Britney Spears says dad Jamie and lawyers earned $36 million from her conservatorship
Britney Spears is coming for her family at full throttle.
The singer's attorney Mathew Rosengart filed documents ahead of Wednesday's conservatorship hearing claiming that her father/former conservator, Jamie Spears, and the lawyers involved took more than $36 million from the estate over the 13-year period. The Spears patriarch allegedly "siphoned millions" personally, billing things like his legal fees stemming from his 2019 physical altercation with her minor sons to Britney's estate. He also tried to pitch his own cooking show to networks, riding his famous daughter's coattails while she was stripped of her rights.
Plus, Rosengart slapped the star's sister, Jamie Lynn Spears, with a cease and desist letter related to her memoir that the sisters have been very publicly fighting over.
The forensic investigation, done at the request of Britney's legal team, found that Jamie "profited from his role as conservator" in the amount of $6.3 million, according to the docs obtained by Yahoo Entertainment. Further, Jamie "approved the expenditure of more than $30 million in fees to be paid by the estate to dozens of firms between 2008 and 2020."
"Despite painting himself as a 'volunteer' for the role of conservator, James Spears commenced the conservatorship and siphoned millions of dollars from his daughter's estate for over a decade, taking fees, commissions, and other miscellaneous payments totaling more than $6 million (in known funds)," the docs state along with a year-by-year chart.
Jamie's "lawyers were paid many millions more," it notes, including over $1.3 million to his former law firm, Holland & Knight, over a seven-month period to fight Britney to stay on as conservator when she called for his removal. The law firm billed $540,000 for public relations work for Mr. Spears — who earned a six-figure salary plus a percentage of business deals he made for Britney — to protect his image amid the #FreeBritney movement.
At Wednesday's hearing, Jamie, who has maintained that he has always acted in Britney's best interests, wants Judge Brenda Penny to signs off on pending accounting matters, so he's no longer on the hook for them after being suspended over the summer after Britney alleged conservatorship abuse.
"Mr. Spears, an ignominiously-suspended conservator — of a conservatorship that has been terminated —now seeks to siphon even more money from his daughter," her lawyer wrote.
The forensic investigation, led by Sherine Ebadi of Kroll, detailed the alleged mismanagement of the conservatorship under Jamie. It noted how he immediately hired Lou Taylor's Tri Star to manage the estate — a conflict as he was indebted to Tri Star for a personal loan. He later approved a raise to Tri Star when Britney was on a work hiatus. He also hired new security detail for Britney via Black Box, a company owned by his friend Edan Yemini, which was ultimately was paid almost $6 million from Britney's estate — including to allegedly surveil her in her bedroom and monitor private phone conversations.
New and notable is also how Jamie allegedly billed legal fees to Britney's estate that he incurred for getting into a physical altercation with her children, Sean Preston and Jayden James, in 2019. No charges were filed but a multi-year restraining order was put into place so that Jamie can not see his grandsons.
Jamie also used estate funds to pay Taylor's legal fees in her fight against a #FreeBritney supporter who created two websites to tarnish her name — even after his legal team advised him against it, the docs state.
Jamie sold land owned by Britney at a loss, the docs state. Her entity Bridgmore owned several properties and Jamie, who served as co-manager of Bridgmore, sold one to his niece and nephew, Laura and Brad Matthews, for $386,425 — "at a loss to the estate of almost $300,000." There were several additional properties sold to third parties at a collective loss of over $800,000 to Britney's estate.
Jamie also paid his personal living expenses with estate funds, according to the docs. He resided at a warehouse owned by Bridgmore and used more of the property than was stipulated in his lease. Additionally, he was supposed to pay his own utilities at the warehouse, but Bridgmore — Britney's company — paid over $11,000 to AT&T between 2012 and 2020. Bridgmore also paid nearly $9,000 to Advanced Multimedia Partners for lot improvements and maintenance for the warehouse.
Jamie Lynn's husband, Jamie Watson, owns Advanced Multimedia Partners.
Watson's company was also paid $178,071.28 for repairs and maintenance for another Kentwood property owned by Britney. The docs state Jamie spent more than $1.5 million for the renovation and upkeep of the property — more than twice what it was worth — between 2009 and 2019.
The docs state that Jamie was asked by the court to explain the "extraordinarily high expenses" for that property and he evaded the question.
"[Jamie] awarded multimillion-dollar contracts to his friends and those to whom he was indebted, offering them a sizable percentage of his daughter's earnings; he had undisclosed conflicts of interest and engaged in self-dealing with his daughter's assets; he used estate assets to pay personal expenses for himself and his associates, including legal fees incurred after an altercation with Ms. Spears's children leading to a restraining order against him; and he even went so far as to surreptitiously record and capture his daughter's most private communications, including attorney-client communications with her prior court-appointed attorney and private conservations in her bedroom," Ebadi wrote. "He did all this on the heels of serious financial troubles manifesting in a bankruptcy, while paying himself millions of dollars from his daughter's estate."
The docs also detail how Jamie was pitching to Hollywood his own cooking show — Cookin' Cruzin' and Chaos with Jamie Spears — in 2015. Several years earlier, he "spent several hundred thousand dollars to purchase a tour bus ... which he then outfitted with barbecue grills and other specialized cooking equipment." He hired Britney's former music director, Marc Delcore, to record a promotional reel that he intended to use to pitch his own pilot cooking show.
Delcore claimed he felt pressured to work with Jamie due to the fact that he had the power to hire and fire tour personnel, including him. Jamie never paid him for his work.
Separate from the hearing, Rosengart sent a cease and desist letter to Britney's sister Jamie Lynn related to her memoir book, Things I Should Have Said. The sisters have been going back and forth over Jamie Lynn's claims in interviews and the book, with Britney branding much of it as lies.
"As you know, I represent your sister Britney Spears, and I write at her request concerning the above-referenced matter," Rosengart wrote to Jamie Lynn in a letter obtained by Yahoo. "We write with some hesitation because the last thing Britney wants is to bring more attention to your ill-timed book and its misleading or outrageous claims about her. Although Britney has not read and does not intend to read your book, she and millions of her fans were shocked to see how you have exploited her for monetary gain. She will not tolerate it, nor should she."
The letter goes on to say that Jamie Lynn is aware of the "abuse and wrongdoing" Britney endured during the conservatorship under their father, who is an alcoholic and had financial difficulties, including a bankruptcy, before he was given control of Britney's millions.
"In fact, your own book reportedly states that your father 'spent most of my life in that cycle of ruinous behavior. His bouts of drinking caused me periods of torment and sorrow,'" Rosengart wrote. "As I have previously stated, having endured a 13-year conservatorship that stripped her of civil rights and fundamental liberties, Britney will no longer be bullied by her father or anyone else."
It went on to say, "Britney was the family’s breadwinner and she also otherwise supported you. Publicly airing false or fantastical grievances is wrong, especially when designed to sell books. It is also potentially unlawful and defamatory."
He also called out her comment that Jamie Lynn "recently reportedly stated that the book was 'not about'" Britney. So they "demand that you cease and desist from referencing Britney derogatorily during your promotional campaign. If you fail to do so or defame her, Britney will be forced to consider and take all appropriate legal action."
On Tuesday, Britney lashed out at her sister on social media for comments Jamie Lynn made during a podcast interview. In one part, she wrote, "F*** you Jamie Lynn." Britney deleted it but reposted it Wednesday.
While Britney was freed of the conservatorship in November — and Jamie was suspended as conservator in September — Wednesday's court hearing is to deal with pending accounting matters and additional loose ends.