The suit, which was filed in Los Angeles Superior Court on Wednesday, accuses York Petty of superseding the daughters’ right to “equal participation,” as they claim is in the terms of the trust, when making decisions regarding his catalog. The suit seeks at least $5 million in damages.
Tom Petty died in October 2017 of an accidental drug overdose at the age of 66, which left York Petty as the directing trustee of his trust. In April, both York Petty and Adria filed petitions concerning the handling of his estate, with Dana’s seeking to have the catalog placed in the hands of a professional manager.
In the new lawsuit, the daughters claim to interpret “equal participation” to mean they have a majority vote representing two-thirds of the parties handling decisions for the estate’s assets.
“Tom Petty wanted his music and his legacy to be controlled equally by his daughters, Adria and Annakim, and his wife, Dana. Dana has refused Tom’s express wishes and insisted instead upon misappropriating Tom’s life’s work for her own selfish interests,” Alex Weingarten, an attorney for Petty’s daughters, said in a statement to Rolling Stone. “After countless efforts to resolve this matter amicably and out of court, we could no longer stand idly by and watch Dana disrespect Tom’s wishes, his music and his legacy.”
A rep for Dana York Petty did not immediately return Rolling Stone‘s request for comment. Her attorney, Adam Streisand, gave a statement to Variety. “This misguided and meritless lawsuit sadly demonstrates exactly why Tom Petty designated his wife to be the sole trustee with authority to manage his estate,” Streisand said in the statement. “Dana will not allow destructive nonsense like this to distract her from protecting her husband’s legacy.”
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In a recent interview with Rolling Stone that followed the April petitions, Adria said the process has caused her frustration at times.
“We’re trying to figure out how to work with everybody’s advisors and lawyers. We all love each other and we all work pretty great together when we speak directly to each other. It’s been a difficult time. But I’ve seen remarkable changes in my family in the best of ways because of this, and I’ve seen a lot of catharsis and healing in the last 16 months.
“I’m one of four partners [Dana York Petty, Petty’s first wife Jane Benyo Petty, and Jane’s daughters Adria and Annakim], and the convergence of the partnership has yet to begin, but I look forward to being able to do all that,” she continued. “I have no doubt in my mind everything is going to work out. From the bottom of my heart, I love Dana and my family. And I love the Heartbreakers. They’re my family too. It’s just going to take a minute for everyone to catch their breath.”