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Judge halts distribution of assets from Simon estate

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A Hamilton County judge has banned distributions from the estate of the late Melvin Simon to his widow Bren or any other beneficiary without the court's approval.

Superior Court Judge William J. Hughes entered the order on Friday afternoon. It will stand at least until the court determines whether to remove Bren Simon as trustee of the roughly $2 billion estate.

The order specifically prevents Bren from taking distributions unless all interested parties give their consent. The judge on Thursday grilled attorneys for Bren Simon about her decision as the estate's trustee to advance herself $14 million to pay her legal team.

Hughes said state law requires a trustee to get approval from a court and trust beneficiaries before a loan can be given, and “I don’t think there’s evidence" that Bren did that.

Michael Ciresi, a Minneapolis attorney who represents Bren, said he thought Indiana law gave his client the right to take the advance.

“It’s not whether it can be done,” Hughes responded, “it’s how it was done.”

Ciresi portrayed the mistake as “inadvertent" at the hearing Thursday, in which Bren's attorneys made final arguments to fend off a challenge from her stepchildren over whether she is fit to remain as trustee.

Bren did not attend the hearing in Hamilton Superior Court.

Attorneys for her stepchildren argued she is so incapable of serving as trustee of her late husband’s estate that she failed to take even the basic step of hiring a financial adviser to manage the fortune.

Specifically, attorneys for the stepchildren took aim at $500 million worth of Simon Property Group stock Bren has been trying to unload since her husband's 2009 death. The publicly traded company declined to immediately convert the ownership units into common stock that could be easily liquidated, citing a challenge to the will.

Attorneys for Melvin's daughter Deborah Simon, who attended the hearing, pointed out that the shares have increased in value by tens of millions of dollars since then.

“Ten months after Mel’s death, there’s no financial manager, no diversification [of assets],” said Barry Simon, who is not related to the Simon family.

Deborah’s attempt to get Bren removed as trustee of the estate is part of an effort to challenge her father’s will. A jury trial in the case is tentatively scheduled for September 2011.

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  • A $14 million advance?
    A $14 million advance for legal expenses? LOL That is ludicrous. Sensibility suggests it's a whale of a slush fund that is pegged for much more legal expenses. Bren sounds like she lacks basic financial savvy.
  • A $14 million advance?
    A $14 million advance for legal expenses? LOL That is ludicrous. Sensibility suggests it's a whale of a slush fund that is pegged for much more legal expenses. Bren sounds like she lacks basic financial savvy.
  • California Estate
    Bren has put her Bel Air home up for sale, price $50 million, poor Bren
  • Bren Simon cant be trust with the simon estate
    Bren Simon,
    The bank should be handle the money, not Bren.she trying to get people think that was Mr.simon ideal to change the will.
  • What does Bren live on in the meantime?
    Are there funds for her living expensives?
  • Bren Simon
    Bren Simon Videos

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  1. Now if he'd just stay there...

  2. Daniel - what about the many US citizens who do NOT follow what the Bible teaches? The Hindus, Jews, Muslims and others who are all American citizens entitled to all rights as Americans?? This issue has NOTHING to do with "What the Bible says..." Keep all Churches separate from State! Pence's ongoing idiocy continues to make Indiana look like a backwards, homophobic state in the eyes of our nation. Can't we move on to bigger issues - like educating our kids?

  3. 1. IBJ should link to the referenced report. We are in the age of electronic media...not sharing information is lazy. Here is a link http://www.in.gov/gov/files/Blue_Ribbon_Panel_Report_July_9_2014.pdf 2. The article should provide more clarity about the make-up of this panel. The commenters are making this item out to be partisan, it does not appear the panel is partisan. Here is a list of the panel which appears to be balanced with different SME to add different perspectives http://www.in.gov/activecalendar/EventList.aspx?view=EventDetails&eventidn=138116?formation_id=189603 3. It suggests a by-pass, I do not see where this report suggests another "loop". 4. Henry, based on your kneejerk reaction, we would be better off if you moved to another state unless your post was meant as sarcasm in which case I say Well Done. 5. The article and report actually indicates need to improve rail and port infrastructure in direct contradiction to Shayla commentary. Specifically, recommendation is to consider passenger rail projects... 6. People have a voice with their elected officials. These are suggestions and do not represent "crony capitalism", etc. The report needs to be analyzed and the legislature can decide on priorities and spending. Don't like it, then vote in a new legislature but quit artificially creating issues where there are none! People need to sift through the politics and provide constructive criticism to the process rather than making uninformed comments in a public forum based on misinformation. IBJ should work harder to correct the record in these forums when blatant errors or misrepresentations are made.

  4. Joe ... Marriage is defined in the Bible ... it is mentioned in the Bible often. Marriage is not mentioned once in the US or Indiana Constitution ...

  5. Daniel - Educate me please: what does the Bible have to do with laws? If the government wasn't in the business of marriage to begin with, then it wouldn't have to "define" marriage at all. Marriage could be left as a personal, religious, or otherwise unregulated action, with no ties to taxes, legal status, etc. Then people could marry whomever they want, and all this silliness would go away. Remember to vote Libertarian in November.

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