Estate of Denial news clips (6/1/16)

Lawyer thrown back behind bars for raiding late judge’s estate (NY)

New York Daily News

May 25, 2016

A Queens lawyer who spent 30 days in jail under a civil order for digging into the estate of the late Judge John Phillips was thrown back behind bars on Wednesday after Brooklyn prosecutors indicted him for the same crime.

When the legendary Bedford-Stuyvesant Slave Theater and an adjacent lot sold at auction for $2.2 million in 2012, the executor of the estate Samuel Boykin and Frank Racano were to report to a surrogates court judge where the money would go.


B.B. King’s Estate War: 15 Kids, 15 Moms and a “Totally Haywire” Fight

The Hollywood Reporter

May 26, 2016

When bluesman B.B. King died last year, he bequeathed to the world a body of work spanning six decades that brought joy and comfort to millions. The crooner of “The Thrill Is Gone” and “Sweet Sixteen” transformed American music, inspiring such rockers as Eric Clapton, Willie Nelson and Buddy Guy. King was 89 when he succumbed to congestive heart failure in his Las Vegas home and died peacefully in his sleep on May 14, 2015.

The year since then has been decidedly less peaceful. While neither of King’s two marriages resulted in children, he managed to leave behind a vast family: 15 kids from 15 women. If that family history weren’t complex enough, King’s authorized biographer Charles Sawyer wrote in his book, The Arrival of BB King, that doctors found the musician’s sperm count too low to conceive children. In 2015, Sawyer told The Guardian that he had given King the option to remove the reference and that King declined. Either way, King claimed 15 kids as his own — never disputing his paternity — and of the 11 who survive, many now are fighting with King’s appointed trustee over his estate, a fortune that family members tell THR could be worth between $30 million and $40 million when royalties, asset sales and rights are taken into account. Many of the kids point to a 2007 will and trust that they claim grant them generous allowances. But King’s longtime business manager, LaVerne Toney, who is now the legal trustee of King’s estate, asserts that she merely is following a 2014 trust, which names the children but doesn’t provide for them with specific monetary gifts. According to the trustee’s own legal filings in Nevada, King’s estate also is far smaller than the children allege: $5 million and change spread across a few Wells Fargo bank accounts. But the kids have assembled teams of lawyers to fight the estate’s guardians. The litigation could continue for years.


Lawyer is charged with stealing $587K from estate of deceased ‘kung fu’ judge (NY)

ABA Journal

May 26, 2016

A Queens lawyer has been charged with grand larceny for allegedly siphoning $587,000 in Brooklyn real estate sale proceeds from the estate of a deceased New York judge.

Bail was set Wednesday at $250,000 for attorney Frank Racano, as he entered a not-guilty plea in criminal court in Brooklyn. He is accused of writing more than 300 checks for personal expenses against a $737,000 escrow deposit from a prospective buyer of a historic theater property owned by the late John Phillips Jr., the New York Law Journal (sub. req.) and the Wall Street Journal (sub. req.) report.


Viacom CEO Seeks Quick Trial Over Ouster From Redstone Trust


May 26, 2016

Viacom Inc. Chief Executive Officer Philippe Dauman wants to go to trial by the end of September to resolve a dispute over his removal from a trust of the company’s controlling shareholder Sumner Redstone in an escalating battle over the billionaire’s estate.

The 92-year-old mogul, who controls a $40 billion media empire, kicked Dauman and George S. Abrams off the trust’s board on May 20, replacing them with Tad Jankowski, executive vice president and general counsel of National Amusements Inc., and Jill Krutick, a former media executive and equity analyst.


Fight over Vivian Maier’s photos settled, but deal sealed from public (IL)

Chicago Tribune

May 27, 2016

A Cook County judge on Thursday approved a settlement in the long-running dispute over the estate of amateur street photographer Vivian Maier but ordered that it be kept sealed to protect ongoing negotiations with other owners of the reclusive nanny’s celebrated work.

Probate Judge Mary Ellen Coghlan issued her two-page order after a private, hourlong meeting in her chambers about the agreement with John Maloof, who owns more than 90 percent of the film Maier left behind when she died in 2009.


Whitney Houston Estate Challenges $11 Million Tax Bill

The Hollywood Reporter

May 27, 2016

The heirs of late pop star Whitney Houston are now in Tax Court over what the Internal Revenue Service claims is owed in estate taxes.

In a May 23 petition, now sealed and first reported by Bloomberg, the Whitney Houston estate objected to the determination that $22.6 million has been underreported, which the IRS claims means that more than $11 million is owed, including $3 million in penalties.