The chain of events that culminated this week with the installment of a financial guardian over Wendy Williams’ finances started with a simple request from the TV personality to check her bank statements, according to her attorney, La’Shawn Thomas. Williams, suspecting misconduct by her financial advisor, wanted to switch banks and needed her most recent statements to do so.
When Wells Fargo refused, it claimed in a petition for guardianship that Williams is an “incapacitated person.” The bank argued that she’s the “victim of undue influence and financial exploitation.”
A New York judge on Thursday appointed a guardian over Williams’ finances until July, Thomas said. A temporary guardian had been in place since March, when the judge agreed with Wells Fargo that one was necessary while the case is pending.
“Wendy doesn’t agree with a financial guardian being appointed,” Thomas told The Hollywood Reporter. “If it’s the court’s intention to have one appointed over her affairs for the long haul, she definitely isn’t going to accept that.”
In an affidavit to the New York Supreme Court, Williams stated that Wells Fargo improperly denied her access to her money, leading her to default or risk defaulting on several bills. She accused a Wells Fargo financial advisor of lying that she’s mentally unstable as a basis to lock her out of her accounts.
Despite the decision to terminate the advisor “as a result of her improper conduct in relation to my accounts, Wells Fargo continues to deny me access to my financial assets and statements,” the affidavit reads.
The case, which has been sealed, took a turn in March when Bernie Young, Williams’ former manager who was fired by the TV personality, moved to be placed as guardian for the court.
In a video posted to Instagram, Williams claimed Young improperly used her money, roughly $10,000, to hire a law firm to pursue guardianship over her.
Bernie Young Entertainment didn’t respond to a request for comment.
Thomas, who said her client is doing “really, really good” after receiving treatment for Graves’ disease and thyroid issues, suspects that “there’s something someone has done with [Williams’] money” and that the bank is “attempting to hide something.”
The bank declined to comment when contacted by THR.
Wells Fargo in 2020 agreed to pay a $3 billion fine to settle a civil lawsuit and criminal prosecution over fraudulently opening millions of savings and checking accounts without customers’ consent to meet sales quotas.
Addressing ongoing rumors about her mental and physical health on Good Morning America, Williams said in March that she’s “absolutely” of sound mind and will be ready to return to a set in three months. She claimed that people looking to take advantage of her are responsible for concerns of her competency.
“When people want control of [your] accounts, they say anything, including something crazy like that about me,” she said.
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