Longtime family friend and manager Judy Tannen alleges that David Lawrence is "malevolently keeping [her] from fulfilling her promise to take care of Steve through thick and thin"

By Nicholas Rice
June 19, 2021 04:34 PM
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Steve Lawrence
Credit: Hollywood To You/Star Max/GC Images

Judy Tannen, a companion to '50s singer Steve Lawrence, is alleging that the musician's son David is abusing his father's ailing health and trying to keep her from taking care of him.

In her legal petition obtained by PEOPLE, Tannen says that she has worked with Steve for 64 years since his days performing alongside his wife Eydie Gormé as part of their duo, Steve and Eydie.

Tannen's petition, filed without advance notice to Lawrence, asks the Los Angeles court to remove Lawrence as an agent empowered to make certain decisions on behalf of his father, and to make her the sole agent. 

Noting that she was a manager for the couple, Tannen alleges that she became like a family member to the pair, who "trusted not only their careers with Judy, but all of their personal affairs, naming her to every conceivable fiduciary role and capacity imaginable."

After Gormé's death in 2013, Tannen asserts that she and Steve "leaned heavily on each other for emotional support and companionship" and have lived together as "companions since approximately 2014."

Tannen now alleges in her court filing that Steve's estate plan allows her to live in his home for five years following his death and that she will get half of Steve and Eydie's music business, that she had previously managed, while the other half will go to David.

Tannen claims that Steve is currently suffering from dementia and is unaware that his son is "malevolently keeping Judy from fulfilling her promise to take care of Steve through thick and thin." Steve previously announced that he had been diagnosed with Alzheimer's back in 2019.

Tannen alleges that the ordeal between herself and David began when she was hospitalized earlier this year in February with COVID-19

Asserting that she was "unconscious" and "had to be rushed to the hospital," Tannen says she allowed her Advanced Health Care Directive to appoint David the "power to make health care decisions for her in the event of her incapacity" due to the nature of the relationship she had with him and his family.

That, as the petition states, was the "worst mistake of her life." Tannen also alleges that "COVID-19 came as an unexpected gift to help him exploit Judy and do unthinkable harm to Steve at the same time."

"While Judy was gravely sick with COVID-19, David weaponized Judy's trust, abusing her right of privacy to her medical information to have her declared incapacitated, and then systematically removing Judy from every fiduciary position Steve and Eydie had conferred upon her," the petition states.

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Tannen now alleges that David has refused to allow her to return to the home that she and Steve shared, keeping them apart from each other, except for a couple of "supervised" visits.

Steve's longtime companion also claims that David is selling off his father's possessions - such as a home in Las Vegas and an apartment in L.A. - and has used $74,000 of his dad's money to fund his own singing album.

David is also "selling off heirlooms that Steve wanted Judy to be able to give to people who would appreciate them, including family members, who, unlike David, want memories, not money," the petition alleges.

Tannen says that bringing her case before the court is "necessary to protect Steve from continued isolation and abuse at the hands of his avaricious son, David, and to confirm Judy's powers to take the actions necessary for Steve's protection."

Lawrence has not yet filed his response to the allegations in Tannen's.