Reverse Mortgage at Center of Lawsuit Against ‘Star Trek’ Actress’ Former Caretaker

A lawsuit levied against a former caretaker of actress Nichelle Nichols features a complaint related to a reverse mortgage as a component of the core dispute according to local Los Angeles, Calif.-based news outlet MyNewsLA.

Kyle Johnson, Nichols’ only son, filed the countersuit against his mother’s former caretaker Gilbert Bell, 81, in Los Angeles Superior Court early this week. Johnson is seeking unspecified damages from Bell related to Bell’s service as Nichols’ caretaker, which Johnson contends gave him access to Nichols’ property and considerable amount of assets including her pension, social security payments and appearance fees.

Johnson, 68, now serves as his mother’s full-time caregiver and conservator, and additionally contends that Bell has moved into a second home on Nichols’ property and has been living there under an allegedly “fraudulent lease and a succeeding invalid reverse mortgage,” Johnson alleges.


The countersuit has also been filed after an initial lawsuit by Bell against Johnson, who alleges that Nichols’ son is attempting to remove both he and his mother from the property so that he can then sell the property. Bell’s suit was first filed in July of 2019.

Bell also alleges that Johnson wants to place Ms. Nichols in an assisted living facility despite her wishes. A judge previously found that Nichols suffers from dementia, according to the news outlet.

Nichols, 87, is most famous for playing Lt. Nyota Uhura on the original “Star Trek” television series, which ran on NBC for three seasons from 1966 until 1969. Her character served as the communications officer aboard the starship U.S.S. Enterprise under the command of Captain James T. Kirk (played by William Shatner) and Commander Spock (played by the late Leonard Nimoy).

Initially canceled due to low ratings, the series became a cultural phenomenon in syndication and Nichols would go on to reprise her role in six feature films released between 1979 and 1991. She has been a consistent and beloved presence on the fan convention circuit ever since.

Read the story at MyNewsLA.

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  • It looks like the equity was being milked out of these properties for quite some time and the reverse mortgage was a way to kick the can down the road a little longer.

    This is one of the downsides to a reverse mortgage I frequently see: a single woman using about 10% of an overly large property and without the resources to maintain it. In Ms. Nichols case it’s two adjacent homes with a combined living space of 3,999 sf and lots totaling 40,406 sf, with a pool

    To you Midwesterners that may not sound like much land, but in Woodland Hills just off Ventura Blvd it’s substantial. And I can pretty much estimate the condition and am tempted to drive over for a look and chat with the occupants.

    I don’t see that a lis pendens has been recorded which seems odd if there’s litigation involving the property. I do see that Ms. Nichols signed the trust deed for the reverse mortgage, not the caregiver as a trustee.

    And yes, I’m a Star Trek fan…

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