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Homer's Lawsuit Settled.

An ugly legal dispute involving the family of the late Homer Connell, founder of Homer's Restaurant in east Little Rock, has been settled, according to a filing in Pulaski County Circuit Court.

Judge Chris Piazza ordered a lawsuit, filed by Katrina Connell Vaughn last November against her brothers, dismissed with prejudice, meaning it can't be refiled, after the parties in the suit "amicably settled and resolved" their disagreements.

Remedios "Remy" Connell, widow of Homer Connell and the family matriarch whose care was at the center of the suit, died Oct. 15. She was 77. Piazza dismissed the lawsuit Oct. 20.

Vaughn had sued her older brother, Robert Connell; his wife, Alicia Ford Connell; younger brother, David Connell; and DC Group Inc., which operates Homer's West Restaurant in west Little Rock. The three siblings are the children of Remedios and Homer Connell, who opened Homer's Restaurant in 1986 and who died June 17, 2016.

"This is an unfortunate family dispute in which two elderly parents--a mother who has long been incapacitated and a father who is recently deceased--have been taken advantage of by certain family members in an effort to improperly assert control over their finances and property," Vaughn's suit said.

Vaughn, of Little Rock, alleged that her brothers were "acting directly contrary to their parents' wishes" as expressed in a series of estate planning documents. She asked the court "to stop the misappropriation and diversion of assets" and re-establish Vaughn as trustee of her parents' trusts and the person in charge of finances and health care for her mother, who at the time was in a nursing home.

The lawsuit also said that the brothers had excluded Vaughn from her rightful role in running Homer's Restaurant, at 2001 E. Roosevelt Road, and in receiving a share of profits from Homer's West, at 9700 N. Rodney Parham Road.

It also alleged that brother Robert Connell replaced his sister's power of attorney for their mother with a "bogus" power of attorney that was the product of "fraud, duress, coercion, undue influence, and procurement."

The defendants denied Vaughn's allegations, and David Connell alleged that his sister had failed to fulfill her fiduciary duties as trustee of two family trusts, adding that Vaughn had used proceeds from the sale of their parents' home and an estate sale for her own benefit. He also accused his sister of using his credit card for plastic surgery, "life coaching" and a psychic hotline.

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Title Annotation:Whispers; Homer Connell
Publication:Arkansas Business
Geographic Code:1U7AR
Date:Oct 30, 2017
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