PORTLAND, Maine (AP) Maine Attorney General Aaron Frey has resolved claims against the estate of the late artist Robert Indiana and several law firms accused of excessive legal fees, officials said Monday.
The settlement totals more than $2 million, most of which was paid by the companies in the form of refunds or credits, the attorney general said.
Indiana, creator of the famous LOVE series, spent the last decades of his life on Vinalhaven Island, 25 kilometers off Rockland, Maine.
Following his death on May 19, 2018, at age 89, his will called for his estate valued at $90 million at the time of his death to be used to turn his island home into a museum to celebrate his work.
Every dollar spent unnecessarily paying attorneys and the personal representative was another dollar unavailable for the charity to fulfill its mission and Robert Indiana’s vision, Frey said in a statement.
The attorney general initially argued that $3.7 million paid to four law firms in New York and Maine and $403,000 billed by the estate’s personal representative were excessive.
James Brannan, a Rockland attorney who serves as the estate’s personal representative, disputed the attorney general’s claims but said in a statement that he was happy to end the dispute.”
The domain had been embroiled in a lawsuit brought by the Morgan Art Foundation, which claimed the rights to the LOVE series.
The lawsuit, filed a day before Indiana’s death, accused the reclusive artists custodian and an art publisher of profiting from Indiana and filing forgery charges which the couple denied. This led to more claims and counterclaims.
Morgan announced last year that she had settled her lawsuit against the Indianas estate and custodian, but not against the art publisher.
The litigation was expensive. At the time of the settlement, the personal representative had paid himself and the law firms more than $10 million, the attorney general said.
Brannan said his efforts and the lawyers’ efforts uncovered an additional $80 million to benefit the Star of Hope Foundation, which is responsible for establishing the museum.
The Canadian Press. All rights reserved.
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