For years, Senator Dianne Feinstein of California has been engaged in an extended and painful public drama about her health and ability to do her job, as she winds down a storied profession as a lawmaker and a former mayor of San Francisco.
Now, Senator Feinstein can be navigating an more and more bitter authorized and monetary battle that pits her and her daughter, Katherine Feinstein, towards the three daughters of her late husband Richard C. Blum, who was a rich financier.
In a single authorized dispute, the household is combating over what’s described as Senator Feinstein’s want to promote a seashore home in an unique neighborhood in Stinson Seashore, north of San Francisco. In one other disagreement, the 2 factions are at odds over entry to the proceeds of Mr. Blum’s life insurance coverage, which Senator Feinstein says she must pay for her rising medical bills.
For these near Senator Feinstein, the battle over Mr. Blum’s property has exacerbated a current and regrettable chapter that has marred the twilight of an extended and profitable public life and that has raised issues about her skill to handle her personal affairs.
“The monetary battle is one other component that makes the top of her profession unhappy to individuals who have recognized her within the excessive factors of her profession,” stated Jerry Roberts, creator of the biography “Dianne Feinstein: By no means Let Them See You Cry.” It was printed in 1994, two years after she was elected to the Senate.
Raised in affluence, Senator Feinstein has lengthy been among the many wealthiest members of Congress. She was wealthy in her personal proper in 1980 when she married Mr. Blum. After she entered the Senate, she positioned securities right into a blind belief that’s valued at between $5 million and $25 million, in keeping with her most up-to-date monetary disclosure required of lawmakers.
Mixed, the couple’s fortunes flourished to an extent that eclipsed even the senator’s prior way of life. Her major residence is a 9,500-square-foot mansion within the upscale San Francisco neighborhood of Pacific Heights. Their trip houses, till lately, included the 36-acre Bear Paw Ranch in Aspen, Colo., which bought in March for greater than $25 million, and a seven-bedroom Lake Tahoe compound that bought in late 2021 for a reported $36 million. Present holdings embody a property on the Hawaii island of Kauai and a house in Washington, D.C.
Among the many backdrops to the struggle over Mr. Blum’s property, nevertheless, are questions in regards to the extent of his fortune, in addition to the out-of-pocket value of dwelling well being care that Senator Feinstein has acquired since her bout with shingles earlier this yr.
Throughout his lifetime, Mr. Blum, Senator Feinstein’s third husband and a personal fairness magnate, was typically referred to in public accounts as a billionaire. Nevertheless, individuals conversant in the household’s funds dispute that characterization and say that Mr. Blum’s wealth was lower than some heirs had anticipated. Mr. Blum’s buddies stated that the pandemic lower deeply into his investments, significantly his in depth holdings in inns.
Senator Feinstein, 90 and in her sixth time period within the Senate, has lengthy been in frail well being with rising reminiscence and cognition points. When she returned to work earlier this yr after a monthslong absence due to shingles and varied complications, her additional decline shocked colleagues. She has relied on a cadre of aides in an effort to operate within the Senate, whilst she has resisted calls to relinquish her seat earlier than her time period expires after subsequent yr’s election.
Katherine Feinstein, 66, Senator Feinstein’s solely baby, who has energy of lawyer over her mom’s authorized affairs, filed two lawsuits towards Senator Feinstein’s co-trustees. The primary lawsuit, over the seashore home, says the property is in disrepair, that Senator Feinstein not needs to make use of it, and that she desires to promote it this summer time or fall.
Earlier in her profession, the seashore home supplied a particular refuge from the rough-and-tumble world of politics, and he or she retreated there after dropping the 1990 race for governor of California. The three-bedroom dwelling going through Bolinas Lagoon occupies almost a half-acre of sand in a gated group whose residents through the years have ranged from old-money San Franciscans and hippie artists to celebrities just like the novelist Danielle Metal and members of The Grateful Lifeless. In Could, a home of comparable measurement in the identical group bought for greater than $6 million.
The swimsuit additionally accused Mr. Blum’s daughters of searching for to make use of the seashore home at Senator Feinstein’s expense and to restrict her skill to dump components of the belief in an effort to improve the worth of their inheritance after Senator Feinstein’s dying.
The second lawsuit, which challenges whether or not the trustees had been correctly appointed, issues Mr. Blum’s life insurance coverage proceeds and claims that the funds, that are presupposed to be disbursed by a belief, have been held again by the trustees. The swimsuit says that Senator Feinstein has “incurred vital medical bills” and that regardless of Mr. Blum’s “intent to help his partner after his dying, the purported trustees have refused to make distributions to reimburse Senator Feinstein’s medical bills.”
In response, a Bay Space lawyer representing the 2 trustees — Michael R. Klein, a longtime lawyer for Mr. Blum, and Marc T. Scholvinck, who was chief monetary officer of Mr. Blum’s personal fairness agency — stated the 2 had by no means refused to pay any cash to Senator Feinstein. The lawyer, Steven P. Braccini, additionally prompt that Katherine Feinstein, a former Superior Court docket decide in San Francisco who’s now on town’s fireplace fee, was appearing out of non-public pursuits and never out of these of her mom.
“My shoppers are perplexed by this submitting,” Mr. Braccini stated in a press release. “Richard Blum’s belief has by no means denied any disbursement to Senator Feinstein, not to mention for medical bills.”
Katherine Feinstein didn’t reply to requests for remark.
The assertion stated that the trustees haven’t been supplied with documentation displaying that Katherine Feinstein had been appointed energy of lawyer. And, in an obvious try to boost questions on Senator Feinstein’s capability to signify her personal pursuits within the lawsuit, it stated: “Nor has Katherine made it clear, both on this submitting or on to my shoppers, why a sitting United States senator would require somebody to have energy of lawyer over her.”
The assertion went on: “Whereas my shoppers are deeply involved, all of us stay hopeful that that is merely a misunderstanding that may be rapidly resolved, quite than a stepdaughter partaking in some form of misguided try to achieve management over belief belongings to which she is just not entitled.”
Regardless of the household’s wealth, buddies stated, there was some nervousness over the distribution of belongings and issues from the senator and her daughter about the price of the in depth dwelling care that Senator Feinstein has required, which might not be lined by insurance coverage.
When she was homebound in San Francisco recovering from shingles, housekeepers and residential well being aides cared for Senator Feinstein full time underneath her daughter’s oversight, in keeping with greater than a half dozen household buddies and advisers who requested to stay nameless as a result of they weren’t licensed to publicly focus on the senator’s household affairs.
When she returned to work earlier this yr, a longstanding well being aide accompanied Senator Feinstein to Washington, two buddies stated. The senator’s daughter and son-in-law have helped her handle her private funds for a few years, the buddies added.
Adam Russell, a consultant for Senator Feinstein, stated, “It is a personal authorized matter. Senator Feinstein and her workplace gained’t have any remark.”
Willie Brown, a former mayor of San Francisco and a longtime pal of the Feinstein household, stated that the feud over funds in all probability displays longstanding animosity between Katherine Feinstein and Mr. Blum’s three daughters. “There wouldn’t have been any concern, frankly, if there was mutual love between all of the individuals,” he stated.
Mr. Brown continued, “I frankly would rely on the readability of thought that the daughter has demonstrated up to now.” He referred to as Katherine Feinstein a “sensible girl, an excellent decide” and stated she “wouldn’t have taken no matter steps she has taken with out some severe must have that carried out, frankly, on behalf of her mom.”