Stepmom sues Liza Minnelli

2002-04-03 10:28
Los Angeles - The 94-year-old stepmother of Liza Minnelli has sued the recently-remarried diva for alleged abuse of the elderly, claiming she was kept "alone in a dark house" while Liza and her new husband enjoyed a lavish honeymoon.

Lee Anderson Minnelli, in a suit filed on Monday, alleged she was guaranteed housing in the will of her late husband, director Vincent Minnelli, but that Liza sold the home after failing to maintain it, court documents showed. Liza is the product of the short-lived marriage of Minnelli and troubled actress Judy Garland.

Lee Minnelli claimed her stepdaughter - who was married at a spectacular ceremony in New York last month - had failed to comply with an agreement to keep the Beverly Hills home in a habitable condition.

"While defendant (Liza) is honeymooning all over the world, having fed 850 of her closest friends a twelve-foot cake, the plaintiff is alone in a cold, dark house, at age ninety-four," the lawsuit stated.

Lee Anderson Minnelli alleged in the suit filed in Los Angeles Superior Court that her stepdaughter had sold the home and "has instructed her representatives to remove (Lee) by whatever means necessary."

Also suing for breach of contract, the grand dame alleged the house's electricity was shut off on March 27 - 11 days after Liza's lavish and star-studded wedding.

She said her "unpaid housekeeper" had to take a bus to pay the utility bills from Lee Minnelli's "meagre funds" as Liza Minnelli travelled to Europe for her honeymoon and a concert appearance.

She claims Liza fired the gardener and the pool attendant and that "the pool is an unhealthy swamp and has become an insect breeding pool."

The neglect to the home's interior and exterior, she alleged, "has caused (her) extreme stress, humiliation, embarrassment and worry."

Representatives for Liza Minnelli could not be reached for comment.

Lee Minnelli, who claimed in the court papers that if she was forced to move, it would "no doubt be the death of her, " asked that a constructive trust for one million dollars be placed on any proceeds from the sale of the house.

She also sought a court order requiring Liza to pay utility and household bills, as well as unspecified general damages and attorney fees.

The 56-year-old Minnelli, who starred in such films as Cabaret, married 48-year-old producer David Gest at a New York ceremony attended by such Hollywood luminaries as Michael Jackson and Elizabeth Taylor.

But her honeymoon got off to a bad start when it was reported that she was victim of a robbery attempt in London when thieves tried to snatch her diamond necklace through the open window of her limousine in London. - Sapa-AFP

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