Stan Lee’s estate is set to settle a messy legal battle involving accusations of exploitation and elder abuse by the comic legend’s inner circle, with a lawsuit settling against the former Lee’s business manager, Jerardo “Jerry” Olivarez.
According to a court document filed Monday, Lee’s estate has decided to dismiss the claims against Olivarez. Terms of the agreement were not disclosed. The settlement does not include claims against Lee’s former attorney, Uvi Litvak.
The four-year legal saga, sparked by The Hollywood ReporterThe investigation, detailing allegations of elder abuse, revolves around a gruesome battle over Lee’s estate that includes his daughter, JC, and people who allegedly manipulated her into exploiting her famous father. . Lee accused JC, his only child and heir to his estate, of verbally assaulting him. THR reported that JC’s outbursts turned physical at times in money disputes.
Stan Lee sued Olivarez and Litvak in 2018, calling them “unscrupulous businessmen, sycophants and opportunists” seeking to take advantage of him after the death of his wife, Joan Lee.
Olivarez, a florist-turned-publicist, entered Lee’s inner circle as a consultant to J.C. and various Joan business ventures before ending up with power of attorney over Lee after Joan’s death. He was given the title of “Senior Advisor”, taking care of care duties for Lee.
“Jerry Olivarez and JC Lee, Stan and Joan Lee’s only daughter and trustee of the Lee Family Trust, are pleased to announce the resolution of their legal dispute,” Olivarez attorney Donald Randolph said in a statement. Wednesday. “The genesis of this dispute was the unfortunate manipulation of Stan Lee and his family undertaken by certain individuals – not named in the lawsuit – who sought to unjustly slander Jerry Olivarez. These individuals exerted undue influence on the Lee family to accuse Jerry Olivarez of harmful acts he did not commit.
According to the lawsuit, Olivarez fired Stan Lee’s banker of 26 years and his attorneys and transferred approximately $4.6 million from his bank account without authorization. After convincing Lee to sign a power of attorney for him, Olivarez reportedly appointed his own attorney, Livtak, as Lee’s attorney without disclosing the conflict of interest.
Before his death, Lee claimed that Olivarez tricked him into loaning $300,000 to a merchandising company posing as a nonprofit dedicated to racial peace, bought an $850,000 condo with his money, withdrew nearly $1.4 million from his accounts through a series of wire transfers and altered his will. He alleged fraud, financial abuse of an elder, and name and likeness misappropriation, among other allegations.
“Olivarez abused his relationship of trust with Lee and JC Lee, his knowledge of Lee and JC Lee’s confidential business and estate planning transactions, and his ability to mislead Lee due to his advanced age, all in a covert and intentional effort to dupe Lee into a multitude of schemes and financial missteps that benefited Olivarez and disenfranchised Lee,” the complaint reads.
Litvak remains a defendant in the case. In 2019, a judge granted a motion to move the dispute to arbitration. Lee sued him for professional misconduct and breach of fiduciary duty. Livtak’s attorney did not respond to a request for comment.
Los Angeles prosecutors are also pursuing a case against Lee’s former business manager, Keya Morgan. He was charged in 2019 with theft, embezzlement, fraud and forcible confinement of an elderly person. Lee named him as one of the “bad actors with bad intentions” trying to manipulate him in a court statement. In 2018, Lee obtained a restraining order against Morgan. He was accused of isolating Lee from family and friends to embezzle artwork, cash and other assets valued at over $5 million. Lee’s former business and asset manager, Bradley J. Herman, is listed as a prosecution witness.
Morgan, who accompanied Lee to Marvel movie premieres and acted as his publicist of sorts, was reportedly behind Lee’s billion-dollar lawsuit against Pow! Entertainment. Lee, who started the company in 2001, claimed he was improperly influenced to give up his intellectual property and likeness rights. He then dropped the suit, which JC continued to pursue. A federal appeals court in 2020 overturned a decision awarding $1 million in penalties to Pow! Entertainment, which argued that JC’s lawsuit was without merit from the start, but granted an order dismissing the case.