By Kanishka Singh
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. Democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein has filed a lawsuit alleging financial elder abuse and breach of trust by the trustees of her late husband’s estate, with the legal filing seeking their removal over the alleged wrongdoing.
The lawsuit was filed on Aug. 8 in the California Superior Court in the County of San Francisco by the senator’s daughter, Katherine Feinstein, who has power of attorney for her.
Feinstein, 90, is a member of the Democrats’ narrow 51-49 majority in the Senate and has suffered from a number of ailments recently, including a bout of shingles that kept her out of action for weeks.
Feinstein and her late husband, Richard Blum, married in 1980 and lived together as husband and wife for over 42 years, until Blum’s death in early 2022.
The lawsuit alleges that the trustees committed “financial abuse” of Feinstein by “wrongfully withholding distributions to which (her late husband’s) trust entitles her in bad faith and diverting assets that they should have used to fund” the senator’s trust.
The filing was first reported by the San Francisco Chronicle newspaper on Tuesday.
Steven Braccini, an attorney representing co-trustees Michael Klein and Marc Scholvinck, said the trustees “have acted ethically and appropriately at all times; the same cannot be said for Katherine Feinstein. This filing is unconscionable.”
The attorney added: “The trustees have always respected Senator Feinstein and always will. But this has nothing to do with her needs and everything to do with her daughter’s avarice.”
Feinstein’s Senate office described the case as a “private legal matter” and said it would not comment.
The veteran lawmaker is a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee that plays a critical role in confirming presidential appointments of federal judges. First elected to the Senate in 1992, Feinstein has said she will not seek re-election in 2024.
(Reporting by Kanishka Singh in Washington; Editing by Sandra Maler)