Friday, October 08, 2010

Disney Family Feud

Holy Dumbo! This could make for some kick-ass reality show... maybe on the Disney Channel. Or maybe not!

It appears that a part of the Disney family is embroiled in one nasty legal and financial battle. And what is fascinating here is that, besides the fact that a lot of money is involved, there's also some Disney history as well.

The story begins with Disney's youngest daughter, who died 17 years ago. She left her twins, a son and daughter each now 40, and another daughter enormous sums kept in trusts. One of the twins is now in a legal fight with her father, and the other twin is on his side. The father is being accused by a Disney family adviser, a lawyer and relatives of improperly enriching himself from trust dealings, which he denies. He, in turn, accuses the other side of trying to seize control of the trust money.

The father, 79-year-old Bill Lund of Paradise Valley, is a longtime Valley real-estate investor whose developments include the Santan Motorplex in Gilbert. He has no connection to Lund Cadillac. Lund has long prided himself on scouting for real estate to develop.

In 1963, Bill Lund boarded a plane in California, flew to Florida and drove to a sleepy little backwater called Orlando. He was instructed not to tell anyone why he was there or who he was working for. Just act like a tourist

His real job was to scope out land for a new Disney theme park.
Disney for years had been designing a new park that he called Project Future, now known as Walt Disney World.

And then, things started to go downhill from there!

On Labor Day 2009, Michelle, who lives in Newport Beach, Calif., suffered an aneurysm and was hospitalized. The incident would become the catalyst for a perfect storm of accusations, legal discoveries and court filings against Bill.

As Michelle lay nearly comatose in the intensive-care ward of an Orange County hospital, family and friends who hadn't seen each other in years gathered outside her room. The friction was palpable. It finally erupted into bitter confrontations.

It used to be that something like this would make for a good soap opera. But now, it would make for a good reality TV.


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