Stan Lee sues ex-manager for fraud
Stan Lee just filed a Hulk-sized lawsuit against his former business manager.
The Marvel Comics maven is suing his ex-manager Jerardo Olivarez for allegedly duping him out of millions of dollars — and even stealing his blood, according to legal documents obtained by PEOPLE.
After Lee’s wife Joan died in late 2017, the comic book legend “became the target of various unscrupulous businessmen, sycophants and opportunists who saw a chance to take advantage of [his] despondent state of mind,” according to the complaint Lee filed in Los Angeles.
Olivarez, the complaint alleges, “was one such opportunist.” Following Joan’s death, the complaint claims, his ex-manager and other plaintiffs consolidated control of Lee’s professional and personal affairs, and “caused approximately $4.6 million dollars to be transferred out of [his] Merrill Lynch Account without [his] authorization.”
Lee also claims in the complaint that Olivarez “convinced [him]” to create a “false charity” called Hands of Respect, which Lee’s lawyers say was used to funnel money away from Lee and into Olivarez’s own pockets.
For instance, the documents claim that a check was drawn from Lee’s assets for $300,000, which was purported to be a loan for Hands of Respect. But the loan has allegedly never been paid back and is not “evidenced by any loan documents.” Additionally, Lee’s attorneys say his signature on the check “is either a forgery or it was obtained by Olivarez under false pretenses.”
Furthermore, the complaint asserts that his ex-manager convinced him to purchase an $850,000 Los Angeles apartment for Olivarez’s exclusive use. “Olivarez, as Lee’s trusted advisor and fiduciary, simply bought himself a home with Lee’s money without Lee knowing,” the documents state. “What is more, nearly $1.4 million disappeared from Lee’s accounts through a series of complicated wire transfers all initiated and ultimately received by Olivarez.”
Olivarez did not immediately reply to PEOPLE’s request for comment, however, he did speak with The Hollywood Reporter for an investigative piece published April 10.
“Mr. Lee told me I had given him a new lease on life after Mrs. Lee’s passing,” Olivarez said. “I had looked out for him during recent contract negotiations with Pow! [Entertainment, the production company Lee co-founded in 2001.] He gave me a check as a thank-you.”
He also claimed that Lee is on the title to the $850,000 condo, because after Olivarez allegedly received unspecified death threats, Lee wanted him to live close in “a secure building where he thought I’d be safe.”
Lee is also accusing his ex-manager of inserting himself into his will and trust, setting up a number of unapproved business dealing that have left him open to lawsuits, investing “tens of thousands of dollars in a tie business that was a scam,” forging his signature on comics and using his credit cards for “unauthorized purchases.”
In the lawsuit’s most bizarre accusation, Lee claims Olivarez launched a “diabolical and ghoulish scheme” to sell the icon’s blood. “Olivarez had a nurse inject Lee with a syringe and extract many containers of blood, which he had Hands of Respect later sell in Las Vegas as a collectible for thousands of dollars.” This was done without Lee’s consent, according to the documents, which state that the scheme “compounded Lee’s grief and angst and caused him tremendous emotional distress.”
Lee is suing for fraud, financial abuse of an elder, misappropriation of his name and likeness and other counts. He’s seeking unspecified damages.
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