U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Arthur Greenwald on Tuesday scheduled May 21 for a trial to determine the competency of Bill Cosby’s former business manager, Mary Waller, to manage her estimated $10 million to $12 million in assets.
Waller was fired last June from her post as chief financial officer of Cosby’s Santa Monica-based personal services corporation, SAH Enterprises, after Cosby’s wife, Camille, discovered several alleged misappropriations in the Cosbys’ bank accounts. Camille Cosby also is Waller’s partner in a second firm, Cosby/Waller Entertainment Financial Services.
The Cosbys challenged Waller’s fitness to oversee her own finances after the 46-year-old financial consultant filed for bankruptcy protection under Chapter 11 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code last November. Her bankruptcy declaration came shortly after the Cosbys sued her in Santa Monica Superior Court last fall, alleging that Waller had embezzled, defrauded or otherwise misappropriated more than $8.5 million from the couple over an eight-year period.
The Cosbys had asked that a court-appointed trustee supervise Waller’s assets because they believed that Waller was a cocaine abuser and, thus, emotionally and mentally incapable of handling her finances. On Tuesday, they withdrew both the drug abuse and fraud allegations, charging only that Waller might have psychiatric problems and was neither trustworthy nor credible.
Waller had denied the drug use allegations and submitted to court-authorized drug tests last month. Those tests came up negative. Through her attorneys, she has maintained that she earned all money she accrued during her tenure as the Cosbys’ manager.
In her “schedule of assets and liabilities” filed on Dec. 12, Waller said that she had $11.9 million in real property, two automobiles worth $34,000, household goods valued at $10,000, $7,000 in farming supplies (Waller raised thoroughbred horses), $3 in cash and $13,575.46 in the bank. She also listed full or partial ownership of 106 thoroughbred horses, worth a total of $1,128,000.
Her total debts came to $11,002,099.10 and included such disparate claims as $24,943.83 in horse stud fees, $80 for membership in a Newport Beach sailing club, $3.1 million to City National Bank for repayment of an unsecured loan, $21.92 to the Parents Read Aloud book club, $4,741.26 to the Los Angeles County Tax Collector and $172.99 for a Prentice-Hall “Tax Guide” for Cosby/Waller Entertainment.
After suspending Waller, the Cosbys asked the accounting firm of Ernst & Young to go over Waller’s bookkeeping, dating back to 1985. According to Camille Cosby’s sworn court declaration, that preliminary perusal turned up “unauthorized payments of more than $760,000 for clothing, more than $350,000 for political donations and charitable contributions, more than $100,000 for Ms. Waller’s own personal credit card expenses and $18,000 for the purchase of horses.”