Its hard to imagine, the greatest storyteller of our time and mastermind behind MARVEL COMICS, is a victim of something as heinous as “Elder Abuse.”
Per The Hollywood Reporter:
The Feb. 13 document, obtained by The Hollywood Reporter, begins with some background, explaining that Lee and his late wife had arranged a trust for their daughter because she had trouble supporting herself and often overspent. “It is not uncommon for J.C. to charge, in any given month, $20,000 to $40,000 on credit cards, sometimes more,” the document states. It goes on to describe how, when he and his daughter disagree — “which is often” — she “typically yells and screams at me and cries hysterically if I do not capitulate.”
Lee explains that J.C. will, “from time to time,” demand changes to her trust, including the transfer of properties into her name. He has resisted such changes, he states, because they “would greatly increase the likelihood of her greatest fear: that after my death, she will become homeless and destitute.”
The declaration then explicates how three men with “bad intentions” — Jerardo “Jerry” Olivarez, Keya Morgan and J.C.’s attorney, Kirk Schenck — had improperly influenced his daughter, a woman with “very few adult friends.” The document claims the trio has “insinuated themselves into relationships with J.C. for an ulterior motive and purpose”: to take advantage of Lee and “gain control over my assets, property and money.”
Lee’s estate is estimated to be worth between $50 million and $70 million (it’s been reported he receives $1 million a year for his Marvel ties). And while his primary role with the company is now mostly ceremonial — including a cameo in nearly every film — he remains a deity in fanboy culture. Despite the fact that his health requires nursing care at home and on the road, up until his most recent illness, Lee was a jovial regular at international comic conventions, where he can draw thousands of paying autograph seekers.
A few days after the declaration was notarized, however, Lee changed his mind — or someone did. Whatever happened, Lallas was soon out as Lee’s attorney in a confrontation that grew tense enough that the LAPD was called to the legend’s Hollywood Hills home.
Morgan and J.C. began consolidating their power over Lee. Mike Kelly, Lee’s assistant for nearly a quarter-century who used to come by the house most days for one-on-one meetings, was limited to weekly pre-approved and supervised visits. A new accountant (Vince Maguire, Tobey’s brother and Morgan’s friend) was hired. The housekeeper and gardener, who had been with Lee for decades, were sent packing. And a revolving door of lawyers were retained over six weeks until the pair introduced Lee to his current counsel, Jonathan Freund.
Lee’s phone number has been changed, and his emails are being monitored and composed by Morgan. (“Stan Lee has macular degeneration and his eyes cannot see small letters,” Morgan explains. “I have been taking him to the eye doctor and reading his e-mails for him for many years. This is his request, and he thanks me for helping him.”)
When Morgan learned that THR had obtained a copy of the seemingly damning declaration, he filmed a video of Lee distancing himself from the document. In the clip, while Lee doesn’t deny signing the declaration, he calls its contents “totally incorrect, inaccurate, misleading and insulting.” (Lallas says he went through the contents with Lee “word by word, line by line.”)
In the video, an animated and robust Lee goes on to state that “my relationship with my daughter has never been better, and my friend Keya Morgan and I also have a great relationship … anybody who is saying anything [else] … is just spreading lies.”
J.C. declined to speak with THR. Instead, Schenck, her lawyer, says “the story isn’t that J.C. is taking advantage of her father, but that she’s potentially being taken advantage of by multiple men.” Lee himself remains mostly silent, except for the brief recorded statements coordinated and released by Morgan.
However, nearly all of the other players in the messy drama over Lee’s estate and well-being are speaking out. Their often conflicting stories reveal an increasingly toxic and combative situation involving broken alliances, abrupt expulsions and allegations of elder abuse against one of America’s most influential and beloved cultural icons. On several occasions, the turmoil drew the attention of law enforcement.