Posted at: 12/20/2012 3:06 AM
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$66M Kinkade estate dispute secretly settled

(AP) SAN JOSE, Calif. - Thomas Kinkade’s widow and girlfriend have reached a settlement after a dispute over the late artist’s $66 million estate, their attorneys said Wednesday.

The San Jose Mercury News reports ( http://bit.ly/Wq5kti) that counsel for Nanette Kinkade and his girlfriend Amy Pinto announced the settlement but wouldn’t provide further details, leaving it unclear who will inherit Kinkade’s San Francisco Bay area mansion and his warehouse of paintings.

In a statement, they said the women kept Kinkade’s message of "love, spirituality and optimism" in their amicable resolution.

The dispute went public after the 54-year-old artist died April 6 from an accidental overdose of alcohol and prescription tranquilizers.

Pinto, who began dating Kinkade six months after his marriage of 28 years imploded, claimed Kinkade wrote two notes bequeathing her his mansion and $10 million to establish a museum of his paintings. Her lawyers filed court papers stating that she and Kinkade had planned to marry as soon as his divorce went through.

Nanette Kinkade disputed those claims and sought full control of the estate. She portrayed Pinto in court papers as a gold-digger who is trying to cheat the artist’s rightful heirs.

Kinkade, the self-described "Painter of Light," was known for sentimental scenes of country gardens and pastoral landscapes. His work led to a commercial empire of franchised galleries, reproduced artwork and spin-off products that was said to fetch some $100 million each year in sales.

(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)