Paul Newman’s daughters sue the late actor’s charitable foundation

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Paul Newman donates a popcorn stand to New York City on November 15, 1984, for his ‘Newman’s Own Popcorn’, with proceeds being donated to charity.Richard Drew/The Associated Press

A new lawsuit has exposed a deep rift between two of Paul Newman’s daughters and the late actor’s charitable foundation funded by profits from Newman’s Own food and drink line.

The daughters, Susan Kendall Newman and Nell Newman, allege that Newman’s Own Foundation has improperly cut their mandatory contributions to their own charities from US$400,000 each to US$200,000 each.

They filed a lawsuit Tuesday in state court in Stamford, Connecticut, seeking $1.6 million in damages to be donated to their foundations for charitable giving.

The daughters say their father, who started Newman’s Own Foundation three years before he died in 2008, allowed the foundation to use his name and likeness, but only under several conditions, including giving each of the foundations of Newman’s two daughters $400,000 a year.

Susan Kendall Newman, who lives in Oregon, and Nell Newman, of California, fear the foundation is setting the stage to remove them entirely from having a say in how some of the proceeds from Newman’s Own products are donated to charity. They also accused the foundation of “contradicting” their father’s wishes and intentions for years.

“No one should have to feel that the legacy of a deceased loved one is being dishonored in the way that Newman’s Own Foundation has ignored Paul Newman’s daughters,” Andy Lee, attorney for the City of Newman daughters, said in a statement. New York. .

“This lawsuit does not seek personal compensation for Mr. Newman’s daughters, but merely seeks to retain [Newman’s Own Foundation] hold the charities they have defrauded accountable in recent years and would ensure they receive a higher level of support in the future, in accordance with Mr Newman’s wishes,” he said.

Newman’s Own Foundation has not yet filed a response to the lawsuit in court, but has issued a statement.

“Best practices around philanthropic organizations do not allow the establishment of perpetual fund allocations for anyone, including Nell and Susan Newman,” the statement says. “A meritless lawsuit based on this flawed desire would only siphon money away from those who benefit from Paul Newman’s largesse.”

Susan Newman, left, and Nell Newman arrive at the SeriousFun Children’s Network event at the Dolby Theater in Los Angeles on May 14, 2015.Chris Pizzello/The Associated Press

The foundation added, “While we hope to continue to solicit recommendations from the Newman family for worthy organizations, our funding decisions are made each year and will continue to reflect Paul Newman’s clear purpose and our responsibility to best practices governing private foundations.”

Paul Newman, who lived in Westport, Connecticut, with his wife, actress Joanne Woodward, created the Newman’s Own brand in 1982, with all proceeds going to charity. Today, the product line includes frozen pizza, salsa, salad dressings, and pasta sauces, as well as dog food and pet treats.

In his will, Paul Newman left his assets to his wife and Newman’s Own Foundation.

Newman’s Own, the product company, is a subsidiary of the Newman’s Own Foundation, a non-profit organization. The foundation says more than $570 million has been donated to thousands of charities since 1982.

According to 2020 tax records, the foundation had more than $24 million in revenue and paid out $11.5 million in contributions, gifts, and grants. Operating and administrative expenses totaled about US$4.5 million.

According to his daughters’ lawsuit, Newman’s Own Foundation wrote to them just four days after their father’s death, telling them it would reserve the right to stop allocating funds to charities identified by the daughters. The lawsuit says he contradicted Paul Newman’s explicit instructions to the foundation.

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