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Maine Attorney General Aaron Frey has resolved claims against the estate of the late artist Robert Indiana and several law firms accused of excessive legal fees, officials said Monday.
The settlement totals more than $2 million, most of which was paid by the firms through refunds or credits, the attorney general said.
Indiana, creator of the famous “LOVE” series, spent the last decades of his life on Vinalhaven Island, 15 miles (25 kilometers) off Rockland, Maine.
After his death on May 19, 2018, at 89, his will called for tapping his estate valued at $90 million at the time of his death to transform his island home into a museum to celebrate his work.
“Every dollar going unnecessarily to pay lawyers and the personal representative was another dollar unavailable to the charity to fulfill its mission and Robert Indiana’s vision,” Frey said in a statement.
The attorney general originally contended $3.7 million paid to four law firms in New York and Maine and $403,000 billed by the estate's personal representative were excessive.
James Brannan, a Rockland attorney who's the estate's personal representative, disputed the attorney general's claims but said in a statement that he's “pleased to put an end to the dispute."
The estate had been entangled in a lawsuit brought by Morgan Art Foundation, which claimed rights to the LOVE series.
The lawsuit, filed a day before Indiana's death, accused the reclusive artist’s caretaker and an art publisher of taking advantage of Indiana and producing forgeries — accusations the pair denied. That led to more claims and counter claims.
Morgan announced last year that it settled its lawsuit against the estate and Indiana’s caretaker, but not against the art publisher.
The litigation has been costly. By the time of the settlement, the personal representative had paid himself and law firms more than $10 million, the attorney general said.
Brannan said his efforts and efforts of attorneys uncovered an additional $80 million to benefit the Star of Hope Foundation, which is tasked with creating the museum.