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A Look at Who Is Wendy Williams’ Financial Guardian

Lifetime premiered a documentary last month titled “Where is Wendy Williams?,” produced by the family of the former daytime talk show host. In the documentary, the family suggest that due to the terms of the guardianship, they have been been blocked from making direct contact with her, Deadline reported.

Wendy Williams
NEW YORK, NY – FEBRUARY 27: Wendy Williams is seen walking in SoHo on February 27, 2020 in New York City. (Photo by Raymond Hall/GC Images)

While neither the Williams nor the Hunter family has taken legal action accusing anyone of wrongdoing in this guardianship capacity, and no evidence of misconduct has been found by the bank involved, a lawsuit filed in 2022 and dismissed in 2023 by a different family has put a spotlight on the guardian, Sabrina Morrissey and her firm, Morrissey & Morrissey LLP.

Morrissey, a New York City-based attorney from Carrollton, Georgia, born on October 3, 1964, was appointed by the court as Wendy Williams’ legal financial guardian on Dec. 8, 2022. She runs her own law firm in Manhattan, specializing in guardianships, estate administration, and elder abuse cases, according to her bio on her firm’s website.

Why was Morrissey Under Scrutiny?

Morrissey’s law firm was sued for $30 million in punitive damages from a former client. The lawsuit alleged that Morrissey was appointed as Jose Verdugo’s guardian from Jan. 19, 2010, until Oct. 7, 2015.

The claim, reported by The U.S. Sun, had been filed by attorney Michael Flomenhaft of The Flomenhaft Lawfirm in November 2022. The suit accused Morrissey and her firm of conspiring to “perpetuate a baseless guardianship” over Verdugo after he won $5.5 million in a personal injury claim.

The lawsuit named Morrissey, her firm Morrissey & Morrissey LLP, and around 10 other attorneys as defendants.

The lawsuit detailed a decade-long battle by Verdugo’s daughter to terminate the conservatorship and multiple doctors affirming his cognitive abilities, according to the U.S. Sun.

Flomenhaft argued that his former client was “imprisoned … in a humiliating and oppressive guardianship by manipulating and serially deceiving him.”

But ultimately, the lawsuit was voluntarily dismissed by the plaintiff in August 2023. This means that the lawsuit was discontinued without prejudice, allowing the plaintiff, Flomenhaft, the option to re-file charges, alter the claim, or bring the case to another court, depending on the statute of limitations.

As of now, there is no indication of any ongoing legal proceedings related to this specific lawsuit.

Morrissey and the Williams Guardianship

In 2022, Wells Fargo froze Williams’ accounts, stopping her and her family from accessing her money. The financial institution then filed to have her placed under guardianship with Morrissey, who was supposed to oversee the media mogul’s millions. The courts agreed.

Wells Fargo defended freezing her accounts, citing authority to halt transactions amid suspicions of financial exploitation, dementia, or undue influence, pending legal or administrative resolution.

The new documentary has confirmed the star’s dementia, though producers contend they did not know about her mental state before filming.

Days before the airing of the documentary, Williams’ care team announced to the world that she was diagnosed with progressive aphasia and frontotemporal dementia (FTD), suggesting with her condition, she needs guardianship more than ever.

Morrissey Suing Lifetime

Last month a New York judge ruled in favor of Lifetime’s release of its documentary despite a lawsuit filed against A&E Television Networks by Morrissey in an attempt to halt its premiere.

Morrissey filed the lawsuit under seal against the network in New York County Supreme Court. The case, confirmed by USA Today, asserts Morrissey’s role as “Temporary Guardian of W.W.H.,” presumably referring to Wendy Williams Hunter, the host’s legal name from her marriage to ex-husband Kevin Hunter. Entertainment One Reality Productions, the documentary’s producer, was also named as a defendant in the lawsuit.

An appellate judge, reviewing a petition to block the documentary’s release, signed an order stating that such an action would violate the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, constituting an impermissible prior restraint on speech.

The ruling paved the way for Lifetime’s broadcast of “Where is Wendy Williams?,” a two-night documentary featuring footage of the former talk show host and interviews.

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