The on-again-off-again boyfriend of Real Housewives of New York City reality star Bethenny Frankel was found dead of an apparent overdose in a Trump Tower apartment on Friday morning, police said.
Dennis Shields, 51, was found dead in the apartment after police received a 911 from a housekeeper who had found him stricken, an NYPD spokesman said. News reports had stated Shields had told the housekeeper he needed Narcan, an antidote from drug overdoses, before he succumbed.
A police source said it appeared Shields died of apparent opioid overdose. An NYPD spokeswoman said the department wouldn’t officially comment on the death until family notification had been made.
The city has reported increased numbers of deaths this year from drug overdoses, exacerbated by the addition of Fentanyl to heroin.
Aja Worthy-Davis, a spokeswoman for the city medical examiner, said the office was investigating “the death of a man believed to be Dennis Shields, found at the Trump Tower.”
As reported in recent months, Shields, who had a law settlement business that advances clients money in anticipation of their getting awards in litigation, and Frankel, 47, have had an episodic personal relationship punctuated by breakups and reconciliations. Shields was reportedly separated from his wife and Frankel, who couldn’t be reached, is divorced.
Shields had been CEO and founder of LawCash, based in Brooklyn. According to the company's website, it has in the last two decades given advances of more than $440 million to plaintiffs in over 100,000 lawsuits. The firm said the clients repaid advances through settlements and owed nothing if there was no award.
The company has been criticized for allegedly charging high fees for the advances but has defended its practice as saying it is not a loan because the client owes nothing if the lawsuit is lost.