Famed ventriloquist Terry Fator has been accused of elder abuse by his mother and not answering lingering questions about his sister’s death.
According to a complaint filed in federal court on Wednesday and obtained by , Fator’s mother, Marie Fator Sligh, 74, states that she wants to legally “terminate” her relationship with her son, 53, who won the second season of .
She alleges that Fator’s behavior has negatively affected her “health and well-being” and that he’s used his fame and wealth after leaving the reality show to “bully, torment, harass and intimidate” her. In the case, in which Sligh is representing herself, she also alleges that he sought to “obstruct and prevent his Mother from investigating the death of her daughter in [his] home.”
In a statement to PEOPLE, Fator’s rep called the allegations “baseless and defamatory.”
“This is not the first time that Ms. Sligh has surfaced with these sorts of baseless and defamatory allegations against Mr. Fator in an effort to extract unwarranted financial concessions from him. In the face of similar conduct by Ms. Sligh in the past, on February 6, 2017 the District Court of Clark County Nevada entered a judgment against Ms. Sligh that included a Restraining Order prohibiting her from having any contact with Mr. Fator or appearing within 250 yards of his residence, place of business or place of employment,” the statement reads. “Mr. Fator has no intention of dignifying Ms. Sligh’s latest unfounded claims with any further comment.”
After claiming that the TV personality caused his mother “humiliation, anxiety, embarrassment and financial difficulty,” the documents address the unexpected death of Fator’s sister, Deborah Fator Beard, who was found dead in Fator’s apartment in 2015. According to the documents, the coroner’s report ruled it a suicide from “multiple drug toxicity,” and she was found naked in a bathroom with a half-chewed pill in her mouth.
Sligh’s filing alleges that prior to Beard’s death, she did not have a relationship with her brother for several years until he decided in December 2014 to contact her. Shortly after, in May 2015, Beard allegedly moved into Fator’s home in Las Vegas. The documents then outline Sligh’s claims that after her daughter’s death on June 21, 2015, she asked her son to answer questions about the days leading up to the incident, but allegedly he refused to respond.
“When Plaintiff-Mother read the Police and Coroner’s Reports in the Spring of 2016, she discovered a number of puzzling inconsistencies about the death of her daughter, so she once against wrote Defendant-Son a letter. This time she firmly informed Defendant-Son she was serious about her son answering her questions. However, Defendant-Son again refused to respond,” the complaint states.
The rambling, 90-page complaint also claims that Sligh had “reason to be concerned about her daughter’s death” because Beard had previously stated multiple times that she would never kill herself. Sligh referenced an email in which Beard wrote, “As much as I might long and pray to leave this dimension I will never leave by my own hand.”
Sligh revisits her own relationship working with Fator in the documents, as well. In February 2015, he allegedly fired her, cut her off financially and shut off her cell phone. At the time, she had recently undergone several surgeries and was suffering from stress-related heart failure. Sligh adds that Fator became angry after Beard’s death, especially when he was confronted about it. He even sued her for $50,000, according to the filing.
Besides asking the court to “terminate any and all parental ties and relationship” with Fator, Sligh is seeking $1.4 million for elder abuse, intentional infliction of emotional distress and harassment. She says she would reduce the amount to $975,000 pending a public apology. She is also asking him to make a $200,000 donation to the charity she launched for abuse victims.
To conclude, the documents ask for “24 hour protection” so Sligh “can live the remainder of her life — the few years she has left on earth — in peace without having to live in fear always looking over her shoulder wondering what harm [Fator] and the people he is associated with might bring to her.”
In March, Fator will celebrate the 10th anniversary of starting his show, “Terry Fator: The VOICE of Entertainment,” at the The Mirage Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas. He’s one of the most successful winners of , which wrapped its 13th season in SeptemberHe took home the $1,000,000 prize back in 2007.