Susan Kendall Newman and Nell Newman claim that their father intended for them to choose which charities would get a disbursement of $400,000 worth of funds from the organization. Now, a lawsuit states that the Newman’s Own charity has reduced that amount to $200,000.
“Newman’s Own Foundation lost its way and strayed from its mission to preserve and honor Paul Newman’s legacy,” the suit states, per The Hollywood Reporter. “The years since Mr. Newman’s death consist of a long and consistent pattern of disregard, by those in control, of Mr. Newman’s specific intentions and direction, coupled with mismanagement, scandal, and questionable practices.”
The lawsuit requests $1.6 million in damages to be donated to charities of the two womens’ choice and demands that in the future, the foundation will continue to follow Newman’s wishes.
It further says that two of the actor’s former associates manipulated him into making them board members prior to his death in 2008 when he was in declining health.
“It had been clear for some time that Mr. Newman was unable to act as trustee of the Living Trust,” the complaint says.
“Rather than advise Mr. Newman’s daughters of their right to, and their father’s unequivocal direction that they should, appoint a co-trustee to act with Forrester and Murphy, Forrester and Murphy instead unilaterally seized control of Mr. Newman’s affairs, as to NOF and as to his estate planning decisions,” it alleged.
The publication noted that Newman created the charitable foundation in 2005. The nonprofit gets funded by the late actor’s food and beverage company Newman’s Own, which is well-known for salad dressing, pasta sauce, and other grocery store items featuring Newman’s likeness.
Per THR, the charitable foundation reported $24.6 million in revenue in 2020.
The organization responded to the Newman women’s claims, saying they reserved the right to spend money as they saw fit.
“Best practices surrounding philanthropic organizations do not allow for the establishment of perpetual funding allotments for anyone, including Nell and Susan Newman,” a statement said.
“A meritless lawsuit based on this faulty wish would only divert money away from those who benefit from Paul Newman’s generosity. While we expect to continue to solicit Newman family recommendations for worthy organizations, our funding decisions are made each year and will continue to reflect the clear aim of Paul Newman and our responsibility to the best practices governing private foundations.”