HARTFORD, Connecticut (AP) – A new lawsuit has exposed a deep rift between two of Paul Newman’s daughters and the late actor’s charitable foundation funded by the profits of Newman’s On line of food and drink products.
The two daughters, Susan Kendall Newman and Neil Newman, claim their charitable organization is supposed to receive $400,000 a year from the Newman Onn Foundation under their father’s mandate, but the foundation has cut those payments in half in recent years.
They filed a lawsuit Tuesday in state court in Stamford, Connecticut, seeking $1.6 million in damages to their foundations for charitable giving.
The two daughters say their father, who set up the Newman-On Foundation three years before his death in 2008, allowed the foundation to use his name and likeness — but only on several terms including giving the two daughters $400,000 a year.
Susan Kendall Newman, who lives in Oregon, and Neil Newman, of California, is concerned that the foundation is paving the way for their removal altogether from having any say in how to donate some of the profits of Newman’s own products to charity. They also accused the institution of “violating” their father’s wishes and intentions for years.
“No one should feel that the legacy of a late loved one is being shamed in the way that the Paul Newman Private Foundation ignores Paul Newman’s daughters,” Andy Lee, a New York City attorney for the girls, said in a statement. .
“This lawsuit does not seek personal compensation for Mr. Newman’s daughters, but simply seeks to hold (Newman On Foundation) accountable to charities that have cut short in recent years and ensure that they receive an increased level of support in the future, consistent with Mr. Newman,” he said.
The Newman On Foundation did not provide a response to the lawsuit in court, but it did release a statement.
“Best practices regarding charitable organizations do not permit the creation of permanent funding allocations for anyone, including Neil and Susan Newman,” the statement read. “Firing a baseless lawsuit based on this wrongful desire will only divert money away from those who benefit from Paul Newman’s generosity.”
“While we expect to continue to seek recommendations from the Newman family of meritorious organizations, our funding decisions are made each year and will continue to reflect the clear purpose of Paul Newman and our responsibility to best practices that govern private foundations,” the foundation added.
Paul Newman, who lived in Westport with his wife, actress Joanne Woodward, created the Newman On brand in 1982, with all profits going to charity. Today’s product line includes frozen pizzas, sauces, salad dressings, and pasta sauces, as well as dog food and pet treats.
In his will, Paul Newman left his assets to his wife and Newman’s private foundation.
Newman’s Own, Inc. Products, is a subsidiary of the Newman’s Own Foundation, a non-profit organization. The foundation says more than $570 million has been given to thousands of charities since 1982.
According to its 2020 tax records, the foundation had more than $24 million in income and paid out $11.5 million in contributions, gifts, and grants. Total operating and administrative expenses amounted to approximately $4.5 million.
According to the lawsuit brought by his two daughters, the Newman On Foundation wrote to them just four days after their father’s death, saying it would reserve the right to stop allocating money to charities identified by the girls. The lawsuit says it goes against Paul Newman’s express instructions to the foundation.
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