A bitter battle over the $2 billion estate of the late shopping mall tycoon Melvin Simon has ended with a confidential settlement . . .
An IBJ reporter attending Wednesday's hearing was asked to leave shortly after it began around 10:45 a.m. Closed hearing are unusual in estate cases, and the newspaper registered its objection.
An attorney for trustee Theodore R. Boehm, the former Indiana Supreme Court justice, requested the hearing be closed, and none of the other parties objected . . .An Indianapolis Star report by Jeff Swiatek doesn't even mention the fact that reporters were barred from the court hearing. Swiatek, instead, reminded readers of efforts by Simon's wife, Bren, to have Judge Hughes removed from the case after the probate contest was initiated by Simon's children.
The judge himself became a subject of the infighting when Bren Simon’s former attorneys asked him to step down after he got arrested for drunken driving in North Carolina during the case and briefly hired attorneys from the same law firm that represented Simon Property Group in its case.
The Indiana Court of Appeals ultimately decided Hughes should stay as judge in the estate dispute. In the North Carolina case, Hughes pleaded guilty to misdemeanor reckless driving.
The appeals court also ruled in the judge’s favor on his removal of Bren Simon as trustee. The judge replaced her with former Indiana Supreme Court Justice Ted Boehm.