The Los Angeles Police Department is investigating reports that Stan Lee, the 95-year-old co-creator of the Marvel Universe, is the victim of elder abuse.
Although the investigation was launched in February, it only came to light Wednesday after Lee was granted a temporary restraining order against Keya Morgan, the 42-year-old memorabilia collector who in recent months had become the legendary creator's "gatekeeper."
Lee posted a video early this week declaring that Morgan is his only partner and business manager, and that all others were making false claims. However, that was before Morgan was arrested on Monday on suspicion of filing a false police report. He was released on $20,000 bail. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Lee's former attorney Tom Lallas has agreed to act as guardian ad litem for the longtime writer and editor.
In court documents filed Wednesday, Lallas said Lee suffers from hearing, vision and memory impairments, and is unable to “resist undue influence," giving voice to concerns expressed by fans and industry colleagues. Lallas valued Lee's estate at more than $50 million, which makes him a potential target for financial predators. Joan Lee, Stan Lee’s wife of 70 years, passed away in December at age 93. Since then, one of Lee’s associates has been accused of stealing $300,000 from his bank account, and using $850,000 of his money to buy a condominium. The same person is alleged to have forged an order for a nurse to draw “several vials” of Lee’s blood, which a recent report suggests was used to create ink to sign comic books.
The Hollywood Reporter first detailed accusations of physical and psychological elder abuse against Lee's daughter, J.C. Lee in April. The exposé revealed that Stan Lee had signed a declaration in February that three men, including Morgan, had attempted to take advantage of his daughter in an attempt to “gain control over my assets, property and money.” However, following the report, Stan Lee angrily denied the allegations in a video recorded by Morgan, and threatened to sue anyone who made such claims.
Morgan's arrest on Monday stems from a widely reported May 30 incident in which Lee was purported to have been threatened by two gunmen at his Los Angeles home. According to a probable cause arrest warrant and police documents cited by The New York Times, two LAPD detectives accompanied a Los Angeles County Adult Protective Services social worker to perform a welfare check on Lee. They reportedly instructed security personnel to prevent anyone from entering Lee's home while they conducted the interview. According to documents, Morgan arrived and was barred entry; after he was told by a security guard that a welfare check was being performed, he dialed 911 to say that three unidentified people had entered Lee's home, and “locked everyone out."
“I’m very, very scared they’re harming him,” Morgan said, according to the transcript of the 911 call. He soon placed a second call, telling the operator that a “very threatening” and “aggressive” man with a gun was in Lee's home, which was viewed by the detective as an attempt to remove the security guard. Morgan's calls resulted in eight police cars and a helicopter being dispatched to the home. The security guard was taken into custody, but later released.
In the documents, the police detective wrote that he'd met twice this year with Lee, who has demonstrated that he can be “influenced” by Morgan.
Morgan, whom Lee's attorney claims has "inserted himself into Mr. Lee’s life as his caregiver," told TMZ that the accusations are a "witch hunt" orchestrated by Lee's daughter and lawyer. "I will 100 percent prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that the allegations against me are false. And I will definitely take legal action against anyone who is making up these lies. The truth will come out."