Stan Lee’s former business manager has been charged with five counts of elder abuse against the co-creator of The Avengers and Spider-Man, who died last year aged 95.
The Los Angeles superior court has issued an arrest warrant against Keya Morgan, a New York memorabilia dealer who became a close companion to Lee, for charges including false imprisonment, forgery and fraud. These date back to June 2018, when Lee’s attorney first applied for a restraining order against Morgan following an incident that May in which police and a social worker were called to Lee’s home in Los Angeles to perform a welfare check. Morgan was reported to have dialled 911 and tried to get the visiting police arrested, saying they were impostors and trespassing on Lee’s property. He was then arrested and charged with filing a false police report.
In the application for the restraining order in June, Morgan was accused of isolating Lee from friends and family, and exploiting their relationship in order to embezzle artwork, cash and other assets worth more than $5m (£3.8m). By August, Lee was granted the order against Morgan, which required him to stay least 100 yards away from the Marvel magnate for three years.
The restraining order was the end to a web of argument and counter-argument over who exactly was looking after Lee’s interests in the last months of his life. After several erratic posts, Morgan was accused of taking control of Lee’s Twitter account, as well as being behind a surprising $1bn lawsuit launched by Lee in May 2018 against Pow! Entertainment, the company that Lee set up in 2001. Lee later dropped the lawsuit in July, calling it “confusing”.
That same month, lawyers Kirk Schenck and Jonathan Freund, representing Lee and his daughter, JC, told the Guardian that since the death of Lee’s wife Joan in 2017, there had been “multiple men” who had tried to “attach themselves to Stan and his various businesses and to manage his affairs”.
“Elder abuse is becoming more and more common as celebrities and famous world figures are living longer and longer, amassing a significant wealth profile along the way. Many elderly artists like Stan Lee are creative personality types that tended to defer financial decisions to others their whole life. The problem arises as celebrities get older and slowly lose their ability to monitor their fiduciaries – even ones they’d trusted for years,” said Schenck at the time.
After the incident at Lee’s home last June, Morgan told the Guardian: “Everything is so crazy, but the things you read in the newspapers are completely false, and I have 100% proof.”
He has yet to respond to the Guardian’s request for comment.
Source: The Guardian