Trustees of man's estate at odds over assets

Kelly Holleran May 20, 2010, 2:58am

Two trustees of a deceased man's trust have filed suit against the trust's co-trustees, alleging the co-trustees cannot be relied on to handle the rental income pouring into the trust.

Marilyn Gregory and Elizabeth Crow claim their father, Joseph Lee Victorian, created the Joseph Lee Victorian Trust before his death.

Gregory and Crow � the trust's only living beneficiaries � say the trust's assets include rental properties, warehouses and other real property, according to the complaint filed May 7 in Jefferson County District Court.

Along with Gregory and Crow, defendants Raymond M. Brassard, Patrick Dargin, John K. Victorian and Loretta Payne Victorian are trustees of the trust, the suit states. Under the terms of the trust, the majority of the trustees must consent to an action before it occurs, the complaint says.

The dispute between the trustees arose after Gregory and Crow claim they have never been asked to vote on or meet with their co-trustees regarding any actions the co-trustees performed.

"Defendants, without Plaintiffs' consent, have allowed defendant Loretta Payne Victorian to manage the assets of the Trust," the suit states. "Plaintiffs do not trust Payne and do not believe Payne is acting in the best interests of the Plaintiffs/Beneficiaries. In other words, the interests of Payne and the interest of the Plaintiffs are adverse."

Gregory and Crow say that unless the court stops the defendants, they plan to enter into an agreement providing Loretta Payne Victorian with a 15 percent management fee of the gross monthly rents collected each month.

Gregory and Crow allege breach of fiduciary duty and are seeking a declaratory judgment ordering the trustees to abstain from performing further action against the wishes of the trust's living beneficiaries and to declare the plaintiffs the only trustees of the trust.

They also are seeking an injunction preventing the defendants from performing any actions in relation to the trust, except to provide routine maintenance and to pay routine expenses. In addition, they seek actual damages, pre- and post-judgment interest, costs, attorney's fees and other relief the court deems just.

Wyatt D. Snider, Jason M. Byrd, Justin G. Sanderson and Russell W. Heald of Snider and Byrd in Beaumont will be representing them.

The case has been assigned to Judge Milton Shuffield, 136th District Court.

Jefferson County District Court case number: D186-804.

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