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COVER STORY : Landy's Account of the Wilson Partnership

October 13, 1991|ROBERT HILBURN

Eugene Landy denies making a fortune from his association, as therapist and then business/creative partner with Brian Wilson.

But there have been various rumors about the Landy-Wilson financial arrangements since Stan Love--brother of Beach Boy Mike Love--filed the original conservatorship papers on May 7, 1990, in Santa Monica Superior Court.

They range from suggestions that Landy is collecting 50% of the royalties on all the songs that Brian Wilson ever wrote to reports that Wilson drafted a will in 1989 that would have left Landy 70% of his estate. Estimated value: tens of millions of dollars.

Landy--the target of a court case in which Wilson's family asks that an independent conservator be appointed to stop Landy from "unduly" influencing Wilson in personal and financial matters--says that he made less than $3 million during his more than eight-year association with Wilson.

The Wilson family strongly disputes Landy's figures, but their attorney declined to comment on them until the case goes to court.

Here's what Landy says he was paid:

* $35,000 a month--or $420,000 a year--from the time Wilson entered Landy's intensive 24-hour therapy program in early 1983 until the program ended in 1986. That is a gross figure, Landy says, and expenses were high, with sometimes a dozen people working on the case.

* During the summer of 1984, Landy says, he asked for a raise because Wilson--as he became more active--demanded an increasing amount of Landy's time. Wilson had in fact become Landy's only patient. The Beach Boys' attorneys agreed, he says, to pay him 25% of any future music that Wilson wrote. The agreement did not include any money Wilson received from royalties on his old hits.

"Saying that (I would share in future songwriting royalties) in '84 was like me telling you, 'I'll pay you a million dollars if you can get up and fly around the room,' " Landy says now. "They never expected Brian to produce (or) to write anything again."

Landy said he never received any money because Wilson didn't publish any songs before the pact was voided in 1986 when Landy stopped acting as Wilson's therapist.

* Brains and Genius was started as a Wilson/Landy business and creative partnership in late 1987. It was a 50-50 venture in which Landy says he and Wilson contributed equally and would share in any profits from such ventures as recordings, films, soundtracks or books.

Because Landy had no other income at the time and there was no money being generated by the new partnership, Landy was paid a salary of about $300,000 a year by Wilson to advise him on career decisions. At no time, Landy says, did he share in the income from past songwriting royalties or earlier Wilson investments--which together earn Wilson more than $1 million a year, sources say.

* In addition, Landy says he was paid about $150,000 a year from around 1987 to last June under a Beach Boys fund that paid each member of the group--including Wilson--that amount to hire advisers to represent them at various corporate meetings.

* Landy says he never saw the alleged will and advised Wilson to see his attorney--John Mason at the time--when the Beach Boy mentioned that he wanted to name Landy as a beneficiary. He also maintains that his songwriting collaborations with Wilson, including the songs he co-wrote on Wilson's 1988 solo album, have earned him less than $50,000.

Yet to be determined is how much Landy will receive as part of the partnership settlement.

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