News

The State of Stan Lee: Lawsuit, Fraud, and Abuse

In a sharp detour from my usual useless fodder, let’s talk about Stan Lee. This has been news for about a week, possibly longer, rumors and allegations out the wazoo since the creator of Marvel Comics has been sick, and, recently, filed a lawsuit. And while this is (literally) old news, it wouldn’t be a Boisvert Exclusive if I didn’t wait several weeks to write about it.

Stan Lee sitting at a desk
Stan Lee in a guest appearance on “Fresh Off the Boat”

The Players

  • Stan Lee – creator of Marvel Comics; has a net worth of tens of millions of dollars.
  • JC Lee – Joan and Stan Lee’s only daughter, now 64 years old
  • Jerardo Olivarez – former manager of Stan Lee and business associate of JC Lee; named in a lawsuit for “fraud, financial abuse of an elder, conversion, and misappropriation of Stan Lee’s name and likeness.”
  • Max Anderson – Lee’s former bodyguard and road manager; fired in February after Keya Morgan reported: “Anderson was behaving aggressively towards JC at Lee’s home.” Also accused of stealing money from Lee’s speaking engagements.
  • Keya Morgan – memorabilia dealer and acquaintance of JC, described as Lee’s “primary gatekeeper.” Has been a friend of the family for a decade.

Just the Facts, Ma’am

  • Stan Lee is 95, a recent widower, very possibly still sick with pneumonia.
  • His daughter, JC, has uncontrollable spending habits and is completely dependent on her father’s financial support; she has the most to lose from his financial decline.
  • JC and Stan Lee are “easily conned” according to insiders.
  • Greasy Hollywood types continuously take advantage of Lee and his generosity, especially now that he is vulnerable after his wife’s death.
  • Vince Maguire (Toby’s brother) is combing the Lee accounts searching for a missing $1.4 million.
Stan Lee and daughter JC
Stan and daughter JC

Allegations

  • Olivarez funneled $300,000 into a fake nonprofit, “Hands of Respect”, and bought a house for $850,000 of Lee’s “loaned” money.
  • There is currently 1.4 million dollars missing from Lee’s estate that Olivarez “lost” in various complicated wire transfers.

Rumors (not the Fleetwood Mac kind)

  • Max Anderson bribed one of Lee’s nurses into lying about JC and her associates in order to save his job.
  • Former nurses have come forward with sexual misconduct allegations against Lee.
  • Olivarez commissioned a limited run of pens using Lee’s blood instead of ink; Morgan claimed Olivarez forged an order for a blood draw; Olivarez denied this claim, and said Lee was on board with the idea.

“A Coup D’etat in His Camp”

Los Angeles Times reported on April 16th that Olivarez “manipulated Lee into ousting his ‘banker of 26 years’ and his longtime lawyer, signing power of attorney over to Olivarez, loaning $300,000 to a fake nonprofit and buying an $850,000 West Hollywood condo.” A lawsuit filed on April 13th stated Olivarez is accused of being one of many “unscrupulous businessmen, sycophants, and opportunists” who took advantage of Lee after the death of his wife. The lawsuit directly sites “fraud, financial abuse of an elder, conversion, and misappropriation of his [Lee’s] name and likeness.”

As stated by The Hollywood Reporter, the death of Joan Lee was “the beginning of the pandemonium. Joan had “maintained the resolute last word on the couple’s household affairs.” She was also “always more successful at handling their unruly only daughter [JC Lee].” JC’s behavior is notably erratic, as are her spending habits. 

“He Has Been Taken by Everyone in the World”

It is my opinion that Lee, a caring, generous man, has been continuously taken advantage of in the last year since his wife’s death. In January, Lee was accused of sexual misconduct by former home care nurses. Civil suits or police reports did not follow the accusations; Lee’s former attorney, Tom Lallas, denied the allegations and stated: “Mr. Lee has received demands to pay money and threats that if he does not do so, the accuser will go to the media.” Lallas continued, “Mr. Lee will not be extorted or blackmailed, and will pay no money to anyone because he has done absolutely nothing wrong.”

So, is this claim of innocence just a cover-up? Or are sleazy Hollywood types preying on a vulnerable old man trying to get his money?

According to a family insider, JC “never met a conman she didn’t like.” In a Daily Beast article, they said, “Stan is not a whole lot better. Maybe their contemporaries and friends are all dead, and now they just have a bunch of hangers-on and sketchy-ass people hanging around. I have the feeling that he has been taken by everyone in the world.”

Hypocrisy: The Tale of Keya Morgan and Max Anderson

Keya Morgan
Keya Morgan

Keya Morgan: Stan Lee’s Right Hand?

An article by Mark Ebner on The Daily Beast states “Keya Morgan seems to have Stan’s ear during this time of trial, and (at Stan’s behest) has hired security guards, secured a new lawyer and forensic accountants, and changed the locks on the house to restrict the escalating flow of unwelcome surprises.” Ebner quotes Morgan, writing, “Within days of Lee’s wife dying, Morgan says, the family ‘fired his accountants at Merrill Lynch and his lawyers of 20 or 30 years… And I quickly realized that there was a coup d’etat in his camp.’”

Max Anderson: Guardian Angel?

Morgan takes credit for the dismissal of Max Anderson, Lee’s bodyguard, after alleged aggressive behavior towards JC and Lee. Ebner writes, “Anderson has a prestigious list of priors, including spending a year in jail following a 2002 felony conviction for beating and injuring his wife, and he was found guilty in 2010 of brutalizing his son, for which he received 36 months’ probation.”

After Anderson’s firing, many of Lee’s friends made public posts sharing their concern for Lee. Artist Neal Adams wrote, “Somebody is keeping Max from Stan and I know Stan must be the worse for it and so I’m worried very much about Stan Lee. I wasn’t worried when Max took care of him, so what the hell is going on?” Bleeding Cool reported similar concerns “from high levels at Marvel Comics.”

J. Scott Campbell also wrote, “Forcibly cutting Max out of Stan’s life…seems particularly cruel to the both of them and has caused a lot of us in our industry to talk, much of it about our collective concern about the mystery of who exactly is taking care of Stan now and why is he being kept out of sight and in his home…”

There Are No Answers

So, what’s the real deal with Max Anderson? Do we like him? Or hate him? Is he Stan Lee’s guardian angel? Or an abusive, conniving thief and Keya Morgan was right to fire him? And who the hell is Keya Morgan? He continuously takes singular credit for discovering the discrepancies in Lee’s life. Morgan apparently found the forged $300,000 check, discovered the condo in West Hollywood, and fired Anderson. But who is he to make these judgments? There are no answers that I can find.

Photo of smiling Stan LeeGoogle Search: What Happens to a Lawsuit if One Person Dies?

Since Stan Lee is so advanced in age, I found myself wondering what would happen to this lawsuit if Lee passes before it’s resolved. According to attorneys Blackburn and Green, who practice injury law in Indiana, “most lawsuits can continue even if one of the parties passes away while it is pending. In fact, even if an injured person passes away before a lawsuit is filed, the law provides a mechanism for someone else to bring the suit on that person’s behalf. This is called ‘survival.’”

The lawsuit will go to a personal representative if Stan Lee passes before its resolution. A representative will continue the suit “on behalf of the person’s estate.” Let’s hope this settles before the unthinkable; I don’t believe Stan Lee has as many superheroes in his corner as he used to.

For continued reading I recommend the following articles:

ScreenRant: “Stan Lee Elder Abuse Concerns: a Timeline” by Hannah Shaw-Williams
The Daily Beast: “‘Picked Apart by Vultures’: The Last Days of Stan Lee” by Mark Ebner
LA Times: “Stan Lee is suing his ex-business manager, alleging fraud and elder abuse” by Tracy Brown
IGN: “Stan Lee is Suing his Former Business Manager for Elder Abuse” by Brian Barnett
Hollywood Reporter: “Stan Lee Needs a Hero: Elder Abuse Claims and a Battle Over the Aging  Marvel Creator” by Gary Baum


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About the author

Lauren Boisvert

Lauren Boisvert is a writer and pisces from Florida. She has had poems published with Memoir Mixtapes, spy kids review, The Mochila Review, and others. She loves Mystery Science Theater 3000, classic horror, and making everyone in the car listen to the Beastie Boys.

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