An increasingly bizarre series of events took place at the beginning this month that have lead to Stan Lee’s business partner, Keya Morgan being arrested on charges of filing a false police report and served with a pair restraining orders.
The 95-year-old comic book legend is suffering from severe hearing and vision impairment, and according to his long time lawyer, Timothy Lalas, has also recently shown signs of short term memory loss and impaired judgement. These events come on the heels of twin lawsuits by Lee earlier this year against his former business partner Jerry Olivarez, his former business manager Max Anderson, and his former company POW! Entertainment. Among the damages claimed are that POW! Entertainment took advantage of his failing eyesight by updating their trademark registrations to include Lee’s likeness and name, to “fraudulently steal Stan Lee’s identity, name, image, and likeness as part of a nefarious scheme to benefit financially at Lee’s expense” as part of the IP creation and management company’s bid to sell itself to Camsing International Holding, based out of Hong Kong.
The lawsuits reveal some insight into his health issues as well as signs that possibly point to this latest turn of events:
“While Lee’s beloved wife was on her deathbed, and Lee was in a state of devastation, Champion and Duffy, on behalf of POW!, were brokering a deal to sell POW! Camsing International Holding Limited, a Hong Kong Corporation and the controller of First Creative and Merger Sub (“Camsing”)….”
“In or about 2011, Lee was diagnosed with macular degeneration. In or about 2015, Lee was diagnosed with advanced macular degeneration, and was declared legally blind. As result, since approximately 2015, Lee has been unable to read documents or drive on his own.”
“Despite having advanced macular degeneration, Lee is constantly signing documents, photographs, comicbooks, posters, and artifacts. Because of his celebrity status thousands of autograph requests are sent to him, and sometimes Lee signs over 1000 autographs per day. Since his diagnosis, Lee has signed thousands of autographs under the guidance and counsel of his trusted advisors. Similarly, with respect to important documents, his advisors the documents for him, and Lee then decides whether to sign.”
What is known in this case is that, after Joan Lee’s passing on July 16 of 2017, Keya Morgan, who’s real name is Keyarash Mazhari, became Mr. Lee’s caregiver. Morgan, who is reported to be a “memorabilia collector” and who’s IMDB profile describes himself in part as “scholar, historian, producer, writer, director, and entrepreneur” as well as director and producer, took over Lee’s business operations on February 16 of the following year and moved to block access to Lee by friends and long-term associates, raising alarm among colleagues in the industry. The 37-year-old Morgan also fired Lee’s long-time attorney, Lallas in February of this year. Lallas had previously been involved in a deposition by Lee urging against Morgan’s involvement. Lallas, had in fact, been hired by Lee to guard against exactly the kind of exploitation Morgan is now accused of. It is also reported that Morgan was involved in the filing of at least one of the lawsuits against Lee’s previous business partners.
Online, Lee reported in a series of tweets in mid-May that he had control of his Twitter account but that his other social media was controlled by others. Despite this claim, Lee’s verified Facebook account was still active and functioning normally. This raised further concerns with Hollywood Reporter’s Ryan Parker addressing the issue on local radio station KNX who noted the inconsistency:
Police went to Lee’s residence on May 30 to perform a wellness check. Reportedly, this check was made at the request of Lee’s former attorney, Lallas and was assisted by Lee’s nursing and household staff. LAPD Detectives G. Munoz and T. Jones accompanied LA County Adult Protective Services Social Worker Armen Adzhemyan to Lee’s residence. There, they instructed the on-duty security personnel to refuse entry by anyone else so that the interview could be conducted without interference. Thirty minutes after they arrived Keya Morgan arrived and attempted to intervene. A half hour after being turned away by the security, Morgan called 911 at to report a burglary in progress, claiming that three unidentified persons posed a risk to his friend (Lee). LAPD responded, and after meeting with the detectives determined that the call was a hoax. In fact, Morgan had “swatted” the police.
The next day, Morgan again called 911 claiming that Lee was being threatened by an armed man. Police quickly determined that, in fact, Morgan had called the cops on the very security officers he had hired who refused to sign non-disclosure agreements and demanded their paychecks after he summarily fired them. Morgan had compelled the rest of the staff to also sign NDAs. The responding officers also determined that neither guard was armed.
The police report, which can be found here along with the 911 transcripts suggested the risk that Morgan might relocate Lee without notice in order to isolate and maintain his influence on Lee. In fact he “temporarily” moved Lee from his longtime Hollywood Hills residence to a condominium following the standoff a few days after the wellness check.
A little over a week later, on June 10, Lee posted a video onto Twitter that stated his only business partner was Keya Morgan and that, “the two of us work together and are conquering the world side by side.”
The next day, on the 11th, LAPD arrested Morgan for filing a false police report.
An emergency protective order and a separate elder abuse restraining order were served to Morgan that same day to prevent him from contacting, harassing or approaching Mr. Lee.
Stan is reportedly now with his daughter, JC Lee and another attorney, Kirk Schenk. Morgan has not yet been arraigned on charges and it is not clear whether he will face additional charges for the second false police report much less the alleged abuse of Mr. Lee.