Puckett's ex-wife petitions for new executor for estate

Updated: May 31, 2006, 12:29 AM ET
Associated Press

MINNEAPOLIS -- The former wife of Kirby Puckett has asked that the executor of his estate be replaced, alleging that he helped transfer money to Puckett's fiancee shortly before the Hall of Famer died.

Tonya Puckett alleges in a petition served on the estate's attorneys Tuesday that Brian Woods is no longer qualified to manage the estate, the Star Tribune reported.

She alleges that Woods, a longtime friend and business associate of Kirby Puckett who was appointed executor by the court, is no longer qualified to manage the estate because he has a "significant and irreconcilable conflict of interest."

Tonya Puckett alleges that Woods helped transfer $50,000 of Puckett's money to Jodi Olson and made statements about taking care of Olson. Puckett and Olson became engaged last fall and had planned to marry in June.

Puckett, 45, died in an Arizona hospital March 6 after suffering a stroke the day before at the home he shared with Olson in Scottsdale.

Olson was not named as a beneficiary in Puckett's will, which was drafted in 2003. Puckett's children, Catherine and Kirby Jr., are the primary beneficiaries. They live with their mother, Tonya, in Edina.

Minneapolis attorney Bridget Logstrom, who represents Puckett's children, said the petition was delivered to the estate's attorneys and the Maricopa County, Ariz., court, where Puckett's estate is in probate.

Tonya Puckett asked that the court appoint Sun Valley Group Inc., of Phoenix, as the estate's full-time executor.

In the petition, Tonya Puckett alleged that Woods "has ignored the best interests" of her children in overseeing the estate. She alleged that Woods told her in the hours before Kirby Puckett died that Olson was not named in the will and that she needed to "be taken care of, and that $1 million to $1.5 million needed to be given to her."

While Olson declined to comment on the petition, her brother-in-law, Mike Jacobs, said the petition contradicts what Puckett put in his will -- that Woods be involved as personal representative.

"Hopefully a judge will see it for what it is," Jacobs said.

Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press