James Spears has been suspended as pop star Britney Spears’ conservator, a judge ruled Wednesday.
“The current situation is not tenable,” Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Brenda Penny said after hearing arguments from both sides. “The situation is toxic. I believe suspension is in the best interest of the conservator.”
The court named California accountant John Zabel as the temporary conservator of Spears’ finances.
As part of the ruling, James Spears must hand over all records to Zabel, who has worked with major studios and is CEO of Media Finance Structures, a firm that specializes in financial and operational management of entertainment projects
Singer Britney Spears attends the Billboard Music Awards at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Lester Cohen | BBMA2016 | Getty Images
Vivian Thoreen, the attorney for Spears’ father, called Zabel a “stranger” on the case and strongly objected to the suspension. Penny did not reconsider her ruling on the matter.
Going forward, Zabel will control all of Spears’ financial decisions while Jodi Montgomery will continue to manage the pop star’s day-to-day wellbeing and medical care.
Montgomery, a licensed private fiduciary, was appointed in a temporary role within the conservatorship when James Spears encountered health issues in 2019. Montgomery is reportedly on board with Britney Spears’ desire to remove the guardianship.
A tentative termination hearing is set for Dec. 31. However, that date could be moved as Spears’ attorney,Mathew Rosengart, asked for a court date within 30 to 45 days.
Rosengart, a Hollywood lawyer and former federal prosecutor, was appointed by Spears in July and worked to petition for an end to her 13-year guardianship.
The singer’s assets are valued at more than $50 million. She has made several claims of abuse against her father, alleging he has used the arrangement for personal gain. James Spears has publicly denied these accusations.