JUPITER — Filomena Tobias, the socialite photographed with her extended middle finger in Chicago Bulls star Joakim Noah‘s face during last year’s Miami Heat playoffs, sold her Jupiter house at a loss and changed her name, Gossip Extra has learned.
Tobias, 48, made her moves quietly two months ago, according to Palm Beach County records — partly because the photos of her obscene gesture led media worldwide to re-hash her background as the widow of a CNBC pundit who died under mysterious circumstances in 2007.
“We were getting closer to the playoffs,” a source close to Tobias says, “and she thought all this stuff was going to bubble up again. She was really freaked out last year when she ended up all over the world and when reporters were calling her house.
“She wanted a fresh start.”
Tobias was in the expensive seats in May 2013 when her middle finger close to Noah’s face after he was kicked out of Game 2 of a Heat-Bulls playoff game ended up trending on the web.
The stories that went with the photos mentioned the drowning death of Wall Street prodigy Seth Tobias in the couple’s pool, and the fact that Jupiter Police ran down leads that suggested she may have killed him.
In the end, authorities deemed the death an accident, and Filomena was not charged criminally.
She turned over the deed in exchange for $3.8 million.
She lost about $800,000 in the transaction: Records show Seth Tobias bought the place in 2006 for $4.5 million.
Filomena then moved to the nearby Admiral’s Cove, according to records.
About the same time Anthony Barbuto, Tobias’ attorney, petitioned a Palm Beach County family court to change her name to Mia Manente.
The change was granted before the first round of the playoffs, according to records.
Manente did not comment.