reported that Linda Dodge, the former caretaker of Wizard of Oz
actor Mickey Carroll, had sued the National Enquirer
and Carroll's niece, Janet Finocchiaro, on charges that the two slandered her in a 2009 article accusing Dodge of stealing from the late Munchkin's estate.
Now, Janet Finocchiaro and other relatives of Carroll have fired back in court, suing Dodge and others on charges that they did in fact take advantage of his dementia late in life to steal from him
. Carroll, born Michael Finocchiaro, died in May 2009 at the age of 89.
The lawsuit, filed this week, alleges that Dodge and three accomplices bilked Carroll out of as much as $500,000 by having him sign over money and assets to them late in his life. Dodge moved Carroll and a disabled nephew whom he had cared for -- Frank Parenti -- into her Crestwood home just months before Carroll's death.
The suit also names U.S. Bank as a defendant and argues that the financial institution should never have allowed someone in as "feeble health" as Carroll open up a $100,000 line of credit that allegedly went straight into the pockets of Dodge and her cohorts.
Yesterday the Post-Dispatch
was unable to track down Dodge
for comment. We, too, could not reach her last month when reporting on the National Enquirer
Dodge first landed in the pages of Riverfront Times
in 2007 when she was trying to get Carroll a star on the St. Louis Walk of Fame. That never happened, though, as the biography of Carroll she submitted to the committee was so full of misstatements
about the actor's career that board president Joe Edwards threw out the nomination.