George Harrison's Widow Sues Former Brother-In-Law Over Allegedly Stolen Memorabilia

By | January 15, 2002 at 12:00 AM

Olivia Harrison, widow of the late George Harrison, has sued her former brother-in-law in regards to some Harrison memorabilia stolen from a home the family used to own in Los Angeles. Harrison filed the suit in Los Angeles Superior Court on Friday (January 11) against her sister Linda Arias’s ex-husband Carl Roles and his current wife Carol Roles, accusing the couple of wrongfully possessing, selling, and profiting from the material, which is described as “household and personal items of sentimental value.” The suit asks for return of the property, unspecified damages (including interest), and attorney’s fees and other costs. A preliminary injunction hearing is set for February 1.

According to the court papers, the Harrisons owned a house and property in Los Angeles in the 1970s that they allowed Arias to live in rent-free, in exchange for her acting as caretaker of the house, the property, and the family’s possessions. When Arias married Roles in 1976, the Harrison’s agreed to also let him live there, under the same terms.

A massive rainstorm in 1980 caused a mudslide, followed by boulders falling on the property, destroying the house. The Harrisons hired a salvage company, which cleared the wreckage and recovered whatever personal property could be found.

On November 30, 2001, just one day after Harrison died at age 58, Roles called a reporter in Arizona about selling some of Harrison’s personal property, which the suit claims Roles took from the Los Angeles property without the family’s knowledge or permission before the salvage company arrived. Roles allegedly told the reporter that there was a lot of money to be made from the sale of memorabilia related to George Harrison, given his recent death.

The filing claims that when the Roles couple met with a “collector” (actually an undercover FBI agent), they brought with them 10 boxes of paraphernalia, one of which was labeled “GH $tuff.” The couple admitted that the material was taken from the Los Angeles house after the mudslide, and that they had even more stuff in storage.

When confronted at the meeting by security expert and family friend Gavin de Becker, the couple: A) refused to turn the Harrison material over to the family; B) refused to agree not to sell any of it; and C) refused to agree not to destroy any of it until a court could determine who the rightful owner was, according to the suit.

Mr. and Mrs. Roles were unavailable for comment as of press time.

Related Content