A St. Tammany Parish judge on Tuesday gave Kacie Breen control over part of her dead husband’s estate, despite the fact that she is still under investigation in his death.
Sheriff’s detectives are still investigating the shooting, which the coroner ruled a homicide. Detectives continue to gather evidence, a Sheriff’s Office spokesman said Tuesday.
But in the interim, the question of what will be done with Wayne Breen’s estate is proceeding in the courts. On Tuesday, attorneys for Kacie Breen and for Wayne Breen’s five children with his first wife squared off before Judge Scott Gardner, with both sides arguing that their respective clients should be named the administrator of the estate while the succession proceeds.
Thomas Schneidau, who represents Breen’s five children with his first wife, said Wayne Breen’s son-in-law, Jeffrey Dunbar, should be named to administer the estate.
Dunbar, a Baton Rouge stockbroker who is married to Breen’s oldest daughter, is well qualified to administer the estate, Schneidau argued. In addition to managing nearly $200 million in client assets, he handled Wayne Breen’s profit-sharing plan in his medical practice and helped his father-in-law in his property settlement with his first wife.
Schneidau also said the investigation into Wayne Breen’s death should be taken into consideration. “Is it proper to put as fiduciary for his succession someone who is under investigation for his death?” he asked.
Dunbar testified that Kacie Breen contacted him the day after Wayne Breen’s killing to inquire about the will.
Under cross-examination by Kacie Breen’s attorney, Paul Lea, Dunbar conceded that he is not familiar with the day-to-day details of Breen’s estate. When asked if he knew when a particular insurance bill was due and how much it would cost, Dunbar replied “No, but I can read a bill.”
“Do you think Mrs. Breen can read a bill?” Lea asked.
Lea argued that the investigation of Breen’s death was irrelevant to the question at hand. “She deserves to be treated equally with other heirs,” he said.
After listening to more than an hour of testimony and arguments, Gardner awarded the administration of the estate to both Dunbar and Kacie Breen.
He gave Dunbar control over any stock accounts, retirement accounts, trusts and a property Wayne Breen owned in Lafayette.
He gave Kacie Breen control over any property in St. Tammany Parish, including 500 acres of family land, Breen’s medical practice and his life insurance policies.
The estate is far from settled. Dunbar and Breen will now jointly manage the assets until they are split among the heirs, who include his five children with his first wife and one child with Kacie Breen.
Though there appear to be significant assets, there are significant debts, as well. The couple’s house has a $700,000 mortgage, with a $5,300 monthly payment. In addition, Wayne Breen had about $300,000 in credit card debt, much of which was related to his business.
Kacie Breen was present in court, though she didn’t testify. She refused comment after the hearing.
Schneidau said only that his clients would comply with the judge’s ruling.
Follow Faimon A. Roberts III on Twitter, @faimon.