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Stan Lee's ex-manager arrested for elder abuse

A former business partner and caretaker for comic book legend Stan Lee has been charged with elder abuse, the Los Angeles Police Department said Saturday. Lee died in November 2018 at the age of 95 amid questions over his care and his estate. 

According to police, Keya Morgan used his influence to deceive Lee into thinking he was in danger and removed him from his home for several days in June 2018. Lee was removed from Morgan's care when Morgan was arrested. That same month, Lee was granted a restraining order against Morgan. 

The 43-year-old was charged Friday with three felonies, including false imprisonment and grand theft of an elder or dependent adult, and a misdemeanor charge of elder abuse.

Previous court documents filed by Lee's lawyers alleged, in part, that Morgan isolated Lee from his family and other associates, moved him out of his home and into a condominium and was exerting undue influence over him, CBS Los Angeles reports

Lee's attorneys also claimed Morgan mishandled more than $5 million of Lee's money, according to TMZ.  

Lee's wife of 70 years, Joan, died in July 2017. In the year after her death, there were numerous allegations that Lee and his daughter were "picked apart by vultures," according to a Daily Beast article.

Lee started in the comic book business in 1939 and came up with his first co-creation with Jack Kirby in 1961, the Fantastic Four. The film based on another one of his co-creations, "Black Panther," topped the box office in 2018. In addition to Black Panther, Lee has been credited with helping to create other American comic icons, including Spider-Man, the X-Men, Incredible Hulk and the Avengers.

But he has long been plagued by legal troubles. Marvel had previously sold its characters to be depicted in movies, but in the late 1990s, it created its own film division. The Bryan Singer-directed "X-Men," based off Lee's characters, came out in 2000, grossing nearly $300 million in the worldwide box office. Lee had a cameo has a hot dog vendor.

But Lee didn't see any of the profits from the movies because Marvel claimed ownership of its characters. In 1998, he traded in his movie rights for $10 million (plus about $1 million a year for life), according to The Hollywood Reporter.

"When I wrote these stories, I wrote them as a write-for-hire, so I don't own the characters," Lee told "60 Minutes" in 2002.

Just one month after his "60 Minutes" appearance, Lee sued Marvel. He later told "60 Minutes" he was "really hurt," since his contract had called for him to get a certain share of the profits but "nobody seemed to want to live up to that clause in the contract."

"Don't forget, I've written about superheroes all my life. And they're the good guys," Lee said. "And they always do the right things. And I always thought our company is the good company, and we always did the right thing, and we always tried to treat the artists, and the writers and the editors well. And suddenly, I felt I wasn't being treated well, and it really hurt."

In 2005, a judge sided with Lee, and awarded him 10 percent of the profits Marvel made on the "Spider-Man" movies, as well as other films. Marvel also gave Lee a title, Chairman Emeritus of Marvel Enterprises.

Disney bought Marvel in 2010 for $4 billion, acquiring the rights to its superhero library. Lee remained locked in lawsuits, seeking compensation from the billion-dollar profits Disney earned from Marvel franchises. In 2013, a federal judge ruled against the company Lee was then running, Stan Lee Media, giving Disney full rights to his characters.

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