Here is the basis of a lawsuit. Executor Sydney Morris, filed legal permission in the Superior Court of Monterey, for the non-family owner of our Creative Legacies to publish a book and make a movie from our Family Story. No publisher would dare publish the slander Snyder put in his biography of Christine Rosamond Benton, so Pierrot self-published a book that she ended up giving away for free if you bought $600 dollars or more of Rosamond prints. Any movie producer is going to take note, because of the lawsuit potential test was not made. The movie script ‘Before The Wave’ was just as slanderous, thus, it can be proven Morris&Buck chose the wrong people to write a book and movie script. I on the other hand – am the right person – because my testimony to things gone wrong, would be coming from a reliable source, and is not secondhand libelous information. and thus Rosamond’s Heirs are guaranteed the enjoyment of royalties they never got – so far!
Morris&Buck should have contacted all adult Heirs, and members of our family and given them an option to author a book, or, approach a studio. I am the only person that had Christine Rosamond Presco copyrighted. She had never published anything. To sell a COPYRIGHT may not be legal.
Christine’s father was a Bohemian who lived a life right out of Steinbeck’s ‘Tortilla Flat’. His best friend was a Mexican. He had Mexicans drinking at his home – all the time. He fell in love with Connie when he was down in Mexico, and wanted me to teach him guitar so he could serenade. Years later he has built quarters for her – and her seven children – on his land. He asked me to help improve the look. I made, and installed shutters – Mexican style! He wanted a balcony so he could serenade Connie, who Victor left all his Rosamond prints to, but I am sure Vicki Presco never delivered them, which renders Buck&Morris’ probate a pile of bull shit because Vic was owed about three million dollars in “Family Partnership Prints” seeded with my grandmother’s legacy.
These four images are Copyrighted, and, Jacci Belford told me she was glad my father was not going to get them back, and, she made an offer to buy the estate and pay off the creditors. Jacci and Stacey went to High School together. I warned Morris they were a tag-team. Jacci knew Vic smuggled Connie over the border in a marijuana shipment. As Rosamond Gallery Manager, she should have resigned when Christine and Vicki became Vic’s partners, whose business partner had ties to the Mexican Mafia. Good HBO stuff – this! Then there is Chazen.
“According to bankruptcy documents filed Dec. 15, Lighthouse Lodge LLC, employed 35 workers and in the last fiscal year had $3.2 million in gross revenues. It owed about $8.7 million on a to Orix Capital Markets, had $291,000 in “priority” unsecured debt and $5.7 million in other debt, owed to more than 175 suppliers and other vendors. Court records show the property was valued at $18.5 million and the company had $213,000 in cash.”
Here is an interesting paper on Steinbeck being used as a Cold War Weapon by Bohemians turned into Communists. I am going to make use of this in my movie ‘Capturing Beauty’ where I got my new muse living in the attic, and my old muse, living in the basement. My movie will open with me painting my new muse in the nude to ‘Ode To Joy, while my old muse climbs out of the basement to make us all dinner. I want my house in Lincoln to be filled with every kind of tension – known to mankind! This is how I grew up. Why make a movie without tension? Guess whose side my new muse is on, but, if she shows too much favoritism…….?
I have established a Bohemian Newspaper Dynasty with my Bohemian newspapers. I have been promoting Bohemians, and Bohemianism, for a quarter of a century. With the discovery that thousands of Bohemians found a home in Nebraska, makes me a Sustainer and Promoter of that State’s Cultural Heritage. I have been promoting Christine Rosamond Benton for years! This woman artist is born of a Bohemian Rose Line.
President: Royal Rosamond Press
“One of the claim’s main assertions was that the defendants prevented the remake of film adaptations of Steinbeck’s most famous works, including “The Grapes of Wrath” and “East of Eden.” Kaffaga contended that several negotiations she held with Hollywood studios fell through due to interference by defendants who claim to represent rights over John Steinbeck’s works in spite of prior litigation determining they had no such rights.
In this situation, where millions in royalties are at stake for current and future generations of the family, proper planning and considering a neutral, third party to administer the author’s estate could have helped navigate family animosity while making the right decisions to make the most of his considerable legacy.”
My Historic Grandfather
Victor Hugo Presco
After writing and posting about the Dashiell Hammett archive, and reading how this great writer’s grandchildren looked foreword to the paltry check Lillian Hellman sent them on Christmas, I went in search of more information on my grandfather, Victor Hugo Presco, the Bohemian Gambler. I wanted to find what was Authentic. There is too much Fool’s Gold in the Nation. We are on the verge of another Civil War over who has the right stuff, and who does not. I wanted to own something that was free and clear of the grabby hands of the Claim Jumpers. I struck pay dirt! I found this essay by Bill Mero that records the floating Houses of Ill Repute that bobbed in the water near Martinez and Crocket, where I saw my father’s father, just once.
We worked as Lumpers for my father, Victor William Presco, from the age of seven to twelve. One day our father headed for the water, parked his trunk, and ordered his sons to follow him. And we did. It was hard to keep up with him because the floating dock was tipping side to side. We had no sea legs. We had to walk a narrow plank – or two. Vic was in another rage as he pounded on the door of a old houseboat. The door opened, and there stood my grandfather, Victor Hugo Presco. He had the deepest blue eyes, and was staring at me after Vic declared;
“Here are my sons, your grandsons. Take a good look, because you will never see them again!”
And our father turned his back on his father, as did we, as we tried to keep from falling in the water as he stormed on by. We had seen the source of Victor’s angst. I’m sure Victor Hugo said to his roommate as he shut the door;
“What an asshole. He’s doing a real number on those boys!”
Rosemary told me Hugo lived in a tarpaper shack under the Cauquenes bridge where I read there was a whore house called ‘The Golden Horseshoe’. A floating whore house was called ‘The Artist’s Tea Room’. Eureka! I found it! Here is an article submitted to the Contra Costa History Society. Bill Mero wrote ‘The Pettycoat Navy of Contra Costa County’.
Alas my writing is grounded and validated. Mero wrote an essay about Sheriff Richard Rain Veale who arrested the bad guys, like my father. Mero says John Fremont was a swindler, perhaps he is the model for Hedley Lamarr in Blazing Saddles? Trump is doing Hedley right now, and getting many cheers.
What we are looking at is the last of the Wild West and the beginning of the Bohemian-Hippie era. When I awoke I declared;
“You are reborn, perhaps, born for the first time. You own your roots. Let’s look at the gambling going on in Bret Harte’s books and tie it to Hugo.”
I never read ‘The Luck of Roaring Camp’. I found out what it is about a half hour after I rose from my bed. It’s about a orphan cowboy baby, a foundling! I have described myself as a foundling – and my daughter! I gave Royal Rosamond this title. Hugo was not a aspiring author, or, artist. He was what he was, the subject of legend. And, so is his son. Sam Spade came in contact with men like the Prescos. Where there is prostitution, there is gambling. Consider James Bond in Monte Carlo, and the beautiful women who work the winners. My Bond story begins on a dock in London.
Above is the addition to the home Vic built illegally on his Lafayette property in Contra Costa County. It was built for Vic’s third wife he smuggled from Mexico in a marijuana shipment. The plan was the smuggle her (their) seven children over the border. One day Vic asked me for some ideas on how to make his Bohemian Love Shack look better. He had asked me to teach him how to play the guitar so when he went to see Consuelo, he could play and sing along with the Mexican fisherman on the beach. Studying the balcony, I got the picture.
“How about I make some shutters?”
“That sounds good!”
Add the giant California Oak, and you got a Hacienda, the Presco Pondarosa. Captain Vic had changed his ways. Did he know Rosemary was a prostitute and made porno movies for Big Bones Remmer – the only real Mafia guy in the West? My father carried to his grave the bullet Dee-Dee put in his back after chasing him out the back door, emptying his gun at him.
One day two Mafia guys came to the Pondarosa. They wanted in on Vic’s Default Loan Racket.
“These guys will probably be armed. Here is my pump shotgun that I keep in the closet.”
When I let them in the door, one of them gave me the once over. Was I packing.
“Let’s close this door so we can talk in private.” the dude said. I surmised he was the bodyguard. Then he gave me a hard look. Sure he could read ‘weapon’ all over me. It was his job. Quiet Cowboy Weaponspeak is famous in Hollywood.
“Would I use that shotgun to save my father’s life – after what that bastard did to me and my brother?”
When Vic’s children, friends, and lovers came to visit, Victor Hugo’s son would put them to work on his Default Racket that the D.A. of Conta Costra County was trying to bust. Gloria and I were addressing the postcards Vic made up, we taking names out of the realtor papers. They would call Captain Vic at home, and he would smooth talk them into a very high interest loan – they would default on. I compared this to the movie ‘Paint Your Wagon’ and the gold dust that falls throught the cracks in the floor. My mother told me;
“Stay away from them. These are very bad men. They will kill you!”
Here is my Godfather, Sargent Skip Sutter. He was a famous Oakland cop who got into legendary fights with the Hell’s Angels. Skip was put in the hospital for two weeks. He was an officer of Transamerica Title, along with Vic’s other High School buddy, Tom McKinney, who was President. They were dismissed for massive fraud. I found mention of the biker battles.
So the phone rings. Gloria and I hear the rage building in my father.
“Go fuck yourself!” and Vic slams the phone down.
“Who was that dad?”
“The D.A. of Contra Costa. He demanded the name of my private lender.’
Vic’s private lender was Larry Chazen, a Getty right-hand man who invested in the first Rosamond Gallery, and was the No.1 creditor in Christine’s probate. Before the judge, this high powered attorney petitioned the Court to become the Executor. Consuela and her seven children never moved into the Pondarosa. Vicki Presco never gave this poor Mexican the prints Vic left her. She was our father’s Trustee.
Below is the brand new trailor that Captain Vic took as treasure. He wedged it in the back so the Repo Man couldn’t get to it. My cousin, Bill Broderick leived in that trailer for awhile. He is the grandson of William Broderick who was a executive for The California Barrell Company. In 1994, Vic was convicted of Loan Sharking. Bill lost his license to practice law. Christine and Garth Benton refused to give our father proceeds from the Art Partnership. What a mess! We got Art Fraud here, right here in River City!
Donald Trump had a father like mine. These are Wild West Takers. They see American as a Free For All. Only the mighty deserve to live!
I’m still looking for my other grandfather’s story ‘Desert Vengeance’
When I saw the movie Sexy Beast it was like a home movie. One never knew when the shit was going to hit the fan. Above is Vic pretending to throw his wife Dee-Dee under a train. They look like the stars of this great movie. For doing this to her, Dee-Dee chased my father around the house emptying his gun at him. Vic ran out the back door, and a bullet ricocheted off the frame of the window into his back and lodged near his spine. He showed me the x-ray of the bullet that they left inside, and the dent in the frame – a year after it happened. It was part of the tour of his Lafayette home.
Before Vic made a killing in the real estate loan shark business, he lived in downtown Oakland on Alice street. Here he is with his partner whose brother ran the Mexican Mafia in San Quinton. The other dude is a smuggler of just about everything, and may have brought Vic’s third wife across the border in a marijuana shipment.
Vic was always in his bathrobe. I am not sure if he knew bout Vinnie ‘The Chin’ the Mafia boss of the Village where many artists came to dwell, including myself in 1965. This family was in the Art Business. Eat your heart out Mrs. Eastwood. We never put on airs, or had to fake a scene like the one where you spy on your daughter, because, nothing really happens at your house. Your husband has a conversation with a chair.
Note the big pot on the stove. It might be squid soup, a dish Captain Vic fed his young secretaries that worked at the Ponderosa, who would not let Vic ‘The Nazi’ (as they called him) get away with wearing his old bathrobe while they were there. This would have made a great reality T.V. series. ‘Bohemian Loan Sharks’. Vic and Ernie are playing chess.
“BOHUNKS! They created a artistic and literary dynasty, but you wouldn’t know it, thanks to ‘The Caretaker’ who brought in a bevy of outsiders, ghosts writers, to make it all work for her. Or, so she led many to believe. Somebody pulled off the biggest art heist in history. Was it ‘Little Vicki’?”
It was very threatening for members of my family to accept the truth Victor was mentally ill. Rosemary could not handle the truth she had four children by a sociopath. It was much easier for my family to title me “INSANE”. The head of Serenity Lane said this;
“Have you considered the truth you might be the only sane member of your family?”
“How did they do it? They never got out of their bed, or their bathrobes! BOHUNKS! Look out Ken Kesey! They are coming for your crown!”
“They lay claim to the old Rancho Las Mariposa land grant in order to make a poet’s retreat for family members. But, what are they really up to? BOHUNKS!”
Dubbed “The Oddfather” and “The Enigma in the Bathrobe” by the press, Gigante often wandered the streets of Greenwich Village in his bathrobe and slippers, mumbling incoherently to himself, in what Gigante later admitted was an elaborate act to avoid prosecution
Decades-Old Family Feud Over Steinbeck Estate and Control of His Works Finally Concludes
USA January 3 2020
A family’s decades-long battle over the rights to the work of literary giant John Steinbeck appears to have come to an end. The Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals sided with Steinbeck’s step daughter, affirming a compensatory damage award against his daughter-in-law in their fight for control over royalties and the future of the author’s works.
The litigation, as epic and sprawling as any of Steinbeck’s novels, demonstrates what can go wrong when an estate fight spills over into the next generation of heirs, and control ends up in the hands of sometimes unexpected individuals.
When the award-winning author of novels The Grapes of Wrath and East of Eden, among others, died in 1968, he was survived by his third wife, Elaine Steinbeck, and two sons from his second marriage, John Steinbeck IV and Thomas Steinbeck.
The author left his widow the copyrights to his works and left his sons each $50,000. But arguments soon arose over royalties because, under federal copyright law, all three heirs were entitled to royalties for works that had their copyrights renewed after the author’s death, according to court documents.
A settlement agreement reached in 1983 seemed to resolve the dispute, with the sons giving up their rights to certain works in exchange for an increased share of royalty payments. John Steinbeck IV died in 1991, leaving behind a daughter, Blake Smyle. Elaine Steinbeck died in 2003.
Then the family feud escalated.
In 2004, Thomas Steinbeck and Blake Smyle sued Waverly Scott Kaffaga, Elaine Steinbeck’s daughter and the executor of her estate, and others in a New York federal court over the terms of the 1983 agreement. The Second Circuit U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals eventually held that the agreement was valid and enforceable.
The author’s son and daughter-in-law, Gail Knight Steinbeck, and their company, Palladin Group Inc., later filed a similar lawsuit in 2014 challenging the 1983 agreement in a California federal court. Kaffaga responded by filing counterclaims of her own.
Then, Thomas Steinbeck died in 2016, leaving his wife Gail as the executor of his estate.
The California federal court dismissed Steinbeck and Smyle’s suit on the grounds that the Second Circuit had already ruled on the agreement, and the Ninth Circuit affirmed in 2017.
$13.1 Million Award
Kaffaga’s counterclaims for alleged breach of the agreement, slander of title, and tortious interference with economic advantage remained, along with claims for punitive damages. Among other assertions, the author’s stepdaughter argued that the Steinbecks’ interference had scuttled negotiations with Hollywood producers to remake the films based on The Grapes of Wrath and East of Eden.
Following a trial in the California federal court, the jury found in Kaffaga’s favor and awarded her $13.1 million, which included $7.9 million in punitive damages. The federal court denied Gail Steinbeck’s post-trial motions in 2018.
‘This Has to End’
On appeal, the Ninth Circuit affirmed in part, but agreed to vacate the punitive damage award. It concluded that, while there was enough evidence of malice in Gail Steinbeck’s actions to warrant a punitive damage award, there was little evidence she would be able to pay such an amount.
Judge Richard C. Tallman, who wrote the opinion, plainly told Gail Steinbeck and Palladin to stop trying to overturn the 1983 agreement, which had been validated by numerous courts at this point. “They must also stop representing to the marketplace that they have any intellectual property rights or control over John Steinbeck’s works,” the judge added.
“Various federal courts, including this one, have repeatedly affirmed Elaine and Kaffaga’s exclusive control,” Judge Tallman wrote. “This has to end. We cannot say it any clearer.”
Tellingly, the judge pointed out that Thomas Steinbeck sued Kaffaga out of anger over her retaining control of his father’s estate. “Thom himself penned that he sued Kaffaga in New York because he ‘didn’t agree with her maintaining [his] father’s inheritance,'” Judge Tallman noted.
Certainly, the author’s failure to ensure that the copyright and royalty issues surrounding his works were resolved before his death played a big role in the litigation over his estate that followed.
In this situation, where millions in royalties are at stake for current and future generations of the family, proper planning and considering a neutral, third party to administer the author’s estate could have helped navigate family animosity while making the right decisions to make the most of his considerable legacy.