(He’ll be with them, always.)
You know you’re dealing with a messed up situation when even the hardened gossip mavens at death-body-skyscrape-punkass-vials-ashes-remains-funeral-memorial-service/” target=”_blank” rel=”nofollow”>TMZ deploy the phrase, “Here’s where things get CRAZY.” Frankly, we’re not even sure how to adequately put this into words, but here goes: The sister of deceased Tapout founder Charles “Mask” Lewis has filed a lawsuit in California accusing his partners in the MMA apparel company of stealing and illegally distributing her brother’s ashes as party favors during his 2009 memorial service. She further charges that the partners – Dan “Punkass” Caldwell and Tim “SkySkrape” Katz – still have the urn containing Lewis’ ashes and refuse to give it back, according to the report from TMZ.
Lewis was killed by a drunk driver during a street race in Newport Beach, Calif., in March, 2009. A month after his death Caldwell and Katz – who reportedly co-founded the company with Lewis in 1997 – organized a large memorial for him at the Crystal Cathedral in Garden Grove, Calif., which was attended by a host of MMA luminaries. It is unclear from the TMZ report if this is the service referenced in the lawsuit. More of the macabre details after the jump.
According to TMZ, Mask’s sister Carla (identified only by her first name in the story) retained “executive power” over his remains and ordered him cremated shortly after his death. Then, according to the report: “Carla claims she was approached by the co-founders of TapouT — men calling themselves Skyscrape and Punkass — who wanted to “borrow” Mask’s ashes and urn for a public memorial service … Carla says when she arrived to the memorial service, she noticed “various booths and tables” set up around the cathedral … one of which contained, “a large shoebox-size box containing several miniature vials that were on display.”
Carla says the vendor informed her, “each of the vials contained a small amount of the cremated remains of Mask, and were reserved for, and to be given to, ‘special people’ whose names were on a printed list.”
The sister believes between 50 and 100 vials of her brother’s ashes were distributed, according to TMZ. Her lawsuit seeks unspecified damages and cites “overwhelming and severe emotional distress.” No comment yet from Caldwell or Katz, who in September, 2010 sold Tapout to the Toronto-based Authentic Brands Group, which also acquired Silver Star and Hitman Fight Gear at that time. Both men remain active with the company.
In February of this year, 53-year-old Jeffrey David Kirby was convicted of vehicular manslaughter and sentenced to nine years in prison for his role in the race and ensuing accident that killed Lewis.