Dead NBC chairman’s kids say widow ripping them off over gazillion-dollar mansion

Grant Tinker at The 64th Annual George Foster Peabody Awards presented by the University of Georgia honors excellence in electronic media. The ceremony was held at the Waldorf Astoria in 2005. Photo by By The Peabody Awards [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
The widow of the late Grant Tinker denies in new court papers allegations by three children of the former NBC chairman and CEO that she tried to impair their future interests in proceeds from the sale of Tinker’s multimillion-dollar Bel-Air mansion.

Brooke Knapp’s court documents, filed Thursday in Los Angeles Superior Court, challenge the assertions made in a petition brought in October by John and Michael Tinker and their sister, Jodie Dilella. The three allege their father was subjected to undue influence and elder abuse by Knapp, who the television executive married in March 2004. Tinker, who previously was wed to Mary Tyler Moore, died in Los Angeles in November 2016 at age 90.

“The charge of undue influence … is completely unfounded, without a shred of credible support and is nothing but a hammer intended to beat (Knapp) into submission and to gain for the Tinker children something which their father did not intend them to have,” according to Knapp’s court papers.

In April 2015, Tinker established a residence trust that not only complied with his premarital agreement with Knapp, but also protected his interests and those of his children by placing his half of his community property interest in the Perugia Way mansion in the new trust, according to his children’s court papers. Tinker’s lawyer had long wanted to make sure the executive’s children received the mansion or its sale proceeds after Knapp died, the children say.

The children further maintain that Tinker’s mental state was in decline – – his death certificate listed dementia as one of the causes of his death — when he called his attorney two months later and said he wanted to revoke his residence trust and restore his home back to himself and his wife as community property.

“By the date of the purported revocation, Grant was unable to resist Brooke’s undue influence,” the children’s petition states.

During the call, Tinker’s attorney could hear Knapp’s voice in the background and described her demeanor as “livid,” the petition states. Tinker’s lawyer “is convinced Grant’s instructions were the product of Brooke’s undue influence,” according to the children’s petition.

That same month, Tinker amended his family trust to appoint his wife and another son, Mark Tinker, as co-trustees, according to the children’s petition, who say they also believe Knapp typed the letter that resulted in the firing of Tinker’s attorney and his longtime financial adviser.

However, Knapp’s court papers state that she was herself a victim of changes in the trust meant to protect her when Tinker’s longtime business manager and a lawyer employed by the manager made an amendment in April 2015 without Tinker’s knowledge.

“Apparently, (Tinker) signed the documents without reading them or having them explained to him,” Knapp’s court papers state.

Within 45 days, Tinker read the amendment and realized that it did not “accomplish anything that was consistent with his intentions” regarding his wife’s rights, according to Knapp’s court papers.

“So angry was (Tinker) at the actions of his business manager and (the attorney) that he fired them,” Knapp’s court papers state.

Tinker then arranged for new documents to be prepared that restored his wife’s rights, Knapp’s court papers state.

Knapp sold the Bel-Air mansion in February for $10.2 million and bought a home in Mandeville Canyon, the petition states. She also created a new trust with herself as trustee, according to the children’s petition, who allege their father did not revoke the residence trust under his own free will and that therefore a judge should invalidate the action. They also are asking for double damages against Knapp for her alleged “wrongful, bad faith conduct.”

A hearing on Knapp’s objections to the petition is scheduled for Nov. 21.

–City News Service