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Dean Martin’s Ex Sues Trustee for Royalties

LOS ANGELES (CN) - Since Dean Martin's talent agent died in 2003, the trustee of the Martin Family Trust pocketed $130,000 in agency commissions, though she never acted as Martin's agent, Martin's ex-wife claims in Superior Court.

Jeanne Martin says she and Martin divorced in 1973, after 24 years of marriage.

She says their divorce settlement granted her half of the royalties from records the famous crooner made before their divorce.

The singer agreed that his talent agency, International Creative Management, could take its 10 percent commission before giving Jeanne half of his royalties, according to the complaint.

After Dean Martin died in 1995, his agent, Mort Viner, and defendant Laura Lizer became co-trustees of the Dean Martin Family Trust, which consisted of Dean Martin's half of his royalty payments, the complaint states.

Jeanne Martin says she is a trust beneficiary, in addition to being entitled to half of the royalties.

Viner rightfully continued to deduct his agency fees until his death in 2003, according to the complaint. After that, Jeanne Martin says, Lizer became the sole trustee.

She says Viner's death ended the trust's obligation to pay agency fees, but Lizer continued to take 10 percent off the top of the royalties.

She sued Lizer, demanding the money back, an accounting and damages.

She is represented by Todd Bonder with Rosenfeld, Meyer & Susman of Beverly Hills.

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