Bobby Vee estate involved in a bitter dispute
Robert Thomas Velline (April 30, 1943 – October 24, 2016), was a famous American pop-singer who gained world fame in the 1960s. Also known as Bobby Vee, he had six gold singles during his career. He remained active as a musician until 2011 when he was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease. After the diagnosis, he withdrew from the music business. He passed away on October 24, 2016 as a result of complications from Alzheimer’s Disease.
A recent story online revealed that his children are involved in a dispute over his estate. Robert Velline and Jennifer Whittet Velline are accusing Jeffrey and Thomas Velline of using money from the estate for their personal benefit. A petition has been filed in Stearns County District Court in Minnesota. Robert and Jennifer are also accusing Jeffrey and Thomas of using estate funds to benefit Rockhouse Productions, a recording studio established by Bobby and Karen in the 1980s. Rockhouse Productions has also been named a defendant as it is run by Jeffrey and Thomas.
The petition seeks an Order removing Jeffrey and Thomas as trustees of the trust. The petition also seeks an Order that Jeffrey and Thomas provide an accounting of the estate. The accounting would include income and retirement accounts and any revenues generated by the play “Teen Idol: The Bobby Vee Story”. Robert and Jennifer contend that the main issue of this dispute is the protection of Bobby Vee’s legacy and trust. The trust is meant to benefit his children and grandchildren. Additionally, Robert and Jennifer are also alleging that their siblings took several pieces of memorabilia that belong to the trust. Some of these items include guitars, posters, books, photographs, and gold and silver records.
The rift between the siblings may have developed a result of “Teen Idol” play
The dispute may have escalated as result of a play titled “Teen Idol” performed at the History Theatre in St. Paul, Minnesota. Robert and Jennifer allege that Karen was opposed to the play. She eventually agreed to allow it only if all four siblings supported it. Robert was opposed to the idea as a result of the proposed content of production. In addition, there were various disagreements on revenue division and the allocation of subsidiary rights. Jeffrey and Thomas went ahead with the production.
This seems to have resulted in a rift and paired off the siblings against each other. Robert and Jennifer have also requested an accounting of the revenues from the play and a copy of the final contract. According to the petition, they have received neither one.
Jeff and Tommy deny the allegations and have filed a petition in response alleging that some of the actions take with respect to the estate were approved by Bobby and Karen.
None of the allegations have been proven in Court.
The Bobby Vee dispute is a reminder of the duties trustees have. All actions taken with respect to an estate or a trust must be accounted for. An accounting may be the starting point in any Court proceeding involving the administration of an estate or trust. Consequently, trustees must be aware of their duties and responsibilities.
It is important to note that all four children are equal beneficiaries to Bobby Vee estate and trustees of the trust. It is unclear how Jeffrey and Thomas were able to proceed with the play in question without the consent of Robert and Jennifer. This will be an interesting story to follow for updates.
More on the Bobby Vee estate dispute here.