AG intends to demand overpayments from Robert Indiana estate

ROCKLAND, Maine (AP) — The Maine attorney general’s office is seeking to demand that law firms in Maine and New York return millions of dollars allegedly overpaid by the estate of the late artist Robert Indiana.

All told, about $10 million in fees has been paid to law firms and to the estate’s personal representative through the end of March, according to a court document. And the attorney general contends $3.7 million paid to four law firms and about $400,000 collected by the estate’s personal representative were excessive.

The attorney general’s motion to demand repayment has not been accepted by the probate court.

Indiana’s estate has been embroiled in a lawsuit by a company that held the copyright for his iconic “LOVE” series.

The lawsuit by the Morgan Art Foundation was filed in New York the day before Indiana’s death on May 19, 2018, at age 89 on Vinalhaven Island, 15 miles (25 kilometers) off Rockland, Maine.

It accused Indiana’s caretaker and an art publisher of taking advantage of Indiana. That led to more claims and counter claims.

The attorney general already concluded that the law firms were overpaid by Rockland attorney James Brannan, the estate’s personal representative. But the new motion filed this week breaks down the overpayments and indicates that the attorney general intends to demand repayment.

The motion contends two New York law firms were together overpaid $3.3 million and that two Maine law firms were overpaid by about $240,000 through December and January.

It also contends about $400,000 of the nearly $1.8 million billed by the personal representative was excessive.

The personal representative, Rockland attorney James Brannan, didn’t return an email seeking comment.