ST. LOUIS – The daughter of outspoken conservative activist Phyllis Schlafly alleges in a new lawsuit that several of her brothers effectively diminished her inheritance by influencing their mother to amend a family trust before her death.
The amendment means all legal bills in ongoing litigation between the siblings will come out of Anne Schlafly Cori's share of the inheritance, according to the suit filed week in St. Louis County Circuit Court. Schlafly, who was 92 when she died in September, helped defeat the Equal Rights Amendment in the 1970s and founded the Eagle Forum political group.
One of her sons, Andrew Schlafly, described the most recent lawsuit as "frivolous," the St. Louis Post-Dispatch (http://bit.ly/2nVeO4l ) reports. The New Jersey lawyer said in a statement Wednesday that Cori has "caused the waste of more than $1 million in legal fees, and she wants someone else to bear those massive costs."
The siblings and others were already entangled in litigation stemming from a fight over Phyllis Schlafly's political legacy. That fight came to a head last year, when the siblings split over support for Trump in the Republican primary. Phyllis Schlafly publicly backed Trump, a position at odds with Cori and other board members of the Eagle Forum, Schlafly's Alton-based conservative think tank.
Those board members worried that the aging Schlafly was being influenced by long-time Missouri politico Ed Martin, an enthusiastic Trump supporter whom Schlafly had brought in as the Eagle Forum's president.
The board attempted to fire Martin last April based on what members said were management issues, a move Martin has contested in still-pending litigation. The board's actions "infuriated" Cori's brothers, John, Bruce and Andrew Schlafly, according to Cori's suit.
Several lawsuits followed between Cori and her allies on the board on one side, and Martin and the Schlafly brothers who support him on the other.
The suit said the changes to the trust, which Cori only learned about after her mother had died, were designed to get her to "abandon her efforts" in the separate litigation. That's because Cori's inheritance was earmarked to go toward paying for litigation against her, the suit said.