Open in App
  • U.S.
  • Election
  • Newsletter
  • USA TODAY

    Tony Bennett's daughters sue their siblings, alleging they're mishandling the singer's family trust

    By Edward Segarra, USA TODAY,

    29 days ago

    https://img.particlenews.com/image.php?url=42Yv02_0tquSqlQ00

    The children of late jazz icon Tony Bennett are taking a family dispute to court .

    Bennett's daughters, Johanna and Antonia Bennett, filed a lawsuit against their brother D'Andrea "Danny" Bennett in the New York Supreme Court on Wednesday. The lawsuit alleges mishandling of the singer's family trust and "failures to account for transactions and the assets" from the trust.

    Bennett's daughters also named their other brother, Daegal "Dae" Bennett, and the late singer's wife Susan Crow in the suit.

    Bennett and his son Danny were named as trustees of the family trust, according to a copy of the lawsuit obtained by USA TODAY on Thursday. Danny became the trust's sole trustee following Bennett's death in July 2023.

    The Bennett family trust was created by a trust agreement in December 1994, per the filing. Bennett funded the trust before his death, though it's unclear how much he contributed. Bennett's children Johanna, Antonia and Daegal, and his wife Crow are all listed as beneficiaries.

    Tony Bennett dies: Legendary singer and master of the American songbook was 96

    Bennett's daughters claim in their complaint that Danny and his legal team have "persistently failed and refused to provide information sufficient for (them) to fully identify and understand the property and assets in which they have rights and interests as beneficiaries."

    Johanna and Antonia "have well-founded concerns about Tony's finances and assets prior to and following his death and concerning transactions involving family trust assets and Benedetto Arts, LLC, prior to Tony’s death and thereafter," the lawsuit reads. The women "seek to ensure that all property and assets of Tony's estate, the family trust and Benedetto Arts, LLC, in which the family trust holds an interest, are inventoried, accounted for, and distributed pursuant to the express terms of the family trust."

    USA TODAY has reached out to representatives for Danny Bennett for comment.

    'Will miss my friend forever': Lady Gaga honors Tony Bennett in touching post after death

    Tony Bennett's daughters allege Danny Bennett 'obtained personal benefits' as head of family trust

    According to the lawsuit, Danny took an active role in Bennett's financial affairs, including property and asset management for the family trust and Benedetto Arts, LLC. The latter is a Delaware-based company in which Bennett's children and the family trust hold membership interests.

    Danny also served as Bennett's manager and allegedly "obtained personal benefits for himself and his company as the result of transactions carried out on behalf of Tony, Benedetto Arts, LLC, and the family trust."

    In July 2022, Danny reportedly oversaw the sale and consignment of "certain items of Tony's memorabilia, personal property and an interest in Tony's name and likeness," per the complaint. RPM Productions, an artist management and strategic marketing company founded by Danny, allegedly received a "substantial commission" from this financial activity.

    As a condition of Bennett's will, all of the singer's "tangible personal property" should be divided equally among Bennett's children after the family trust's expenses are covered, the filing states. This does not include property and assets assigned to the family trust before Bennett's death.

    Bennett's daughters allege in the lawsuit that they have made "numerous requests for basic information" regarding the family trust, Benedetto Arts, LLC, and Bennett's estate since August 2023.

    "Although Danny and his counsel have provided piecemeal information and produced some documents to (Johanna and Antonia’s) counsel, the information provided raises more questions than answers and fails to provide anything close to an accounting of Tony's assets and financial affairs," the lawsuit reads.

    Daughters of Tony Bennett were allegedly blocked from singer’s personal belongings following business deal

    Danny reportedly sold a combination of Bennett’s personal property, memorabilia and “all of Tony’s name and likeness” in July 2022 to the company Iconoclast, which specializes in the management and marketing of artists’ legacy works, according to the lawsuit.

    While Bennett’s daughters were made aware of the Iconoclast transaction, per the complaint, Johanna and Antonia were not informed regarding which of Bennett’s assets were sold in the deal. Additionally, the women allege that they’ve only received “a single modest distribution” from the sale, which excludes proceeds that were allocated to the family trust and Benedetto Arts, LLC, following the sale.

    Johanna and Antonia also claim in the filing that they were prevented from viewing Bennett’s personal property, including visiting the singer’s apartment. When Bennett’s daughters were eventually allowed to visit his apartment in 2024, the women noted that many of the singer’s items were either missing or off-limits due to the sale with Iconoclast.

    “Setting aside the value that such items might possess given that they belonged to a legendary musician and performer, Tony’s belongings were specifically bequeathed to his children, including (his daughters), and have significant sentimental value to (them),” the lawsuit reads. “Danny’s counsel subsequently reported that most of Tony’s clothing was donated to charity without notice to (his daughters) despite the fact that these items were specifically bequeathed to them pursuant to the terms of the family trust.”

    In April 2024, an auction of Bennett’s belongings was held, according to the lawsuit. Despite being told about the auction, Bennett’s daughters allege they were largely “kept in the dark” about the event’s details and were forced to quickly identify which items of Bennett’s personal property they wanted to keep.

    The women also claim Danny sold his items at the auction without their awareness.

    “At no time did Danny discuss with (Bennett’s daughters) whether those items could be kept in the family,” the lawsuit reads. “Tony did not express in his will or the family trust that his tangible personal property be sold.”

    Tony Bennett allegedly loaned $1.2M to son Danny Bennett

    In the lawsuit, Bennett’s daughters scrutinize the singer’s financial activity in his final years, including transactions with Danny. The women allege their father earned over $100 million from live performances in the last 15 years of his career but that Bennett’s gross estate is purportedly valued at less than $7 million.

    Johanna and Antonia claim Bennett made loans to Danny in 2020 that totaled $1.2 million, although no details on the circumstances of the loans or their authorization have been provided, per the filing. Danny also allegedly received lifetime gifts from the singer totaling approximately $4.2 million, which is “more than double the value of gifts to each of Bennett’s other three children.”

    In response, Danny said he had written commission agreements with Bennett, including an agreement that gave Danny a 25% commission for certain work he performed for his father, the complaint states.

    As a result of Danny’s “failure to fulfill his obligations” as trustee of the Bennett family trust, Bennett’s daughters are seeking full accounts from Danny detailing the financial activity of the family trust and Benedetto Arts, LLC. The women are also demanding complete inventories of Bennett’s personal property allocated to these fiscal properties.

    Additionally, Bennett’s daughters are demanding the court require Danny to administer the family trust properly and provide all relevant documents concerning the trust, Benedetto Arts, LLC, and any auctions of Bennett’s personal property.

    This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Tony Bennett's daughters sue their siblings, alleging they're mishandling the singer's family trust

    Expand All
    Comments / 0
    Add a Comment
    YOU MAY ALSO LIKE
    Most Popular newsMost Popular

    Comments / 0