Bur­roughs & Chapin law­suit heats up with al­le­ga­tions of ex­ploita­tion

The Sun News - - Local - BY ME­GAN TOMASIC mtoma­sic@the­sun­news.com

Ge­orge Bur­roughs Jr.’s wife forced him to make changes to his fi­nances and es­tate doc­u­ments, al­low­ing her to steal more than $1.7 mil­lion from var­i­ous trusts, ac­cord­ing to a re­sponse in an on­go­ing law­suit in­volv­ing Bur­roughs’ stepchil­dren and wife.

The re­sponse comes af­ter the suit, filed Nov. 16, 2017, claims Bur­roughs’ stepchil­dren Ge­orge McEwen and Laura Fog­a­rty stole 24,370 shares of Bur­roughs & Chapin stock from the Bur­roughs Trust, which was formed in May 2005. The shares amounted to al­most $10 mil­lion.

The suit al­leges the stolen money forced Bur­roughs to sell his Mur­rells In­let home and move to Winnabow, North Carolina.

But, the re­sponse con­tends, Bur­roughs was forced to sell his Mur­rells In­let home af­ter he started see­ing Kee Dean Sul­li­van, who “ex­er­cised men­tal co­er­cion over” him while he was suf­fer­ing from health is­sues. Bur­roughs took med­i­ca­tion that some­times im­paired his cog­ni­tive func­tion­ing, the re­sponse says.

“The men­tal co­er­cion ex­er­cised by Kee Dean Sul­li­van de­stroyed the free agency of [Ge­orge Bur­roughs] and con­strained him to do things which were against his free will and that he would not have done if he had been left to his own judg­ment and vo­li­tion,” the re­sponse reads.

The re­sponse, filed by Fog­a­rty’s at­tor­ney David Miller, con­tends Sul­li­van was still mar­ried to Thomas Sul­li­van while she was see­ing Bur­roughs. Kee Sul­li­van’s at­tor­ney, Tay­lor Pow­ell of Charles­ton, told The Sun News he’s in pos­ses­sion of Kee Sul­li­van’s and Ge­orge Bur­roughs’ mar­riage cer­tifi­cate, which states they were mar­ried June 19, 2017.

A copy of the mar­riage li­cense was not pro­vided to The Sun News, as Pow­ell said it con­tained sen­si­tive in­for­ma­tion; how­ever, Miller has a copy, Pow­ell said.

GE­ORGE BUR­ROUGHS AND KEE SUL­LI­VAN

Bur­roughs was mar­ried to his first wife, Lanita Bur­roughs — mother of McEwen and Fog­a­rty — for over 25 years. Dur­ing their mar­riage, they cre­ated trusts with McEwen and Fog­a­rty as ul­ti­mate ben­e­fi­cia­ries, the re­sponse says.

When she died in July 2008, her trust, con­sist­ing of the Mur­rells In­let home, be­came ir­rev­o­ca­ble.

In Septem­ber 2015, Kee Sul­li­van sep­a­rated from her hus­band, met Ge­orge Bur­roughs and took con­trol of Ge­orge Bur­roughs’ fi­nances, the re­sponse says, tak­ing power of at­tor­ney and putting the Mur­rells In­let home up for sale.

Shortly af­ter, Ge­orge

Bur­roughs al­legedly “van­ished with­out any no­tice or knowl­edge of his fam­ily or friends,” the suit says. Ac­cord­ing to Fog­a­rty’s re­sponse, Kee Sul­li­van moved the two of them to North Carolina or Mary­land.

“In his state of di­min­ished ca­pac­ity, [Ge­orge Bur­roughs] was iso­lated from his fam­ily,” the suit reads. “He was iso­lated from his friends. At­tempts to com­mu­ni­cate were in­ter­cepted by Kee Dean Sul­li­van and ter­mi­nated.”

In 2017, Ge­orge Bur­rough’s fam­ily heard ru­mors he was hos­pi­tal­ized. They could not ob­tain any up­date on his con­di­tion, ac­cord­ing to the re­sponse. In Jan­uary, his fam­ily again heard ru­mors he had passed.

Ge­orge Bur­roughs died Jan. 19 at the age of 74.

At the time of Ge­orge Bur­roughs’ death, all of his as­sets, the Lanita Trust as­sets and the Bur­roughs Trust as­sets were mis­ap­pro­pri­ated by Kee Sul­li­van and her fam­ily, ac­cord­ing to the re­sponse.

THE BUR­ROUGHS TRUST AND MUR­RELLS IN­LET HOME

Shortly af­ter Kee Sul­li­van started see­ing Ge­orge Bur­roughs, she “com­menced a cam­paign de­signed to cre­ate dis­trust and ill will to­ward [Fog­a­rty] and [McEwen],” the re­sponse reads.

Ac­cord­ing to Fog­a­rty, Kee Sul­li­van ex­cluded Fog­a­rty and McEwen from the Lanita Trust — which con­tained the deed to the Mur­rells In­let home. Fog­a­rty was to re­ceive the house or its pro­ceeds at the time of Lanita Bur­roughs death, the suit con­tends.

When Lanita Bur­roughs died, Ge­orge Bur­roughs al­legedly trans­ferred the home to him­self as trustee of the Lanita Trust.

Kee Sul­li­van, act­ing as Ge­orge Bur­roughs’ power of at­tor­ney, signed an agree­ment May 23, 2016, list­ing the Mur­rells In­let home for sale, the re­sponse says.

Kee Sul­li­van in­formed bankers April 22, 2016, that Ge­orge Bur­roughs was buy­ing a house in Winnabow, North Carolina, and sell­ing the Mur­rells In­let home. She planned to buy the North Carolina home from a home eq­uity line of credit, and pay that off af­ter the In­let home was sold.

On May 12, 2016, $150,000 was drawn out of the line of credit. Four days later, Ge­orge Bur­roughs bought the North Carolina home for $154,000, the suit states.

The Mur­rells In­let home was sold Dec. 12, 2016, for more than $623,000, which is un­der mar­ket value, the re­sponse states.

Al­most $398,000 was wired to pay off the line of credit and over $181,740 was al­legedly wired to Ge­orge Bur­roughs’ per­sonal check­ing ac­count, rather than the Lanita Trust — where it was sup­posed to go, ac­cord­ing to the re­sponse.

Once the money was in his check­ing ac­count, it was trans­ferred to Kee Sul­li­van, the suit says, and dis­trib­uted to her fam­ily.

On the same day Kee Sul­li­van al­legedly ex­cluded McEwen and Fog­a­rty from the trust, Ge­orge Bur­roughs cre­ated a new will, grant­ing all per­sonal prop­erty to Kee Sul­li­van.

Ge­orge Bur­roughs amended his trust Jan. 7, 2017, to ex­clude Fog­a­rty and McEwen as ben­e­fi­cia­ries, giv­ing Kee Sul­li­van 90 per­cent of the trust’s prin­ci­pal, ac­cord­ing to doc­u­ments. Two days later, he al­legedly amended his will in Mary­land, ap­point­ing Kee Sul­li­van as per­sonal rep­re­sen­ta­tive of the Bur­roughs Trust.

“Hav­ing ob­tained con­trol of all ac­counts, hav­ing re­moved [Ge­orge Bur­roughs] from his home, and hav­ing iso­lated [Ge­orge Bur­roughs] from his friends and fam­ily, Kee Dean Sul­li­van be­gan the rapid mis­ap­pro­pri­a­tion of [Ge­orge Bur­roughs’] ac­counts to her­self and her fam­ily,” Fog­a­rty al­leges.

Ac­cord­ing to the re­sponse, the money was split be­tween Kee Sul­li­van, her chil­dren, grand­chil­dren and hus­band:

Kee Sul­li­van al­legedly re­ceived over $1.2 mil­lion.

Thomas Sul­li­van al­legedly re­ceived over $16,000.

Tan­ner Clark Custer al­legedly re­ceived al­most $194,000.

Tyler Lee Custer al­legedly re­ceived over $278,000.

Terri Lee Hardesty al­legedly re­ceived $23,790.

Robert Turner Dean III al­legedly re­ceived $5,600.

Of that money, over $386,000 was mis­ap­pro­pri­ated from the Lanita Trust, the re­sponse says.

The doc­u­ment, which de­nies the claims made in the law­suit filed Oct. 10 by Kee Sul­li­van, is ask­ing the court to dis­miss the suit, fully re­plen­ish funds to the Lanita Trust and award ac­tual and puni­tive dam­ages in an amount de­ter­mined by the court.

Pow­ell, who rep­re­sents Kee Sul­li­van, said in an email to The Sun News his client is con­fi­dent in their case.

“We feel that the ev­i­dence will show that Mr. Bur­roughs had the le­gal right to sell the Mur­rells In­let home and that his ac­tions were al­lowed by the trust that the home was owned by,” Pow­ell said.

“[Kee Sul­li­van] has known Mr. Bur­roughs since they were teenagers and they have loved each other for many years, and we look for­ward to pre­sent­ing our case to a jury so that truth and jus­tice can pre­vail.”

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