3:27pm PT by Ashley Cullins
Stan Lee Sues Ex-Business Manager for Fraud
Stan Lee is fighting back against at least one person who he believes has been stealing from him following The Hollywood Reporter's in-depth investigative piece about alleged elder abuse and an ugly battle over his estate.
In a complaint filed Friday in Los Angeles County Superior Court, Lee claims Jerardo Olivarez is one of many "unscrupulous businessmen, sycophants and opportunists" seeking to take advantage of him following the death of his wife, Joan Lee, in July 2017.
"While Lee was in great distress over this severe loss, Olivarez ... fired his banker of 26 years," writes attorney Jonathan Freund in the complaint. "They also fired his lawyers of many years and caused approximately $4.6 million dollars to be transferred out of Lee's Merrill Lynch Account without Lee's authorization."
Olivarez, who was introduced to Lee by his daughter J.C., then convinced Lee to give him power of attorney, according to the complaint. The manager also allegedly tricked Lee into loaning $300,000 to a fake nonprofit organization dedicated to racial peace, bought an $850,000 condo in West Hollywood without his approval, removed almost $1.4 million from Lee's accounts through a series of wire transfers and used his position as a fiduciary to modify Lee's will.
Lee is suing for conversion, fraud, financial abuse of an elder and misappropriation of his name and likeness.
Olivarez has not yet responded to a request for comment on the complaint, which is posted below.
But Olivarez did speak with THR for the investigative piece published April 10.
"Mr. Lee told me I had given him a new lease on life after Mrs. Lee's passing," Olivarez said. "I had looked out for him during recent contract negotiations with Pow! [Entertainment, the production company Lee co-founded in 2001]. He gave me a check as a thank you."
He said that Lee is on the title to the $850,000 condo because, after Olivarez allegedly received unspecified death threats, Lee wanted him to live close by in "a secure building where he thought I'd be safe."