The ongoing legal battle over Tom Petty’s estate continues to ramp up, with the late rocker’s widow, Dana Petty, filing new appeals in her courtroom face-off with Petty’s daughters, AnnaKim and Adria Petty.
As Billboard reports, attorneys for Petty’s widow filed two new appeals (one on Tuesday, another Wednesday), asking the court to deny Adria’s earlier petition that Dana immediately fund Petty Unlimited, a LLC set up to receive assets — defined as “artistic property” — from Petty’s trust. Dana, however, is suing for the right to to fund and execute Tom Petty Legacy, a totally separate LLC she established independent of Petty’s daughters.
Adria’s petition, filed last month, accuses Dana of withholding assets from Petty Unlimited, alleging she is preventing Petty’s daughters from being able to “participate equally” in managing the assets as laid out in the trust, but is not living up to the terms stipulated.
Dana’s new petitions, however, dispute that, claiming that since she is the “sole successor trustee” of Petty’s trust, she is “exclusively authorized” to form any type of entity she wishes to be the beneficiary of Petty’s assets, under the condition that all three women participate equally in its management.
“Dana attempted over and over again to solicit the Daughters to work together toward an operating agreement that all would find acceptable,” states Dana’s May 29 petition. “On multiple occasions, Dana would accommodate demands by Adria, redraft the operating agreement wholesale to do so, and attempt for months to get Adria to respond only to be faced with a new and completely different demand.”
Both petitions also accuse Adria of “foul behaviour,” stating that she has “caused enormous damage to many of Tom’s professional relationships” via a series of letters that “threaten[ed] everyone whom Tom worked with for decades: his record labels, his music lawyer David Altschul… even Tom’s longtime accountant.” Dana also claims Adria has been “abusive” and “slander[ous]” towards several other individuals who were close to Petty, including his business manager Bernie Gudvi, his estate planning attorney Burton Mitchell and even members of his band, The Heartbreakers.
“In truth, Dana has bent over backwards to involve [Adria and Annakim] despite their repeatedly unconscionable behaviour… even though Dana had no obligation to do so until it is time for distribution of the Trust’s assets to beneficiaries,” reads the petition. “In return, Daughters responded with abuse, threats and lawsuits.”
In a statement to Billboard, Dana’s attorney, Adam Streisand, says: “Dana Petty would have done almost anything to avoid all of this. Over the past weeks and months, however, the behaviour of her stepdaughters Adria and Annakim has gone from unconscionable to unhinged — and it needs to be stopped.”
In response to Dana’s latest petitions, Alex Weingarten — attorney for Adria and Annakim — told Billboard, “Dana and her lawyer are basing their case on smoke and mirrors. Every claim they make is demonstrably false. Adria and Annakim are laser focused on one thing — honouring and protecting their father’s legacy and enforcing the terms of his trust, as written.”