Bessemer Trust, the wealth management firm that was appointed co-conservator of the estate of Britney Spears, is seeking to resign that position, according to a court filing Thursday.
“Petitioner has become aware that the Conservatee objects to the continuance of her Conservatorship and desires to terminate the Conservatorship,” the Bessemer Trust petition said. “Petitioner has heard the Conservatee and respects her wishes.”
The move comes days after Spears spoke publicly about her conservatorship for the first time. During a June 23 court appearance, Spears compared the conservatorship to “sex trafficking” and said that she was put on drugs against her will, forced to perform when she didn’t want to, and accused her father, Jamie Spears, of enjoying the level of control he had over his daughter’s life. In one of the more jaw-dropping moment of Spears’ comments, she said that she was being forced to maintain an IUD “and my conservators won’t let me go to the doctor to take it out,” an allegation that Jamie Spears has denied.
The petition claims the ex parte application is necessary because of “exigent conditions,” including the fact that Spears “claimed irreparable harm to her interests in her testimony at the June 23, 2021 hearing and, more specifically, the Conservatee’s objection to the continuation of her voluntary Conservatorship and her desire to terminate the Conservatorship.”
The filing also cites what it calls “changed circumstances” that necessitate its immediate withdrawal, including that Bessemer “relied on the representations of the parties that the ongoing Conservatorship was voluntary, and that all parties, including the Conservatee, had consented to Petitioner acting as Co-Conservator of the Estate.”
Jeff Glowacki, a managing director at Bessemer Trust, said in a declaration attached to Bessemer’s filing that Spears’ lawyer, Sam Ingham, reached out to the Trust in August 2020 and invited it to be a co-conservator.
“I was contacted by Samuel D. Ing[h]am, III, the Court appointed counsel for [Spears], who inquired whether Bessemer would be interested in acting as Co-Conservator of the Estate,” Glowacki says. “I was told by the parties that the Conservatorship was an ongoing, voluntary Conservatorship and am aware that [Spears] had consented to Bessemer’s appointment.”
An exhibit attached to Bessemer’s application showing Spears’ signature on a filing nominating Bessemer to sever as conservator appears to confirm Glowacki’s understanding that Spears consented.
However, while Bessemer was appointed as co-conservator in November 2020, that was according to a minute order that wasn’t officially entered until Wednesday. The delay meant that Bessemer didn’t actually have the legal authority to act as co-conservators.
“From and after the November 10 hearing to the present date, Petitioner has been awaiting entry of the Court’s formal Order of appointment and issuance of Letters of Conservatorship,” the filing said. “Petitioner was just informed that the Court entered the Order on June 30, 2021.”
“Notwithstanding the foregoing, because Letters of Conservatorship have not been issued, Petitioner still has no legal authority to act as Co-Conservator,” Bessemer also said in the filing.
Bessemer also waived its right to “receive any fees and any reimbursement of its costs.”
There has been a flurry of legal activity in the days following Spears’ public statements about the conservatorship. In addition to Bessemer’s request to withdraw, Spears’ father, Jamie, who has been Britney’s conservator for most of the 13 years since the conservatorship began, filed a request for an investigation into Britney’s statements at the June 23, 2021 hearing.
In his filing, Jamie Spears seems to question whether Britney was telling the truth.
“Given the nature of the allegations and claims, it is critical that the Court confirm whether Ms. Spears’s testimony was accurate in order to determine what corrective actions, if any, need to be taken,” Spears said in his filing. “It is also imperative for the proper functioning of conservatorship proceedings before this Court that all parties be provided a full and fair opportunity to respond to allegations and claims asserted against them[.]”
Jamie Spears also opposed the request, filed by Ingham, Britney’s court-appointed attorney, to name Jodi Montgomery as the “Conservator of the Person,” a role Montgomery has temporarily held since September 2019.
Jamie Spears said that he does not believe the request reflects Britney’s wishes.
“Ms. Spears told the Court on June 23 that she opposed being under a conservatorship and revealed her ongoing disputes with Ms. Montgomery about her medical treatment and other personal care issues,” Jamie Spears said in the filing. “These statements contradict the notion that Ms. Spears would seek to have Ms. Montgomery appointed as her permanent Conservator of the Person.”
Montgomery’s lawyers issued a statement in Montgomery’s defense Wednesday, saying that she has been “a tireless advocate for Britney and for her well-being.”
“While she does not control Britney’s financial assets, she is responsible for her personal care, and if Britney wants any issue brought up to the Court, Ms. Montgomery is and has always been ready, willing, and able to do so,” the statement said. “From the very beginning of her appointment in September 2019, Ms. Montgomery and the medical team that she assembled have had one primary goal—to assist and encourage Britney in her path to no longer needing a conservatorship of the person.”
Judge Brenda Perry set the hearing for Ingham’s request to appoint Montgomery as conservator and Jamie Spears’ request for an investigation for July 14.
Bessemer’s ex parte request to resign as co-conservator will be heard Friday.
Read Bessemer’s request to withdraw below:
[Image via Valeri Macon/AFP via Getty Images]
Have a tip we should know? [email protected]