The late musician Frank Zappa’s two younger children want a judge to allow them to conduct a counter-offensive against their older siblings for allegedly launching attacks against the petitioners and their mother in the media.
Ahmet and Diva Zappa say in their Los Angeles Superior Court petition filed Wednesday that their older siblings, Dweezil and Moon, are unhappy they were not named co-trustees of the family trust instead of their younger brother and sister after their mother, Gail, died of lung cancer at age 70 in October 2015.
Ahmet, 42, and Diva, 37, want a judge to allow them to set up a website and “take other actions in order to respond to these scurrilous attacks to protect and preserve the value of the assets of the trust without fear or retribution, including concerns that some of the beneficiaries will seek their removal as co-trustees.”
Representatives for the older Zappa children could not be immediately reached.
According to the petition, in October, 47-year-old Dweezil posted on his website that he was no longer allowed to use the federal trademark “Zappa Plays Zappa” because of an order “fired off by the ZFT,” referring to the Zappa Family Trust.
No such order is in effect and the trademark was obtained by the family trust in 2007 to allow any of Frank Zappa’s children to play his music for the benefit of them all, the petition states.
Since Gail Zappa’s death, Dweezil has “refused to acknowledge the trust’s ownership of the (trademark) and has refused to sell Frank Zappa merchandise at live engagements,” the petition alleges. “He uses assets belonging to the family and owned by the trust and appropriates them to his own use and then accuses the trust of attempting to stop him from playing the music of his father.”
To mock the trust and his younger siblings, and to attack the legacy of their mother, Dweezil has toured under the title “Dweezil Zappa Plays Whatever the (epithet) He Wants: Cease and Desist Tour,” the petition states.
By leading his fans to believe Ahmet and Diva are trying to prevent him from playing their father’s music, Dweezil is “seeking to add relevance to himself as a performer and establish the spotlight directly upon him as the savior of all things that are Frank Zappa,” the younger siblings allege.
In November, Dweezil gave an interview to Magnet magazine in which he continued his and 49-year-old Moon’s public disparagements of his mother by saying she had “run herself and the business into the ground, spent $20 million in lawsuits and by her demise was $6 million in debt.”
Dweezil also said his mother had not paid him for 10 years.
“She wanted to remain in charge over me even when she passed,” Dweezil said.
In truth, Gail Zappa put her younger children in charge of the trust assets because Ahmet was already running most of the business prior to her death and Diva had been assisting her mother in running the family business for years, according to the petition.
Dweezil also was paid more than $100,000 from 2007-15, the petition states.
A hearing on the younger Zappa siblings’ petition is scheduled May 17.
Frank Zappa released more than 60 albums as a solo artist and with his band Mothers of Invention. He died In December 1993 at age 52 of renal failure and metastasized prostate cancer.
— City News Service
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