On the one hand, there's his wife. On the other, his blonde, Russian-born, NYPD lieutenant girlfriend. Who will receive the $810,000 pension benefits of Brooklyn cop Mike Smith after he shot himself in the head in his apartment in 2017? Complicating matters is the fact that Smith died next to a photo of the on-and-off girlfriend, Zoya Golubeva, and an updated "pension statement" that left everything to her and nothing to his wife and daughter, the New York Post reports. "She was leaving Daddy. She wanted nothing to do with him. Why does she think she’s entitled to his money?" wife Elizabeth Ann Morehouse says their 14-year-old daughter has asked. Indeed, Golubeva was packing her things just a few feet away when Smith pulled the trigger.
"This kind of thing has gone on forever. It's soap opera stuff all the time," says a former New York City pension executive. "They fall in love with someone else and want to leave the money to them." Smith stayed friends with Morehouse and made sure she got his $250,000 life insurance policy, but right before killing himself he handed Golubeva the note, "I love you more than you'll ever know." And legally, the pension fund is bound to honor Smith's updated statement. Hanging over the story is why Smith, 48—who had just filed for retirement and spoke positively of starting a dog-walking service—would end it all. "He'd say, 'Oh my god, there has to be another way,'" says Morehouse. "He believed in God and believed that suicide is wrong." Read about other police suicides, and their aftermaths, at the York Daily Record and WA Today. (Read more police officer stories.)