Lawyers for the widow of billionaire Kirk Kerkorian want a judge to order the estate’s executor to provide an explanation for some of his management decisions, including the financing of a box office flop and the distribution of $200 million in estate assets to charities.
Una Davis was married for a brief time to Kerkorian before his June 2015 death at age 98 from age-related causes. His estate’s lawyers estimated its value at $1.8 billion at the time of Kerkorian’s death, but Davis’ attorneys say increases in MGM stock value make the assets closer to $3 billion.
“This may well represent the largest probate estate in Los Angeles County history, if not the entire state of California,” Davis’ lawyers state in their court papers.
An attorney for the estate could not be immediately reached for comment on the Los Angeles Superior Court petition, which is set for hearing on Sept. 13.
Davis is seeking a one-third interest in Kerkorian’s estate, saying she was pressured by those close to him into signing a waiver to any interest she had when the two wed in 2014. Kerkorian was married three times previously.
Judge Maria Stratton previously put a stay on litigation related to Davis’ petition while she appeals the judge’s March ruling allowing the Kerkorian estate’s executor, Anthony Mandekic, to oppose her petition. Davis maintains she is an “omitted spouse” who is entitled to the same amount of money she would have received had Kerkorian died without a will.
Documents filed by Kerkorian’s attorneys when his estate was opened included a copy of his will, dated July 2013. Kerkorian designated that $15 million be given to Patricia Mary Christensen, the wife of longtime Kerkorian attorney Terry Christensen, and $7 million to Mandekic, who also served as secretary-treasurer of Kerkorian’s Beverly Hills-based Tracinda Corp.
Davis’ lawyers maintain that the time is ripe for Mandekic to explain some of his actions.
“Petitioner has become aware of a number of circumstances that should give the court concern as to the actions of Mr. Mandekic as executor and should lead to his being ordered to file an (account) for his actions in regard to this multibillion-dollar estate,” Davis’ lawyers state in their court papers.
Mandekic has obtained sole control of $900 million in cash by selling $34 million in MGM stock, according to Davis’ attorneys.
“Has Mr. Mandekic been using or investing in options or other risky investment vehicles?,” Davis’ lawyers ask in their court papers.
Davis’ lawyers also cite the April premiere of “The Promise,” a film about the Armenian genocide that starred Christian Bale and was directed by Oscar winner Terry George. They state in their court papers that they believe Mandekic was a co-manager of Survival Pictures LLC, which produced the movie.
“Despite its star power, the film was a financial failure and the production is expected to lose as much as $80 million,” Davis’ lawyers allege in their court papers. “Leaving aside its historical relevance, how precisely was the flop of a film financed? All of this concerns (Davis) as a claimant to one-third of the estate, as it should concern the court in its supervision of Mr. Mandekic in performance of his … duties.”
The Davis attorneys also ask why Davis was given an executive producer credit for the film.
In February, Stratton allowed for the distribution of $200 million to various charities picked by Mandekic and other members of a committee. Attorneys for the estate said in June that most of that money had been distributed, according to Davis’ attorneys’ court papers.
“Which charitable organizations did the selection committee … choose?,”? Davis’ lawyers ask in their court papers. “What amounts were distributed to each?”
— City News Service