Magazine article Newsweek

They'll Split It Their Way

Magazine article Newsweek

They'll Split It Their Way

Article excerpt

The Estate: The kids and their stepmom don't always see eve to eye.

WHEN HE DIED last week at 82, Frank Sinatra left behind a business portfolio that would be the envy of any chairman of the board. Beside the millions a year he earned in recording royalties, he owned two music-publishing companies; a Long Beach, Calif., beer distributorship, and real-estate holdings in Beverly Hills and Malibu. His licensing company earned millions in annual fees for Sinatra-related products. In 1995 the Sinatras sold their house and its contents in Rancho Mirage for $7 million. Some reports have estimated the total value of Sinatra's estate at $200 million. And that doesn't even include the future value of Ole Blue Eyes' musical repertoire.

So is the Sinatra family Looking forward to a harmonious division of assets? Not necessarily. In fact, Sinatra's heirs have reportedly been caught up in a squabble over money and control that intensified during the Chairman's final years. On one side are Sinatra's three children from his first marriage: Tina, 49; Frank Jr., 54, and Nancy, 57. On the other stands their stepmother, Barbara Marx Sinatra, 70, who married Frank in 1976. The most outspoken, combative member of the clan is Tina, who has sold licenses to a flurry' of Sinatra products and is not shy about using attorneys to get her way. Relations got so bad that for a long time the children reportedly would not be in the same room with Barbara. A spokesman for the children says, "There is no squabbling."

There are certainly differences of opinion. Tina and her siblings own Sinatra's Reprise Records catalog, which spans his career between 1960 and 1988. Barbara has been raking in millions thanks to Sinatra's lucrative 1993 deal with Capitol Records, which released the platinum "Duets" albums and is assembling anthologies from his early career. (Sinatra continues to sell about 1 million records a year. …

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