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Who Is Regina Rice, Ernie Banks' 'Caregiver?'

By Chuck Sudo in News on Feb 18, 2015 4:40PM

Regina Rice (Photo via Facebook)
While the battle over Cubs Hall of Famer Ernie Banks’ remains and will head to court, more information is coming out about Regina Rice, the confidant and “caregiver” who handled the affairs of “Mr.Cub” in the final decade of his life and how Banks’ family was blindsided by Rice following his death last month.

The Tribune describes Rice as “a 56-year-old lounge singer and owner of a talent management company” who managed to gain the confidence of Banks and his family, to the point where Rice was entrusted to manage Banks’ daily affairs while his family lived in California in the final years of his life.

Rice arranged the details of Banks' funeral and memorial service with the Cubs, as well as a private gathering for Banks' family and close friends. By then, the wheels were in motion for the now-unfolding mess before us. Elizabeth Banks, Ernie Banks' fourth wife, filed a petition in probate court Jan. 28 asking to be declared the executor of her husband's estate. Four days later, Rice filed Banks' will with the probate court and asked for the judge to reverse his decision.

In her filing, Rice said she was a "trusted confidant" of Banks, who "to look out for his best interest and carry out his wishes."

The night Banks died, Rice said she was "devastated with grief" but managed to gather herself together to call his family. "Within 30 minutes of Mr. Banks' death, while still in the emergency room at Northwestern Memorial Hospital, Ms. Rice called Mr. Banks' estranged wife ... and notified her personally so that (she) did not hear of the death via the media," the filing said.

Rice posted this video to Facebook the day after Banks' death.

The will, which was signed by Banks last October, leaves all of his assets to Rice in a trust and completely shuts out the family. Language in the will reads Banks' decision was "official and unequivocal" and that he left nothing to his family "not for a lack of love and affection for them and for reasons best known by them." Should Rice not be able to handle her duties as executor, Ariel Investments CEO John Rogers would take Rice's place.

The will also airs previously unknown dirty laundry. Rice claims in the filing Ernie and Liz Banks were estranged since 2007 and were finalizing a divorce at the time of his death. Liz Banks has asked for a hearing contesting the will's validity.