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Executor of Liberace Trusts Fends Off Bid for Removal

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United Press International

Beverly Hills entertainment attorney Joel Strote won a court challenge Tuesday that sought to remove him as trustee of the multimillion-dollar Liberace trusts.

“The evidence shows the job Mr. Strote did as trustee is an excellent job,” said U.S. District Judge Michael Wendell.

Liberace died of AIDS Feb. 4, 1987, two weeks after signing a new will that Strote drafted naming himself as executor and trustee. Five people, including Liberace’s sister and the flamboyant entertainer’s 27-year-old live-in male companion, Cary James, challenged the will.

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The suit alleged that Strote was bleeding the estate with excessive legal fees and that Liberace was too ill to know what he was doing when he signed the new will and trustee documents on Jan. 22,1987.

Others who joined in the challenge included Liberace’s 38-year manager Seymour Heller, and long-time housekeepers Gladys Luckie and Dorothy McMahon.

The suit did not challenge bequests but rather asked that Strote be removed as trustee of the Liberace Revocable Trust, the Angie Liberace Irrevocable Trust and the Liberace Foundation for the Performing and Creative Arts.

The bulk of Liberace’s estate goes to the foundation to fund scholarships for musically talented students.

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