Estate of Denial news clips (week of 9/6/15 )

The $95 million question: What’s at stake in Brown estate battle? (SC)

Herald Independent

September 4, 2015

NEWBERRY — Emails recently released under the Freedom of Information Act may offer insight into why there is a $95 million difference in the at-death valuation of James Brown’s music empire.


Ohio Supreme Court can’t investigate corrupt guardians, chief justice says

The Columbus Dispatch

September 4, 2015

Ohio Supreme Court Chief Justice Maureen O’Connor is pushing back against more calls for the court to increase its scrutiny of the state’s guardianship system, the same system that Ohio’s attorney general said is “crying out for reform.”


‘Cuckoo’ millionaire leaves $100K nest egg to her 32 cockatiels (NY)

New York Post

September 5, 2015

A late Manhattan entrepreneur who pioneered direct mailing with her “rich list” left $100,000 to her 32 cockatiels — with nitpicky instructions on how to care for the birds.


Mahoning County Probate Judge works to clear up hundreds of delinquent filings (OH)

September 7, 2015

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – The court which handles guardianships for some of the most vulnerable people and millions of dollars in estates is tightening procedures in Mahoning County.


Heirs of Mexican settler sue Texas over land they say was illegally seized in 1870s

Fox News Latino

September 8, 2015

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) –  More than 600 descendants of a Mexican settler have sued Texas over the alleged 1870s seizure of a royal land grant, claiming that they are entitled to the mineral revenue the state has collected for years.


Daughter in court over dad’s ‘racist’ will (CAN)

Calgary Sun

September 4, 2015

There’s little doubt the cranky old rector ever imagined his last wishes for dispersing his modest estate would end up in the venerable halls of the highest court in Ontario.

Before his death at 71, Eric Spence disinherited one of his daughters because she hadn’t communicated with him in eight years. Verolin Spence convinced a lower court that the real reason he’d cut her out of his will was because she had a baby with a white man.


Texas appeals court affirms decision to oust Tom Benson as trust administrator (TX/LA)

The New Orleans Advocate

September 9, 2015

A Texas appeals court on Wednesday affirmed a lower court’s decision to appoint two temporary receivers to replace Tom Benson as the administrator of a trust set up for the benefit of his now-estranged daughter.

The panel of four judges said in its order that Bexar County Probate Court Judge Tom Rickhoff acted appropriately in ousting Benson because the Saints and Pelicans owner had violated his fiduciary duties as trustee.


Tom Benson family feud: Texas appeals court sides with heirs (TX/LA)

The Times-Picayune

September 9, 2015

Saints and Pelicans owner Tom Benson’s decision in December to cut off his heirs and move money out of a Texas bank gave a San Antonio judge legitimate reason to remove the 88-year-old from control over a family trust fund, a Texas appeals court ruled Wednesday (Sept. 9).


Renee Benson wins appeal decision on her mother’s trust (TX/LA)

San Antonio Express-News

September 9, 2015

San Antonio’s Fourth Court of Appeals has affirmed a Bexar County probate court decision last February to establish a receivership for the Shirley Benson Testamentary Trust.

A final trial over control of the trust’s assets has been set for the first week of February in Bexar County Probate Court.


Crooked solicitor facing jail for £430,000 wills fraud (UK)

North Devon Journal

September 10, 2015

A CROOKED solicitor has been warned he faces jail after he admitted stealing £430,000 from the estates of dead clients.

Simon Armitage looted the money when he was running his own firm in Exeter but his crimes were uncovered when it merged with another and senior managers became suspicious.


Latest court decision victory for Benson’s daughter, grandchildren (TX/LA)

San Antonio Express-News

September 9, 2015

Court-appointed receivers will keep control of a large portion of Tom Benson’s fortune, as much as $1 billion of it, after the Fourth Court of Appeals in San Antonio on Wednesday upheld Bexar County Probate Judge Tom Rickhoff’s decision to remove Benson as trustee.


Widow takes L Brands to court over stock (OH)

The Columbus Dispatch

August 29, 2015

An 87-year-old widow of a longtime shareholder of L Brands is fighting the company, claiming she is entitled to $1.5 million and L Brands is refusing to pay up.


Huguette Clark’s estate appeals court ruling on $95M hospital suit (NY)

The New York Post

September 10, 2015

Lawyers representing the estate of the late copper heiress Huguette Clark have appealed a ruling that let Beth Israel Hospital out of a $95 million lawsuit.


Exclusive: Robin Williams’ daughter, Zelda, talks social media reaction to dad’s death, lawsuit and her first Fashion Week

New York Daily News

September 10, 2015

Robin Williams’ daughter is finding solace from her grief in the kindness of strangers … and through her first New York Fashion Week.

More than a year after her famous father committed suicide on Aug. 11, 2014, in his California home, leaving behind three adult children, Zelda Williams says she’s been propped up by millions of distraught fans.


Dallas DA’s Office Defends Fraud Case Against Oil Heir (TX)

September 10, 2015

Law360, Dallas (September 10, 2015, 7:53 PM ET) — The Dallas District Attorney’s Office on Wednesday urged the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals to sign off on an appellate court’s decision to reinstate mortgage fraud charges against Hunt Petroleum Corp. heir Al Hill III, who had alleged the charges were the result of a conspiracy.


Detroit doctor arrested in L.A., charged with financial elder abuse (MI)

September 11, 2015

Maybel Miles, 92, of Los Angeles, helped put the doctor through college and showed him endless other kindness only to wind up broke after allowing the man to live with her in L.A.

Dr. Carlson Alyn Jackson, 60, of Detroit, is behind bars held on a million-dollar bond and charged with three counts of financial elder abuse.


The man who tried to steal 4949 Swiss Ave. from Mary Ellen Bendtsen loses his appeal (TX)

The Dallas Morning News

September 10, 2015

Mark McCay was once looking at years behind bars — 10, possibly as many as 20. His crime: swindling a former model out of her Swiss Avenue home — 4949 Swiss, to be exact. Yes, that house. Mary Ellen Bendtsen’s house. A famous house tied to an infamous case of elder abuse when, a decade ago, McCay and his partner Justin Burgess and their attorney Edwin Carl Olsen IV convinced an incapacitated 88-year-old woman to sign over her house as she lay on her deathbed. A probate court threw out the new will and turned over the decaying manse to Bendtsen’s daughter, but the damage had been done; the crime of attempted theft of property valued at more than $200,000, committed. And in July 2012, McCay received his sentence: four years’ probation, a $1,000 fine and 30 days in the Dallas County Jail. It could have been much, much more.