This past year has been a difficult one for Marvel Comics legend Stan Lee, and recent revelations have given friends and fans cause for concern that the 95 year-old may be a victim of ongoing elder abuse. Lee has a net worth of tens of millions of dollars, and many of the reports surrounding him concern people close to him vying for control of his assets and properties, and taking money from his accounts. Lee continues to have cameos in every Marvel Cinematic Universe movie, but in recent months he has canceled several public appearances and reportedly been difficult to reach.
Things came to a head this week when The Hollywood Reporter published an upsetting summary of their investigation into the people surrounding Lee, and the potential abuse and exploitation that he may have been subjected to. You can read the full report for more details, but here's a breakdown of the recent timeline of events, which highlights the apparent escalation in the fight for control of Lee's care and assets.
Joanie Lee, Lee's wife of 70 years, who passed away in 2017.
J.C. Lee, Lee's 67 year-old daughter.
Max Anderson, Lee's longtime bodyguard and road manager.
Keya Morgan, a memorabilia dealer and acquaintance of J.C., described as Lee's "primary gatekeeper."
Jerry Olivarez, a publicist and acquaintance of J.C., who gained power of attorney over Lee following Joanie's death, and handled Lee's doctor's appointments and home care.
Linda Sanchez, Lee's home care nurse.
Tom Lallas, Lee's attorney, who put together a notarized declaration that Lee signed in February 2018.
According to Stan Lee's former manager, Bradley J. Herman, an argument between J.C. Lee and her parents escalated to physical abuse. The alleged incident involved J.C. shoving her mother against a window so that she fell to the floor, and then grabbing Lee by the neck and slamming his head against the wooden backing of his chair. Herman shared photos of Joanie and Lee's injuries with THR, and another visitor to the house confirmed that they had seen the wounds as well.
June 7, 2017
Joanie Lee passed away at the age of 93, after 70 years of marriage. THR's report states that this was "the beginning of the pandemonium," as Joanie had "maintained the resolute last word on the couple's household affairs," and was "always more successful at handling their unruly only daughter."
December 29, 2017
TMZ reported that police were investigating a check that had allowed someone to draw $300,000 from Lee's account without his knowledge or approval. THR's report confirms that this check was made out to Olivarez, who claims, "Mr. Lee told me I had given him a new lease on life after Mrs. Lee's passing... He gave me a check as a thank-you."
January 9, 2018
The Daily Mail published an article stating that Lee had been accused of sexual assault and harassment by his home care nurses. However, no civil suits or police complaints were filed. In a response statement, Lee's then-attorney Tom Lallas categorically denied the allegations, adding that, "Mr. Lee has received demands to pay money and threats that if he does not do so, the accuser will go to the media. Mr. Lee will not be extorted or blackmailed, and will pay no money to anyone because he has done absolutely nothing wrong."
February 1, 2018
Lee was rushed to the hospital with an irregular heartbeat and shortness of breath. He was released after one night.
February 13, 2018
Stan Lee signed a declaration, put together by his attorney Tom Lallas, that details J.C.'s total financial dependence on his fortune, her rampant overspending on credit cards, and an incident in which J.C. allegedly came to Lee's house uninvited with her attorney and demanded that he execute a Grant Deed and give the house to her. You can read the declaration in full below. Lee later distanced himself from the declaration and denied knowingly signing it (see April 10, 2018).
February 16, 2018
Lee's road manager Max Anderson was fired after Keya Morgan called the police to report that Anderson was behaving aggressively towards J.C. at Lee's home. Anderson was also accused of skimming money from Lee's speaking engagements and stealing items for his comic convention memorabilia exhibit, the Stan Lee Museum (Anderson denies these allegations). Speaking to THR, Morgan said, "I honestly believe that Max is very dangerous and has the ability and rage to actually kill one of us."
February 20, 2018
Lee's nurse, Linda Sanchez, completed a non-notarized declaration at Lallas' office, which detailed J.C.'s "verbal and physical altercations with her father." The declaration also states that Morgan threatened to tell the media about a DUI and hit-and-run misdemeanor from Sanchez's past if she told anyone about the incidents of abuse that she had witnessed. Shortly afterwards completing the declaration, she was fired.
February 27, 2018
TMZ reported that a special LAPD unit dealing with elder financial abuse was called to Lee's home after Lee claimed that $1.4 million had gone missing from his bank account.
February 28, 2018
The Daily Mail published an article alleging that Sanchez washed Lee in the shower while he was naked, and gave him "happy ending" massages. A complaint against Sanchez was submitted to Los Angeles County Adult Protective Services, though it's unclear who issued the complaint. In a video later shared with THR, Lee is seen "angrily denying any inappropriate relationship with Sanchez to others, including her nursing agency boss."
On the same day, Lee shared a video with TMZ telling his fans that his recent cancelations of planned appearances were due to the fact that he is battling pneumonia, adding, "but it seems to be getting better."
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