The drama surrounding the fate of Thomas Kinkade's millions has escalated once again. Amy Pinto, Kinkade's girlfriend at the time of his death, is currently "holding hostage" his Monte Sereno mansion, according to Daniel Casas, a lawyer for Nanette Kinkade. Pinto is currently residing at Kinkade manse, allegedly refusing to either leave or pay rent.
The battle between Kinkade's widow and girlfriend has been raging since Kinkade died of an accidental overdose of alcohol and Valium, leaving over $100 million up for grabs. Kinkade made a fortune on his mass marketed glowing cottages, Christmas trees and idyllic woodland hideaways— he is said to have a work in one out of every 20 homes. Although the Kinkades were separated, their divorce had not yet been finalized. And while Kinkade was dating Pinto for 18 months prior to his death, they never had the Fiji wedding she envisioned for them. Thus the two women were left to fight over his fortune and remains, and Pinto has certainly chosen to fight dirty.
Pinto came forward in early July with two handwritten notes, allegedly written by Kinkade a few months before his death. The penmanship was sloppy, making it nearly impossible to read, much less verify. The LA Times cited part of the missive:
"I, Thomas Kinkade, hereby bequeath my house … to Amy Pinto in the event of my death. I also give the sum of $10,000,000 to Amy Pinto to be used for the establishment of the Thomas Kinkade Museum … for the public display in perpetuity of original art."
Nanette Kinkade was skeptical, painting Pinto as a "gold-digger who is trying to cheat the artist's rightful heirs," according to the Associated Press. Although Pinto's lawyer insists her intentions were pure and the two were "deeply in love," she has not had a job since she began seeing Kinkade, and her current residence doesn't bode well for her credibility.
Kinkade's lawyer Casas predicted at least a year before the validity wills head to court.