Comic book industry legend Stan Lee is suing a former business manager for fraud and elder abuse in a suit that alleges such egregious claims of abuse as extracting and selling vials of the Marvel Comics icons blood as “collectibles” in Las Vegas.
Lee, whom many consider the godfather of the modern-day superhero, was grieving the death of his wife of 70 years, Joan B. Lee, in late 2017 when he became the target of “unscrupulous businessmen, sycophants and opportunists” who sought to take advantage of his despondency.
A suit filed today in Los Angeles Superior Court alleges Jerardo Olivarez is once such opportunist. A former business associate of Lees daughter, the suit claims Olivarez took control of Lees professional and financial affairs — and began enriching himself through various schemes and bogus enterprises.
Within days of Joan Lees death, Olivarez and others fired Stan Lees banker of 26 years and his long-time attorney, and transferred $4.6 million out of Lees bank account without authorization, according to the lawsuit.
Under the pretext of checking on Lees well-being, Olivarez convinced the grieving man to sign over power of attorney and appoint Olivarezs own lawyer, Uri Litvak, as Lees attorney.
Lee was duped into donating $300,000 to a bogus charity, the Hands of Respect, which Olivarez claimed was a non-profit organization working to promote racial harmony, the suit claims. The company is actually registered as a for-profit merchandising company.
“Olivarez misled Lee and the public into thinking that it was a caring non-profit charity to ease racial tension, when in reality, Hands of Respect was just a scheme to appropriate funds from Lee and the public to enrich Olivarez,” the suit alleges.
In one particularly ghoulish money-making scheme, Olivarez instructed a nurse to extract many containers of blood from Lee, which Hands of Respect later sold in Las Vegas for thousands of dollars, the suit contends.
“There are shops in Las Vegas selling Stan Lees blood,” said a family friend, Keya Morgan. “Theyre stamping his blood inside the Black Panther comic books and they sell them for $500 each.”
Lee also unwittingly purchased a West Hollywood condominium for Olivarezs exclusive use for $850,000, without Lees knowledge, approval or participation, the suit alleges. Another $1.4 million has simply disappeared from Lees accounts through a series of complicated wire transfers that Olivarez initiated and ultimate received, the suit claims.
The creator of Spider-Man, Iron Man, the X-Men and other comic book characters is seeking an accounting of his funds and demanding restitution.