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A Bryant Family Legal Footnote – Co-Trustee of Family Trust sues Bettina Sulser Bryant & third-co-trustee

Becky Hubert — sister of the ailing Donald L. Bryant — has sued Bettina Sulser Bryant and St. Louis attorney Thomas R. Corbett for non-payment of trustee fees. Hubert, Sulser Bryant and Corbett are all co-trustees of the Donald L. Bryant Jr. Revocable Trust and the Donald L. Bryant Jr. Family Art Trust.

The suit was filed in Missouri Probate Court. A link to the complaint  — courtesy of Wall Street Journal art reporter Kelly Crow — can be found here.

Lawsuit has implications for financial consultant New York lawsuit against art trust

Lauren Ridenhour, the financial consultant to Bryant Family Vineyards who was fired by Sulser Bryant, mentioned Hubert’s non-payment in her New York lawsuit Bryant Family Vineyards.

In that legal action, Ridenhour said Sulser Bryant refused to enter into a formal contract with Ridenhour because she wanted to keep the arrangement secret because Hubert was not being paid.

Relevant Excerpts and [annotations] from lawsuit

Please refer to the full pdf. This has been abridged for brevity and readability.

Also please note: There are two trusts involved: The Revocable Trust and the Art Trust.

Excerpts:

Each of the co-trustees of the Revocable Trust is entitled to compensation for serving and provides that an individual trustee, other than me [Hubert], is entitled to receive compensation out of the assets of the trust estate.

With respect to an individual trustee who is a practicing attorney (Corbett), such compensation shall be no more than the regular hourly rate …. With respect to any other individual, such compensation shall be reasonable in view of the time required of such individual, the nature and value of the assets in the trust estate and any other relevant considerations.

The Art Trust also owns substantial assets, including numerous pieces of valuable artwork, as well as an interest in an entity which owns numerous pieces of valuable artwork.

DLB was the sole trustee of the Art Trust until the amendment of the Trust which added Defendant Bettina as co-trustee with DLB on March 30, 2016.

Under the terms of Section 9.6 of the Art Trust, DLB is incapacitated and became disqualified to act as a trustee of the Art Trust….upon DLB ceasing to serve as co-trustee of the Art Trust, Plaintiff Hubert, Defendant Bettina and Defendant Corbett became co-trustees of the Art Trust.

….

A large portion of the substantial assets of the Revocable Trust and of the Art Trust will pass to Defendant Bettina and Defendant Bettina has elected not to take a trustee’s fee.

Pursuant to the terms of the Revocable Trust and of the Art Trust, Defendant Corbett is taking trustee’s fees based on his hourly billing rate as an attorney.

There is a dispute among the co-trustees regarding the compensation which should be paid to Plaintiff Hubert for her past, present, and future service as co-trustee of the Revocable Trust and as co-trustee of the Ar1 Trust.

 As a co-trustee of the Revocable Trust and as a co-trustee of the Art Trust, Plaintiff Hubert is permitted reasonable compensation in view of the time required of her, the nature and value of the assets in the trust estates, and other relevant considerations.

Plaintiff Hubert has devoted and will be required to continue to devote substantial time to the burdens and responsibilities.

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