A judge told lawyers for the executor overseeing the estate of the late businessman Kirk Kerkorian Thursday that she has reservations about granting nearly $500,000 in fees the attorneys allege they are owed from the $1.8 billion estate for legal work done on its behalf.
“I think this case was way overstaffed,” Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Maria Stratton said. “There were way too many lawyers on some straightforward issues.”
However, Stratton told the lawyers they can provide more written arguments in support of their claims. She set another hearing for Oct. 4.
The estate’s lawyers are seeking $474,815 for work done in opposing litigation filed by Linda Kerkorian Kemper, the businessman’s daughter, and Kira Kerkorian, who also alleges she was an offspring of the former casino mogul.
Kira Kerkorian sought to undo an $8.5 million settlement she initially agreed to after dropping her bid to contest Kerkorian’s will. She later accepted the same settlement terms.
Kemper tried to intervene in the will contest. The issues reached a state appellate court, where she lost and eventually dropped the matter.
The estate’s lawyers maintain the legal issues in the Kemper challenge were complex and that they spared the estate the risk of a successful will contest raised by Kira Kerkorian’s motions.
Lawyers for Kerkorian’s widow, Una Davis, objected to any award of fees to the estate’s lawyers until the executor, Anthony Mandekic, is ordered to file an explanation of how he is managing the estate’s assets.
“(Davis) also raised concerns about whether actions taken by Mr. Mandekic and his attorneys have been motivated by conflicts of interest and self-dealing,” Davis’ lawyers state in their court papers.
Kerkorian was 98 when he died on June 15, 2015, in Beverly Hills. He developed key properties on the Las Vegas Strip, including the MGM and MGM Grand.
He also invested in and operated businesses in a number of industries, including airlines, automakers, Chrysler Corp., General Motors and film studios. He purchased MGM Studios three times, bought United Artists and tried to acquire Columbia Pictures.
–City News Service