Judge: Piano was gift to Simpson’s mother, can’t be seized
SANTA MONICA, Calif. (AP) _ O.J. Simpson won a tentative ruling Thursday allowing him to keep a baby grand piano taken from his home, and his mother testified she was the one who leased an expensive car that was also seized.
Fred Goldman claims that the $20,000 baby grand piano and the $40,000 Ford Expedition are Simpson possessions that should go to help pay off a $33.5 million wrongful death judgment.
But Superior Court Judge David Perez ruled that the piano was a gift to his mother and should not have been seized. He noted, however, that his ruling was preliminary, based only on the written statements from members of the Simpson family and friends who said the piano belonged to Eunice Simpson.
Mrs. Simpson herself testified from a wheelchair about whether the luxury vehicle given to Simpson at his recent 50th birthday party was subject to seizure. The judge has allowed Simpson to continue using the car until the issue of ownership is resolved.
The former nurse’s aid testified she receives a $1,991-a-month pension from San Francisco city and county, and $820 a month in Social Security.
She said she has limited expenses, such as utilities, and eats most of her meals at a senior center where she volunteers.
When she decided to lease the vehicle, she said, she borrowed money from church members and relatives for a $2,500 down payment and will make the $590 monthly payments herself.
Details of the vehicle lease were outlined during the hearing by the owner of a car dealership, Bernie Woods, who said he struck up a golfing friendship with Simpson. He maintained that it was Simpson’s family _ not Simpson _ who made arrangements to lease the car.
``Is it your testimony that you never discussed getting a vehicle for O.J. Simpson with O.J. Simpson?″ asked Goldman lawyer Gary Caris.
``That’s my testimony,″ Woods said.
Simpson was not at the hearing. His attorney, Ronald Slates, said Goldman’s quest was futile because Simpson has no equity in the vehicle.
Caris said the fight was symbolic of Goldman’s determination and he called Simpson’s explanations ``subterfuge.″
Another hearing on the car was scheduled for Aug. 21.
Simpson was acquitted of killing his ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson and Goldman’s son Ronald on June 12, 1994. However, he was found liable for the deaths in civil court.