A judge today gave Casey Kasem’s widow until Sept. 8 to bring a lawyer to court and state any objections to a request for about $500,000 in fees and other costs submitted by lawyers and others associated with the establishment of a conservatorship over the radio icon before his June 16 death.
Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Daniel Murphy denied Jean Kasem’s request for a 30-day delay so she could have more time to hire an attorney. She said many lawyers are on vacation and that she has not received all the
documents concerning her late husband’s case from her former attorney, Steven Haney.
“I just lost my husband. I have no files,” Jean Kasem said.
She denied that Haney offered to turn over the case file even though he stated to the contrary in court papers filed with the court. Haney also states in his court papers that he offered to discuss the fees’ petitions filed with Murphy, but that Jean Kasem “ignored my correspondence.”
Haney withdrew as Jean Kasem’s lawyer last month and stated in his court papers that she owed nearly $80,000 for his services and that she threatened to “ruin the law firm” if its members did not take “certain legal services on her behalf.”
In court papers filed Aug. 1, Jean Kasem called the fees’ requests “unjustified and unreasonable,” but she did not elaborate. She declined to answer Murphy’s question on whether a probate proceeding has been opened in her husband’s case, saying she wanted to speak to an attorney before answering.
She declined to comment after today’s proceedings.
Murphy named Kasem’s daughter, Kerri Kasem, as her father’s temporary guardian in May. Kasem was the subject of a vitriolic legal battle between his wife and her stepdaughter until he died. He suffered from dementia and Lewy body disease, which has symptoms similar to Parkinson’s disease.
According to court papers filed by Kerri Kasem’s attorneys, doctors learned in June that her father was suffering from serious bed sores and a urinary tract infection, conditions which they allege along with other health issues “revealed the full extent of Jean’s destruction to Casey’s health.”
The fees sought include about $160,000 by attorneys representing another Kasem daughter, Julie Kasem, in an initial conservatorship bid that she later settled with Julie Kasem. Kasem’s court-appointed attorney, Samuel Ingham, is asking for about $103,000. Kerri Kasem is asking to be reimbursed for travel expenses to Washington state, where Kasem died after his wife moved him there from a Santa Monica care facility.
Attorney Troy Martin, on behalf of Kerri Kasem, said he believes Jean Kasem moved her husband’s body to Norway and that she has plans to relocate there. He questioned the need for a postponement of today’s hearing.
“I believe this is a stalling tactic,” Martin said.
Lawyer Martha Patterson, who also represents Kerri Kasem, said her client’s father considered Los Angeles his home and wanted to be buried at Forest Lawn, not in Norway, where she said he had no ties. She said Kerri Kasem wrote the Norwegian government asking that they not accept her father’s body.
Patterson said Kasem did not have bed sores before his wife moved him from the Santa Monica facility.
Haney won a favorable ruling on Jean Kasem’s behalf in June when Murphy ordered that that the former “America’s Top 40” host continue to be given food and medicine at a hospital in Washington state. But the judge reversed himself two days later and authorized Kerri Kasem to remove her 82-year-old father from life support.