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Wednesday, July 24, 2024 | Back issues
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Nasty Feud in Late Screenwriter’s Family

LOS ANGELES (CN) - The daughter of late screenwriter Nathan Monaster sued her brother and sister, claiming they schemed to cut her off from her mentally ill mother, with their eyes on their mom's multimillion-dollar home.

Nathan Monaster died at 74 in 1990. A film and TV writer with more than 100 credits to his name, he also was president of the Writers Guild of America.

He was survived by Gladys Monaster, who according to the complaint is now 93 years old, requires around-the-clock care, and suffers from dementia, borderline personality disorder, and had a stroke in 2011.

Her daughter Pamela Grossbard aka Pamela Karpf sued her brother Matthew Monaster and sister Susan Monaster in Superior Court, alleging undue influence and elder abuse.

Grossbard claims her siblings are behind two pending lawsuits that Gladys Monaster filed against her in the same court, one of which alleges elder abuse.

Grossbard claims her siblings persuaded their mother to cancel Grossbard's power of attorney for her mother's affairs, after persuading Gladys that Grossbard had stolen money the widow had transferred or had withdrawn herself.

Grossbard claims in the complaint that her siblings "prodded Gladys to place numerous calls" to her bank, though she was bedridden and on pain medication after falling down a flight of stairs.

"Since approximately February 2011, Matthew and Susan have repeatedly and continuously engaged in an intentional, deceptive scheme to manipulate Gladys into believing that Pamela has stolen her money and is intent upon forcing her into a 'mental institution' and displacing her from her home," the 13-page complaint states.

Before then, Grossbard says, she took care of Gladys and handled all of her financial and medical affairs.

"Matthew and Susan have only recently espoused an interest in 'taking care' of Gladys - an interest prompted as a means of protecting their inheritances," the complaint states.

It continues: "Gladys' home is her most valuable asset, worth possibly as much as several million dollars. It is well known to Matthew and Susan that the value in Gladys' home is primarily based on the land upon which it sits, which is extremely desirable to developers of multi-family development projects."

Gladys does not want to leave her home, but the defendants want to sell it before the property loses value as a designated historical landmark, according to the complaint.

Grossbard says she and her husband "personally spearheaded an opposition to historical designation in 2009," delaying it until 2014.

However, the complaint states: "Matthew and Susan are concerned that Pamela will interfere with their efforts to broker a prompt sale of Gladys' home and therefore recently began a concerted scheme to turn Gladys against Pamela by convincing Gladys of various misrepresentations about Pamela and her husband and by taking Gladys to various lawyers to, among other things, sue Pamela upon false allegations.

"As part of their scheme, Matthew and Susan have isolated Gladys from Pamela."

Grossbard claims Matthew introduced Gladys to an aspiring real estate developer, to discuss the sale of her home.

"Gladys was observed to be extremely nervous, apprehensive and confused. Moreover, on that morning (Feb. 18, 2012), before Matthew picked her up, Gladys spoke directly with Pamela on the telephone. Gladys was heard to be extremely nervous, apprehensive and confused. It was clear to Pamela that Gladys did not want to leave her home, and that she did not understand the purpose of her doing so," the complaint states. (Parentheses in complaint.)

Gladys refused to list her home for two consecutive years but had a "sudden change of heart" in 2012, according to Grossbard.

She claims it was her siblings' "misrepresentations and manipulations" that swayed Gladys' hand.

"These misrepresentations and manipulations have been accomplished through repeated verbal attacks and abuse on Gladys in secret isolation, resulting in extraordinary and abnormal pressure, which causes Gladys to suffer paranoia, panic, fear, nervousness, apprehension and confusion," the complaint states.

It adds: "Susan visits Gladys on occasion, and has been observed to take Gladys into the furthest corner of the den so as to avoid being overheard by the nurses that provide 24/7 care to Gladys. Pamela is informed and believes that Susan has been observed to take Gladys into the den for hours at a time, and has been heard to scream at Gladys, including, but not limited to things such as: 'Mom, you're not f***ing listening to me!' During these times, Susan has also been heard repeatedly ranting - for hours - to Gladys about 'the money ... the money ... the money.'

"Susan's and Matthew's actions have instilled a visceral fear in Gladys and confused her to the point that she has been observed repeating, 'I'm destitute ... I'm destitute.'" (Asterisks and ellipses in complaint.)

The complaint states that Gladys has been led to believe that Grossbard is tapping her phone. The widow also canceled her daughter's power of attorney over her financial and medical affairs, and her position as successor trustee to her mother's trust, according to the complaint.

"(T)his action is based upon the undue influence, misrepresentations and manipulation of Matthew and Susan," the complaint states.

Grossbard seeks a restraining order preventing Matthew and Susan Monaster from coming within 500 feet of Gladys or her home, punitive damages and costs.

She is represented by Gregory Bordo with Blank Rome.

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