Audrey Hepburn's two sons are involved in multiple disputes over the treasured items their late mother left behind

By Stephanie Petit
March 09, 2017 05:41 PM
Ernesto Ruscio/Getty. Inset: Hulton Archive/Getty

Audrey Hepburn‘s two sons are involved in multiple disputes over the treasured items their late mother left behind, according to a statement from Steve E. Young, a lawyer representing the Audrey Hepburn Children’s Fund.

Last month, the Fund filed a lawsuit against Sean Ferrer, Hepburn’s son with her first husband, Mel Ferrer, claiming that he’s been interfering in the organization’s efforts to exhibit Hepburn memorabilia and raise funds for children’s centers in hospitals in Los Angeles and New Orleans. The organization’s main source of funding comes from the exhibitions. Luca Dotti, whose father was Hepburn’s second husband, Italian psychiatrist Andrea Dotti, is the chairman of the Fund.

Young claimed in his Thursday statement that Ferrer hasn’t responded to the suit, and has thus far avoided being served court papers.

“At issue in the suit is the right for the Fund to continue using Audrey Hepburn’s name, likeness and image in connection with exhibitions of her memorabilia to raise money to provide support for children in need,” said Young’s statement. “Ferrer alleges the Fund cannot do so without his permission.”

Young said that there is a separate dispute between the brothers over Hepburn memorabilia.

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According to first lawsuit, the organization, founded in 1993 by the two brothers, claims Ferrer began to “suffer a financial crisis” around 2008 and interfered with the organization’s efforts to raise funds. According to the suit, the charity claims Ferrer tried unsuccessfully in March 2013 to block them from using Hepburn’s memorabilia to raise money.

“The position is while it’s acknowledged that both sons have certain rights, Sean has always acted as if he alone has the right to approve or not approve what is done with her image and likeness and name,” Young previously told PEOPLE.

“The fund is not pretending that Sean does not have a right to use her name and image and likeness … but the issue is this continuing assertion of control or purported control that Sean believes he has so that nothing can happen using her name or likeness or image regarding the fund’s ability to put on exhibits with memorabilia that it owns, which brought this to a head,” added Young.