September 23, 2023

By Tim Arango and Shawn Hubler | New York Occasions

For years, Senator Dianne Feinstein of California has been engaged in an extended and painful public drama about her well being and skill to do her job, as she winds down a storied profession as a lawmaker and a former mayor of San Francisco.

Now, Feinstein can also be navigating an more and more bitter authorized and monetary battle that pits her and her daughter, Katherine Feinstein, in opposition to the three daughters of her late husband Richard C. Blum, who was a rich financier.

In a single authorized dispute, the household is preventing over what’s described as Feinstein’s need to promote a seashore home in an unique neighborhood in Stinson Seaside, north of San Francisco. In one other disagreement, the 2 factions are at odds over entry to the proceeds of Blum’s life insurance coverage, which Feinstein says she must pay for her rising medical bills.

For these near Feinstein, the wrestle over Blum’s property has exacerbated a latest and regrettable chapter that has marred the twilight of an extended and profitable public life and that has raised issues about her means to handle her personal affairs.

“The monetary battle is one other factor that makes the tip of her profession unhappy to individuals who have recognized her within the excessive factors of her profession,” mentioned Jerry Roberts, creator of the biography “Dianne Feinstein: By no means Let Them See You Cry.” It was printed in 1994, two years after she was elected to the Senate.

Raised in affluence, Feinstein has lengthy been among the many wealthiest members of Congress. She was wealthy in her personal proper in 1980 when she married Blum. After she entered the Senate, she positioned securities right into a blind belief that’s valued at between $5 million and $25 million, in response to her most up-to-date monetary disclosure required of lawmakers.

Mixed, the couple’s fortunes flourished to an extent that eclipsed even the senator’s prior lifestyle. Her principal residence is a 9,500-square-foot mansion within the upscale San Francisco neighborhood of Pacific Heights. Their trip properties, till just lately, included the 36-acre Bear Paw Ranch in Aspen, Colo., which bought in March for greater than $25 million, and a seven-bedroom Lake Tahoe compound that bought in late 2021 for a reported $36 million. Present holdings embrace a property on the Hawaii island of Kauai and a house in Washington, D.C.

Throughout his lifetime, Blum, Feinstein’s third husband and a non-public fairness magnate, was typically referred to in public accounts as a billionaire. Nevertheless, folks acquainted with the household’s funds dispute that characterization and say that Blum’s wealth was lower than some heirs had anticipated. Blum’s associates mentioned that the pandemic reduce deeply into his investments, notably his in depth holdings in inns.

Feinstein, 90 and in her sixth time period within the Senate, has lengthy been in frail well being with rising reminiscence and cognition points. When she returned to work earlier this 12 months after a monthslong absence due to shingles and numerous problems, her additional decline shocked colleagues. She has relied on a cadre of aides to be able to operate within the Senate, whilst she has resisted calls to relinquish her seat earlier than her time period expires after subsequent 12 months’s election.

Katherine Feinstein, 66, Sen. Feinstein’s solely youngster, who has energy of lawyer over her mom’s authorized affairs, filed two lawsuits in opposition to Feinstein’s co-trustees. The primary lawsuit, over the seashore home, says the property is in disrepair, that Senator Feinstein not needs to make use of it, and that she desires to promote it this summer season or fall.

Earlier in her profession, the seashore home supplied a particular refuge from the rough-and-tumble world of politics, and he or she retreated there after shedding the 1990 race for governor of California. The three-bedroom house dealing with Bolinas Lagoon occupies almost a half-acre of sand in a gated group whose residents over time have ranged from old-money San Franciscans and hippie artists to celebrities just like the novelist Danielle Metal and members of The Grateful Useless. In Might, a home of comparable measurement in the identical group bought for greater than $6 million.

The swimsuit additionally accused Blum’s daughters of in search of to make use of the seashore home at Feinstein’s expense and to restrict her means to dump elements of the belief to be able to enhance the worth of their inheritance after Senator Feinstein’s loss of life.

The second lawsuit, which challenges whether or not the trustees had been correctly appointed, issues Blum’s life insurance coverage proceeds and claims that the funds, that are alleged to be disbursed by means of a belief, have been held again by the trustees. The swimsuit says that Feinstein has “incurred vital medical bills” and that regardless of Blum’s “intent to assist his partner after his loss of life, the purported trustees have refused to make distributions to reimburse Senator Feinstein’s medical bills.”

In response, a Bay Space lawyer representing the 2 trustees — Michael R. Klein, a longtime lawyer for Mr. Blum, and Marc T. Scholvinck, who was chief monetary officer of Mr. Blum’s personal fairness agency — mentioned the 2 had by no means refused to pay any cash to Senator Feinstein. The lawyer, Steven P. Braccini, additionally recommended that Katherine Feinstein, a former Superior Courtroom decide in San Francisco who’s now on the town’s hearth fee, was appearing out of private pursuits and never out of these of her mom.

“My shoppers are perplexed by this submitting,” Braccini mentioned in a press release. “Richard Blum’s belief has by no means denied any disbursement to Senator Feinstein, not to mention for medical bills.”

Katherine Feinstein didn’t reply to requests for remark.

The assertion mentioned that the trustees haven’t been supplied with documentation exhibiting that Katherine Feinstein had been appointed energy of lawyer. And, in an obvious try to boost questions on Sen. Feinstein’s capability to signify her personal pursuits within the lawsuit, it mentioned: “Nor has Katherine made it clear, both on this submitting or on to my shoppers, why a sitting United States senator would require somebody to have energy of lawyer over her.”

The assertion went on: “Whereas my shoppers are deeply involved, all of us stay hopeful that that is merely a misunderstanding that may be rapidly resolved, somewhat than a stepdaughter partaking in some type of misguided try to realize management over belief belongings to which she is just not entitled.”

Regardless of the household’s wealth, associates mentioned, there was some nervousness over the distribution of belongings and issues from the senator and her daughter about the price of the in depth house care that Senator Feinstein has required, which might not be coated by insurance coverage.

When she was homebound in San Francisco recovering from shingles, housekeepers and residential well being aides cared for Senator Feinstein full time below her daughter’s oversight, in response to greater than a half dozen household associates and advisers who requested to stay nameless as a result of they weren’t licensed to publicly focus on the senator’s household affairs.

When she returned to work earlier this 12 months, a longstanding well being aide accompanied Senator Feinstein to Washington, two associates mentioned. The senator’s daughter and son-in-law have helped her handle her private funds for a few years, the chums added.