Stanley C. Mann, who wrote the book "One Against the Storm" about his custody battle for his late niece's son, has been ordered to pay $235,137.88 to the boy's father for losing the boy's trust fund by investing it in his own business.
The Utah Supreme Court also ordered Mann to pay Mark Wheeler, father and legal guardian of David Wheeler, $8,000 for interest and attorney's fees.The opinion written by Justice I. Daniel Stewart and handed down Monday affirmed the judgment by 3rd District Judge J. Dennis Frederick that Mann inappropriately disposed of the trust account left to the child by his mother, Joan Wheeler, who died in a plane crash in 1978.
Her ex-husband, Mark, eventually won the custody battle with Mann for the boy, who had been named as trustee to watch over the inheritance the woman had left to her son.
It was found that Mann invested the money from the trust account in his businesses involved in the publication, marketing and distribution of his book about the custody battle.
The book was unsuccessful in bringing in revenues and the businesses were left without assets, according to evidence presented to the court.
Mann was acquitted in 1984 of theft charges brought in the loss of the trust fund.