Home / Music & Arts / Daughter of late Van Morrison producer fears theft from estate

Daughter of late Van Morrison producer fears theft from estate

The daughter of the producer behind Van Morrison’s classic rock albums is pushing for an investigation into money missing from her late father’s estate.

Actress Emma Terese, 57, says she wants to find out if her sister used her father’s American Express card before and after his death to pay for trips to a hair salon, flights to Hawaii and tickets to events at Madison Square Garden.

Terese’s dad, Lewis Merenstein, an Upper West Side resident who produced Morrison’s 1968 album “Astral Weeks” and executive produced his “Moondance” in 1970, died at 81 on Sept. 6, 2016, leaving behind a $ 1.3 million estate.

Terese, who lives in Hell’s Kitchen, said in a Dec. 10 petition filed in Manhattan Surrogate’s Court that she wants the NYPD to investigate who made the charges on the card — and that she suspects her sister, Ilene Merenstein, did.

Lewis Merenstein, Van Morrison music producer, dead at 81

Terese says she based her suspicions on conversations with her father before he died and with her uncle that Ilene was misusing his money.

In her filing, she included text messages from her uncle, Noel Merenstein, that warn her about Ilene.

Merenstein produced Van Morrison’s 1968 album "Astral Weeks" and executive produced "Moondance" in 1970.

Merenstein produced Van Morrison’s 1968 album “Astral Weeks” and executive produced “Moondance” in 1970.


“Your father was very troubled by your sister,” Noel said in one text.

“I (now) believe he suspected what was going down,” he said in another text. “He was more frightened than I ever knew him to be.”

Terese also identified 34 transactions in 2015 and 2016 that American Express confirmed were fraudulent, according to the petition.

Many of the purchases included places where Ilene frequented, Terese said. And some of them were for shows at the Garden and the Public Theater at a time when their dad was homebound, according to the petition.

Ilene Merenstein, 61, of the Upper West Side, is the executor of her dad’s estate, making any investigation difficult since the NYPD needs her approval to open a probe, the petition says.


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Terese previously filed a petition demanding Ilene account for how money from their dad’s estate has been spent.

The latest petition asks a judge if Terese has the legal right to file a motion to have Ilene removed as the executor without upsetting her father’s wishes.

Lewis Merenstein’s will had a no-contest clause — meaning his daughters could lose their inheritances if they challenged his instructions.

Ilene, who works in TV production, could not be reached for comment.

Terese’s lawyer, Ron Meyers, declined to comment.

Lewis Merenstein spent most of his career producing jazz records, but he also worked with some of the biggest singers of the 1960s and 1970s, including Gladys Knight & the Pips and Mama Cass Elliot.

upper west side
van morrison
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