A judge on Friday granted a restraining order to protect Marvel’s Stan Lee and his family from a memorabilia collector who allegedly embezzled assets worth more than $5 million.
The collector, Keya Morgan, is accused of isolating Lee from his daughter, J.C. Lee, and others, in an effort to assert control over Lee’s business affairs.
Earlier in the day, Judge Pro Tem Ruth Kleman dismissed another restraining order, which was filed last month on Lee’s behalf by attorney Tom Lallas. The judge found that Lallas, who was fired in February, does not represent Lee.
The new restraining order was filed Thursday by attorney Stephen Crump. In the application, Crump alleges that Morgan made malicious and false remarks about Lee’s daughter to Lee, and prevented Lee’s financial advisers from seeing him. The order bars Morgan from coming within 100 yards of Lee, his daughter, or his brother, Larry Lieber.
“Stan Lee is currently recovering from the severe physical and emotional injuries caused by Keya Morgan during the period of time Keya Morgan controlled each and every one of Stan Lee’s acts or omissions, and separated Stan Lee from his family, friends and close advisers,” the document states.
According to the allegations, Morgan’s last interaction with Lee was when he and his mother “abducted” Lee out of his house and took him to an apartment, in a “last-ditch effort to complete (sic) cut Stan Lee off from any meaningful communication with anyone other than himself and those he could control.”
Crump alleges that Morgan is now placing harassing phone calls to J.C. Lee and Larry Lieber, in an effort to pressure them psychologically and to regain control of Lee’s affairs.
“If Keya Morgan is allowed contact with Stan Lee, it is feared he will again attempt to remove Stan Lee to unknown location(s) to further his past attempts to control and manipulate Stan Lee, and alienate him from his daughter, and sole heir, J.C. Lee,” the attorney alleges.
The new application was initially denied, and then granted Friday pending a hearing on July 26.
Morgan’s attorney, Alex Kessel, said Friday that Morgan has not been in touch with Lee recently and is out of the state on business.
“Their relationship exists outside of anybody’s restraining order,” Kessel said. “Mr. Lee in no way, shape, or form is ever endangered by Mr. Morgan in any sense.”
Two attorneys appeared in Kleman’s courtroom on Friday morning claiming to represent Lee. Lallas argued that he was acting on Lee’s behalf with the blessing of the LAPD, while attorney Robert Reynolds brandished a declaration authorizing him to speak for Lee. In light of the confusion, Kleman rejected Lallas’ request to extend the order that was filed last month and dismissed the case.
Crump filed the second order on behalf of attorney Jonathan Freund, who previously filed an elder abuse lawsuit against another Lee associate, Jerardo Olivarez.
Morgan is facing two misdemeanor counts for allegedly placing two bogus 911 calls in late May. In the first instance, he reported that intruders had come to Lee’s house, when in fact police had come to check on Lee’s welfare following an elder abuse report. In the second instance, he allegedly claimed an assault with a deadly weapon against a security guard who had refused to sign a non-disclosure agreement.
Updated with details of the second restraining order.