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Kinkade estate dispute to remain public for now
SAN JOSE, CALIF. (AP) - Hearings in the dispute between Thomas Kinkade’s widow and girlfriend over the late artist’s $66 million estate will not be conducted behind closed doors _ at least for now, a judge ruled on Monday.
At the center of the dispute are handwritten notes that Thomas Kinkade’s girlfriend, Amy Pinto-Walsh, says bequeath her his mansion in Monte Sereno and $10 million to establish a museum of his paintings. She was living with Kinkade and found his body when he died in April.
Nanette Kinkade, Kinkade’s wife of 30 years, disputes those claims and is seeking full control of the estate. She and Kinkade were legally separated when Kinkade, 54, died of an accidental alcohol and Valium overdose.
“We’re pleased that (the judge) is going to keep this matter in the probate court,” Sonia Agee, Pinto-Walsh’s attorney, told KGO-TV outside court. “We think it’s the right place for it not only for Ms. Pinto, but also for the public interest.”
The case was continued until Aug. 13.
“She wants to keep things as private as she can for herself, her family, her girls, and that’s what Thom wanted,” Dan Casas, the attorney who appeared on behalf of Nanette Kinkade, told KGO-TV.
Kinkade, the self-described “Painter of Light,” was known for sentimental scenes of country gardens and pastoral landscapes. His work led to a commercial empire of franchised galleries, reproduced artwork and spin-off products that was said to fetch some $100 million each year in sales.
In recent years, however, he had run into personal difficulties, including a 2010 bankruptcy filing by one of his companies and an arrest on suspicion of driving under the influence that same year outside Carmel.
Nanette Kinkade has painted Pinto-Walsh in court papers as a gold-digger who is trying to cheat the artist’s rightful heirs. After Kinkade’s death, she obtained a restraining order prohibiting the other woman from talking publicly about the artist. That confidentiality agreement is also the subject of the court proceedings.
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