The Artist’s Caretaker: Once He Controlled Everything. No More.


Luke Nikas, a lawyer for Morgan, said Mr. Indiana had approved the arrangement as a means of paying Mr. Salama-Caro, who drew no salary from Morgan.

The Morgan company has, in turn, accused Mr. Brannan of mismanaging the artist’s estate by selling artworks worth millions to pay legal fees. Mr. Brannan spent more than $3 million in legal fees to outside lawyers in the first year and a half following Mr. Indiana’s death and took $550,000 in fees and expenses for his work representing the estate.

“I have great lawyers, and great lawyers charge,” Mr. Brannan said.

One of the newer disputes concerns Mr. Indiana’s will, signed at the Star of Hope in May 2016.

Ms. Desmond, who witnessed the signing, said she spoke to Mr. Indiana that day and that he told her he wanted Mr. Thomas to run the museum.

“All I saw between the two of them was love and tenderness and kindness,” she said.

But Ronald D. Spencer, a New York lawyer who represented Mr. Indiana for nearly 10 years and was the co-executor of an earlier will, and the artist’s former publicist, Kathleen Rogers, have asked the Maine attorney general’s office to review whether the 2016 will is the product of undue influence.

Mr. Spencer said Mr. Indiana was too isolated in his last years, cut off from established associates and friends. Over a period of years, Mr. Spencer said, he was unable to contact his client in person, or by email or telephone. During that time, a will Mr. Indiana had signed in 2013, which named Mr. Spencer as an executor charged with creating the Indiana foundation, was scuttled.

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