Bobby Vee’s Kids Take Estate Dispute to Court

ST. CLOUD, Minn. (CN) – Two of Bobby Vee’s four children are fighting back against their siblings’ accusations that they mishandled money from the late pop icon’s estate.

In November, Jennifer Whittet Velline and Robert Velline filed a petition in Stearns County, Minn., alleging Jeff and Tommy Velline used money from their father’s estate for their personal benefit and for their recording studio, Rockhouse Productions, according to court records and local news reports.

Jennifer and Robert claim Jeff and Tommy misappropriated trust assets, including profits from a play written by Jeff and Tommy about their late father’s life, in collaboration with a playwright and artistic director at the St. Paul History Theater.

Jennifer and Robert asked a Stearns County judge to require Jeff and Tommy to provide an accounting of trust assets and remove them as co-trustees of the trust created by Bobby Vee and his wife, Karen Velline.

Vee, who topped the charts in the 1960s with hits like “Take Good Care of My Baby,” died in October from complications of Alzheimer’s disease. Karen had passed away a year earlier.

But Jeff and Tommy fired back in a counter-complaint filed Wednesday, claiming the late pop singer executed a simple will on Feb. 18, 2014, in which he devised all of his assets equally to all four of his children. They say the trust agreement at issue, dated June 27, 2015, was created by Karen and is not valid.

“The trust at issue is the product of undue influence, duress, mistake of fact and because it is against public policy,” their complaint states. “Allowing a person to create the trust of another fosters fraud and undermines a legitimate testamentary process.”

The complaint continues, “Comparison of the will admitted to probate and the purported trust indicates that Karen Velline impermissibly tried to change Robert Velline’s estate planning choices. As outlined in petitioner’s pleadings, Karen Velline wanted her children to make unanimous decisions. Karen Velline’s intent cannot be substituted for Velline’s own intent.”

Jeff and Tommy seek a determination of the validity of the trust. They are represented by Gordon Hansmeier with Rajkowski Hansmeier Ltd. in St. Cloud, Minn.

Jennifer and Robert’s attorney did not respond immediately to a request for comment Thursday evening.