The Standard Journal
Britney Spears’ dad suspended as singer’s estate conservator
LOS ANGELES — A Los Angeles judge ordered last Wednesday the suspension of Jamie Spears, father of Britney Spears, as conservator of the pop musician’s estate, which he has controlled for 13 years.
John Zabel, a certified public accountant handpicked by Britney Spears’ team, will temporarily succeed Jamie Spears as a fiduciary, interim conservator.
Judge Brenda J. Penny delivered her landmark decision in Spears’ turbulent conservatorship case Wednesday afternoon at the Stanley Mosk Courthouse in downtown L.A., where hordes of impassioned #FreeBritney demonstrators gathered to support the pop sensation.
“I do believe that the suspension of James Spears as conservator … is in the best interest of the conservatee,” Penny said, referring to Jamie Spears’ birth name. “This order shall be made in full force and effect.”
Penny also ordered Jamie Spears to turn over all assets to Zabel as soon as possible.
In court, Britney Spears’ attorney, Mathew Rosengart, demanded an immediate suspension of her father from the conservatorship and accused him of abusing the singer since childhood, as well as in the duration of the conservatorship, which was put in place in 2008. He also asked the judge to set a hearing in 30 to 45 days to end the conservatorship altogether.
Rosengart cited the “unfathomable” lines allegedly crossed by Jamie Spears, referring to allegations in a recent New York Times report and documentary that the security team hired by Jamie secretly placed an audio recording device in his daughter’s bedroom and captured hundreds of hours of private interactions.
The latest development in the highly publicized conservatorship saga comes on the heels of dueling court filings from attorneys representing Britney Spears and her father. They had disagreed on how to move forward with the legal arrangement, which the singer also has called “abusive.”
Soon after he was hired by Britney Spears in July, Rosengart petitioned the court to oust Jamie Spears as conservator of the recording artist’s estate and replace him temporarily with another fiduciary, interim conservator: certified public accountant Jason Rubin.
In August, Jamie Spears filed a petition to step down as conservator of his daughter’s estate — on his own terms, that is. The court document, filed by attorney Vivian Thoreen, argued, “There are, in fact, no actual grounds for suspending or removing Mr. Spears as Conservator of the Estate,” but promised that her client would eventually transition out of the role once a couple of lingering issues were resolved.
That wasn’t enough for Team Britney, which swiftly accused Jamie Spears of scheming to swindle $2 million in payments before officially relinquishing control of his daughter’s finances.
In a surprise turn of events, Jamie Spears later filed to end the conservatorship altogether in L.A. County Superior Court, insisting that “all he wants is what is best for his daughter.”
While celebrating what he deemed a “massive” legal victory for his celebrity client, Rosengart promptly accused Jamie Spears of surrendering in an effort to dodge consequences for his alleged misconduct amid mounting public scrutiny.
The avalanche of recent activity surrounding Britney Spears’ long-running conservatorship was triggered by another hearing in June, during which the “Lucky” performer publicly declared she wanted out of the legal arrangement without having to submit to psychological evaluation.
In blistering court testimony, Britney Spears alleged that her conservators forced her to work nonstop and take medication that left her incapacitated, as well as prohibiting her from marrying her boyfriend (now fiance) and removing the intrauterine device that prevents her from having children.