Earlier this week, The Hollywood Reporter published a disturbing account of elder abuse concerning Stan Lee, saying that a number of unscrupulous individuals preyed on the vulnerable 95-year-old following the death of his wife last year.
Key figures in the story included former business manager Jerry Olivarez, memorabilia dealer Kaya Morgan and Stan Lee museum proprietor Max Anderson, all of whom were accused of manipulating the beloved comic book-creator for personal and financial gain.
On Friday of this week, following the publication of the story, a complaint was filed in Los Angeles County Superior Court, singling out Jerry Olivarez and accusing him of conversion, fraud, financial abuse of an elder and misappropriation of Lee’s name and likeness.
The complaint begins:
“Lee was married to Joan B. Lee for nearly 70 years until her death in late 2017. Upon her death, Lee became the target of various unscrupulous businessmen, sycophants and opportunists who was a chance to take advantage of [his] despondent state of mind, kind heart and devotion to his craft – a devotion that often allowed him to overlook the bad intentions of others when it came to his property.”
It is alleged that Olivarez visited Lee’s home in the days following his wife’s death “under the auspices of checking on his general well-being”, and while doing to, convinced him to fire bankers and lawyers with whom he had worked for decades, and sign over power of attorney.
The lawsuit goes on to claim that Olivarez caused a total of around $4.6 million to be transferred from Lee’s Merrill Lynch accounts, and convinced him to loan $300,000 to a “false charity” that claimed to promote racial harmony but turned out to be a merchandising company.
It is also alleged that Olivarez used “subterfuge” to purchase an $850,000 West Hollywood property with Lee’s funds, stole cash and jewelry, modified wills and estate documents, forged signatures on comic books to then sell them, and made unauthorised credit card purchases.
Amongst the more disturbing claims:
“… in a diabolical and ghoulish scheme to make a profit from a distraught and grieving Lee, Olivarez had a nurse inject [him] with a syringe and extract many containers of blood, which he then [sold] in Las Vegas as a collectable for thousands of dollars. Lee never approved of the use of his blood as a merchandising item, or for any other use. Naturally, this compounded Lee’s grief and angst and caused him tremendous emotional distress.”
This claim quite possibly relates to a venture in which Stan Lee’s blood was mixed into “DNA ink”, which was then stamped onto special editions of Marvel comic books and sold in pens, in what was described as a “legacy for fans.”
The lawsuit says that all relevant powers of attorney have been rescinded, but that Lee has suffered “substantial damages in a sum yet unknown” thanks to the activities of his business manager. Olivarez has yet to respond.Source: Variety
Image: Getty Images / Erika Goldring