Britney Spears’ lawyer: Emails show ex-business manager helped set up conservatorship
Louise “Lou” Taylor, Britney Spears’ former business manager, was an “intimate friend” of Spears’ father and played a direct role in the creation of the pop star’s conservatorship in 2008, the singer’s attorney, Mathew Rosengart, alleges in a new court filing. Taylor, her company and a business associate have previously denied that allegation.
Jamie Spears, the singer’s father, also was beholden to Taylor’s company, Rosengart noted in the documents, for a loan in the amount of $40,000 that came before Spears put his famous daughter into a conservatorship and hired Taylor’s Tri Star Sports & Entertainment to manage her business affairs.
The filing lands within the battle lines that the attorney staked out last November, after Spears was freed from the legal arrangement that had restricted her personal autonomy for more than 13 years.
“The most notable question that we’ve asked on behalf of Britney of [her former business managers at] Tri Star is the following very simple question: How much money did you take from the estate? How much money did you receive from the estate? They have refused to answer that question,” Rosengart said last fall outside a courthouse in downtown L.A. on the day Spears won her freedom.
Welcome, latecomers to Britney Spears’ conservatorship battle (and experts who want to test their wits). This Q&A will tell you all you need to know.
Now there is a possible answer.
“Mr. Spears and Tri Star obtained more than $6 million and $18 million, respectively, from Ms. Spears’s Estate” over the course of the conservatorship, said a third-party investigator whose findings were quoted in documents filed Friday with the Los Angeles County Superior Court.
The documents also show the struggle Britney Spears’ legal team is facing as it attempts to get documents from Tri Star and former business manager Robin Greenhill, who allegedly were involved in surveillance efforts over the singer that were laid out in a December investigation by the New York Times. Rosengart also wants to depose Jamie Spears on Britney‘s behalf — an effort being fought by the former‘s legal team.
Tri Star has moved to quash or void the subpoenas requesting that information.
The Times has reached out to Jamie Spears’ attorney Alex Weingarten for comment.
Among the emails revealed in Rosengart’s filing was one from Taylor to Jamie Spears on Jan. 17, 2008, in which she wrote that attorney Andrew Wallet “and tri star will serve as co[-conservator]’s w you.” Wallet had been appointed to help Jamie Spears run his daughter’s estate.
Also, on Jan. 30, 2008, Jamie Spears’ attorney, Geraldine Wyle, emailed Taylor and copied her client, saying, “We have run into a problem with our judge selection” because the judge who was available soonest would “not give Jamie the power to administer psychotropic drugs to B.” Wyle advised that the first “safe” day to be in court would be the first day that judge wasn’t around.
Britney Spears’ conservatorship became official Feb. 1, 2008, after she was hospitalized twice that January for psychiatric evaluations. While Taylor and Tri Star offered input later that year on the singer’s “Circus” tour, they did not come on officially as business managers until January 2010.
Many Britney Spears supporters hope the justice system will dig deeper on the larger apparatus they say enabled her father in controlling her estate for 13 years.
Scott Edelman, an attorney for Tri Star, called Rosengart’s filing “materially misleading.”
“As all the evidence makes abundantly clear, the conservatorship was set up on the recommendation of legal counsel, not Tri Star, and approved by the Court for more than 12 years. ... Cherry-picked excerpts from emails cannot change the facts, which is why this nonsense will all end once and for all when records are unsealed,” Edelman said in a statement provided to The Times.
Rosengart wrote in his filing that “Tri Star, Lou Taylor and Robin Greenhill have all denied that Tri Star was involved in the creation of the Conservatorship, no doubt aware that such involvement — shortly after it extended the generous loan to Mr. Spears — would call into question not just the exorbitant fees paid to Tri Star over the years but also the motives for placing Ms. Spears into a 13-year conservatorship in the first place.”
After nearly 14 years, Britney Spears’ conservatorship is over, an L.A. judge rules, and the pop star and her devout fans are celebrating the big news.
Rosengart then cited sworn testimony from Greenhill and Taylor’s communications with news outlets, all denying such involvement.
The “generous loan” he referred to was one Taylor’s company gave Jamie Spears around the time Britney Spears was first hospitalized. It was for “at least $40,000,” Rosengart wrote in his filing, “a substantial amount of money in 2008, especially for a man with a history of financial mismanagement including a bankruptcy, mortgage defaults, state and federal tax liens, and failed business ventures.”
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