Simpson Executor Wants Goldmans to Receive 'Zero'

Families of Nicole Brown, Ron Goldman won $33.5 million years ago
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Apr 12, 2024 1:47 PM CDT
Updated Apr 13, 2024 1:50 PM CDT
Goldman, Brown Families Might Finally Get Paid
In this Oct. 3, 1995, file photo, OJ Simpson reacts as he is found not guilty in the death of his ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend Ron Goldman in Los Angeles.   (Myung J. Chun/Los Angeles Daily News via AP, Pool, File)
UPDATE Apr 13, 2024 1:50 PM CDT

The executor of OJ Simpson's estate said he wants the families of Nicole Brown Simpson and Ron Goldman to receive none of the $33.5 million they were awarded decades ago. Malcolm LaVergne singled out the Goldman family in comments to the Las Vegas Review-Journal on Friday. "It's my hope that the Goldmans get zero, nothing," LaVergne said, adding, "I will do everything in my capacity as the executor or personal representative to try and ensure that they get nothing." A court filing Friday names him as executor. LaVergne said his animosity toward the Goldmans springs from the family's successful effort to retitle a book Simpson planned to write If I Did It: Confessions of the Killer, per the AP. LaVergne maintains that though the families were awarded the judgment, there was never a court order issued to force Simpson, who died Wednesday, to pay it.

Apr 12, 2024 1:47 PM CDT

OJ Simpson died Thursday without having paid the lion's share of the $33.5 million judgment a California civil jury awarded to the families of his ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend Ron Goldman, the AP reports. Acquitted at a criminal trial, Simpson was found liable by jurors in a 1997 wrongful death lawsuit. The public is now likely to get a closer look at Simpson's finances, and the families are likely to have a better shot at collecting—if there is anything to collect. Whether or not he left behind a will, and whatever that document says, Simpson's assets will now almost certainly have to go through the probate process in court before his four children or other intended heirs can collect on anything.

Different states have different probate laws. Generally, the case is filed in the state where the person was living when they died. In Simpson's case that's Nevada. But if significant assets are in California or Florida, where he also lived at various times, separate cases could emerge there. Nevada law says an estate must go through the courts if its assets exceed $20,000, or if any real estate is involved, and this must be done within 30 days of the death. If a family fails to file documents, creditors themselves can begin the process. Once the case is in court, creditors who say they are owed money can then seek some of the assets. The Goldman and Brown families will be on at least equal footing with other creditors, and will probably have an even stronger claim.

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Under California law, creditors holding a judgment lien like the plaintiffs in the wrongful death case are deemed to have secured debt, and have priority over creditors with unsecured debt. And they are in a better position to get paid than they were before the defendant's death. But that doesn't mean payment will be forthcoming. Simpson said he lived only on his NFL and private pensions. Hundreds of valuable possessions were seized as part of the jury award, and Simpson was forced to auction his Heisman Trophy, fetching $230,000. Goldman's father Fred Goldman, the lead plaintiff, always said the issue was never the money, it was only about holding Simpson responsible. And he said Thursday that with Simpson's death, "the hope for true accountability has ended." (More OJ Simpson stories.)

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