Contra Costa College trustee sues siblings

Contra Costa Community College Trustee John T. Nejedly, eldest son of the late state Sen. John A. Nejedly, has filed a lawsuit asking a judge to invalidate his father’s decision to disinherit him.

In court documents, John T. (pictured on top right) accuses siblings Contra Costa Supervisor Mary Nejedly Piepho and Central Contra Costa Sanitary District member James Nejedly of manipulating their father into changing the terms of his trust two years prior to his death at age 91 in 2006.

Piepho and James Nejedly called their brother’s decision to go to court unfortunate but say they welcome the chance to legally resolve the issue.

“We’re going to defend our dad’s wishes to the best of our ability,” Piepho said. “The record stands for itself and we look forward to airing the issue.”

John T. filed the petition on May 2 after a Superior Court judge ruled earlier this spring that a lawsuit challenging the validity of amendments to the trust would not violate the trust’s no-contest clause or result in the disinheritance of his three children.

A hearing has been set for 9 a.m. June 19 in Dept. 61 in Superior Court in Martinez.

The lawsuit has exposed a severe rift in one of Contra Costa County’s most prominent political families.

The chasm is so wide, in fact, that John T. has endorsed his sister’s challenger, Assemblyman Guy Houston, in her re-election campaign the Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors.

Friends close to the late senator adamantly deny John T.’s allegation that his father was mentally infirm or under the undue influence of James and Mary.

Nejedly disinherited his eldest son, they say, over John T.’s failure to repay loans and his unwillingness to preserve intact the senator’s only major asset, a wooded, 13-acre parcel on Montecillo Drive in Walnut Creek with a home and a cottage.

The senator was also heartbroken, they say, over John T.’s admitted struggles with cocaine and alcohol abuse, serious marital problems and a sexual misconduct allegation.
John T. had been accused of pinning a college student onto a hotel bed during a 2000 trip to Washington, D.C. The student filed a complaint although no charges were ever filed.

The senator and his oldest son hadn’t spoken to each other since late 2004 after a major falling out.

But prior to his death, Nejedly made a videotape and explained his reasons in detail for cutting John T. out of his estate.

Nejedly’s initial 1998 trust left the Montecillo property to John T., except for 1 1/2 acres each to Mary and James or payments of $75,000 apiece.

The senator amended the trust in 2003 and left the property to James, with provisions for payments of $300,000 to Mary and $250,000 to John T.

In 2004, however, Nejedly stripped his eldest son completely from his estate in a third amendent. He continued to leave the property to James but directed $200,000 into a trust for his eight grandchildren and $300,000 for Mary.

John T. is challenging the third amendment on the grounds that his father was physically unable to resist his siblings’ efforts to undermine the father-son relationship and discredit him.

In court documents, he asserts that his father was under “heavy pain medication, suffering from memory problems and delusional episodes.” He also denied that he had failed to repay financial obligations to his father.

Lisa Vorderbrueggen