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New Lawsuit Accuses Trustees of Sen. Dianne Feinstein's Husband's Estate of Financial Elder Abuse

'This has nothing to do with her needs and everything to do with her daughter's avarice,' said a lawyer representing the trustee

California Senator Dianne Feinstein has accused the trustees of her late husband’s estate of financial elder abuse and breach of trust.

Feinstein gave power of attorney to her daughter, Katherine Feinstein, who filed the lawsuit in California Superior Court. The 90-year-old senator’s office declined Newsweek’s request for comment when asked about the issues and instead said it was a private family matter.

Katherine Feinstein had filed two lawsuits against Richard Blum’s estate, hoping to sell a beach house in the San Francisco area that is reportedly in disrepair and to settle a dispute over Blum’s life insurance which his trustees are allegedly keeping from dispersal.

Blum, who Feinstein married on Jan. 20, 1980, was president of the equity investment management fund Blum Capital and had a net worth of nearly $1 billion. He died on Feb. 27, 2022.

Feinstein has one daughter from a previous marriage while Blum had three daughters from his prior marriage, Annette Blum, Heidi Blum, and Eileen Blum.

The latest lawsuit was filed on Aug. 8 and names three co-trustees, Michael Klein, Marc Scholvinck, and Verett Mims. In addition to accusing the trustees of financial elder abuse, the lawsuit seeks to suspend and remove the defendants from the trust and to disgorge and reduce the trustees’ compensation.

According to the filing, following Blum’s death, the trustees of the RCB Trust were required “to create a marital trust for Senator Feinstein’s benefit (the Marital Trust), fund it with $5,000,000 in cash and marketable securities, and distribute the Marital Trust’s entire net income to her in quarterly or more frequent installments.”

“In addition, if the Marital Trust’s net income is less than $1.5 million dollars in any given year and it has sufficient liquid assets, the Trustees must also make principal distributions to Senator Feinstein so that the income and principal distributions she receives for that year total $1.5 million,” the document continues. “Upon Senator Feinstein’s death, the Marital Trust’s assets pass to trusts for the benefit of Blum’s three daughters.”

Each of Blum’s daughters could inherit approximately $22 million after Feinstein’s death, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.

Katherine Feinstein’s lawsuit says that the trustees have not made the required income distributions to her mother in the over 18 months since Blum died. She also contends in a lawsuit filed in July that the senator was unable to use the money left to her by her late husband to pay for “significant medical expenses” incurred after Feinstein contracted shingles earlier this year.

Her illness was complicated by Ramsay Hunt syndrome and encephalitis. Feinstein was absent from the U.S. Senate for three months while she recovered at home. 

Her office reported on Aug. 9 that the senator was briefly hospitalized after falling in her home. 

Feinstein has already announced her intention to retire at the end of her current term. 

Steve Braccini, an attorney who represents Klein and Scholvinck, told Reuters that the trustees “have acted ethically and appropriately at all times; the same cannot be said for Katherine Feinstein.”

“This filing is unconscionable,” said Braccini. “The trustees have always respected Senator Feinstein and always will. But this has nothing to do with her needs and everything to do with her daughter’s avarice.”

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