The estate of Charles 'Mask' Lewis in turmoil in Orange County


TapouT co-founder Charles "Mask" Lewis Jr. was tragically killed when a Porsche driven by Jeffrey David Kirby collided with his Ferrari in Newport Beach, Calif., on March 11, 2009.

More than one year later, on Dec. 8, 2010, Kirby was found guilty of vehicular manslaughter.

Following the untimely death of Lewis, Orange County Public Administrator John S. Williams claimed he was better fit to handle the multimillion dollar estate rather than the mother of Lewis' children, Diane Larson.

Judge Gerald G. Johnston agreed, granting the estate to Williams in May 2009. The estate, however, was handed back to Larson 11 months later when the 4th District Court of Appeal accused Williams of abusing his authority.

Williams' attorney sent a statement to The Orange County Register.

"Ms. Larson had no legal priority to act as administrator because she does not personally inherit from the Estate. ... Since Ms. Larson did not have legal priority, and there were Estate assets that needed to be properly handled, the Public Administrator was under a legal duty to seek appointment."

Before handing over the estate to Larson, Williams agreed to sell TapouT. Lewis' Bentley and Mercedes-Benz was also sold for $58,000 -- less than their original value. Court lawyers were unaware that Williams had also paid Lewis' former business partners $45,000 for funeral expenses they promised to provide free of charge, as well as court records.

Williams has been the target of criticism in the past. The Orange County Public Administrator went under attack for "mismanagement, including dubious internal promotions that cost taxpayers hundreds of thousands."

Williams is also making an attempt to control the estate of the 92 year-old mother of lawyer Ruth Hull-Richter. Hull-Richter is fighting off Williams' attempts because she says she is capable of taking care of her mother. That case is currently under investigation. 

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