Paul Newman’s Daughters Sue Late Actor’s Charitable Foundation

Paul Newman’s Daughters Sue Late Actor’s Charitable Foundation

A lawsuit that exposes a feud between two of Paul Newman’s daughters and the late actor’s charitable foundation alleges its leaders are betraying Newman’s guidelines for his family to become intimately involved in the organization.

They allege that Newman’s Own Foundation improperly cut mandatory contributions to entities controlled by their daughters, Susan Kendall Newman and Nell Newman, from $400,000 to $200,000 a year, according to the lawsuit filed Tuesday in Washington state court. Connecticut. They claim it is the first step in completely evicting his family from the foundation funded by profits from his father’s publicity rights.

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“Newman’s Own Foundation has lost its way and deviated from its mission to preserve and honor the legacy of Paul Newman,” the complaint states. “The years since the death of Mr. Newman consist of a long and consistent pattern of disregard, by those in control, of Mr. Newman, along with mismanagement, scandal and questionable practices.”

The Oscar-winning actor and director created the Newman’s Own Foundation in 2005. The non-profit organization controls and is funded by the food and beverage company Newman’s Own, which uses the actor’s name and likeness to sell salad dressing, noodles and other products. The foundation reported $24.6 million in revenue in 2020, according to tax returns.

Under the settlement, the daughters claimed that their father conditioned the settlement on their involvement in the foundation. They ask for $1.6 million in damages to be donated to charities of their choice and an order forcing the foundation to follow Newman’s wishes.

The foundation said in a statement that the board’s philanthropic decisions vary each year and that it needs to make the best use of its finite resources. “Best practices around philanthropic organizations do not allow for the establishment of perpetual funding quotas for anyone, including Nell and Susan Newman,” the statement continued. “A meritless lawsuit based on this faulty desire would only divert money from those who benefit from Paul Newman’s generosity. While we look forward to continuing to solicit recommendations from the Newman family for worthy organizations, our funding decisions are made each year and will continue to reflect Paul Newman’s clear purpose and responsibility to best practices governing private foundations.”

The daughters are not members of the foundation’s board.

In creating the foundation, Newman laid out specific plans for its structure against a living background. A 2005 document he shared with his advisers and daughters detailed that Newman’s Own would pay royalties to its parent company for the use of its name and image rights, according to the complaint. The foundation, in turn, would distribute funds to the daughters’ foundations for them to donate to charities of their choice.

But the suit alleged that Robert Forrester, a former adviser to Newman who eventually became CEO of Newman’s Own and president of the foundation, and Brian Murphy, Newman’s longtime business manager, manipulated the actor when his mental capacity was waning to name them for advice in your will. .

“It has been clear for some time that Mr. Newman could not act as trustee of the Living Trust,” states the complaint, which is incorporated below. “Instead of advising Mr. Newman about their right, and their father’s unequivocal guidance that they should, appoint a co-administrator to act with Forrester and Murphy, Forrester and Murphy unilaterally took control of Mr. and about your estate planning decisions.”

Newman’s family was “shocked” when his will was read to them, as it deviated so much from what they were told before the actor’s death, according to the lawsuit. They were threatened with disinheritance if they objected.

While it points to Newman’s living trust, the complaint does not cite the foundation’s administrative documents, which detail whether the foundation is required to distribute $400,000 to the daughters annually.

Paul Roy, an estate planning attorney at Withers who is not involved in the matter, says THR that Newman’s wishes for living trust in how the foundation operates are not binding. “It seems to me that trustees were instructed by Paul to consult with family members in making decisions about distributions, but that is not necessarily a legal right to decide where distributions go,” he noted. “That makes sense because they’re not directors.”

The board removed Forrester from his role as CEO in 2019 amid allegations of misconduct, including harassment and creating an unhealthy work environment. The daughters’ lawsuit also alleges that the foundation was improperly paying him and his wife to fly first class and stay in expensive hotels.

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