Captiva artist Robert Rauschenberg left his $600 million estate in the hands of three friends, including another artist, but now these trustees are suing to collect millions they say they’re owed.
Darryl Pottorf, himself an artist and one of Rauschenberg’s closest friends, inherited Rauschenberg’s $3 million Captiva home upon the artist’s death in 2008. He also was named executor of Rauschenberg’s will and a trustee, charged with ensuring his late friend’s money and charitable foundation would run as planned.
Pottorf and two other trustees — Bill Goldston, who met Rauschenberg in 1969 and partnered with him for a fine-art-print publishing company, and Bennet Grutman, Rauschenberg’s accountant since 1989 — are seeking $60 million for what they call “extraordinary services” they’ve provided to Rauschenberg’s legacy, according to court documents.
A court hearing is planned Monday morning in Lee in regard to the Robert Rauschenberg Foundation’s request for a protective order and to discuss fees sought by trustees.
The court battle began in Lee County in 2011, when the trio filed the lawsuit against the foundation. It has been a contentious back-and-forth between the groups, trading jabs over competency of the trustees, allegations of harassment and whether Rauschenberg actually meant for the three men to pocket millions meant for his charitable efforts.
Pottorf, who would not comment to The News-Press for this article, also filed paperwork Wednesday in a New York court, seeking additional money for handling Rauschenberg’s Manhattan property, which includes the gallery and studio where the foundation is housed, and a Mount Vernon, N.Y., property that houses some of Rauschenberg’s art.
Court documents show Pottorf, Goldston and Grutman have paid themselves $5.7 million from the trust, divided evenly at $1.9 million.
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Artist Robert Rauschenberg’s foundation, trustees in court fight Monday over money