The only child of “Star Trek” actress Nichelle Nichols filed a legal action to void two ownership transfers of his 87-year-old mother’s Woodland Hills home by her former manager that more than doubled the property taxes to $12,130.
A court earlier ruled that Nichols suffers from dementia and named her son as her conservator.
Kyle Johnson brought the petition Tuesday in Los Angeles Superior Court, asking a judge to nullify the actions of 81-year-old Gilbert Bell, who lives on a guesthouse on the lot that also encompasses Nichols’ home.
In January 2019, Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Barbara Johnson — who is not related to Nichols’ 68-year-old son — named him the permanent conservator of his mother’s person and her estate. The judge also found that Nichols suffers from dementia.
Nichols played Lt. Uhura, a translator and communications officer, aboard the USS Enterprise in the “Star Trek” series that ran on NBC from 1966-69, and also appeared in some of the later “Star Trek” movies.
Most of her assets are in her home, which her son’s court papers state is worth nearly $2 million.
Bell maintains in a separate legal action he filed against Johnson last year that he became Nichols’ talent manager in 2009 and that she insisted he move into the guesthouse. Bell often prepared dinner for both of them and they celebrated birthdays together, according to his suit, which says his monthly rent was $300.
According to Johnson’s petition, Bell used a power-of-attorney he obtained from Nichols in February 2013 while she was recovering from pancreatitis to convey her home from her trust to himself in 2017, causing her annual property taxes to increase from $5,840 to $6,055.
The next year, Bell used the same power-of-attorney to transfer the home back to Nichols’ trust, hiking the annual property tax levy to $12,130, according to the petition.
The Los Angeles County Office of the Assessor told Johnson he would need a court order to return the annual fee to its original amount before the transfers, according to his petition, which does not offer a possible reason why Bell made the two conveyances.
Johnson’s petition states that Bell had no authority to make the transfers.
“Given this simple legal reality, the Nichols residence was never actually legally transferred from the trust,” the petition states.
Bell’s power-of-attorney has since been suspended and terminated, according to the petition.
The first hearing on the petition is scheduled for Dec. 16.
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