In an odd twist to a tangled situation, Palo Alto Mayor Larry Klein has been retained by state Sen. Joe Simitian to handle the technical details of Michael Litfin's estate, Klein has announced.
Litfin is the assistant director of the Palo Alto Children's Theatre who died Feb. 1. His death came just over a week after he, Director Pat Briggs and two other theater officials were placed on paid administrative leave during an intensive police investigation into "financial crimes" at the theater.
Simitian was asked earlier by Litfin to be his executor. Last week Simitian said Litfin's will leaves most of his estate to the Friends of the Children's Theatre organization. Litfin is survived by his parents and two brothers.
Klein told the Weekly there is no conflict of interest involved in his handling technical aspects of Litfin's estate. He would he would not be involved in any other aspect of the situation relating to the police investigation or any possible future action against the city by Litfin's family or others.
Klein said Litfin contacted him about handling his estate prior to his suspension Jan. 24. Klein noted that his law practice specializes in handling such estates.
Litfin asked Simitian to be his executor soon after he had been diagnosed with cancer. Simitian was one of Litfin's last visitors on the evening of his death at Stanford Hospital Feb. 1.
Klein said his handling of the routine matters of the estate is effective immediately. He has asked for a court date for filing of a probate petition, which officially names Simitian executor, even though Simitian already has taken some actions to protect the estate, such as changing the locks on Litfin's residence.
Klein said the earliest available court date is "about a month off."
The amount of Litfin's estate has not yet been determined, but an estimate must be filed with the petition, Klein said. Litfin owned a condomium, he said.