SAN DIEGO — A lawsuit filed by the family of a woman found hanging nude two years ago at a Cornado mansion was called frivolous, cruel and irresponsible Tuesday by one of the people named in the suit.
Dinah Shacknai was one of three people accused of conspiring to murder Rebecca Zahau in a lawsuit filed Friday by Zahau’s family. Zahau’s death was ruled a suicide, but the lawsuit alleges that Shacknai, her sister, Nina Romano, and her former brother-in-law, Adam Shacknai, are responsible for the death.
“Today marks the second anniversary of the death of my only child, Maxfield Aaron Shacknai. He was six years old when he died while under the care of Rebecca Zahau,” Dinah Shacknai said in an email statement. “Yet today, instead of being able to merely mourn the loss of Maxie, my sister Nina Romano and I are dealing with a baseless lawsuit which has been filed against us.”
Dina Shacknai said the allegations in the lawsuit are groundless and have no basis in fact.
“While we empathize with the Zahau family regarding their grief over the loss of Rebecca, for Nina and I to be named as parties to this frivolous lawsuit by the Zahau family is cruel and irresponsible. There is absolutely no truth to these allegations,” Shacknai said.
Zahau had been living with the Jonah Shacknai, who split his time between Coronado and his company’s headquarters in Arizona. On July 13, 2011, her body was found hanging outside the historic Spreckels mansion.
Two days earlier, Max, the 6-year-old son of Shacknai and his ex-wife Dina, fell over a stairway railing in the mansion while under Zahau’s care. Max was hospitalized with mortal injuries when Adam Shacknai found Zahau’s body. Max was pronounced dead several days after his fall.
In response to the lawsuit, Shacknai said she was taking “significant measures” to protect herself and her family. She did not say what those measures were.