The lawyer representing Gary Coleman’s ex-girlfriend has quit the case in order to turn star witness in a move that could explode the two-way battle for control over the late actor’s affairs.
In an exclusive interview, Utah attorney Randy Kester revealed to RadarOnline.com that he stepped down from ex-girlfriend’s Anna Gray’s legal team last week, in order to testify against Coleman’s former wife Shannon Price.
Watch the video on RadarOnline.com
Kester was Coleman’s personal lawyer in the final years of his life.
In a stunning claim to RadarOnline.com, Kester also says someone, probably Price, told Coleman what to write in the 2007 hand-written codicil – a legal document that amends, rather than replaces, a previously executed will.
Price is relying on the filing of that revised will to win control over the Diff’rent Strokes star’s estate.
Yet adding more intrigue to the bitter battle over the actor’s fortune and belongings, Kester revealed his suspicions about the validity of the document, because he said, it was clear someone dictated the words to his client — and it wasn’t him.
“Those are not Gary’s words,” Kester insisted to RadarOnline.com.
“Gary wouldn’t even know how to pronounce some of those words… In fact, one of the phrases he uses in that codicil makes a reference to per stirpes which references children — he had no children.
“If you read the codicil, it’s clearly legal-eze… someone’s dictating that to him.”
When asked who, Kester said: “My guess is it was probably Shannon, that’s my guess.”
He added, “Certainly she knew about it, certainly she had the original so my guess is she was the one who dictated it, he signed it, she kept it and brought it forward when the right time was that she thought.”
Price’s rep told RadarOnline.com late Tuesday she was not aware if the ex-wife dictated the content of the controversial will to Coleman.
But Sheila Erickson said, “Anyone who knew Gary would have known he loved Shannon with all his heart and wanted to look after her in the event he died.”
In the scribbled will dated September 4, 2007, Coleman supposedly wrote, “I made this change of free will and was not coerced in any way… this I have done because of my personal selfishness and my weakness and I love her with all my heart.”
Kester was also the lawyer who orchestrated Coleman’s restraining order against Price, as we exclusively exposed, more than three weeks after his shock death.
In the document, which was previously sealed, the actor alleged that Price was trespassing in his Santaquin home while he was hospitalized following heart surgery.
“I am concerned that irreplaceable memorabilia, irreplaceable model trains, irreplaceable items of personal property will be stolen, damaged or destroyed,” Coleman stated in the paperwork, filed on February 19.
“Price has shown a tendency to damage, destroy and steal my property and I believe she will continue to do so in my absence and while she is trespassing in my home.”
Kester came forward on June 11 as the lawyer who filed a fourth will in a Provo, Utah, court, that named Gray as the beneficiary of his estate.
The Oregon resident was a former girlfriend and headed a company started by Coleman.
They met in 1997 and became friends.
During two separate stints, Gray lived with Coleman and the last time was in Utah before Price moved into his home.
Setting up a courtroom showdown, Price has petitioned to be executor of Coleman’s state and filed court papers that included a 2007 note with the actor’s signature that was intended to amend any earlier wills.
It named Price as the sole heir.
In her court petition, Price’s attorney said that even though they were divorced in August 2008, she was still his common law wife.
It wasn’t publicly known that the two were divorced until after his death.
The main problem for Price is whether the codicil is valid or not.
Since Price and Coleman were divorced at his time of death, a court could treat the codicil as invalid, if it was revoked once the divorce was granted.
“That codicil is of no legal force and effect,” said Kester.
He added, “My view of that 2007 codicil is, first of all, it’s void because at the time it was written, it was written before they were divorced.
“By Utah law, if you have a codicil or a will in which you are a beneficiary or designated in any capacity as a fiduciary, it’s void at the time of the divorce.”
The sitcom star died May 28 after suffering a brain hemorrhage.
In accordance to the will, Coleman’s one wish that has not been disputed was honored: no funeral service was held and his ashes currently remain in the care of a court-appointed administrator.