He left behind only $4,000, but that’s not stopping the kids of late punk-rock pioneer Johnny Thunders from battling over his estate.
Savvy investments by Thunders’ sister, the estate’s administrator, turned the paltry 1991 inheritance into at least several hundred thousand dollars, giving the New York Dolls guitarist’s children something to really fight about.
The Queens-born Thunders, born John Genzale, died in April 1991 in a New Orleans hotel room, likely from a methadone overdose.
At their height in the early ’70s, the Dolls were a cult favorite, influencing such bands as the Ramones and Blondie. But guitarist Thunders’ heroin addiction helped lead to the band’s breakup in 1974, and he continued to struggle until his death at age 38.
Thunders left no will, and his last few thousand bucks were to go to his estranged wife, their two sons and his daughter from a romance with a Swedish groupie.
But his sister, Mariann Bracken, of Little Neck, Queens, was appointed administrator of the tiny estate — and generated “significant income” for the family over the years, according to a Manhattan Surrogate’s Court case.
Each descendant got payments twice a year from the pot until she died in 2009, court papers say.
Thunders’ half-Swedish daughter, Jamie Michelle Susanne Genzale, 26, was set to take over as administrator of the remaining $160,000 when all hell broke loose.
Jamie, a single mom working as a shop clerk in Stockholm, couldn’t afford the $75,000 bond that’s required by the court for her oversee the payments — so no one has been paid in four years, her Swedish lawyer told The Post.
It’s especially bad timing for the estate. The Dolls’ hit “Personality Crisis” recently landed at No. 271 on Rolling Stone’s 500 Greatest Songs of All Time list — and Jamie wants to team up with the band’s manager to collect royalties amid the potential new interest, according to her legal papers.
But Thunders’ sons, Vito and Dino Genzale, are now suing to bar her from controlling the funds.
Vito , 36, of New York, has done stints in the state’s toughest lockups, including Attica and Sing Sing, for drug dealing.
Dino, 34, of Texas, has a rap sheet that spans 16 years and four states with charges ranging from marijuana and cocaine offenses to robbery, theft, indecent exposure and assault.
The brothers are trying to locate their mom, who has her own criminal past, to get her on their side, as well. Her last known address was in Springfield, Ohio. They’ve hired a private eye to find her.
Jamie’s lawyer, Mats Borgström, said the parties are working on a settlement in which Dino would join Jamie as a co-executor of their dad’s estate.
Dino’s lawyer declined to comment. Vito, released from an upstate maximum-security prison in April, could not be reached.
All parties are due in court in January.
New York Dolls estate fight
December 9, 2013
New York Post