Thursday, February 20, 2014


The Myth of Rosemary LaBianca’s $2Million Estate Concludes.

First, full disclosure and credit: 
I do not have the technology readily available to post the documents I have specifically referrred to, however I am grateful that they can be found by visiting the Truth on Tate/LaBianca website at:

Some of the information from Leno’s estate will be repeated here, because they certainly have a bearing on Rosemary’s estate because of “Community Property” issues and such….but let’s review the argument I am making:

All the documents I can find support my contention that the $2 million estate never existed in the first place.  And I can find no evidence whatsoever that discounts my contention.  If anyone has solid evidence to prove me wrong, I welcome it.  At least then, we would know there is something there. Until then, again I state, that I am absolutely serious when I say-- It may all have come down to a clerk’s mistake in the paperwork, or in a reporter’s interpretation of the paperwork.  Or, if that figure was ever actually said aloud in court, it was only ever a hastily drawn estimate done by Suzan Struthers and her attorney, and they ultimately were mistaken.

Remember Suzan is the first to file in court, on August 21st, only 11 days after her mother’s murder, and is appointed Special Administratrix of Rosemary’s Estate.  It is somehow out of these proceedings (which are reported on, in what passed for the mass-media in 1969), that the $2 Million figure is first bandied about... and this one newspaper article has served as the sole source for all others who quote it... whether it be Vincent Bugliosi and Curt Gentry, that Fug Ed Sanders, or 21st century bloggers like us.

What’s more, is Suzan may have surely been aware right from the start, that Rosemary’s Estate was not worth that much, because she posted a bond for only $60,000 which she acquired for the cost of $228.00 (from an insurance office in Watertown, NY of all places), where I happened to spend a week one afternoon in the 70s.  The significance of that bond, and its amount, will be discussed later.

Per this court proceeding, notice was given to Leno’s now 21 year old daughter, Cory, and the oft-mentioned ex-wife Alice, because she was the legal guardian of Leno’s two other children who were not yet of age.

We’ve already dealt with Leno’s Estate selling of the Waverly house in the earlier post.  That proceeding has no bearing on Rosemary’s Estate.

Discussed also was Ray Norwood’s (Gateway) claim against Rosemary’s Estate under community property provisions for $119,128.14.  This is a duplicate claim from Leno’s Estate as well.

Summit Finance did also sue Rosemary’s Estate for $369,596.00 and $16,350.00 plus interest and attorney’s fees under the same community property premise.

What’s so maddening about all this, is that we never seem to be able to find how these claims were eventually adjudicated and disposed of.  Although, we can surmise that it didn’t end very well, because we know the LaBiancas lost their business to creditors... both because of Alice’s book, and also by the parole testimonies over the years by other family members.  Plus, Gateway was sold-off to another grocery company.  Knowing the name of that company would be helpful as well, because I have often heard rumors…

But anyway, Rosemary’s Estate lingered on in litigation until almost the mid-1970s.  In March of 1971, Suzan had to give notice of a change in her attorneys, and her filing claims she sent notice to the Summit Finance Corporation, the Bank of America in LA, Cory LaBianca’s attorneys, and the company from which she purchased the bond mentioned earlier.  This means all these parties still had an interest in the estate.

And, in what may be confirmation of the “Frank Struthers Sr. accuses Suzan of ripping off her half-brother Frank, Jr.” school of thought:  
On May 3, 1973, Frank Sr. files a request for special notice as guardian of Frank Jr., so that he receives notice of “the filing of all petitions, accounts, and reports in said estate…”  In 1973?  Almost four years after the murders. Makes me wonder what transpired between Suzan and her brother and them all over that time period.

So both Franks were sure to be privy to inventory and appraisement of Rosemary’s Estate which was filed by Suzan Struthers on March 5, 1974, which placed it at a value of $70,075.58.  To be able to do this, Suzan again had to post a bond, this time in the amount of $20,000.00.  This inventory is divided into separate property, Rosemary’s only, which amounts to $35,923.38 and includes costume jewelry and a diamond ring, and interestingly enough, a ten percent interest in a coin collection?  Rosemary also owned the boat and trailer too.  What was worth the most apparently were her shares in the State Wholesale Grocery Company, which was Gateway, most of which were class b or non-voting shares, but $11,000 of it were class A voting shares.  Interesting.  Not sure if these shares were hers alone, or if it’s possible that Rosemary ‘inherited’ these shares, so to speak, if it was determined that Leno died first and in the absence of a valid will?  The law is indeed a complicated thing. 

The Joint Tenancy property is valued at $34,152.20 and is very interesting. Rosemary is credited with only half of what it’s all worth... the rest presumably belonging to Leno’s Estate.  This includes two pieces of property which have been foreclosed, a General Motors rebate of around $20 and a gas company rebate of around $12.  $10 and $6 for Rosemary’s part respectively.  What strikes me right off the bat, is that what’s listed as “Joint Tenancy Property” is essentially worthless, just a few hundred dollars really, and this may be what the creditors may ultimately be able to get their hands on.  The BIG money, for what that’s all worth, is clearly labeled as Rosemary’s alone, and may be unreachable as far as the creditors go.  The combined shares worth around $28,000 and a Gateway profit sharing plan worth around $4,000.  Here again, I mention the boat and the trailer which was appraised at just over $1000 because, well, it would be fun to own a boat and a trailer wouldn’t it?  Especially if you’re young.  Like Suzan was.  Frank, Jr. too.

So that’s it.  That’s the list. 

Whatever became of Rosemary’s Dress Shop?  I have no idea except that it’s never mentioned in any of the documents.  If it happened to be located at 2279-83 Glendale Blvd (Which Leno bought alone according to the police) or 3937 and 3937 ½ Revere Avenue, those are the two properties foreclosed.  If she had a business partner, and apparently she did, (Ruth Sivick who is the one who took care of the dogs on Waverly at about 6pm on Saturday, August 10th while they were away)... what was the nature of their partnership?  Did it exist on paper?  Was it a legal partnership?  Or was it more like Lennon-McCartney and/or the kind that exists to this day between Frankie Valli and Bob Guadio which is still on the basis of a handshake from 1963 or so.

At any rate, perhaps the partner inherited the business and whatever became of it, as by the time she testifies at the trial, Mrs. Sivick claims that by herself she owns SPORTY KNIT and was a partner with Rosemary in her previous business which was BOUTIQUE CARRIAGE located on Figueroa, which is the same street as one of the Gateways, and I’ve heard that it may have been located in the same exact plaza as the Gateway itself.

So, whatever.

But what seals the deal for me, and what I believe to be the best evidence which exists disproving a $2Million Estate, comes from the existence of the Probate Bonds, and how much they were for.

To review, from the earlier post:  
"A probate bond is a monetary amount rendered in order to insure that estate proceedings are processed legally and fairly as well as honestly.  Some states require the executor of an estate to post a probate bond when the estate holder dies as part of the distribution process.  It protects beneficiaries basically.  But the amount also indicates what the estate is probably worth."

The records show that Suzan posted two bonds... one for $60,000 in August of 1969 (when she first petitioned to be named Administratrix of her murdered mother’s estate)... and one for $20,000 in March of 1974 (when that estate was inventoried and appraised).

Here’s where we need a legal historian to weigh in... or even perhaps, a disbarred lawyer from Long Island, if anybody out there happens to know one who may just be a Hoya too: 
In today’s market, from what I can gather from bing and Google and my own personal connections, a Probate Bond typically must be worth twice the amount of the personal property in the estate, except for real estate unless the heirs are going to sell the property.  Twice as much!  Is this a new thing?  Newer than 1969?  Again, in my non-lawyerly mind, it certainly seems to indicate that the $2 Million was never ever more than a myth.  Sixty Grand represents just 3% of two million bucks.  Twenty Grand only 1% (math even I can do!).

Common sense tells me that even in 1969 California; these numbers wouldn’t have been deemed sufficient, with so much more at stake.  Unless proven otherwise, I say we put this matter to rest once and for all, especially for fodder about the true motive for these awful murders.

Until then, sorry, but there is no more to come.


MrPoirot said...

I think you are right Starship: it was just a rumor with no basis in fact.
Be careful about believing everything you read in the news.
I doubt any of the Labianca or Struther kids got a dime from either parent's estate.
It is also interesting that Suzan Struthers struggled for half a decade with her mother's will and estate yet still wentto bat for Tex Watson at a parole hearing years later.

katie8753 said...

Thanks Starship. I agree with you, I doubt that Rosemary had $2 Mil.

As far as the boat and trailer go, they had liens on them, so no matter whose name they were in, Suzanne didn't get to go happily trolling until those leins were paid off.

Speaking of Suzanne...that's some shady character. I still think she was involved in these murders. Running to court a few days after her mother is brutally ripped up to hopefully live happily ever after on her money? Sounds like the Menendez Brothers. And then speaking at Tex's hearing to release him? Unheard of...

I'm wondering how Suzanne came up with the money for bonds and attorney fees. She was a freakin' waitress.

I'm not lawyer, and don't know everything about community property laws, but from what I've read, community property applies not only to assets, but to debts as well. I'm not sure where they're getting all this "his" and "hers" stuff. Even if Rosemary inherited from Leno because he died first, she was still his wife at the time of death, so wouldn't his debts still be hers?????

katie8753 said...

I'm not "A" lawyer. LOL.

Patty is Dead said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
louis365 said...

Manson told Brunner she was smart - hooked for life. He told Kren she was beautiful - hooked for life. He read Red's mind and knew her parents had kcked her out - she thought he was a genius - hooked for life. I wonder what he told Blue?

MrPoirot said...

Didn't he tell Blue that to become free she had to rid herself of daddy's money?

Maybe that as later on after he had her hooked.
Did Blue have that decisive moment where she fell under Charlie's spell? She probably did.

katie8753 said...

He read Red's mind and knew her parents had kicked her out

Louis that's easy reading. She's sitting on the curb bawling, it doesn't take a whole lotta smarts to figure that out.

As far as Krenwinkle goes, that was a no brainer. The girl was butt-ugly...why not tell her she's beautiful?

And Brunner. You can't even say she's beautiful, it's against nature. So go for "smart".

Red...Blue...Get outta here!

LynyrdSkynyrdBand said...

Good to see you Bob!

Louis... Thanks for stopping-in.

LynyrdSkynyrdBand said...

I was considering attending... but unfortunately, it was cancelled.

MrPoirot said...

Vince moved it to Marci, New York.

starship said...

That's Marcy, NY

Thanks, Bobby

Dilligaf said...

Wow, in rereading this, I just caught the Harry Chaplin reference. Nice.....