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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. why oh why does this state continue to elect these people....do you wonder how much was graft out of the 3.8 billion?

  2. i too think this is a great idea. I think the vision and need is there as well. But also agree with Wendy that there may be better location in our city to fulfill this vision and help grow the sports of hockey and figure skating in Indy. Also to help further develop other parts of the city that seem often forgotten. Any of the other 6 townships out side of the three northernmost could benefit greatly from a facility and a vision like this. For a vision that sounds philanthropic, the location is appears more about the money. Would really like to see it elsewhere, but still wish the development the best of luck, as we can always use more ice in the city. As for the Ice growth when they return, if schedules can be coordinated with the Fuel, what could be better than to have high level hockey available to go see every weekend of the season? Good luck with the development and the return of the Ice.

  3. How many parking spaces do they have at Ironworks? Will residents have reserved spaces or will they have to troll for a space among the people that are there at Ruth Chris & Sangiovese?

  4. You do not get speeding ticket first time you speed and this is not first time Mr.Page has speed. One act should not define a man and this one act won't. He got off with a slap on the wrist. I agree with judge no person was injured by his actions. The state was robbed of money by paying too much rent for a building and that money could have been used for social services. The Page family maybe "generous" with their money but for most part all of it is dirty money that he obtained for sources that are not on the upright. Page is the kind of lawyer that gives lawyers a bad name. He paid off this judge like he has many other tine and walked away. Does he still have his license. I believe so. Hire him to get you confiscated drug money back. He will. It will cost you.

  5. I remain amazed at the level of expertise of the average Internet Television Executive. Obviously they have all the answers and know the business inside and out.

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