ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — The trustee handling Casey Anthony's bankruptcy said Monday that most of the $25,000 he has available to distribute should go to the trustee's attorney.
Trustee Stephen Meininger said in a final report filed in a Tampa bankruptcy court last month that $22,000 should be paid to attorney Allan Watkins. In an interview with The Associated Press on Monday, Meininger said Watkins spent more money than he is receiving investigating false claims that Anthony has assets hidden away.
"Basically, we had to investigate all kinds of allegations that we were getting," said Meininger, who will be paid almost $2,500 if the report is approved. "We had to take everything we got seriously."
Watkins told The AP that Meininger and he got 20 to 30 emails with tips that ended up being false. Often, he said, the false tips that took up time were made by people fascinated by the Anthony case.
"We tried to turn over all stones looking for money," he said.
Bankruptcy law provides that the trustee and those working for the trustee get paid first, Meininger said. That position was echoed Monday by Scott Shuker, an attorney for one of Anthony's creditors, Zenaida Gonzalez.
"The folks at the top of the totem pole are the trustee and his attorney," said Shuker, who said he didn't plan to file any objection to the report.
Creditors have 21 days to respond to the report, and then it goes to the bankruptcy judge for approval.
The $25,000 was loaned to Anthony by a friend so she could buy back the rights to her life story. The trustee had argued that those rights went to the trustee fund once Anthony filed for bankruptcy, and he had considered the possibility of selling Anthony's life story to help pay off her debts to creditors.
Anthony was acquitted in the murder of her 2-year-old daughter, Caylee. Her trial was broadcast live on cable television and garnered worldwide attention.
Anthony had almost $792,000 in debt when she filed for bankruptcy, with the biggest claim —$397,000 — coming from her criminal defense attorney, Jose Baez. The Internal Revenue Service is claiming more than $80,000.
Still unresolved are two defamation lawsuits filed by Gonzalez and Roy Kronk, the meter reader who found Caylee's body nearby where Casey Anthony lived with her parents. After Caylee disappeared in 2008, Anthony told investigators a baby sitter named Zenaida Gonzalez had kidnapped the toddler. The Kissimmee, Fla., woman sued Anthony, claiming her reputation has been ruined.
Kronk says he was defamed when Anthony's defense team made false statements, including that Kronk killed Caylee and that he moved the remains.