Britney Spears’ Dad Is Out Of The Conservatorship, But The Battle Over How He Spent Her Money Is Just Getting Started

One fan created a parody website named after Britney Spears' former business manager Lou Taylor in 2019 as the #FreeBritney movement gained momentum. The website was humorously titled "Your #1 Source for Gay Demon Exorcists". It featured several articles that were republished from other sites including one about Taylor calling Spears a stalker.
Taylor was apparently not amused and filed a lawsuit against Bryan Kuchar. She claimed that the 32-year old medical assistant was trying exploit Taylor's fame and goodwill to damage her reputation. Spears was not a party to the lawsuit and wasn't even criticized by fansite. However, her dad Jamie Spears authorized $153,759 from Taylor's estate to two Atlanta-based law firms. He also authorized an unspecified amount for another firm that handled Taylors cease-and-desist letters.

The site was removed and Taylor and Kuchar reached a confidential settlement in March 2020. It remains to be seen if Taylor should have paid the bill for Taylor. According to Taylor's recent statements, Taylor is grateful for the support of the public and has been critical of Kuchar's management.

My dad, my father, and anyone else involved in this conservatorship, and my management, who played a major role in punishing and executing me when I said "No. Ma'am", Spears stated to a judge earlier in the year.

BuzzFeed News exposed abuse, neglect, death in the US guardianship sector. Check out our investigative series, "Beyond Britney".

As Spears' legal team attempts to recover funds that were misused or wasted for legal services, the ongoing dispute about whether Taylors money should have been used to pay Taylors legal bills is a glimpse of the accounting problems that are likely to arise. Mathew Rosengart, Spears' attorney, has hired lawyers who specialize in fiduciary or estate litigation. He also brought in an expert in money laundering and fraud who was previously part of Robert Mueller's investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 US elections. Rosengart said Britney Spears would sue if they find evidence that Jamie Spears took money from his daughters or committed any other misconduct.

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Rosengart said that he and my firm were going to have a complete look at Jamie Spears's actions and those of his representatives. Rosengart spoke to #FreeBritney supporters on Sept. 29, after a judge removed the father of the singer from the conservatorship. It's in progress and will continue until Britney is able to be rehabilitated.

Spears conservatorship was terminated by Brenda Penny, Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge. This is just five months before her 40th birthday and less than five months after she had publicly criticized the arrangement during an explosive public hearing. Penny will then decide whether to approve payments for the attorneys who represented Spears' father and Jodi Monty, the current conservator of Spears' personal affairs in the conservatorship. Britney Spears must pay both her attorney's fees and those of her conservators, as per state law.

Jamie Spears' accounting report will be reviewed by the judge. It will detail how much money went in and out of his daughter's estate during 2019. Although much of the report has been redacted, Sam Ingham's documents, the former court-appointed attorney to Jamie Spears, show that Spears is raising concerns about Taylors payments and nearly $400,000 in transactions made to Taylors management company, Tri Star Sports & Entertainment.

Tri Star was a part of Spears' gross income for years. It topped $100 millions during her Las Vegas residency. In 2019, however, the conservatorship ended the careers of the pop star. According to court documents, Jamie Spears approved a modification to Tri Stars' compensation arrangement in late 2017. He did so without notifying Taylor, her attorney or the court. A new $500,000 annual floor was added after Taylor complained about her company having lost $400,000 due the singers work break. Ingham stated that the payment was 260% more than what Tri Star would have received if it had not been for the new arrangement. According to documents, Jamie Spears also paid Tri Star $80,000 for accounting services before changing the company's compensation structure.

Ingham stated that these radical new arrangements were made without any legal obligation. Ingham wrote that he did not question the legality of TRI STAR's massive fee increase or attempt to negotiate a better deal. He even asked for supporting details about the billing and time.

Jamie Spears' attorneys stated that his decision to establish a new floor for compensation was fair and in the best interests of the estate. Inghams' questions regarding the accounting services payment were not answered by them.

Taylor suggested in an email dated November 12, 2019, that the $500,000 floor be applied for 2020. Court documents show this. It is not clear if that actually happened. Jamie Spears has yet to file an accounting report for the year 2017. In fall 2020, Taylor and Tri Star resigned from their roles as Britney's Spears managers.

BuzzFeed News asked Taylor's attorney and her company not to respond.

Rosengart was hired by Spears in July, when she was allowed to retain her own counsel. She also took aim at the legal fees her fathers have charged her over the past year and the salary Jamie Spears received as conservator. Vivian Thoreen, Jamie Spears' former attorney and her firm Holland & Knight LLP requested that the estate pay more than $530,000 for media-related fees between October 2020 to June 2021. This is the period when the New York Times Framing Britney Spears documentary drew a lot of criticism about Jamie Spears' continued control over her life despite her successful music career.

Thoreen stated in a July 2021 declaration that handling media inquiries and coverage was becoming an unavoidable part of their work. Holland & Knights' primary goal was to protect Ms. Spears, her brand, image and Estate from any potential damage caused by inaccurate or false media and social media coverage.

Rosengart claimed that the firm was protecting Spears' father and not Britney, and that there was no criticism of the conservatorship and Rosengart. Thoreen, who appeared on ABC's Good Morning America and CNN shortly after the documentary's release, stated that Jamie saved Britney's life and that every decision he made was in her best interests.

Rosengart stated in a September filing that fees paid to protect the reputation of a departing Conservator are not for the Conservatee. They cannot be charged to the Conservatees assets or collected from them.

Rosengart also questioned the scope and work of Thoreens, the law firm Jamie Spears hired in October 2020 to act as his litigation counsel. Freeman, Freeman and Smiley LLP represented him. Both legal firms assisted him in court filings to approve his legal fees. He was removed from conservatorship last month.

Geraldine Wyle, Thoreen and Freeman's firm partner, did not reply to BuzzFeed News' request for comment. Jamie Spears, the new attorney, also did not answer questions.

Although Rosengart has promised to investigate Jamie Spears' actions since 2008 when the conservatorship was established, BuzzFeed News has been told by legal experts that it might be difficult to recover money or get recourse for decisions made during the 11 years the court has approved accounting reports. A judge has not yet approved money spent in 2019 and 2020.

According to Zoe BrennanKrohn, an ACLU staff attorney, Britney's team is at disadvantage. Her father was granted a lot of discretion by the court. It can be difficult to separate the financial decisions authorized from fraud, self-dealing, or any other illegal activity. This is one of the problems with giving so much power to someone.

Jamie Spears received 1.5% of gross revenue from Britney: Piece Of Me, his four-year residency in Las Vegas that saw Britney earn more than $130million between 2013 and 2017. He also received 2.95% from the Femme Fatale 2011 tour receipts. BuzzFeed News was informed by legal experts that both compensation arrangements were approved. However, BuzzFeed News believes they present a conflict of interest.

Jonathan Martinis, an attorney who spent many years helping people in guardianships and conservatorships get their rights back, explained that he is charged with looking after her health and well-being. He was motivated by a financial gain to get her on stage.

BuzzFeed News reviewed the court records and found that it does not appear Ingham, Britney Spears' attorney at the time, objected to any of her fathers requests to gross receipts for her performances. Martinis, the senior director for policy and law at the Burton Blatt Institute, Syracuse University, stated that although courts are supposed to carefully review such requests, they will often rubber stamp them if they're not opposed.

My experience is that the vast majority of unopposed motions are granted. If someone had a problem, they would have objected. Except, of course they didn't know they had the right to object.

Spears might not have known that she could object to the way her father was paid using her performance income. Rosengart didn't respond to BuzzFeed News queries. Spears testified in public that she did not know she could file a petition for the end of conservatorship. She also described feeling compelled to work against her will during her June testimony.

My management told me that if I don't do the tour, I would have to find an attorney. Contractly, my management could sue if I didn't complete the tour. It was extremely threatening and frightening. With the conservatorship, I was unable to get my own lawyer. Fearing for my safety, I took the tour.

Spears' money could have also been used to spy upon her. In Controlling Britney, the Times documentary that followed up, Controlling Britney, a former employee of the security team for pop stars claimed that her phone communications were monitored and that she had an audio recorder installed in her bedroom.

Rosengart stressed that Jamie Spears directed his security team to spy on her bedroom, as per the Times report. This was from my client's estate funds.

Ms. According to Rosengart, Spears knew about the allegation. Imagine the trauma that this has caused for her.

Thoreen, the Jamie Spears lawyer at the time, dismissed the report during the hearing. She stated that the documentary was not admissible as evidence.

It is illegal in California to record private conversations of people without their consent or knowledge. However, it is not clear whether anyone could be charged with criminal offenses. People in conservatorships or guardianships in other States lose many civil liberties and rights, including privacy.

Martinis stated that some states actually declare that the conservator or guardian has the same power as a parent over minor children. These rights disappear and are embodied in the conservator/guardian, who then has the power to surveil the person or pretends that they do.

Although Spears accuses her father of abuses, conservators, or guardians, in some states rarely face penalties for mistreating conservatees and mismanaging their affairs. Brennan-Krohn explained that this is partly due to the assumption by society and courts that conservators act as benevolent agents. She said that the name alone brings to mind guardian angels.

Conservatees don't have the financial resources to challenge conservatorships or pursue civil lawsuits against those who are authorized to make such decisions. Brennan-Krohn stated that it is a very underutilized area in law.

Britney Spears, however, isn't like the rest of us. Experts said that the international attention to her case could open the door for other conservatorship holders to sue for the harm they suffered.

Martinis stated that he hopes that Spears can prove that her father mishandled money, exploited or abused her, and hold him responsible, so that other people in similar situations will also know that accountability is possible. He suggested that guardians should think twice about hurting someone.

He said that there wasn't any accountability before. Britney Spears may have inspired some accountability.

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