Michael Oher needs the Tuohys to show him all of the ‘conservatorship’ receipts

Last week, former NFL star Michael Oher filed a civil suit against the Tuohy family. The Tuohys told everyone for years that they adopted Michael, that they “saved” him, that they taught him the basics of football, that Oher was a dumb kid who needed extensive tutoring. None of that was true. In fact, the Tuohys lied to Oher, manipulated him into a conservatorship (rather than adopting him), scammed him out of his life rights and then profited massively from his story, with books, speaking tours and one Oscar-winning movie, The Blind Side. Oher is now petitioning the court to be released from the conservatorship. The Tuohys don’t have reasonable answers for any of Oher’s accusations, and they are now accusing Oher of attempted extortion. Well, Oher is thoroughly lawyered up, and now he and his lawyers want a full account of what money the Tuohys made off of him.

Michael Oher “has been kept in the dark” about his finances for nearly 20 years, his attorneys claim in a new legal filing this week. In the filing, Oher, 37, requests that Sean and Leigh Anne Tuohy file an initial accounting of his finances within two weeks, asking the court to set a deadline on the Memphis-area couple to clarify what money has been made off his name since The Blind Side’s 2009 release.

The retired NFL player, whose life inspired the Oscar-winning film, initially filed a petition in the Shelby County probate court on Aug. 14 asking to end his conservatorship with the Tuohys that began in 2004, when he was 18. Adding three new attorneys to his legal team this week, Oher is now asking for the Tuohys to make a full accounting of the money earned from the film. The 2004 conservatorship put the Tuohys in charge of Oher’s financial decisions, despite his having “no known physical or psychological disabilities” that would more often lead a legal adult to agree to a conservatorship.

Local attorneys in Tennessee have told PEOPLE the arrangement is “puzzling” given adult adoption is an option in the state and that Oher was not just sound of mind, but proved to be a solid student in college. (Conservatorships are often relied upon for people who are physically or mentally unable to take care of themselves.) Conservators are legally required to file an initial accounting of the individual’s finances when the legal arrangement begins. A conservator is then required to make annual filings with the court every year going forward for the person under their care.

“[The Tuohys] have failed to file the first accounting and have failed to timely file a single accounting for the last 19 years,” Oher’s attorneys wrote in a new filing Monday, demanding the Shelby County probate court have the Tuohys file an initial accounting of Oher’s finances within two weeks. Oher’s attorneys add the Shelby County court never granted the Tuohys an extension for filing the accounting, either, indicating there’s no reason the accountancy were never made over the years.

With no paper trail, Oher’s attorneys allege he’s been “forced to rely on the verbal assurances from his co-conservators” about his finances.

Since Oher’s request last week for an accounting of his finances and for him to be removed from the conservatorship, his attorneys claim the Tuohys “nevertheless have ignored his request and continue to use his name, likeness, and image,” though they did not specify where.

[From People]

My question about the conservatorship was this: if it was designed as a work-around for NCAA booster rules, as the Tuohys claim, then why wasn’t the conservatorship removed once Oher graduated from Ole Miss? Oher’s lawyers are going in a different direction: if the Tuohys really believed Oher needed this conservatorship for 19 YEARS, why were they so lackadaisical in their paperwork? You can’t just con an 18-year-old kid into a conservatorship and then that’s the end of it – the court should be constantly monitoring the situation, and the Tuohys needed to file all kinds of annual/quarterly reports with the court. Oher’s lawyers are like: why wasn’t the court monitoring the Tuohys on this janky-ass conservatorship? Why are the financials such a mess?

Photos courtesy of Avalon Red, Cover Images, Instagram.

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39 Responses to “Michael Oher needs the Tuohys to show him all of the ‘conservatorship’ receipts”

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  1. Bee (not THAT Bee) says:

    Worst white saviors ever!

  2. Lurker25 says:

    Of course their fat chinned kid is wearing an Old Miss tie. The answers to the questions about how they got a conservatorship to a mentally sounds adult, why the court didn’t track it, why they haven’t had to answer to anyone, how they got away with this scam for 20 years… It’s all right there in the tie.

  3. Scout says:

    He should have a copy of those. Or his lawyer should.

  4. Lucy says:

    The only good memorable part of that movie for me was the line, “Who ever thought we’d have a black son before we knew a democrat?” When the tutor confesses to being a democrat. And of course now that seems to explain every single thing about them and this bs.

    • ama1977 says:

      My husband’s alma mater played Ole Miss in their bowl game last year and it was in our town so we went. SUCH a bad taste in my mouth from all of the unconcealed or barely concealed racist BS that school embraces. The announcer kept shrieking “THE RRRREBEL 20 YARD LINE!!!” or whatever the whole time and the fans were trash.

      All of this is awful and completely unacceptable, but to know that they intentionally funneled a young Black athlete to their racist AF alma mater for football glory is just an extra layer of disgusting. They need to pay Michael every cent of the millions they’ve made on their fraudulent association with him since Day 1.

  5. Amy Bee says:

    Perhaps they never filed any paperwork to keep up the pretense that they had adopted him. But as Kaiser says it doesn’t explain why the courts weren’t monitoring the situation as they’re supposed to.

    • Lizzie Bathory says:

      The only explanation I can think of is that someone at the court was complicit in this. Ordinarily, the Tuohys would have been notified the first time they failed to file an accounting. For them to fail to file for nearly *two decades* seems impossible unless the court was looking the other way.

    • TOM says:

      I am the conservator of a relative since the death of his parent 24 years ago. The court reviews the conservatorship every two years, visits my relative, speaks with caretakers, files an evaluation. There is an hearing. Every two years. The words conservator and conservatorship are thrown around a lot during this process. Every two years.
      It is wild to me that Michael Oher’s experience has been completely not that.

      • Brassy Rebel says:

        There are so, so many people who need to be deposed under oath about this so-called conservatorship. Something is very, very rotten in the states of Tennessee and Mississippi.

      • KFG says:

        I’m not surprised. White couple, black man. Ofcourse the courts don’t check it.

      • Kirsten says:

        His lawyer’s don’t seem to allege though that they never filed paperwork: “[The Tuohys] have failed to file the first accounting and have failed to timely file a single accounting for the last 19 years.”

        That means that only the initial filing is missing, and that every other year’s filing was submitted but late. Otherwise you wouldn’t include the word timely.

      • StellainNH says:

        I was a conservator for a family member, now waiting for court to appoint me administrator of the estate, and I was always notifying court about finances. I wonder if the Tuouys had a judge in their pocket, regardless, there are Clerks in the court that keep everyone up to date.

    • windyriver says:

      The NY Times has a good article today about these issues re: the conservatorship, and how it skipped a number of the usual requirements. (I think you get at least one free article if you click on it.)


      And yeah, once it became a big “heartwarming” story, I wonder if they didn’t want to call attention to the fact that he wasn’t really adopted after all.

  6. Libra says:

    Years ago I sought advice about a conservatorship for my very troubled brother. I was advised not to pursue it because he was able to live alone and provide for his food and shelter and I could not prove he was a danger to himself or others. (He was, I just had no proof). From the minute this story broke I wondered how the Tuohys managed to pull this off.

    • ML says:

      Libra, I’m so sorry to hear about your brother and the frustration you’ve gone through to get him proper care. Hugs! Trying to get care for elderly relatives is similar: until something drastic happens, as long as they have no dementia diagnosis, you can’t help them either.
      I don’t understand how they did either. Nor how absolutely nobody checked up on the legality of it when it’s clear Michael Oher didn’t need one. I hope he goes after the Tuohys and takes them for all they got from him and more!

  7. ⁷Tree says:

    Bottomline. He needs to see the receipts. Case closed. Years ago Micheal oher gave an interview about money. The tuohys should’ve started detangling everything then.

    I think the tuohys spend money as they get it. Hopefully sandra bullock can get oher a good manager. She did win an Oscar for his story. A good manager will have this over with in a month. Not even an accountant. Just a good Hollywood manager or agent. Sandra’s agents company could handle all of this in their sleep. Including tracking down all those restaurants the tuohys own that’s SUPPOSEDLY included Micheal oher.

    • SweetPea says:

      Genuinely curious as to why Sandra Bullock would need to be involved. She is an actress who played a role, based on someone else and she won awards. IMO, she holds no responsibility here.

    • Roop says:

      Why does Sandra Bullock need to be involved, but not Tim McGraw? He played Sean Tuohy and I’ve never seen commentary about Tim needing to apologize for playing a role.

      People think that actors have way more sway than they do. And then hold them to insane levels of responsibility. Sandra Bullock does NOT need to jump in and save Michael Oher.

      Put your blame on the Tuohys themselves, the author of the book, and the producers who didn’t do their homework on this family.

    • Mel says:

      Why are people trying to make this Sandra Bullock’s problem? She played a role in a movie, she’s isn’t close personal friends with them and isn’t involved in whatever shenanigans they chose to engage in. It’s not her job or place to fix this or even talk about it. Leave her alone.

    • Juniper says:

      Even mentioning Sandra Bullock is probably the most ridiculous waste of space I’ve seen regarding this issue. She’s an actress who played a role in a script. She did her job, and then moved on. She had nothing to do with the family except civility. I’ve seen this all over TikTok and it just makes my @$$ itch.

  8. Twin Falls says:

    Are we really asking why the Shelby County, Tennessee judge in charge of this sketchy conservator case couldn’t be bothered to follow up on the Tuohy’s annual filings? They probably go to the same church and are members of the same country club.

    • Lucy says:

      Right? Part of the movie is LeeAnn threatening to shoot someone and telling them she’s in a prayer circle with the DA.

  9. manda says:

    The state needs to audit all the conservatorships in shelby county, bc there’s clearly no oversight. When I did adult guardianships, the court would require conservators (we call them guardians here) to come in an explain why they haven’t filed the report, and that was just missing a year, and that was after letters and phone calls asking for it. I can’t believe the court just left this go for so long

    • H says:

      @Manda, I’m beginning to wonder about Tennessee myself. For my job, I was sometimes required to testify in guardianship cases. In my state, we also call them guardians and yearly paperwork is required to be filed with the court and the judge. Ongoing progress reports also must be filed plus any financials. I get you might skip a year, but 19 years?? Oher’s attorneys need to be bringing that up too.

  10. Genevieve says:

    I never saw the movie, so I had no investment in this story, but this is shockingly corrupt. How does this family sleep at night? How could *all* the people who would have knowledge of the situation in the court system let it slide? Like, NO ONE thought “Hey, this seems evil and illegal. Maybe should stop it.”

    • BlueNailsBetty says:

      @Genevieve How do they sleep at night? Racism and entitlement. The same racism and entitlement that allowed slave owners to sleep just fine thank you very much is what allows people like the Tuohys to commit this heinous act while bragging about how they “saved” Michael.

      Racism is a helluva drug. It creates a false* sense of superiority over other people. That false sense of superiority causes feelings of entitlement. They then feel like people owe them so any manipulative behavior like what the Tuohys did to Michael is completely justified in their twisted brains.

      *I include the word false because obviously these mediocre white people are not actually superior to anyone. However, to them they genuinely think they are superior. That belief is what makes them so dangerous.

  11. Dena says:

    I don’t understand the lack of oversight and financial statements, either. Not quite the same, but I was legal guardian of my grandfather for a few years before his death. He was in the early stages of dementia and, when evaluated, had the reasoning capacity of an eight-year-old. Not only did it require that multiple medical experts evaluate his competency (unlike the – none – who did so in this case), once I was appointed I had to file annual financial statements wiht the state.

    I had to prepare an analysis of all cash in and out of his accounts – which I tied to receipts and bank statements – and you’d better believe I was darned careful!

    So how these people got away with years off – nothing and no oversight is mind boggling to me.

    • BeanieBean says:

      And if this happened with Michael Oher, how many other conservatorships in that state went under the radar? How many other people were taken advantage of? This could have deep ramifications if investigated properly.

  12. Blueberry 🫐 says:

    Could an audit of their tax returns be enforced?

  13. Bren says:

    I assume the Touhys never ended the conservatorship because it was most likely granted illegally and buried by someone in the court system. It sounds like Michael has been trying to get them to share information about the conservatorship and they pushed back or avoided him knowing that ending the conservatorship after all of these years could get them in some legal trouble. Michael’s lawsuit was probably the only way to get them to respond and finally address the situation.

  14. BlueNailsBetty says:

    For those asking how this “conservatorship” happened and why it was grossly mishandled here are some facts to consider.

    1. Football is King in the South. The lengths rich white people go to to feed the Football God are astounding. The money made off of football, even at the peewee level are mind numbing. Football is glorified at the same level as Jesus. College football is absolutely off the charts competitive, money making, and filled with all sorts of hinky shit to get around all sorts of rules and eligibilities. College football is Walmart Corporation levels of money making so there are a lot of greedy people working angles to get some of that money along with helping their favorite team make money and win games/championships.

    2. The majority of football players in the South (and North but I’m focusing on the obsession of the South for now) are black. The ownership and entitlement white people (fans, coaches, schools) feel over the Black players is the same ownership and entitlement that lead to the American slave trade. Like literally. The intensity football players are subjected to is off the charts. The intensity Black players are subjected to is even worse.

    3. White fans with money (and sometimes alumnus status) often ingratiate themselves with football programs in an attempt to elevate their status and wealth. The good ol’ boy and football networks are goldmines for making business/money connections. That is exactly what the Tuohys did. They bought themselves a talented Black football player, sold him to their favorite football team, reaped the admiration of the football business network, and then they sold their fake ass story to publishing, Hollywood, and America. Michael was not a “son” to them. He was a blank check and they filled it will their names and a lot of 0s.

    4. Know who else is part of that exclusive football business/money/power network? Judges, law enforcement, lawyers, heads of government agencies. That no one investigated this “conservatorship” for 19 goddamn years means that every person involved in this case was in on the grift. There is not one single person on this case who did not know the law, policies, and procedures that must be followed. Michael’s lawsuit is opening a can of worms so big that I worry about his safety. He now has a very big bullseye on him. Powerful people don’t like having their illegal activities exposed especially when it is decades deep. Michael is in danger. This isn’t just about the Tuohys. This is about an entire system of grift off the backs of football players, especially Black football players.

    5. Michael is not the only player this has happened to. We are about to see other players asking questions. We are about to see people investigating the entire system that administers and upholds conservatorship regarding football minors (and possibly minors in general). I’m predicting it now: At some point the feds will be brought in and and independent investigation will be done by the DOJ/FBI. No one in Mississippi can be trusted to fairly investigate this shit.

    Prayers to Michael, his family, and his legal team. They’ve opened Pandora’s box.

    (I’m sorry about how long winded this is!)

    • Green Desert says:

      @BlueNailsBetty, I really appreciate this context. And it makes so much sense. It makes me sick to my stomach. Your #5 point is chilling. I hope it happens.

    • BeanieBean says:

      That’s exactly what I was thinking. Michael Oher can’t be the only person this happened to. Other football players, other vulnerable people in Tennessee & Mississippi have been subjected to this sham. This is tip of the iceberg stuff.

      • BlueNailsBetty says:

        Yep. The Tuohys weren’t the first to do this and they weren’t the last. What they did wrong was brag about it and demand cookies for their white savior complex. If they had been more discreet no one would have found out. Instead, they got too big for their britches, too greedy, and their hubris was too strong. I hope all of the Tuohys rot in hell.

    • bisynaptic says:

      THIS. All of this.

  15. jferber says:

    I feel so bad for this poor man.

  16. Erin U says:

    They look like they would’ve been slave owners.

  17. bisynaptic says:

    My god, I went to Stanford and I’m not as hung up as these people are about their “college”. What kind of dweeb wears a collegiate tie to a formal event?