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A battle between the daughter and one of the sons of the late singer Perry Como over his estate has ended with an agreement to conduct a lottery in which they and another sibling will choose from more than 200 pieces of their father’s memorabilia. Palm Beach, Fla., Circuit Judge Mary Lupo approved the settlement agreement June 5. It came as Ronald Como of Granger, Ind., and his sister Therese Como Thibadeau of Jupiter, Fla., were embroiled in yet another squabble. This time the dispute was over who should keep the Grammy award for lifetime achievement that was awarded posthumously to Perry Como in February by the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences. Under terms of the settlement, Ronald Como will pick first from memorabilia of the estate, followed by his brother, David Como of San Francisco, and then Thibadeau. The second round of the lottery will proceed in reverse order, so that Thibadeau will go first, giving her the third and fourth picks overall. One of the many issues about which Thibadeau and Ronald Como disagreed was the disposition of their father’s possessions. Como wanted to divvy up personal items among the three children, while Thibadeau preferred selling more of these items, says Peter A. Sachs, a partner at Jones, Foster, Johnston & Stubbs in West Palm Beach, Fla., who represents Ronald Como. More than 1,500 Perry Como items were scheduled to be auctioned in late May, but some were pulled back to be distributed to the singer’s children as part of the settlement agreement. This was done at an increased cost to the estate of $25,310 for shipping fees and commissions on withdrawn items. The specifics of when and how the Como children’s lottery will happen have yet to be worked out. “We haven’t gone through the details, whether the memorabilia will all be shipped to one location, whether [the lottery] will be in person or by phone,” Sachs says. Attorneys for Thibadeau declined to comment. EMMYS, BASEBALL, SKULLCAP Neither Ronald nor David Como may use his first-round pick on the lifetime Grammy award. Thibadeau accepted the award in California on behalf of her father, then refused Ronald’s demand that she relinquish it to the estate. If Thibadeau doesn’t use either of her first two picks of the lottery to take the Grammy, it’s fair game for her brothers. Among the other items the Como siblings will be picking from in the NFL-type draft: • Emmy awards given to Perry Como in 1955, 1956 and 1958; • two Kennedy Center awards given the singer in 1987 when he was honored for his lifetime contributions to American culture through the performing arts; • a silver medallion from Pope Pius XII, a silk skullcap worn by the pope and an award from Pope John Paul II; • a baseball inscribed by former Los Angeles Dodgers manager Tom Lasorda: “To Perry: You and the Dodgers are both champions. Your Paisano, Tom Lasorda.” • letters to Como from former Presidents Richard Nixon, George H.W. Bush and Ronald Reagan; • various autographed photos, including two of Joe DiMaggio, Ronald and Nancy Reagan and actor Jackie Cooper; and • numerous gold and platinum records commemorating sales milestones of his recordings. Como died in May 2001 at his home on Jupiter Inlet Colony, Fla. He was 88 and was suffering from Alzheimer’s disease. Como’s will, dated Sept. 24, 1996, named his wife, Roselle, and son Ronald as co-executors of his estate. When Roselle died in 1998, that left Ronald as the sole executor. PRIOR CLASH OVER FINAL CARE Even before the famous singer and TV host died, Thibadeau and Ronald Como clashed. She accused him of not following their father’s living will, in which he said he did not want to be kept alive by “heroic measures” if there was no reasonable expectation that he would recover from an extreme physical or mental disability. Ronald Como hired a woman to check on his father’s welfare, even though his sister lived only a couple of miles away. After their father died, Thibadeau challenged her brother’s competence to administer the estate due to his own poor health and supposedly poor judgment. He, among other things, got a court order making his sister give him the keys to their father’s house and a nearby condo he owned. Now, the disposition of the estate is finally moving forward. Last fall each of Como’s 13 grandchildren received more than $81,000 in accordance with his will. Como’s house, with a fair market value of nearly $1.5 million, is for sale. And the auction of those items not being split up among his children has been completed, and was a huge success, bringing in about $677,000 in sales, says Kenneth Dawson of Dawson Auctioneers and Appraisers in Short Hills, N.J. “We were selling vacuum cleaners for more than what you’d pay new,” Dawson says. One of Como’s trademark cardigan sweaters sold for $1,500. Four pairs of his boots netted $3,500. “I wouldn’t be surprised if some were 15 years old or older,” Dawson says. “There was just overwhelming interest. Certainly Mr. Como’s fans are alive and well out there.” Maybe the only people unhappy now are municipal officials in Canonsburg, Pa., Como’s hometown south of Pittsburgh. With so many of the barber-turned-singer’s personal effects having been auctioned off or going into the lottery for his children, they fear there will be precious little left for a planned museum paying homage to their native son.

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