Published May 30, 2019
Tom Petty‘s family is at war after his eldest daughter, Adria, allegedly planned to cash in on her late father’s edgy legacy by “selling out” and creating a Paul Newman-style range of Tom Petty salad dressings and other cheesy supermarket products, according to court docs.
Tensions boiled over when the plan by Adria – Petty’s eldest daughter from his first wife, Jane – was blocked by the rocker’s widow, Dana Petty, his wife of 10 years until his death, who argued the rock ‘n’ roll legend’s fans would be disgusted by such a “sad perversion of Tom’s legacy.”
Dana states in an explosive new legal filing, exclusively seen by Page Six, “Adria wanted to authorize Tom’s name and likeness to be used to promote products akin to Paul Newman, whose face adorns bottles of salad dressing and so on.
“But Tom would never have permitted such a thing, he never ‘sold out’ while he was alive and refused to do any such thing despite numerous opportunities. Dana is certain Tom’s fans would also find it a sad perversion of Tom’s legacy.”
Meanwhile Adria, a 44-year-old New York-based director, writer and artist, has alleged in probate court that Dana has been “misappropriating” money from Tom’s estate and intellectual property for her own gain – a claim that Dana strongly denies, claiming Adria is “unhinged.”
After Tom died in 2017 from an accidental overdose, aged 66, his two daughters from his first marriage, Adria and Annakim, were given equal management votes over his estate with his widow Dana. But relations quickly turned into a heartbreaker when the daughters began battling Dana for control of the estate.
A few weeks ago, Adria filed a petition in Los Angeles probate court seeking to wrest control of Tom’s music catalogue, said to be worth hundreds of millions of dollars.
Dana, who married Tom in 2001, argues she is the sole trustee of her late husband’s trust and wishes to appoint a professional manager to run the Petty operation who would seek consent on major decisions from all three women.
Now Dana has just filed new legal paperwork in LA lifting the lid on just how ugly things have become over every single aspect of Tom’s legacy, his music, his merchandising and even his album artwork.
She includes “abusive” text messages allegedly sent to her by Adria regarding the cover design for the 4-CD box set of Tom’s work titled “An American Treasure.” After Dana suggested an alternative cover, Adria fired back, “It looks like a redneck joke to me…. don’t come in and f–k things up that I’ve been working on for months.”
Adria allegedly continued to rant at Dana by text, according to the suit, “You have no compassion for how much this project is my tribute to him. You have allowed me no other way to grieve… you are acting like a jerk in front of my friends and undermining me… You are a very selfish and unkind woman. We can make this legal if you want. Say the word.”
After the Petty sisters allegedly refused Dana’s attempts to work together, Petty’s widow is now asking the judge to have Adria and her sister removed from the Petty trust, stating, “Dana cannot allow Daughters to continue down this path of destroying everything their father was about,” adding that their behavior has been “reprehensible and unthinkable” by threatening “to sue everyone close” to their late father to “intimidate” and take control of his affairs.
Tom’s daughters have “responded with abuse, threats and lawsuits… Adria’s foul behavior… has caused enormous damage to many of Tom’s professional relationships,” Dana’s suit adds.
Dana’s attorney Adam Streisand said, “Dana Petty would have done almost anything to avoid all of this. Over the past weeks and months, however, the behavior of her stepdaughters Adria and Annakim has gone from unconscionable to unhinged – and it needs to be stopped.
“Tom Petty entrusted his wife Dana to choose how all three women could work together to carry on Tom’s legacy. But Adria and Annakim thought they could bully Dana and cast her aside. In the process, they’ve threatened, maligned and sued the people Tom worked closely with for decades.
“Her loyalty to her husband and the people he loved and trusted gave her the strength to fight, not only for herself, but for the whole Tom Petty and Heartbreakers family.”
Alex Weingarten, the lawyer for Adria and Annakim Petty said the allegations in Dana’s new court filing are “completely false”: and an attempt to divert attention from the fact that she has not yet set up a company or an entity to manage Tom’s intellectual property and music catalogue following his death, which as trustee of his estate Dana is required to do.
He insisted that the Petty daughters were fighting to do the right thing for their father, alleging that it is Dana who is difficult and is attempting to take full control of the Petty estate.
Weingarten said, “Dana and her lawyer are basing their case on smoke and mirrors. Every claim they make is demonstrably false.
“Adria and Annakim are laser-focused on one thing – honoring and protecting their father’s legacy and enforcing the terms of his trust, as written.”
This article originally appeared on Page Six.