Two children of famed independent filmmaker Roger Corman filed court papers asking a judge to determine their rights as co- trustees and beneficiaries in the wake of what they say is an attempt by their mother to undermine their interests in the family’s trusts, the assets of which include a multimillion-dollar mansion in Santa Monica.
Roger Martin Corman and Brian William Corman maintain in a petition filed Wednesday in Los Angeles Superior Court that Julie Corman has “berated and abused” her 91-year-old husband to force him to succumb to her wishes” and prevented him from carrying out his wishes regarding their children.
“The origin of Julie’s abuse of her family, and the reason for her about-face regarding the irrevocable trusts that she helped to establish with (her husband) for the benefit of their children, stems from her belief that she and Roger W. have been too generous, at her expense, in providing for their children,” according to the petition.
A representative for Julie Corman could not be immediately reached.
Corman mentored such film directors as Francis Ford Coppola, Ron Howard, Martin Scorsese, Jonathan Demme and James Cameron. He also helped start the acting careers of Peter Fonda and Jack Nicholson.
Corman and his wife set up three irrevocable trusts: the Pacific Trust, the Tessa Trust, and the MG Trust. Their children are now adults and the trusts assets are purportedly worth more than $100 million. The couple also established qualified personal residence trusts.
Their sons are two of the co-trustees of the trusts and co-beneficiaries along with their sisters, Catherine Ann Corman and Mary Tessa Corman, according to the petition. Catherine Corman is the other co-trustee.
A portion of a sworn declaration Mary Corman gave in 2009 critical of her mother is included in the petition.
“My mother no longer believed that any of the children should get the distributions my father had wanted to give us,” she said. “Because my father still felt strongly that these distributions should be made, my mother continued to yell at him nightly over this.”
In an excerpt of a declaration by Catherine Corman also given in 2009, the woman says she and Mary Corman were at a dinner with their mother when the latter became “petulant toward my sister and myself, criticizing and mocking us.”
Catherine Corman said that on the way home their mother “continued to badger my sister … who at this point was sobbing in the back seat of the car.”
Julie Corman continued to “verbally attack my sister for miles, not acknowledging the fact that Mary was crying the whole way home,” according to Catherine Corman.
The petitioners want a judge to determine their rights and obligations as beneficiaries and co-trustees regarding the home where the filmmaker and his wife live. They seek an order directing the trustees to act “solely in the interest of the beneficiaries in connection with the property,” including that it not be leased for an amount “less than the value of the fair market rent for the property.”
Built in 1938, the home overlooking the Riviera Country Club has seven bedrooms, more than five bathrooms, a swimming pool and a tennis court, according to the petition.
The home has an appraised value of as high as $16 million, the petition states.
Julie Corman has refused to vacate the property even though the terms of the residence trusts that allow her and her husband to occupy the property have expired, the petition states.
“As a result, Julie has put the trustees in the unenviable position of either evicting their parents or violating their fiduciary obligations by acceding to Julie’s wishes to lead the property to her and (her husband) on terms less favorable to those available on the open market,” the petition states.
Although Catherine Corman is a co-trustee, she is unwilling to evict her father and mother from the home because she “perceives her father as doing only what Julie is demanding of him and does not want him to suffer because of her mother’s abuse,” according to the petition, which is scheduled for hearing on Nov. 1 before Judge David Cowan.
–City News Service