“I saw all the vultures, snakes, leeches, jackals and coyotes all circle around Stan to grab a piece of his flesh. When you’re at your weakest, somebody kicks you – especially when you’re a 95-year-old man… I have a clean conscience. I’ve done nothing but help him. Whoever has been scamming him should be held responsible. No one else dares to get close to the police, and the reason is they all have a lot of things to hide.” — Keya Morgan
The late 1980s were a fun, fantastic time to be a young comic book fan, full of magic and wonder and heroics. In my youth there were no comic book websites, there was no YouTube, there was no Wizard Magazine from which to glean “inside information” or the latest-breaking news in the comic book world. Instead, we would get that from gossip at our local comic book shops and we would get that from Stan’s Soap box and the famous Bullpen Bulletins that would grace the interiors of books about characters with equally alliterative names like Peter Parker, Steven Strange and Reed Richards. It was this Stan’s Soap Box that inspired and empowered myself and my peers. “Face Front, True Believers!” he would often declare, and you couldn’t help but listen or read the latest and greatest hailing from the bullpen of the House of Ideas itself. Stan has been an inspiration and a hero to that very same legion of True Believers for decades. Sure he didn’t become irradiated with gamma rays and he most certainly wasn’t bitten by a spider but he did give his readers hopes and dreams and an outlet and even a reprieve from the outside world. For many, Stan Lee’s words and the characters and the actions of his superheros (both in costume and out) were a moral guidepost for their youth. It’s this very same man, this hero and inspiration to a great many, that now needs his True Believers, his legion of faithful followers, to rally around him and support him in this time of need. It is time once again to Face Front and, for the man that stood for us for decades, it is time to Support Stan.
You see – Stan Lee is 95 years old. His career in comic books, begun in 1940, has spanned 78 years, longer than most everyone reading this right now has been alive. It’s in these waning years of life that a rather uncouth crowd of veritable vultures has made it a point to surround Stan and leech him of his wealth and fortune and – quite frankly – his life.
You have, by now, undoubtedly read of or heard reference to the Hollywood Report article that came out this week highlighting just how big of an ordeal and toll this has all had on Lee. Between that THR piece and the accounts of his interaction at last weekend’s Silicon Valley Comic Con, it has become crystal clear that Lee is in need. To get a better understanding of the situation, we will start at what was the tipping point that brought us to this week. Admittedly, none of us know the truest, fullest details but we can piece together the pieces of the puzzle that we do know and use our best intuition and cognitive abilities to arrive at our own conclusions, and so that’s just what we will do. But before that, we need to looks at the players in this vile game; we need to know who it is that is circling Lee. A large part of this is actually a power struggle for control over Lee’s finances and Lee himself by a few key players.
- Joan Celia “J.C.” Lee – Stan Lee’s 67 year old daughter.
- Kirk Schenck – J.C. Lee’s attorney
- Tom Lallas – Stan Lee’s former attorney
- Ron Rale – Stan Lee’s current attorney
- Jerry Olivarez – Stan Lee’s former publicist
- Mac “Max” Anderson – Stan Lee’s former manager
- Keya Morgan – Stan Lee’s current manager
- Vince McGuire – Stan Lee’s current accountant
Now that we know the players, we need to explore the proverbial board upon which this all plays out. Firstly, Stan Lee is a 95 year old man that suffers from macular degeneration, who – throughout a large part of this ordeal was battling pneumonia and who had a pacemaker implanted just five years prior. His hearing has quickly declined in recent years. Without confirmation, Stan Lee is most certainly battling depression which I will expound upon momentarily. The other important detail you need to know is that Lee’s estimated net worth is somewhere between 50 and 70 million dollars – that’s the cheese all the rats are after.
July 5th of 2017 was the day that the love of Stan’s life, Joan Lee passed away. The beautiful hat model and Stan had been married nearly 70 years at that point. It was here that, as Lee’s manager Keya Morgan recounts, “within a day, I saw all the vultures, snakes, leeches, jackals and coyotes all circle around Stan to grab a piece of his flesh”. One in particular is a man named Jerry Olivarez, a man who had 45 liens against him and another 15 judgments totaling somewhere north of $40,000. Clearly a man needing money. But Olivarez is also the man who helped run one of Lee’s corporations called Hands of Respect. It was during this time of Joan’s passing that a lot of paperwork was put in front of Stan to sign including passings of ownership, Joan’s paperwork, checks and other various payments (which we will touch on again) etc., In the midst of those stacks of papers, Olivarez snuck in Power of Attorney authorization which, The nearly blind Man with macular degeneration, signed.
At the same time, his manager Max Anderson was looking for his cut. Anderson had been Stan’s manager and road manager for quite some time. He also helped found and then run Stan Lee Collectibles. Anderson is also a man who went to jail for an entire year in 2002 for domestic abuse against his wife. Anderson later served 36 months of probation for beating up his own son in 2010. His history of violence will play a part in this tale shortly. Keya Morgan also alleges that Anderson stole upwards of eight thousand items from Stan Lee and Stan Lee Collectibles, stored away to later be used for his personal gain.
JC Lee, Stan’s daughter is – depending on who you ask – either another victim or complicit in this conspiracy. One thing that is sure is that JC was spending a lot of money on Stan’s credit cards; she also had plans to open up the ‘Stan Lee’s Super Subs’ sandwich shop in her name. Lee filed an affidavit saying JC Lee was bad with financial management and there was conspiracy to get her to wipe his account clean and drive a wedge between himself and his daughter. On one account, JC and Keya conspired to “gain control over [his] assets, property and money.” If you ask JC Lee herself, she will tell you
“These guys separated me from my Dad. They alienated me. They used me. They did very bad paperwork, and they were very sneaky… They ruined my life.”
With the Power of Attorney privileges that Olivarez underhandedly acquired, he authorized nurses to draw vials of blood from Stan. It seems that he was working with manager Anderson who had a close relationship with a nurse name Linda Sanchez, the one who most likely drew the blood from his veins. The blood itself was used to sign Black Panther comic books and later sold by Hands of Respect, co-owned with Olivarez mind you, to an officially licensed exhibition and retail store in Las Vegas called Las Vegas Marvel Avengers S.T.A.T.I.O.N. This was done in October of 2017, just a couple of months after Joan’s passing.
That same month, October 2017, $300,000 was stolen from Lee via check fraud. The check itself was dated 10/4/2017. It was drafted to Hands of Respect and cashed by Olivarez. Later Olivarez commented on the instance, essentially admitting to the crime;
“Mr. Lee told me I had given him a new lease on life after Mrs. Lee’s passing… He gave me a check as a thank-you.”
This wasn’t known however until early in to January 2018 when it was discovered that Olivarez purchased a condominium on the 7th floor of Doheny West Towers in West Hollywood, CA for $850,000 dollars. It was here that Vince McGuire (Tobey McGuire’s brother) and his firm were brought in and these forensic accountants, together with the Los Angeles Police Department, also uncovered the previous $300K check fraud.
Seemingly in retaliation, the very next week DailyMail published a salacious hit piece, with testimony from visiting nurses and RN Linda Sanchez herself about how Stan would grope nurses, request oral sex and use foul language in front of and towards them. Lee’s attorney, Tom Lallas issued a statement saying he Stan Lee ‘categorically denies’ the ‘false and despicable’ allegations. Lallas also said:
“Mr Lee will not be extorted or blackmailed, and will pay no money to anyone because he has done absolutely nothing wrong,”
Sanchez later said that she was threatened with the release of details of her DUI if she came forward with information about Lee.
With mounting stress and the vultures circling ever closer, Lee was rushed to the hospital on 1/31/2018 with ‘shortness of breath’ and an ‘irregular heartbeat’ (especially concerning given his history with heart complications and his implanted pacemaker).
Just a couple of weeks later – 2/13/2018 – Stan Lee issued a statement, a signed declaration (outlined in a recent article from THR) detailing how his daughter yells and fights and demands money from him. The statement outlines how she regularly spends $20,000 to $40,000 a month of Stan’s money. It also says that Keya Morgan, Jerry Olivarez and Kirk Schenck were conspiring to get JC to wipe his fortune out. You can read that declaration here: https://www.scribd.com/document/375947269/Stan-Lee-Declaration#download&from_embed. The declaration was signed in the office of and in the presence of attorney Tom Lallas. Lee later stated to website THR that Lallas was only employed for a few days before he was fired.
Two days later, 2/15/2018, the LAPD were called out to Lee’s home after Max Anderson and JC Lee got in to a heated altercation, Anderson’s anger management issues rearing their nasty head once again. It is said that Keya Morgan is the one who made the call. Morgan recounts the day;
“Stan Lee’s daughter was upset and crying and felt very scared of Max and asked me for help. ‘She called me and I immediately rushed over to the house and called 911. The police arrived soon after I got there and removed Max from the house.”
The next day, Anderson was fired as Lee’s long-time manager and gatekeeper. With that, one arm of the power struggle was removed. Did JC conspire with Morgan, Olivarez and Sheck in an orchestrated altercation to remove Anderson? Or was JC truly a victim?
That was a Friday. The next Tuesday, 2/20/2018, nurse Linda Sanchez went to attorney Tom Lallas’ office to fill out a ‘non-notarized affidavit’ which said she witnessed Stan and his daughter always fighting. Was it about the money that Olivarez and Morgan wanted to get to?
A week later, 2/27/2018, it was discovered that $1.4 million dollars was missing from Lee’s accounts. Keya Morgan spoke on this;
“What happened was, it was $6 million. By the time it was transferred to Merrill Lynch and back to UBS, it was $4.6 million, so I want to know what happened to that $1.4 million”
The next day, 2/28/2018 was a whirlwind. TMZ published a video of Stan Lee, Morgan looming close, where Stan revealed he was battling pneumonia. This is the same day that a complaint was filed against nurse Linda Sanchez with Adult Protective Services. The catch was that Sanchez had gone missing and the police could not find her. Sanchez and Anderson “are alleged to have been involved in a plot to drive a wedge between Stan and his sole heir, his daughter JC Lee” Anderson had reached out to another nurse, Sheba, who came forward with her own tale. Allegedly, she was “offered a $50,000 cash bribe by Anderson to make false claims against JC and one of her associates.”
Seemingly, the lines were drawn and it was Sanchez/Anderson vs. Morgan/Olivarez/Schench and maybe JC for control. It looks like this is when the Sanchez/Anderson faction lost and the MOS faction started to gain asset control.
Keya Morgan immediately began to pull in the reigns, pick up after Anderson’s mess and attempt to control the PR narrative. After reading all the news swirling around Stan, industry friends were understandably concerned. Todd McFarlane visited Stan at home at the end of March. Neal Adams issued a open letter to support Stan. Keya issued statements and commentary on the past few months. Stan’s phone number and the locks on his house were changed. Lots of his staff, even his gardener, were fired. Stan was kept away from the press, Morgan insists, to protect him.
But then came the beginning of April 2018 and the Silicon Valley Comic Con. Stan Lee was a headlining guest at the show. But when fans got there they were shocked and concerned at what they witnessed. There are varying accounts of his own daughter leaving, whether it was on her own accord or by way of Lee’s newly-hired security detail. Stan Lee looked old, like the past few months had taken a massive toll on him. Keya, still standing large near Lee, had to tell him repeatedly how to spell his own name. There are accounts of Stan signing directly over Jack Kirby signatures and that his signature itself devolved in to nothing but a series of circles. You can see footage of that here:
So I have presented you with the players, the factions, the landscape and the timeline of events. I want you to use your best judgement and intuition to come to your own conclusions. That said, I am confident you will arrive at the very same conclusions I did. Stan is old, Stan is tired, Stan needs rest and protection and support.
Lee recently issued a statement, conflicting with the 2/13/2018 declaration;
“Everything in my life is going the way I want it to. My friends are my friends, my daughter is my daughter, and I’m beginning to learn who my enemies are. That’s really all I can say now. I’m not a lawyer; I don’t know what I should be saying. But everything I’ve said up until this moment is God’s truth.”
Let’s pull out one of those sentences “I’m beginning to learn who my enemies are.”
Stan needs his True Believers to stand for him. We, as his fans and as the people who have loved his work for all these decades, need to speak up and speak out against this elder abuse. Stan needs us, let’s all be there for him like has always been for us.