Randy Quaid Accuses Advisers of 22-Year Plot to Steal Assets
LOS ANGELES (CN) - Actor Randy Quaid and his wife, Evi, claim their former lawyer and estate planner created a fake living trust in their name, stole their money and disqualified future lawyers from acting on their behalf.
"We believe the trust documents being used to steal our assets at the bank contain language that makes it possible for a new attorney(s) representing us to be disqualified," according to the complaint filed in Superior Court. "Since it is our money, property and assets at issue here we cannot be disqualified by the document language so we represent ourselves Pro-se here."
Quaid claims he and his wife bought a house in Montecito, Calif., in 1989 for $1.35 million. Quaid says he handed the details of the transaction off to his business manager, Warren Grant and his lawyer, Lloyd Braun, who is not listed as a defendant.
The next day, Quaid claims Braun and his wife, Lauren, attached their names to the deal's escrow account.
That got Braun access to Quaid's assets through a "pooled loan," allowing Braun to use Quaid's home equity for his own real estate deals without Quaid's knowledge, according to the complaint.
City National Bank allegedly played along with the plot because Braun designated it as the beneficiary of properties he bought with Quaid's equity.
In 1991, Quaid says he sold his Montecito home to then-Warner Bros. executive Bruce Berman, again letting Grant and Braun handle the sale.
But Quaid claims he recently found out that the home is still in his name.
He says the head financial officer at the Chase Bank's Pasadena branch told him the home never sold, that the loan was paid off, and that Quaid and his wife were still the rightful owners.
Quaid says Braun, Berman and Grant concocted the scheme in order to secure a "clearing house" through which they could steal Quaid's earnings from Warner Bros. projects.
Quaid claims Warner Bros. still owes him for a number of movies.
The Quaids claim Braun, Berman and their estate planner, Alan Watenmaker, set up a fake trust in 1983 in order to steal more of Quaid's money.
The men allegedly used a falsified probate file for a deceased Santa Barbara woman named Ronda L. Quaid and a fake driver's license to cash Quaid's checks at City National and deposit the money into the fake trust account.
Quaid says he discovered evidence of the alleged fraud this June.
He claims he went to City National Bank in Beverly Hills to request information about two mystery loans that were made in his name, but says bank staff refused to give him any information. He says they instead called the police when he demanded to see the loan statements.
Quaid says he discovered that the paperwork for a $1 million life insurance policy was missing from his City National safe deposit box. Quaid claims someone used it, along with his forged signature, to secure more loans in his name.
Quaid says Gavin Perdue, former head of City National Bank's Roxbury branch entertainment division, had "full knowledge" of the theft of his life insurance policy.
The 220-page lawsuit, which mixes attachments with notes scrawled over the pages in black marker alternating with the pages of the lawsuit, also suggests that someone had a plot to kill Quaid and his wife.
After City National Bank's estate planner allegedly told Evi Quaid that the bank preferred to manage the assets of "dead actors," she heard a man's voice on her cell phone in Texas saying, "'If you kill her, there's a lot of money in it for you.'"
"Evi wasn't sure if this was an actual threat on her life or meant to intimidate her as a witness, but this together with the stolen life insurance policy and the estate planner's insensitive remark, and now Alan Watenmaker, the estate planner acting very evasive when we request trust ID numbers and the fact that Watenmaker's firm did Michael Jackson's will and life insurance policy trust, has us very suspicious of their motives," the lawsuit states.
Quaid says his case has a few "striking similarities" to the situation Michael Jackson was in before his death.
"Aside from the fact that we both used the same law firm to do our wills and trusts, one of Jackson's music attorneys was David Braun, Lloyd Braun's father. David Braun resides in Santa Barbara County where Jackson had a series of legal troubles brought on by false accusations before his death.
"Recently Evi and I have also been the subjects of false accusations in Santa Barbara over a paid hotel bill (the hotel tried at least five times to charge my wife's Chase credit card $73,000 for a $10,000 bill) ... Knowing what we know about them now, we firmly believe that Lloyd Braun, his father, David, and Watenmaker had something to do with our arrest in Santa Barbara County."
Quaid also claims his "'trusted advisors'" merged his assets with those of his brother, the actor Dennis Quaid, in an attempt to expand the theft.
Randy Quaid also blames his lawyer for talking his brother into buying two adjacent properties located on a sewage easement.
Quaid demands the criminal investigation unit of the IRS perform an immediate tax audit of all trust accounts, bank accounts and lines of credit in his name; an immediate revocation of all powers of attorney and all trustees of all of his accounts and trusts.
Quaid and his wife sued City National Bank, Gavin Perdue, Mariam Zakian, Paul Krasnow, Lauren Braun, Bruce Berman, Sandy Bresler, John Kelly, Steven Arcieri, Warren Grant, Joel Mandel, Barry Hirsch, Sean Shenassa, Mickey Segal and Kimberly Buffington.