A new lawsuit adds to an upsetting picture of longtime Marvel Comics editor Stan Lee’s final days, alleging that those close to Lee sought to profit off him by stealing from his home and working him to the point of exhaustion.
The lawsuit, brought by Lee’s daughter, Joan Celia Lee, was filed in Los Angeles Superior Court June 4 and accuses her father’s onetime memorabilia manager, Max Anderson with breach of contract and of fiduciary duty, The Guardian reported. Also named in the lawsuit are one of Lee’s nurses, Linda Sanchez, and an alleged associate of Anderson’s named Derek Tan. All three are accused of elder abuse.
According to the filing, Anderson worked with Tan to create a shell company called Excelsior Collectibles in which Anderson hid “various undisclosed profits” made over the course of his relationship with Lee. Anderson met Lee at San Diego Comic Con in 2006, The Guardian reported, and managed his memorabilia business and personal appearances thereafter.
Anderson is also alleged in the suit to have worked with Sanchez in “the removal, taking, secreting, obtaining and retention” of valuable items in Lee’s home in the days before his death in November 2018 at the age of 95.
Anderson is further accused of stealing hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of fees from Lee’s appearances — taking far more than his agreed-upon rate — and making Lee sign agreements and documents he had trouble seeing due to his failing vision. He is also alleged to have made Lee work “marathon” signing sessions at events which left him unable to walk or speak.
The lawsuit follows last month’s arrest of Stan Lee’s former business manager, Keya Morgan, in Arizona. Morgan, who is charged with elder abuse, pled not guilty on June 5 in Los Angeles County Superior Court.
Correction, June 6, 1:13 p.m.: A previous version of this article misidentified Stan Lee as having been Marvel’s CEO. That was not one of his titles.
PJ Grisar is the Forward’s culture intern. He can be reached at Grisar@Forward.com.