Rod Covlin with his wife, money manager Shele Danishefsky Covlin, who was found dead at her Upper West Side apartment on New Year’s Eve in ’09.
The man being sued for allegedly murdering his Upper West Side wife surreptitiously took control of the $1.6 million life-insurance-policy payout she’d left behind for their two kids, The Post has learned.
Rod Covlin, 39, filed papers in Westchester County Surrogate’s Court in April seeking to be named guardian of the cashed-in Aetna policy that Shele Danishefsky Covlin, a money manager, had left for Anna and Myles.
“I am Anna’s father,” an affidavit reads. “I have her best interests at heart, and I am in the best position to determine her current and future needs.”
He filed a similar petition to control Myles’ half of the windfall.
Covlin’s bid was successful. Surrogate Anthony Scarpino named him guardian in July, apparently unaware he’s the prime suspect in Shele’s Dec. 31, 2009, murder.
Both kids were asleep in her apartment at the time of her death. Anna found her body in the bathtub.
The children are supposed to get what remains of the cash at age 18. Covlin has power to invest the money, and he can withdraw the cash with the court’s permission.
A source said Covlin had originally been listed as the beneficiary of the Aetna policy but Shele switched it to her kids about a month before she died as their marriage disintegrated and she told friends she feared he was going to kill her.
The circumstances of his taking control of the funds appear shady.
Covlin filed the petition to be named guardian in Westchester even though Shele’s estate case is being heard in Manhattan and the kids already have a law guardian acting on their behalf there.
His petition doesn’t say that there’s an ongoing case or that the kids have a guardian.
He also left blank the answer to a question about whether the kids’ custody had ever been the subject of a court order — and an order of protection had been filed against him before and after his wife’s murder, allowing him only supervised visits with the pair.
He also wrote “n/a” under a question asking for the name and address of the kids’ maternal grandfather and grandmother, who have been fighting to keep him from getting their daughter’s money in the Manhattan case.
He also touted his financial expertise, saying, “I have managed securities firms throughout my career, held many securities licenses, and traded [professionally],” although court papers show he’s been unemployed for years and spends his time gambling.
He and the kids now live with his parents in Scarsdale.
There’s no record of Covlin having notified the county public administrator, which is acting as executor of Shele’s estate, the judge handling the estate or Danishefsky’s family about his action.
Covlin, who has not been charged criminally in the death, did not return a call for comment.
Marilyn Chinitz of the law firm Blank Rome, which is representing Shele’s family, declined comment.