Pow! Marvel comics legend Stan Lee has socked his former manager with a lawsuit, alleging that Lee was bilked out of a “tremendous amount of money” through unscrupulous behavior — and even had his blood taken from him without his authorization to be sold as a collectible.
The suit, filed in Los Angeles Superior Court, says that, after Lee’s wife Joan died last year, the comic-book icon “became the target of various unscrupulous businessmen, sycophants and opportunists who saw a chance to take advantage of Lee’s despondent state of mind, kind heart and devotion to his craft.”
One such person, the suit says, was Jerardo Olivarez, a former business associate of Lee’s daughter J.C. According to the suit, Olivarez took “unauthorized and fraudulent acts and omissions” by managing Lee’s professional and financial affairs, inducing Lee into losing “a tremendous amount of money as money and assets were transferred to Olivarez by Lee without Lee being aware these actions were being taken.”
Among the alleged misdeeds: According to the suit, within days of Joan’s death, Olivarez and others working with him fired Lee’s banker of 26 years, fired his lawyers of many years and “caused approximately $4.6 million to be transferred out of Lee’s Merrill Lynch account without Lee’s authorization.”
Lee also accuses Olivarez of inducing him to loan money to a “false charity” promoting peace and love, but the charity was soon registered as a for-profit merchandising company, and ultimately the purported charity “was just a scheme to appropriate funds from Lee and the public to enrich Olivarez.”
According to the suit, Olivarez also caused Lee to unknowingly enter into “disadvantageous agreements” to sell Lee’s identity, name and likeness, and sold shares in Lee’s company for an artificially low price, causing losses that subjected Lee to lawsuits brought by his shareholders.
“Furthermore, in a diabolical and ghoulish scheme to make a profit from a distraught and grieving Lee, Olivarez had a nurse inject Lee with a syringe and extract many containers of blood,” the suit alleges, which Olivarez later had sold in Las Vegas as a collectible for thousands of dollars.
“Lee never approved of the use of his blood as a merchandising item, or for any other use. Naturally, this compounded Lee’s grief and angst and caused him tremendous emotional distress,” the complaint reads.
TheWrap has reached out to Olivarez for comment on the suit, which alleges fraud, financial abuse of an elder and other counts, and seeks unspecified damages.
Pamela Chelin contributed to this report.