TapouT Co-Founder Charles 'Mask' Lewis Jr.'s Ashes at Center of Lawsuit
First, the criminal courts dealt with the taken life of TapouT co-founder Charles "Mask" Lewis Jr. Then, the civil courts dealt with the multimillionaire MMA clothier's taken estate. Now, a court in San Bernardino is dealing with the Huntington Beach man's taken ashes.
Will this dude ever get to rest in peace?
Lewis, a 45-year-old Huntington Beach resident at the time of his death, was killed in a high-speed crash on PCH in Newport Beach on March 11, 2009, that cut his Ferrari in half. Porshe driver Jeffrey David Kirby, 53, of Costa Mesa, was later convicted of drunken- driving vehicular manslaughter and sentenced in February to nine years in state prison.
Part of the reason Orange County Public Administrator/Public Guardian John Williams was run out of office was his despicable handling of the Lewis estate, which rightly belonged to the late businessman's children.
In exhaustive fashion, Richard K. De Atley presents the latest court twist in the Riverside Press-Enterprise.
Former business partners of the MMA clothing line co-founder "desecrated" Mask's remains by removing ashes from his urn and keeping some from his family, contends the suit filed by his sister Carla Diane Lewis in San Bernardino County Superior Court. She is seeking unspecified damages and the return of her brother's ashes, claiming it was his wish that his remains be placed next to his mother's.
How did the Tapoutskis get the ashes from the family in the first place? The suit claims that the day after her brother died, Carla Lewis was asked by TapouT co-founders Daniel "Punkass" Caldwell and Timothy "SkySkrape" Katz to sign over to them power to control Mask's body and remains. She claims that when she refused, Caldwell threw water bottles and other items around the room. She says she left so Caldwell could calm down and later returned, agreeing only to loan them the urn filled with her brother's ashes for the April 14, 2009, public memorial service at Crystal Cathedral in Garden Grove.
Carla Lewis, who also goes by "Kaya," says she attended the service that featured booths with TapouT merchandise and memorial mementos. She claims she was horrified to discover a shoebox-sized container holding necklaces with miniature vials attached and supposedly filled with Mask's ashes. She says that she asked a vendor about the vials and was told they were to be given only to "special people" identified on a list. Carla Lewis, who was not on the list, estimated 50 to 100 vials were given away that day.
Katz and Caldwell initially denied distributing their former partner's ashes, but their attorney on Friday confirmed "a very small amount" were doled out, according to a TMZ report.
The lawsuit claims that when Carla Lewis went to retrieve the urn and remaining ashes after the service, she was barred from the company headquarters in Grand Terrace, including being blocked by bodyguards.
An attorney for Mask's children has agreed to hold the urn until the matter is settled in the legal octagon, according to the P-E report.
Authentic Brands, which acquired TapouT in September 2010, was originally named in the suit but later dropped after a judge ruled the New York-based company has no liability in the case.
Get the ICYMI: Today's Top Stories Newsletter
Catch up on the day's news and stay informed with our daily digest of the most popular news, music, food and arts stories in Orange County, delivered to your inbox Monday through Friday.