Strange case of the Tanaka conservatorship gets even stranger
It seemed that the struggle over the conservatorship of Jean Tanaka couldnt get more bizarre. Well, it just did.
On June 2, 2011, Tanaka conservator Linda Cotterman asked the court to have Mrs. Tanakas daughter, Jeannie, declared to be in contempt of court, an action which may involve jail time and will most likely cost Jeannie her job (Jeannie is an attorney with the State).
Cotterman is apparently steaming that Jeannie Tanaka, who is the Trustee for the Tanaka Trust, has asserted her rights as Trustee and is cleaning up the Westwood house which was left vacant when her mother, Jean Tanaka, was forcibly removed in the summer of 2010.
Jean Tanaka is under a conservatorship and Linda Cotterman is, peculiarly, the conservator, even though the Tanaka Trust documents clearly list Jeannie Tanaka as the person to assume that position.
The fact that Jeannie Tanaka was adhering to advice of her counsel, Robert Canny, in asserting her rights to clean up the property does not seem to concern Linda Cotterman. Jeannie and Jean had been residing together in Mrs. Tanakas large Westwood home until Cotterman went to court to have Jeannie evicted and her mother taken forcibly from the house. Per the court orders, Jeannie was given three hours to remove her belongings. She moved out in February of 2010.
Upon her return to the house in May of this year, Jeannie found a terrible disarray, which she alleges was the result of Cotterman sacking the house. This is how she describes what she found:
All of parents dresser drawers were emptied! Pictures torn off the walls, paint torn off, many damaged areas requiring painting of especially kitchen and stairway walls. Curtains in bedroom drawn, refrigerator light bulb was put in the ceiling, replacing the 100 watt bulb Mamas large bathroom trashed clothes, papers, trash thrown all over the counter and floor. All of her expensive perfumes, colognes, cosmetics, toiletries, etc. removed. Dining room trashed: parents personal belongings pulled from all over the house and piled in the dining room. When attorneys had a meeting in fall 2009 (creutz, reed, lodise, carol white) the room was of course neat and clean. 2 cabinet doors torn off hinges: one in kitchen, one in laundry room. Expensive carpets in kitchen and laundry room removed and replaced with tile. Told the carpets were dirty and instead of cleaning, were removed. Flooring under the sink had been ripped out and I had to have it replaced. All kitchen pots and pans missing, cabinet shelves emptied, pantry emptied, all recipe books removed. Boxes and boxes of photo albums pulled into the kitchen and stacked all of Mamas nick knacks removed from the living room. Mamas 3 mink coats missing, chinchilla coat missing. Large box of Japanese swords, including numerous national treasures worth millions missing. Upstairs bathroom door frame pulled off wall by someone who locked themselves out of the bathroom. Garage piled high with black trash bags of parents personal belongings, unprotected clothes-moth eaten. Garage trashed: once neatly packed and stacked boxes were rummaged through contents thrown in heaps. Piles and piles of unwashed sheets and clothing found thrown in piles upstairs closet and living room.
Up until Mama was taken to the basement unit, I was not allowed to enter other rooms when I visited Mama. It was when we changed the locks and went in beginning May that I could see the full extent of what the temporary conservators and Christine (ed. noteChristine Tanaka, Jeannies sister) were doing.
Jeannie Tanaka then hired a couple of helpers and began spending her weekends trying to clean up the mess. The contempt of court pleadings claim that Jeannie is now living on the property, which a court order last year denied her from doing. Jeannie maintains she lives in her condo in West L.A.