(WGHP) — “They left Wendy to die.”
In a fiery statement to Page Six, Wendy Williams’ former attorney describes the talk show host’s battle for control over her own finances, blasting Wells Fargo in the process.
Attorney LaShawn Thomas said, in part:
“The real issue is that Wells Fargo, through their adviser, refused to grant Wendy access to her own accounts, this includes the right to check her balance.
“No bank should have the authority to do that. No one attempted to gain access to any of Wendy’s accounts. The Wells Fargo adviser and [former manager Bernie Young] were the only people with access. … They left Wendy to die.”
Fans of “The Wendy Williams Show” will remember her departure from the show in October 2021 when the daytime talk show announced that the six-time Emmy-nominated host had experienced “serious complications” from Graves’ disease and a thyroid condition. The show continued on without the titular host, instead featuring guest hosts. The show is planned to end this fall with the close of its 14th season.
Amid her health concerns, Williams brought in her son, 22-year-old Kevin Hunter Jr., a University of Miami student, to help her “both mentally and physically” alongside her doctors, the lawyer said.
However, Page Six reports that this battle, at least in part, centers on Hunter.
An anonymous and unverified report accused Hunter of charging $100,000 to William’s credit card without authorization, Page Six reports. At the time, William’s former Wells Fargo financial adviser Lori Schiller was overseeing the host’s accounts. Hunter allegedly “demanded” that Schiller pay the $100,000 on his mother’s card.
Hunter told the US Sun, “I vehemently deny any allegations of unauthorized use of my mother’s American Express card. This is a false narrative perpetuated to justify freezing her accounts.”
Thomas says the only people who had access to Williams’ accounts were Schiller and Bernie Young, her former manager.
“Lori’s responsibility was to pay all of Wendy’s and Kevin Jr.’s bills. Kevin has always reached out to Lori for the payment of bills. If anyone needed money, they had to contact Lori so that she could initiate payment.
“He coordinated all of her appointments, made sure she attended all appointments, cooked and cleaned for his mother. He absolutely loves his mother without question, and no one should place any blame or allegations of wrongdoing at his feet.”
Thomas confirmed to Page Six that Williams wanted to buy a condo in Miami for her son and had asked Schiller to help coordinate the sale. Hunter was reportedly never told that the sale did not go through until about a month before the end of his lease when his landlord told him that he had never received an offer for the condo. Hunter’s landlord allegedly added that he planned to increase the price by $250,000.
The host’s former attorney said Schiller then told Hunter that she “could no longer speak with him without Wendy’s written authorization” and that verbal authorization was “no longer sufficient.”
Williams reportedly went to Wells Fargo to submit the written authorization and power of attorney, but the manager allegedly refused the power of attorney. Schiller then agreed only to speak with Williams alone and that Thomas, who was representing her, could not attend their meetings, Page Six reports.
Thomas says Schiller agreed to meet Williams in Miami but the financial advisor reportedly never arrived. Schiller then “locked” Williams out of her accounts, the attorney said.
“[Schiller] restricted all access to every single account,” Thomas told Page Six. “Wendy was even restricted from going to the bank and personally withdrawing funds. … Wendy, a woman who has worked hard for her wealth, was left penniless.”
Wells Fargo has maintained that the bank did no wrong with regards to William’s accounts.
Thomas previously told The Hollywood Reporter that the battle began shortly after Williams asked Wells Fargo for her bank statements so she could switch banks over suspicions about Schiller. Wells Fargo refused and put a temporary hold on Williams’ account, claiming that she was “incapacitated” and a “victim of undue influence and financial exploitation,” before filing a petition for guardianship, according to Variety.
Williams says she fired Schiller but Wells Fargo continued its refusal to give her full access to her accounts. In the statement to Page Six, Thomas says this forced Williams to use her American Express card to cover “all of her living expenses.”
A temporary guardian was appointed in March, and, in May, a New York judge appointed a new guardian in a move that effectively removed Wells Fargo from operational control of Williams’ funds, Deadline reports. The new guardian’s identity has not been publicly revealed.
Despite the update, Williams and her attorney continue to push back.
“Please be advised that Wendy is not in agreement with the appointment of a financial guardian by the court. Wendy has been very clear that she does not want a financial guardian to tell her what she can and cannot do with her money” Thomas said according to Page Six.