A judge said Friday that Casey Kasem‘s widow has no legal right to object to the payment of attorney’s fees and costs related to the establishment of a conservatorship over her late husband, clearing the way for the money to be obtained either from the late radio icon’s estate or the family trust.
Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Lesley Green will make the final determination of how much to award, but the petitioners collectively are asking for about $350,000. The attorneys involved in the filing the petition said they also will seek additional fees to compensate them for having to oppose Jean Kasem’s objections to the fees requests. Jean Kasem was married to her husband for more than three decades.
Jean Kasem’s attorney, Frank Busch, said his client is the only one who has been looking out for her late husband’s interests from the start, but Green said that did not give her the right to object to the fees.
“Your client had the opportunity to establish standing and hasn’t done that,” Green told Jean Kasem’s attorneys.
Green said she will need time to review the fees requests.
“I haven’t looked at this in any detail,” Green said.
The petitioners, who include the lawyers for Kasem’s daughter, Kerri Kasem, said the primary evidence offered by Jean Kasem’s attorneys amounted to two declarations from Kjetil Johansen. He is a lawyer in Norway, where the former radio icon is buried. Johansen stated that Jean Kasem is the trustee of her late husband’s trust and the personal representative of his estate.
The petitioners disagreed and said there currently is no one serving in the role of settling Kasem’s financial affairs after his death.
Kerri Kasem is one of Kasem’s two biological daughters from his first marriage. Judge Daniel Murphy named her as her father’s temporary guardian in May, but it expired upon the death of her father on June 15 at age 82. Murphy later removed himself from the case. Kasem was the subject of a vitriolic legal battle between his widow and his children from his first marriage until he died. He suffered from dementia and Lewy body disease, which has symptoms similar to Parkinson’s disease.
A judge has to approve the fees and costs because they would be paid by Casey Kasem’s estate or the trust. Martin said he believes the estate and trust collectively are worth about $80 million and that the major asset is the Kasem home in Holmby Hills, valued at about $40 million. Kasem’s court-appointed lawyer. Samuel Ingham, is also seeking to be paid for his work. Kerri Kasem is asking to be reimbursed for travel expenses to the state of Washington, where Kasem died after his wife moved him from a Santa Monica care facility.
Martin said private investigators hired in Washington also have yet to be paid.
Kerri, Julie and Mike Kasem were born during their father’s marriage to Linda Myers from 1972-79. Jean Kasem and the late radio personality have a 24- year-old daughter, Liberty.
—City News Service