Category Archives: Exploitation

How Can Johnny Depp & Lisa Marie Presley Both Be Broke? New Court Fights Explore Who Is To Blame

Johnny DeppIt’s a growing Hollywood trend … tens of millions of dollars gone?  Sue the guy who handled your finances!  But, legally, who should shoulder the blame — and more critically, pay the price — when a celebrity once worth hundreds of millions sees most of it disappear?  And what lessons are there for those of us whose net worth hasn’t quite hit eight or nine figures?

Johnny Depp is the poster child for this dilemma after his reported net-worth of $200 million dwindled to a small fraction of what it once was.  But Depp is far from alone.  This summer, Alyssa Milano filed a $10 million lawsuit against her former business manager claiming financial ruin.  And Lisa Marie Presley recently announced, through her attorney, that she is in the same boat, preparing to sue her former business manager for $100 million in losses.

Johnny Depp Claims He Was Scammed Out Of Millions of Dollars

The Depp lawsuit appears to be the most heated at the moment.  Recently, Depp’s former financial Read more...

| Leave a comment

Hawaiian Princess Kawananakoa In Court Battle Over $200 Million Trust Fund

Princess Abigail Kawananakoa, known to her friends as Kekau, is true Hawaiian royalty. Now, a bitter court battle rages over the questions of whether she is mentally capable of managing her vast fortune and whether she is the victim of physical abuse and financial exploitation.

Princess Kawananakoa, age 92, is a direct descendant to the throne of the Kingdom of Hawaii.  When the United States annexed Hawaii in 1898, it ended the reign of Queen Lili’uokalani, Kawananakoa’s great-grand aunt. As the closest living relative, Kawananakoa is considered to be the heir apparent who would have assumed the throne if the monarchy had been restored.

Abigail Kawananakoa was also the beneficiary of a large fortune, thanks to her great-grandfather, James Campbell. Campbell, a 19th-century sugar cane industrialist who made his fortune in Hawaii, died in 1900 with an estate worth $3 million at the time. The Campbell Estate has grown since then, topping out over $2 billion in 2007 when the Estate was converted into corporate holdings. Kawananakoa inherited $250 million, Read more...

| Leave a comment

Answering Questions About Whitney Houston’s Millions And Bobbi Kristina’s Death

After a six-month coma, the life of Whitney Houston’s daughter Bobbi Kristina Brown, has tragically ended.  Just how tragic her short life really was may not be known for some time.  But the details that have emerged are nothing short of heart-wrenching, if the allegations of a recently-filed lawsuit filed on behalf of Bobbi Kristina prove to be true.

According to that lawsuit, Whitney Houston’s millions were at the heart of this tragedy.  But what role did they really play in Bobbi Kristina’s death?

It was on January 31, 2015 that Bobbi Kristina was found unresponsive, unconscious, and face down in a bath tub.  That was nearly three years from the day her mother famously drowned, also in a bathtub.  Bobbi Kristina was placed into a medically-induced coma and reportedly suffered severe brain damage.

While various relatives made contradictory public statements over her condition, they cooperated enough to permit her father, Bobby Brown, and her aunt, Pat Houston, to serve together as Bobbi Kristina’s co-guardians, managing her medical care and Read more...

| Leave a comment

Celebrity Legacies: The Fleecing Of The Elvis Presley Estate

Elvis Presley earned more than one billion dollars during his career … so why was his estate worth only about ten million dollars when he died?  How did things get even worse for his heirs afterwards?

Elvis Presley EstateAnd what would Elvis Presley say about appearing as a hologram?

This is installment #6 of our Estate Planning Lessons From The Stars series, which is based on the Celebrity Legacies TV show for which we provide commentary as the estate legal experts.  See other articles in the series here.

There can be no doubt that Elvis Presley truly earned his nickname as the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll.  His lifetime earnings topped one billion dollars over his 25-year career — especially impressive considering this came in the 50’s, 60’s, and 70’s.

Celebrity Legacies Preview On The Elvis Presley Estate

 

//

Some of Elvis’ financial success is attributed to his manager and promoter, Colonel Tom Parker.  He helped Elvis secure unprecedented movie deals — paying him top dollar Read more...

| Leave a comment

Casey Kasem Is Missing! Could This Happen In Your Family?

Casey Kasem — the legendary voice of American Top 40 Countdown and numerous cartoon characters — has been kidnapped by his own wife while he suffers from advanced dementia, according to Kasem’s daughter, Kerri Kasem.   Casey’s wife, Jean Kasem, is accused of secreting away the 82-year old former DJ, in a move that could jeopardize his health, safety, and well-being.  Kerri told a California judge and various media outlets that her step-mother had fled the state with her husband of 30 years, in an attempt to avoid a Judge’s ruling about who would be Casey’s new conservator.  Casey Kasem

The ruling was made on Monday, after a long family feud over the care and control of Casey Kasem.  During the Monday court hearing, Kerri and her attorney obtained a temporary conservatorship over her father so that she can begin making decisions for him, such as where he lives, who he sees, and managing his medical care.  Unfortunately, she won’t be able to actually make any of these decisions — or even see Read more...

| Leave a comment

Mickey Rooneys Estate Finds Peace, But Will It Last?

A mere five days after the Hollywood acting legend passed away in his sleep at the age of 93, the family of Mickey Rooney was set to appear in a Los Angeles courtroom to fight over where he should be buried. Just hours before the court hearing, the estate reached a settlement — hopefully putting an end to the troubling feud that surrounded Rooney’s family the last few years.  Mickey Rooneys Estate

On one hand, Rooney’s family fight should not be viewed as surprising. What else would be expected when a Hollywood icon dies with a new will disinheriting all nine of his children (from eight different marriages), his wife, and all of his grandchildren and great-grandchildren? But a closer look shows how this family feud was far from the typical inheritance squabble we often see when famous people die.

Mickey Rooney’s estate is reported to be worth a mere $18,000 at this point. While his successful acting career spanned more than 80 years, most of Rooney’s starring roles occurred during the movie Read more...

| Leave a comment

Release Of Anthony Marshall, Brooke Astor’s Son, From Prison Is An Insult

The New York Department of Corrections decided recently to release Anthony Marshall from prison, only eight weeks into his one-to-three year prison sentence for committing fraud and a host of other crimes in taking advantage of his elderly mother, Brooke Astor.  Given how few crimes of financial exploitation of the elderly are actually prosecuted, it’s a sad message to send.

The New York District Attorney’s office spent six months in trial and many millions to prosecute Anthony Marshall and his accomplice, attorney Francis X. Morrissey Jr., in 2009.  Facing enormous odds trying to prove an 85-year old multi-millionaire illegally exploited his mother, they secured a conviction for 14 counts out of 16, for financial exploitation, fraud, and a host of related crimes.

Anthony Marshall To Be Paroled

Immediately, Marshall began raising legal challenges and appeals pleading poor health and his advanced age as a reason to avoid the consequences of his crime.  Judge after judge rejected each one, finally landing the criminal in jail on June 21st.

It took less Read more...

| Leave a comment

Legally Blonde Reese Witherspoon Goes To Court To Protect Father From Bigamy

One of Reese Witherspoon’s more famous roles was as the perky young attorney in Legally Blonde.  Late last week, she accompanied her parents to court in a much more somber setting.

Reese Witherspoon’s father, Dr. John Draper Witherspoon, was recently married.  At least, that’s what a newspaper in Nashville, Tennessee announced.  You can read the big announcement and see the happy couple’s wedding photo here.
While John doesn’t exactly look happy in the picture, the announcement reveals that they will reside together in Nashville, following the intimate ceremony that featured cowboy boots and yellow roses, based on their Texas heritage.  The festivities took place on January 14th, and the couple plans a celebration with friends and family for the summer.

Reese Witherspoon’s Father Sued For Bigamy

There’s just one problem.  Reese’s 70-year old father, John, was never divorced from Reese’s mother, Mary.  While they’ve been living apart for the last 16 years, they still are married.  Mary says she still loves her husband of 42 years, Read more...

| Leave a comment

Brooke Astor Estate Settlement: Marshall Gets His Just Desserts

News broke last week about the Brooke Astor estate settlement.  The renowned New York society queen and philanthropist, who died at age 105, left behind an estate of nearly $200 million dollars.  brooke astor estate settlement
Brooke Astor’s assets — along with the $50 million charitable trust of her late husband — have been tied up since she passed in 2007.  The fighting was so extensive that it dragged in a “who’s who” of top New York City institutions, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Carnegie Hall, the New York Public Library, Rockefeller University, and even the United Nations, among many others.
Under Astor’s 2002 will, her only son, Anthony Marshall, stood to inherit tens of millions of dollars, with most of it slated to pass to charity after he died.  But Marshall wanted much more.  He and a lawyer,  Francis X. Morrissey, Jr., convinced the elderly Astor — when she was suffering from dementia — to sign a series of codicils to Astor’s 2002 will.  These codicils would have allowed Marshall to leave Read more...

| 2 Comments

Huguette Clark Estate: Mysteries Surround the $400 Million Estate

Huguette Clark was a mysterious and reclusive New York multi-millionairess who passed away on May 24, 2011, a mere two weeks short of her 105th birthday.  Huguette Clark estate

Clark was the daughter, and only surviving child, of William Andrews Clark, who died in 1925 and was believed to be one of the richest Americans at the time.  He built his wealth through copper mining and served as a senator of Montana.  For many years, his daughter was thought to have died long ago.  Indeed, Huguette Clark hadn’t been seen in the Fifth Avenue apartment that she lived in (and still owned when she died) in 22 years.

Where was she all that time?  Living in a hospital room, even though she was in good health when she moved there in the late 1980s.  Watched over by a private nurse, her attorney, and an accountant — who was a convicted sex offender — Clark was said to have considered her collection of dolls to be her closest companions.  She was isolated from her Read more...

| Leave a comment