Keelin Garcia Sues Deborah Koons & Attorneys
Here's an article by Nancy Isles Nation that was published in the Marin Independent Journal & the Oakland Tribune:
Garcia daughter sues over lack of support
Nancy Isles Nation
A daughter of the late Grateful Dead guitarist Jerry Garcia is suing his widow and several attorneys involved in settling the rock star's estate, saying no one was looking out for her financial interests when the money was distributed.
Keelin Noel Garcia, a 19-year-old college student living in Marin, names Deborah Koons, Garcia's wife when he died in August 1995. She also names attorneys David Hellman, Richard Riede and Neil Moran, all of whom practice in San Rafael, claiming that child support payments that should have been made to her were not allocated properly.
William Romaine, Keelin's Visalia-based attorney, said Jerry Garcia's will clearly states that Keelin's support should be taken care of before the remaining assets were split by beneficiaries.
"Deborah Koons, a trustee, had the highest possible duty to provide it at her expense," Romaine said. "Instead, she profited from it."
Romaine cites the will of Jerome J. Garcia, stating: "After payment of all my debts, my last illness and funeral expenses, and provision for my child support obligations for Keelin Garcia É my executor shall divide and distribute the remainder of my estate."
Romaine said that while the case was in mediation, attorneys for Koons and Keelin's court-appointed guardians came up with a low amount of child support at a time when the estate was making huge amounts of money.
"The trustees are supposed to look after her support," Romaine said.
Hellman, who wrote Garcia's will, said the probate court oversaw the entire process of distributing the estate - valued in 1998 at more than $15 million - and support for Keelin Garcia was covered at the time.
"We'll see where it goes, but it appears those issues were covered in the probate court," he said of the allegations.
Riede and Moran are listed as guardians for Keelin Garcia in her lawsuit.
The estate was admitted to probate in Marin Superior Court in September 1995 and closed in October 2001. Under the will, a third of the estate was given to Koons and the remaining two thirds were shared by Garcia's daughters, brother and friends. Keelin Garcia was allotted one-fifth of the inheritance, like her sisters.
Keelin is Garcia's youngest daughter from his relationship with Menasha Matheson. He had three other daughters: Heather, his oldest, from his first marriage, to Sara Ruppenthal, and Theresa ("Trixie") and Annabelle, from his marriage to Carolyn "Mountain Girl" Adams.
In her lawsuit, Keelin claims the defendants breached their fiduciary duties on her behalf. She asks for unspecified damages. A court hearing is scheduled for March 5.
Garcia died while in a drug rehabilitation facility in Forest Knolls from a heart attack at 53.
photo by Susana Millman, 2006