LOS ANGELES (CBS) — Screen legend Mickey Rooney and his court- appointed conservator, once again filed an elder abuse complaint against one of his stepsons and his stepson’s wife Thursday.
In court papers filed in Los Angeles Superior Court, the complaint alleges that Rooney’s stepson, Christopher Aber, and his wife, Christina, financially and verbally abused the 90-year-old Rooney over a 10-year period, leaving the entertainer powerless over his assets and personal life.
In February, Judge Reva Goetz granted court protection to Rooney, appointing attorney Michael R. Augustine as his conservator.
In court papers, attorneys Bruce S. Ross and Vivian L. Thoreen, on behalf of Rooney, allege the Abers are liable for breach of fiduciary duty and fraud stemming from the elder abuse, along with misappropriation of Rooney’s name and likeness.
Lawyer John O’Meara, on behalf of the Abers, said he had no immediate comment.
According to the complaint, Aber took advantage of the trust and confidence that Rooney put in him, and in the process took control of Rooney’s income and finances to enrich himself and his wife. Rooney alleges that the Abers regularly withheld food and medication, leading to bouts of depression.
“Clearly fame does not insulate an individual from the trauma and neglect of elder abuse, as Mickey Rooney’s case vividly demonstrates,” Ross said. “Mickey was exploited by a close relative in whom he placed his trust and looked to for guidance. If a person of Mickey Rooney’s stature and profile can be victimized, there are untold numbers of less fortunate seniors who are similarly being abused in this country.”
Rooney alleges that Aber retained exclusive control over Rooney’s personal and business accounts and used them regularly to sign checks payable to himself, to pay his personal expenses and to transfer Rooney’s income to his and his wife Christina’s personal accounts.
Aber arranged for ATM debit/credit cards in the name of Densmore — Rooney’s company — and regularly used them for his own benefit, while Rooney had no knowledge of their existence, the petition states.
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