The Los Angeles County probate judge who oversees an elderly heiress' trust fund approved $50,000 in compensation Tuesday for a Kabbalah Centre official who is under criminal investigation for his handling of the woman's financial affairs.
Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Michael I. Levanas signed off on John E. Larkin's payment request without comment. The money covers work that Larkin, a veteran Hollywood financial advisor, performed last year as a trustee for an $11-million family trust fund benefiting 88-year-old Susan Strong Davis. The probate court approves such payments because the trust fund was set up by Davis' mother's will.
Davis' nieces have said she has suffered from dementia for several years, a period in which Larkin sold her a vacant lot he owned in Beverly Hills for what public records indicate was a $300,000 profit. Davis, who has lived in the same home in Palos Verdes Estates for three decades, borrowed more than $2 million from her trust fund to buy the Beverly Hills land and build a four-bedroom home there.
After a Times report detailing the transaction and a $600,000 donation she made to the Kabbalah Centre in 2005, police in Palos Verdes Estates launched an investigation into her finances, an inquiry taken over last month by federal agents. The IRS has been investigating the Kabbalah Centre for possible tax evasion since 2010. Larkin helps oversee the religious organization's finances.