Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Bren Simon Can't Live On $58,000 A Week And More Simon Family Feud Matters

Most people would be content to earn $58,000 a year. Apparently Bren Simon is upset the trustee for her late husband's estate is limiting her to $58,000 a week while a Hamilton Co. Superior Court determines whether she is entitled to the lion's share of his estate as his second wife. WISH-TV reports:

Today in court, 24-Hour News 8 learned Bren is currently receiving $116,000 every two weeks for living expenses. Yet, her attorneys argue she should get 100 percent of the income generated from the [$1.8 billion] trust. The annual average income of the trust is estimated at $57 million per year.

Today's court appearance by attorneys representing all sides of the estate dispute generated more interesting gossip. It seems Bren hired a private investigator to snoop into the affairs of all of the beneficiaries of Mel's estate. Attorneys for Mel's children, who are contesting his last will, are asking that sanctions be imposed against Bren and her attorneys for failure to turn over documents gathered during the course of her snooping as ordered earlier this year. The Star has this news:

Bren Simon has turned over documents pertaining to a private investigator that she hired to collect information of beneficiaries of her late husband Melvin Simon’s trust.

Revelations about the investigation were disclosed in a court hearing today concerning a challenge to the Simon will . . .

Attorneys for Deborah Simon, who has sued her stepmother in the will dispute, said they want sanctions against Bren Simon for failure to promptly turn over the documents.

Bren Simon turned over those documents earlier this month; she was requested to turn them over last summer.

Barry Simon, an attorney for Deborah Simon, told Hamilton Superior Court Judge William Hughes that the documents are “rather shocking.”

He said the private investigator working for Bren Simon tried to collect social security numbers and driving records of trust beneficiaries and also of James Barkley, James M. Barkley serves as Secretary and General Counsel of Simon Property Group

Barry Simon said he wants to do a special deposition of Bren to ask her about the private investigation.

And there's more. The IBJ's Cory Schouten says attorneys for Bren Simon want Judge William Hughes to recuse himself because he hired attorneys at the law firm of Bingham-McHale to represent him in a disciplinary matter arising out of his arrest last month for drunk driving while vacationing in North Carolina. Bren's attorneys are concerned about getting a fair shake from Hughes since Bingham attorneys are also representing the interests of Simon Property Group in the estate dispute. Hughes tells her attorneys no recusal is necessary because he has since replaced those attorneys with other legal representation in the matter.

News that Bingham-McHale is representing Simon Property Group raises a more serious conflict of interest concern in my mind. Bingham-McHale's Toby McClamroch, who is also the firm's managing partner, serves as general counsel to the CIB. McClamroch drew up documents authorizing the CIB's $33.5 million, three-year deal to keep the Indiana Pacers playing in Conseco Fieldhouse. The Pacers are owned exclusively now by Herb Simon, who purchased Mel Simon's 50% stake in the NBA franchise earlier this year for an undisclosed sum. Herb founded Simon Property Group, is a major shareholder of the company and continues to serve on its board of directors. How do we know Herb isn't funneling legal work to Bingham-McHale in consideration for favorable legal opinion's from the firm on CIB matters pertaining to lease issues between the Pacers and the CIB? Based on my reading of the lease, I cannot say the firm has been fairly representing the CIB's interests in interpreting that lease agreement, particularly as it relates to the penalties to the Pacers if the team's owner chooses to break that lease.

This is not the first time we've had a serious conflict of interest when it comes to the CIB and the Simons. Former CIB President Bob Grand is the managing partner of Barnes & Thornburg's Indianapolis office, which also represents Simon Property Group and the Indiana Pacers. Grand signed a complicated Chinese wall agreement when he served as the board's president supposedly walling himself off from any discussions with the Pacers or the Simons concerning their lease on Conseco Fieldhouse. As soon as Grand's close confidante, Ann Lathrop, succeeded him as president of the CIB, she announced the $33.5 million taxpayer give-away to Herb Simon's Indiana Pacers. Lathrop formerly worked as an executive at ACS, a company for which Bob Grand and his law firm have lobbied for a number of years. Suffice it to say, there is nobody at the table representing the CIB's taxpayers' interests. It looks like the Simons have all their bases covered as usual.


Indy4U2C said...

Bren, can I have your measly $58K/week? It's more than I make....AT MY JOB!!!

--Hey, Bren, Have you EVER had a job???

--Gary, Please post Bren Simon's resume! It would certainly be interesting to see what she has EARNED and deserves?

Advance Indiana said...

Botox and other cosmetic surgery hasn't paid off for her looks that's for damn sure.

Hoosier in the Heartland said...

Brenda sends private investigators trailing after her stepchildren, then wonders why they're annoyed with her.

Uh huh!

Downtown Indy said...

She must by a LOT of shoes.

varangianguard said...

I had been ready to give Bren Simon the benefit of the doubt, until I watched some video of her at one of the hearings.

If her attorneys had any backbone at all, they would have put a sock in her mouth.
Guess they just console themselves with the fees she pays them.

Now, I mentally equate her with Leona Helmsley everytime I see her picture.