Stan Lee, the 95-year-old creator of superheroes and a comic book empire, has entered the legal world "mad as hell."
In a Los Angeles lawsuit filed as Lee v. Olivarez, the Hollywood icon alleges that his former business manager defrauded him, converted his money, and misappropriated his name and likeness. Jerardo Olivarez is one of many many "unscrupulous businessmen, sycophants and opportunists" who sought to take advantage of Lee following the death of his wife last year, the complaint says.
It is a sad tale for a man who has entertained and inspired generations, especially because Lee appears to deny the allegations in a video that was released prior to the lawsuit. Like some Stan Lee stories, it definitely has a dark side.
"Mad as Hell"
Even as lawyers were preparing to file the lawsuit, TMZ published a video showing Lee "mad as hell" over reports that he's been taken advantage of.
Lee's recorded comments address a separate dispute over a document he signed in February that alleges Olivarez and others conspired with Lee's daughter "J.C." to take over his fortune. Lee says those reports are false, and he is mad enough to sue.
"I am going get the best and most expensive lawyers I can," he says in the video. "And I want you to know that if you don't stop these articles and publish retractions, I'm going to sue your ass off."
Lee seems to be talking to Tom Lallas, a lawyer who prepared the trust document. However, he also issued his warning to "anybody who is saying anything negative" about him, his daughter, and their friends.
Lallas defended himself in a statement to People, saying that he read every line to Lee and that Lee signed the document. But that is another story, sort of.
The lawsuit names Olivarez and Hands of Respect, LLC. It says Olivarez manipulated Lee to gain power of attorney and take nearly $3 million for a condo, a fake nonprofit, and more.
"[I]n a diabolical and ghoulish scheme," the complaint says, Olivarez had a nurse inject Lee with a syringe and extract many containers of blood to use "as a merchandising item."
Not even Lee could make this stuff up.