8:09pm PT by Ashley Cullins
Girlfriend of Late 'Simpsons' Co-Creator Sues His Estate for $5M
As an Emmy winner and the co-creator of beloved animated series The Simpsons, Sam Simon's creative legacy is considered genius by Hollywood standards — but, not even a year after his death, his financial legacy is mired in controversy.
Simon's girlfriend Kate Porter is suing his estate for $5 million, tax free. She claims Simon had promised her the money “so that she would not have to struggle financially or worry about her future.”
He made headlines in the time leading up to his death when pledging to give his fortune, which is said to be several hundred million dollars, to charities including his own Malibu-based Sam Simon Foundation. He died of colon cancer at the age of 59 on March 8, 2015, and was mourned by fans and many in the industry. Simpsons counterpart Matt Groening said at the time: "We will miss Sam's phenomenal talents, sharp intelligence and sly sense of humor. He is gone from our industry too soon."
But now his legacy, and fortune, appear to be headed toward legal action.
“Those entrusted with overseeing the Estate of Samuel Simon, and carrying out his last wishes, are in fact betraying that trust and refusing to honor the commitments made before he passed away,” Porter’s attorney Bryan J. Freedman writes in the complaint filed Thursday.
The lawsuit claims that Porter cherished the privilege of being by Simon’s side during his battle with cancer so much so that she cut back her work to devote more of her time to him and was eventually “discharged” from her job.
“Mr. Simon asked Plaintiff to be more available to him, and told her not to worry about replacing her regular employment, as he would financially take care of her,” Freedman writes.
Despite his “repeated promises,” Simon’s estate plan made no mention of Porter.
Porter claims Julie Miller, Simon’s business manager and executor of his estate, has not rejected nor accepted a creditor’s claim she submitted in January, according to the suit, and is suing for breach of oral contract, specific performance of contract to make will, negligent misrepresentation and equitable estoppel.
This isn’t the first time someone has come forward saying Simon’s promises didn’t make it into his will.
Tyson Kilmer, the Hollywood canine-aggression trainer who was bequeathed Simon’s rescue dog, says he was also promised money to care for the dog — who has expensive medical needs.
Representatives from PETA and the Washington State-based Sea Shepherd Conservation Society have said Simon gave the impression that his financial gifts to their charities would continue, but also weren't explicitly mentioned in his estate plan.
Simon's trust promises that his eponymous charitable-giving foundation will eventually "direct a substantial amount to organizations that protect and save animals from cruelty and mistreatment, along with other causes."
A spokesman for the estate declined comment, explaining that attorneys for the estate had not yet reviewed the complaint.