Senator Dianne Feinstein accused the trustees of her late husband’s estate of financial abuse of elders, demanded that they be removed from office, and accused them of improperly financially enriching her three daughters.
The lawsuit was filed Aug. 8 in California Superior Court in San Francisco County by the senator’s daughter, Katherine Feinstein, who has power of attorney for her.
The 90-year-old Democratic senator from California has suffered from health issues over the past year, including a case of shingles that sidelined her from the Senate for a month. She also fell at her home in San Francisco last week and was briefly hospitalized.
Senator Dianne Feinstein on Capitol Hill in July before senators leave for August recess
Feinstein and her late husband, Richard Blum, married in 1980 and lived together until Blum’s death in early 2022.
The lawsuit alleges that the trustees committed ‘financial abuse’ of Feinstein by ‘wrongfully withholding distributions to which (her late husband’s) trust entitles her in bad faith and misappropriating assets they should have used to fund “the confidence of the senator.
The deposit was first reported by the San Francisco Chronicle.
Feinstein gave his daughter power of attorney on July 23 to allow Katherine Feinstein to act as her litigation representative, according to the lawsuit.
She has filed three lawsuits – in June, July and August – against the trustees as she seeks access to her late husband’s assets.
Steven Braccini, the attorney representing co-administrators Michael Klein and Marc Scholvinck, previously told the Chronicle that they had “never denied any disbursement to Senator Feinstein.”
But Feinsteint’s latest lawsuit says, “The trustees have not responded to any request for disbursement, which is a de facto denial.”
Klein says Feinstein received $125,000 quarterly in response to his June lawsuit.
Blum would have been a billionaire at the time of his death. Feinstein is also independently wealthy, separate from her husband’s finances.
The lawsuit also alleges that the trustees improperly “funded gifts to Blum’s daughters or canceled their debt,” before giving Feinstein what the trust dictates she should receive.
Each of Blum’s three daughters are expected to inherit at least $22 million after Feinstein’s death if funds are available, according to his trust.
Senator Dianne Feinstein, 90, suffered health problems and missed three months in the Senate earlier this year after contracting shingles
Senator Dianne Feinstein with her husband Richard Blum in March 2009
Feinstein’s daughter Katherine (above) has power of attorney over her mother
Braccini told the newspaper that the directors “acted ethically and appropriately at all times; the same cannot be said for Katherine Feinstein. This deposit is inadmissible. The trustees have always respected Senator Feinstein and will always respect him. But that has nothing to do with his needs and everything to do with his daughter’s greed.
Feinstein’s lawsuit in July said she was unable to access Blum’s assets to pay “significant medical expenses” after a bout with shingles. Feinstein is covered by Medicare and the CC Health Link, which provides health plans to members of Congress.
The senator was diagnosed with the shingles virus in late February and hospitalized in early March. She was absent from the Senate for three months and still struggling with medical complications.
A hearing for the June case is scheduled for Monday and the July case is scheduled for September 5.
There have been concerns about how Feinstein’s health affects her ability to perform her duties as a senator.
She has faced calls to resign — even from fellow Democrats — amid her health issues and fears that her absence could delay President Joe Biden’s justice confirmations. She sits on the Senate Judiciary Committee, which holds confirmation hearings.
Several female lawmakers backed her, calling it sexist to ask Feinstein – a trailblazing lawmaker – to step down when many white men served in the Senate until their deaths.
But she stumbled in her time on Capitol Hill. At the end of July, she had to be told to “just say yes” when she voted for a defense bill during an armed forces markup.
When she was supposed to vote ‘yes’ or ‘no’, she instead launched into a bizarre rant.
“I would like to support a ‘yes’ vote on this. It makes $823 billion…” she said. Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., leaned over and whispered, “Just say yes.
– Yes, said Feinstein.
Feinstein has said she will not run again next year, and several Democrats have already entered the primary to replace her, including three House Democrats: Representatives Barbara Lee, Katie Porter and Adam Schiff. Businessman Eric Early is running on the Republican side.
She is the fifth oldest person to serve in the Senate. Strom Thurmond, the Democratic segregationist turned Republican, was the oldest and longest serving senator ever: he was 100 when he retired in January 2003 after 48 years in office.
She’s also one of the richest: Feinstein is worth around $58 million, according to the Los Angeles Times.