In happier days, Jerry Brown met Linda Ronstadt there and Jackson Browne, J.D. Souther, the Eagles and a Kennedy or two all made Lucy’s El Adobe Cafe across from the Paramount Studios in Hollywood a hip hangout for political and entertainment stars.
But the Melrose Avenue Mexican eatery no longer draws big names as it is mired in a court dispute between two of the adult children of the late founding husband and wife, Lucy and Frank Casado
The daughter alleges in court papers that her brother used their mother’s diminishing health and mental state to convince the mother to create a trust in 2015 that made him the primary beneficiary of the family fortune.
Lucy’s El Adobe was where a young Gov. Jerry Brown met singer Linda Ronstadt, launching a 1970s tabloid romance that put the famous pair on the cover of Newsweek.
Jackson Browne, Jimmy Webb, J.D. Souther, and Don Henley and Glenn Frey of the Eagles also stopped by frequently, while presidential hopefuls made it a point to visit when in town, including then-Vice President Hubert Humphrey, Sens. Robert Kennedy and Robert Dole and former New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson.
The restaurant even saw some of those famed entertainers performing to honor Lucy and Frank Casado.
At an 80th birthday party for Lucy, Browne, Eagles members, Johnny Rivers and others performed for a select group on the restaurant patio.
Years earlier, when patriarch Frank Casado died, Jimmy Webb sang and played piano as Ronstadt also sang for a few dozen regulars after the funeral. Webb even joked that he never knew what the lyrics meant to his hit MacArthur Park, a song that famously featured the mystery words about “melting in the dark, all the sweet, green icing flowing down …”
The highly publicized romance between Jerry Brown and Linda Ronstadt that famously began at El Adobe did not last. Years later in 2005 the 1970s celebrity politician bachelor married his long-time girlfriend, Anne Gust, who had been a top official at The Gap
A Nov. 27 hearing is scheduled on daughter Patricia Anne Casado’s Los Angeles Superior Court petition asking a judge to invalidate the Lucy Casado Trust, named after and created by her late mother in November 2015, and to remove her brother, Frank James Casado, as trustee.
She also wants her sibling to provide an accounting of the trust from its inception to the present and to also return all money and property he allegedly misappropriated.
“It is clear (Frank James Casado) procured the trust on behalf of his mom, designed to provide him carte blanche over Lucy’s assets both during her life and after her passing,” the petition alleges.
The document also alleges that a rosary the siblings’ mother wore daily and had intended to be given after her death to her daughter was instead transferred by Frank James Casado to a male friend who has been seen wearing it.
Frank James Casado could not be immediately reached for comment.
The siblings’ mother died May 2 at age 91. She and her husband, Frank Casado, who died in 1990, established the Melrose Avenue cafe across the street from Paramount Pictures in 1964. By the early ’70s, it was known as a hangout for celebrities, politicians and rock stars.
The Casados had three children: Patricia, Frank James and Daryl Morrie Casado, who was mentally and physically disabled and died on June 18, according to the petition.
Their daughter worked at the restaurant from its inception until 2014, according to her petition, which alleges that her brother canceled their mother’s private insurance in 2012, when she was 86 years old, and left her with Medicare coverage only. Two years later, she was diagnosed with breast cancer and had tumors removed, her daughter’s petition says.
“Although Lucy had accumulated substantial wealth during her lifetime, which is estimated to be approximately $9 million, she did not have sufficient funds to purchase her medicine,” according to the petition.
After about four months of seeking treatment at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, Lucy Casado had to cease her medical care there because she could not afford it, the petition states.
Also in 2014, Frank James Casado used his power-of-attorney to withdraw money from his mother’s accounts for his own use and closed them so she could not access her own funds, the petition alleges. That same month, he used the same power to gain complete control over the El Adobe Cafe, the petition alleges.
During a call to her daughter in November 2014, Lucy Casado said that Frank James Casado “had thrown her out of her restaurant, saying that she was nobody and she was no longer in charge of her business; that he was the owner,” according to the petition.
During one confrontation between Lucy Casado and her son, he “slapped his mother on her arm” to try and convince her to turn over the restaurant and four additional Los Angeles properties she owned — collectively valued at millions of dollars — to him, which she eventually did, the petition alleges.
The family matriarch was 89 years old when she created the Lucy Casado Trust, allegedly due to pressures from her son, according to the petition.
“The purported trust provides (Frank James Casado) with the lion’s share of Lucy’s assets, which is inconsistent with Lucy’s wishes,” according to the petition, which alleges she signed the trust while she was “vulnerable to undue influence, lacked capacity, was physically and mentally frail and completely dependent on others.”
“The purported trust and (Frank James Casado’s) role as the trustee of the trust provides (him) with unfettered discretion to do as he pleases with Lucy’s assets,” the petition alleges.
—Staff and wire services
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