The attorney for a U.S. developer who claims ownership of the waterfront mansion where Anna Nicole Smith lived in the Bahamas said Saturday he has retaken control of the residence on behalf of his client.
The South Carolina developer, G. Ben Thompson, is a former boyfriend of Smith’s who was embroiled in an ownership dispute with the 39-year-old celebrity before she died Thursday in Florida. Thompson’s attorney, Godfrey Pinder, said Smith’s death meant her claims to the mansion were no longer legitimate.
“We changed the locks and have put a chain on the gate,” Pinder told The Associated Press in a brief phone interview. “We have physical control of the house.”
Wayne Munroe, an attorney for the former Playboy playmate, said she bought the mansion in July for $900,000. Her ownership of the home was the basis of Smith’s claim to residency in the Bahamas. Smith had filed a lawsuit asking a Bahamas court to recognize her purchase and reject Thompson’s claim.
Smith’s effects taken away
Pinder said Bahamian Immigration Minister Shane Gibson’s mother was permitted into the waterfront home late Friday to remove some of Smith’s personal effects, including clothes and jewelry. Gibson was a friend of Smith’s.
The cause of Smith’s death has not yet been determined. Broward County medical examiner Dr. Joshua Perper, who performed an autopsy on Friday, said afterward it could take weeks to determine why she died. He said no illegal drugs were discovered in Smith’s room at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Hollywood, Fla. where she collapsed Thursday.
The baby battleSmith’s 5-month-old baby, Dannielynn Hope Marshall Stern, was not with Smith when she died and is believed to be in the Bahamas. But the exact whereabouts of the baby, who is at the center of a broadening custody battle, were unknown Saturday.
On Friday, a pickup carried a crib and an infant’s car seat from the mansion in the exclusive New Providence neighborhood to Gibson’s house in the middle-class Marathon area. Later, a baby could be heard crying inside the house. Gibson did not return calls seeking comment Saturday.
Experts say the decision of who receives custody could determine the child’s inheritance. Smith was in a long legal battle over the fortune of her late husband, Texas oil tycoon J. Howard Marshall II.
Smith’s mother, Vergie Arthur, arrived Friday in Nassau to check on the welfare of her granddaughter, Reginald Ferguson, assistant commissioner for the Royal Bahamas Police Force, said Friday. He said Arthur believes her granddaughter is in Nassau.
Arthur could not be reached for comment Saturday.
She told ABC’s “Good Morning America” on Friday that she believes her daughter died from a drug overdose.
Men vie for Dannielynn
A birth certificate for Dannielynn lists another Smith attorney, Howard K. Stern, as the girl’s father. Stern was Smith’s most recent companion. But the baby’s paternity has been challenged by two other men.
A former boyfriend, Larry Birkhead, has filed suit claiming he is the father. On Friday, Prince Frederick von Anhalt, the husband of actress Zsa Zsa Gabor, announced that he had a decade-long affair with Smith and may be the father.
Smith gave birth to Dannielynn on Sept. 7. Three days later, her 20-year-old son, Daniel Smith, died while visiting her in the hospital.
A private medical examiner hired by the family concluded Daniel Smith died from an accidental, lethal combination of methadone and antidepressants. But results of an official autopsy have not been released and the Bahamian chief magistrate said Friday it was important to go on with plans to hold a jury inquest next month into the questions still surrounding the son’s death.