Robert Rauschenberg (1925-2008) appointed three close friends as trustees to manage his multi-million dollar estate and protect the interest of his eponymous charitable foundation. The three trustees are Bill Goldston, artist’s business partner since the late 1960s, Bennet Grutman, Rauschenberg’s accountant since 1989, and Darryl Pottorf, Rauschenberg’s companion and assistant since the 1970s.
Currently the Foundation is suing the trustees in Florida and New York State over an “unconscionable” $60 million fee. As the New York Times reported “the trustees concede that they did not keep records of their work, and that they did not try to reconstruct or account for the hours they say they put in.” Still they believe they are owed about 10% of the Foundation and Estate’s value, or is at least $60 million. Over the course of the years served as trustees, they have allegedly hired other individuals to perform their duties, in addition to collecting millions of dollars in fees.
Pottorf has ben quoted as saying that Rauschenberg “wanted to give me a lot more money, and he said not to worry because I would be getting executor and trustee’s fees.” Whether this statement is true or not may not matter because state laws controls trustees’ and estate executors’ reasonable compensation for the work done by the fiduciary on behalf of the beneficiaries, such as this artist’s estate.
Attorney Ted Edwards is representing the trustees in Florida.
Source: New York Times (Aug. 21, 2013)