Narcy's control of the collection. A private company has been hired to sell the items and hold the money in a trust.

Narcy is scheduled to go on trial in April. If she were acquitted she could lay claim to the money. But CBS4 News has learned that tomorrow attorneys representing several Novack relatives will be filing a suit in Broward County claiming the estate as rightfully theirs - regardless of the verdict.

Among those asking for the money is Bernice's sister - Maxine Fiel. Attorneys for the 85-year-old woman say she is nearly destitute, living on social security and food stamps in Upstate New York.

Fiel spoke to CBS4 in 2010 by phone after Narcy was charged with hiring Bernice's killers.

"They beat her with a money wrench," she told CBS4 News. "I just knew it. I know these people. There was money there and [Narcy Novack] waited till it was enough because Ben inherited everything of Bernice's and he inherited his father's estate"

But there is another challenger for the Novack Fortunes -- Narcy's daughter, May Abad - who has denounced her mother. May Abad said she believes her mother, Narcy, was responsible for Ben's death.

During the 18 years Ben and Narcy were married, Ben raised May as if she were his own child. And he considered May's two sons to be his grandchildren. And under Ben's will, if Narcy is not able to inherit  - the estate goes to May's two boys.

So here is the question: If Narcy is convicted, can Narcy's daughter and grandsons benefit from her crime -- or should the Novack money stay with the blood relatives of Ben and his mother Bernice? It's a question that could take years to resolve.

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