After 13 years of controlling Britney Spears' finances, Jamie Spears has filed a document in Los Angeles Superior Court agreeing to step down as the conservator of his daughter's estate. The move comes weeks after the singer filed a petition asking that her father be removed from his position, and that he be charged with conservatorship abuse.
In court hearings over the last two months, the 39-year-old pop singer has repeatedly accused her father of using her estate and earnings for his own financial benefit, and of using his position to "control" her.
In the court document filed Thursday, Jamie Spears' lawyer, Vivian Thoreen, contended that there are "no actual grounds for suspending or removing" him from the conservatorship," and that "it is highly debatable whether a change in conservator at this time would be in Ms. Spears' best interests."
"Nevertheless," Thoreen continued, "even as Mr. Spears is the unremitting target of unjustified attacks, he does not believe that a public battle with his daughter over his continuing service as her conservator would be in her best interests."
The filing does not indicate a timeline for Jamie Spears' departure, however. Instead, Thoreen wrote: "Mr. Spears is willing to step down when the time is right, but the transition needs to be orderly and include a resolution of matters pending before the court."
Jamie Spears' departure comes less than three weeks after Britney Spears filed a request to have her father removed from the conservatorship. In 2008, it was he who requested that the singer, at the time experiencing mental health struggles, be placed in a conservatorship. Since then, he has overseen his daughter's finances.
According to Mathew Rosengart, the singer's attorney, the elder Spears appears to have "profited handsomely" from being his daughter's conservator. Rosengart also asserted that "serious questions abound concerning Mr. Spears's potential misconduct, including conflicts of interest, conservatorship abuse and the evident dissipation of Ms. Spears's fortune."
According to Rosengart, Jamie Spears paid himself percentages of his daughter's earnings, although he does not serve as her agent or manager. In the filing, Rosengart said that Spears took a 1.5% cut of the gross revenues and merchandise earnings on his daughter's Las Vegas residency — amounting to at least $2.1 million. Jamie Spears also allegedly took a 2.95% commission on Britney Spears' Femme Fatale tour in 2011, which totaled approximately $500,000.
Rosengart has also asserted that the elder Spears has been paying himself $16,000 a month — which is $2,000 more per month than his daughter receives — plus another $2,000 for office expenses.
Britney Spears' legal situation has become a focal point for disability rights activists. Last month, the ACLU and 25 civil and disability rights activists filed an amicus brief with the Los Angeles court supporting the singer's quest to choose her own attorney, which was granted.
As part of a written statement sent to NPR, Mathew Rosengart said: "We are pleased that Mr. Spears and his lawyer have today conceded in a filing that he must be removed. We are disappointed, however, by their ongoing shameful and reprehensible attacks on Ms. Spears and others."
Rosengart continued: "We look forward to continuing our vigorous investigation into the conduct of Mr. Spears, and others, over the past 13 years, while he reaped millions of dollars from his daughter's estate, and I look forward to taking Mr. Spears's sworn deposition in the near future."