It’s now, officially, the Estate Fight That Refuses To Die! The quest for money started by Anna Nicole Smith — the former Playboy Playmate, stripper, TV reality star, and the true love of 89-year old Texas oil tycoon, J. Howard Marshall — is not over. Despite almost 18 years of litigation, two trips to the United States Supreme Court, and untold millions of dollars spent on legal fees, the Anna Nicole Smith case lives on.
Anna Nicole Smith (a/k/a Vickie Lynn Marshall) sued after her elderly husband died, following their 14-month marriage. She was not happy being left out of his massive ($1.6 billion) estate. She blamed one of his sons, Pierce Marshall, who inherited everything.
Anna Nicole Smith Case
The probate case started in Louisiana and then moved to Texas. Smith sued there, but was forced to file bankruptcy in California. When she died, Pierce sued her, filing a claim in bankruptcy court. He claimed Smith defamed him by telling the media he committed fraud in managing his father’s Read more…
Kobe Bryant, long-time Los Angeles Laker and future Hall-of-Famer, is in a bitter feud with his own mother over ownership of memorabilia potentially worth more than one million dollars. He’s locked in a he-said, she-said dispute about whether he gave the items to his mother or not.
Kobe’s mother, Pamela Bryant, signed a Consignment Agreement with Goldin Auctions, in New Jersey. In doing so, Pamela gave permission to sell more than 100 items from Kobe’s childhood, including his high school game-worn uniforms, NBA championship rings, and high school Varsity letters. Goldin Auctions, a noted sports memorabilia auctioneer, advanced $450,000 to Pamela, which she used to purchase a house.
The big problem, of course, is that Kobe Bryant says he never gave the items to his mother and that he certainly never authorized the auction. He sued the auction house in California to stop the sale, just days after the auction house sued him in New Jersey to permit the auction to go forward.
Kobe Bryant Disputes Mother In Lawsuit
While Read more…
Concert promoter AEG is on the defensive after the Los Angeles Times recently published confidential emails about AEG’s role in the cause of Michael Jackson’s death. The New York Daily News revealed more of the emails in a second article this weekend.
Together, the emails paint a picture of AEG demanding that the concert tour go on, despite knowing the extremely fragile state Michael Jackson was in at the time.
But what does it all mean, legally? Should AEG be found liable for Michael Jackson’s death?
Katherine Jackson and other family members sued AEG, blaming them for controlling and failing to supervise Dr. Conrad Murray, thereby causing Jackson’s death. AEG denies it controlled or supervised Murray at all. They say he was Jackson’s personal physician and he alone was responsible.
Whether that’s true or not, AEG was clearly involved in some manner. The Daily News revealed the most telling of the emails that have been publicly disclosed so far, about AEG’s role in Michael Jackson’s death:
The New York Times recently featured a fascinating article called The Battle for a Comic-Book Empire That Archie Built. It detailed the ongoing legal battle over the two dueling CEO’s of Archie Comic Publications.
On one side is Jonathan Goldwater, the son of John L. Goldwater who was one of three founders of the company and the visionary behind the Archie character, created in 1941. Goldwater became a co-CEO and controller of one-half interest in the company after his half-brother, Richard Goldwater, died in 2007.
Nancy Silberkleit is the widow of the son of another founder, Louis Silberkleit. She was a schoolteacher who became co-CEO when her husband, Michael Silberkleit, died in 2008. By that time, a long-time employee and editor-in-chief, Victor Gorelick, was running the company as a temporary, stop-gap measure.
Goldwater and Silberkleit tried to work together to manage the company, agreeing in 2009 to run Archie Comics by sharing CEO duties. Silberkleit was to oversee scholastic and theatrical ventures, placing Goldwater in charge of everything else. Read more…
Seventies beauty icon Farrah Fawcett died in June of 2009 at the age of 62, following a terrible battle with cancer. She did the proper estate planning, complete with a will and a trust. [You can read the trust here]. So why are there not one, but two lawsuits over one of her assets?
It all comes down to a famous Andy Warhol painting of Fawcett. Warhol painted two silkscreen paintings of Fawcett and reportedly gave them both to her as presents. [You can see one of the two paintings here].
Fawcett’s trust provides that her art collection passed to the University of Texas, her alma mater. The University received one of the two Warhol paintings, but not the other. So where is it?
In the possession of Fawcett’s former on-again, off-again boyfriend, Ryan O’Neal … and he doesn’t even dispute that he has it. So the University of Texas sued O’Neal, claiming the painting belonged to Fawcett when she died and should now belong to it.
O’Neal denies Read more…
Family fights over wills, trusts and estates are far too common, not only in our country, but elsewhere. Sometimes, those fights reach a whole new level. This has certainly been the case with a tragic story from Panama which harmed those most in need … millions of impoverished and starving children.
A Florida attorney, Richard Lehman, takes center stage in the dispute. He recently sued political officials throughout Panama — including three Supreme Court judges — charging corruption, bribery, theft, and much more. The fight involves the estate of Lehman’s former friend and client, Wilson Lucom.
When he died in June of 2006 at the age of 88, Lucom was an expatriate American living in Panama. One year before he died, Lucom signed a will generously leaving the majority of his $50 million fortune to a trust fund to benefit the poor and needy children of Panama. That fortune includes ocean-front real estate which has appreciated in value, so that Lucom’s estate is now valued at more than $150 million. Read more…
Civil rights icon Rosa Parks passed away at the age of 92 on October 25, 2005, in Detroit, Michigan. Almost six years later, her legacy is still tied up in a lengthy court battle. The case features allegations of abuse, cronyism and corruption by the probate judge as well as the two lawyers he appointed to oversee the estate and trust
It also involves who will receive all of the considerable civil rights memorabilia owned by Rosa Parks when she was alive, and even the rights to use her name and likeness.
Rosa Parks’ will and trust left the majority of her assets to the Rosa and Raymond Parks Institute for Self Development, operated by Rosa Parks’ longtime friend, Elaine Steele. Parks and Steele had formed this Institute. Steele says she was close to Parks for 45 years and that Parks looked at her as the “daughter she never had.”
But the probate judge did not approve of how Steele handled the estate and trust of Rosa Parks and removed Read more…
Ryan O’Neal is at it again. He and Craig Nevius, a Hollywood producer who used to work closely with Farrah Fawcett, are in the midst of more legal fighting against one another.
Initially, they both sued, each claiming the other had exploited Fawcett while she was sick from the cancer that claimed her life. Why? They both said the other had taken advantage of her to produce a documentary about her life and her sickness. Those lawsuits ended when Nevius ran out of money for legal fees.
Now, he has no choice but to continue fighting. Ryan O’Neal — Farrah’s ex and father to Farrah’s son — has sued Nevius again. What’s at stake this time? It’s all about the art.
Specifically, a certain, famed Andy Warhol painting of Fawcett in O’Neal’s possession. O’Neal says Warhol gave it to him years ago. Not everyone thinks he’s being honest though.
In fact, Farrah Fawcett’s Trust, which you can read here, states that her collection of artwork — which may include Read more…
Legal controversy has surrounded the Michael Jackson Estate ever since he died almost two years ago. Trial & Heirs did a year in review article last year; it’s almost time for year two. You can now add a new lawsuit — over $17.5 million worth of insurance — to the list.
Concert promoter AEG Live took out the large insurance policy over Michael Jackson in case he died and was unable to perform the “This Is It” concert tour. Of course, that’s exactly what happened, showing that AEG was smart to take that precaution. Reportedly, AEG spent some $20 to $25 million on the tour before the King of Pop’s death, and this insurance was supposed to protect that investment. Both AEG and a Michael Jackson limited liability company that is controlled by the Estate were named as beneficiaries eligible to collect that money under the policy.
Michael Jackson Estate Insurance Claim Update
But, AEG and the Estate haven’t collected this money yet … and both are now embroiled in Read more…
While Whitney Houston was reportedly just admitted to rehab, she has one other concern that she still has to face — her no-holds-barred court fight with her late father’s widow.
In Trial & Heirs: Famous Fortune Fights!, Andy and Danielle Mayoras discuss the lawsuit involving Whitney Houston against Barbara Houston over a one million dollar life insurance policy.
You can read about Whitney’s battle against her “step-mother”, including how Whitney used the public lawsuit to attack Barbara Houston and her relationship with Whitney’s father, in this excerpt from Trial & Heirs that was featured on The Huffington Post.
The case has now moved on to the Court of Appeals after Whitney scored a big victory in the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey late in 2010. The Judge ruled in her favor, even though he first discussed multiple letters sent between various of Whitney Houston’s accountants and attorneys; several letters validated Barbara Houston’s claim.
These letters supported Barbara’s position that the one million dollar Read more…