Archive for the ‘Huguette Clark’ Category

Mayoral Blitz Over Clark Estate

November 30, 2012

It was a loud, high-profile stage whisper designed to get the attention of 15 competing teams of attorneys fighting 3,000 miles away over an estate worth an estimated $400 million. Santa Barbara’s current mayor Helene Schneider showed up at a press conference with former mayor (and current planning commissioner) Sheila Lodge to express their mutual concern that Santa Barbara’s interest was getting lost in the very high-octane shuffle over the two wills recluse heiress Huguette Clark wrote within weeks of each other.

In the second will, Clark left her 23-acre Santa Barbara estate that fronts the Pacific Ocean across from the Andree Clark Bird Refuge — named after her older sister — to an entity named the Bellosguardo Foundation, which she stipulated would be dedicated to the promotion of the arts. Backing the two mayors — in spirit if not body — was former mayor and arts advocate Hal Conklin, as well as an impressive array of big monied movers and shakers who’ve donated generously to the arts in Santa Barbara over the years, like Michael and Anne Towbes, Leslie Ridley-Tree, Robert Emmons, and Sarah Miller McCune. Clark died last May at age 104, having spent the last 22 years of her life living in a New York City hospital.

That second will has been challenged in court by about 20 of Clark’s distant relatives, upset that they’d been totally cut out compared to a will she’d written six weeks prior. They’ve argued that Clark — who’d amassed a world-class collection of paintings, not to mention a $3 million collection of dolls — had been unduly influenced by her nurse, her attorney, and her accountant, all of whom she took care of handsomely in the second will. (In the previous will, Clark gave her nurse $5 million and split most of the rest among relatives. In the second, she gave the nurse $30 million, her relatives nothing, and her foundation the rest.) Schneider and Lodge expressed concern that the warring factions, now in settlement talks, might arrive at a deal that ignores Santa Barbara’s legitimate claim on Clark’s generosity. Her Bellosguardo estate — and the collection it holds — would provide Santa Barbara a priceless attraction. “In the 3,000 pages of depositions that have been taken, there’s not one indication that she was not competent,” stated Lodge.

Full Article and Source:
Mayoral Blitz Over Clark Estate

Pair Suspended as Executors of Huguette Clark’s Will

Huguette Clark Left $34mil to Nurse

November 23, 2011

The controversy surrounding what will happen to the vast fortune left in the wake of the death of copper heiress Huguette Clark seems to be just getting warmed up.

Clark, who died in May at the age of 104, left a somewhat surprising will behind, cutting out friends and family and leaving $34 million to her nurse. According to MSNBC, she also left about $17 million to her accountant and attorney through fees and other bequests.

The accountant and attorney are both under investigation, and have had to account for all the transactions they’ve made since they took over legal power of attorney for the heiress in 1996. According to MSNBC, the investigation is the result of an incredible $1 million-a-month spending pattern for a woman who never left the hospital. Remarkably, in the course of one day, the pair apparently wrote $380,000 in checks from Clark’s personal account.

The astounding sum left to her nurse, Hadassah Peri, has also raised eyebrows. The New York Post detailed just how she took care of Clark until her death, and the tremendous affection she showed the heiress.

Full Article and Source:
Huguette Clark, Reclusive Copper Heiress Left $34 Million to Nurse

What’s so Surprising About the Huguette Clark Inheritance Scandal?

September 19, 2010

It seems that almost every day now there’s a new story in the papers about Huguette Clark, the reclusive 104-year-old Manhattan heiress who is reported to have abandoned her luxurious homes for a simple hospital room, even as questions swirl about the conduct of her trusted financial advisors. The controversy has a number of complex layers, but at the core it has essentially become a public debate about whether or not an elderly rich person has been taken advantage of by the very individuals hired to protect her, namely her accountant, Irving Kamsler, and her attorney, Wallace Bock. Clark’s family members have filed suit, and New York City prosecutors are reportedly looking into allegations that these two advisers have fleeced their elderly client.

Whenever a vastly wealthy patriarch or matriarch reaches inheritance-splitting age, family disputes inevitably follow. Such disputes typically fall into one of two categories. First, there are the squabbles among the descendents themselves, each of whom generally wants to avoid getting less than any of the others, even if it means counting down to the very last penny. And second, there are battles between family members and wealth advisors, specifically the individual advisors who are closest to the aging (or recently deceased) holders of the family assets.

Full Article and Source:
What’s So Surprising About the Huguette Clark Inheritance Scandal?

Investigated Pair Still Controls Huguette Clark’s Fortune

September 13, 2010

A judge on Thursday rejected the request of Huguette Clark’s relatives to appoint a guardian for the 104-year-old heiress, saying their claim relies on hearsay. The judge left her affairs in the hands of an attorney and accountant who are being investigated by the district attorney.

Without a hearing, Judge Laura Visitación-Lewis of New York County Supreme Court said the relatives’ petition was “insufficient in its hearsay, conclusory and speculative assertions” on the capacity of Clark to handle her affairs.

A parallel criminal investigation by the Manhattan district attorney continues into the handling of Clark’s wealth, estimated at $500 million.

Full Article and Source:
Investigated Pair Still Control Huguette Clark’s Fortune

Huguette Clark’s Attorney Defends Himself

September 13, 2010

The attorney for 104-year-old heiress Huguette Clark has responded to an effort by her relatives to oust him as her attorney, ridiculing them as Johnny-come-latelies.

The detailed statement from Wallace “Wally” Bock provides his first account of the health, history and well-being of the reclusive Clark, whose fortune is estimated at $500 million.

The Queens, N.Y., attorney also said he has carried out Clark’s wishes to the letter, and acknowledged that he solicited a gift of $1.5 million from his client for a community where his family lives. He also maintained it wasn’t his place to fire Clark’s accountant after the man pleaded guilty to a felony.

One item Bock declined to address, however, is whether or not he is named in his client’s will.

Three of Clark’s distant relatives, Ian C. Devine, Carla Hall Friedman and Karine Albert McCall, went to court Friday in New York City, asking that a guardian and a financial institution be appointed to protect her from potential financial abuse by Bock as well as her accountant, who is a registered sex offender.

He ridiculed the family who filed the petition as “very distant relations” “who have only recently appeared on the scene” and “do not claim to have any personal relationship with her.” [Note, the family’s petition was denied. See article above.]

Full Article and Source:
Attorney for 104-Year-Old Heiress Defends His Handling of Her Finances

See Also:
Huguette Clark’s Lawyer Fires Back!

No Guardian for Huguette Clark!

September 11, 2010

A New York judge has rebuffed a request to appoint a guardian for a reclusive, 104-year-old heiress to a Montana copper fortune. Her relatives fear her lawyer and accountant are manipulating her for their benefit.

The judge’s ruling Thursday says the relatives are relying on secondhand and speculative claims that Huguette Clark (hew-GET’) is incapacitated and needs a guardian.

Full Article and Source:
NY Judge: No Guardian for Copper Heiress, 104

Huguette Clark’s Lawyer Fires Back!

September 8, 2010

The lawyer for reclusive heiress Huguette Clark has hit back at relatives who want him ousted – saying he asked her to keep family members away from her.

Wallace Bock made the claims in a legal response to a petition filed last week by three of Clark’s kin asking for an independent guardian to oversee her vast fortune.

“Ms. Clark has always been a strong-willed individual with firm convictions about how her life should be led and who should be privy to her affairs,” the 78-year-old attorney says in his filing.

Bock said the family’s petition – which also asks for a restraining order barring him and Clark’s accountant from contact with her – violates her wishes.

The legal document offers a glimpse into the shrouded life of the copper-fortune heiress who has lived in hospitals for 20 years, despite owning the biggest co-op on Fifth Avenue and sprawling estates in California and Connecticut.

Full Article and Source:
Huguette Clark’s Lawyer Fires Back at Relatives Who Want Him Ousted

See Also:
Huguette Clark’s Relatives Ask for Independent Guardian

Huguette Clark’s Relatives Ask for Independent Guardian

September 6, 2010

Relatives for reclusive 104-year-old heiress Huguette Clark today asked a Manhattan court to appoint an independent guardian for her in light of a criminal investigation into the handling of her $500 million estate by her lawyer and accountant, and a recent story in The Post revealing how her accountant tried to get her to sign new legal documents earlier this week at the hospital where she lives.

“The Clark family is extremely concerned by recent reports that raise troubling questions about Huguette Clark’s advisors. The advisors in question are neither members of the Clark family nor were they retained at the behest of the family,” the three relatives said in a statement.”

“Based on the press reports and other information available to the family, it appears that the advisors are improperly controlling Ms. Clark’s affairs and limiting access to Ms. Clark. The allegations raised in the press include payments to benefit one of the advisors, Wallace Bock, mismanagement of Ms. Clark’s financial affairs resulting in imposition of liens against her property, and improper efforts to pressure Ms. Clark to sign legal documents.”

The statement also said, “The family is further concerned that Irving Kamsler, with the blessing of Bock, has continued as a fiduciary to Ms. Clark notwithstanding his felony conviction on a charge of attempting to disseminate indecent materials to a minor, and purported to obtain Ms. Clark’s consent to the continued representation based on false and incomplete disclosure.”

“Therefore, this morning, three cousins, each representing a different branch of the descendants of William Andrews Clark, filed a petition for the appointment of an independent guardian to manage Ms. Clark’s affairs.

Full Article and Source:
Relatives of 104-Year-Old Heiress Ask for Independent Guardian

See Also:
Huguette Clark (104 Year Old Heiress) Finances Under Probe

Huguette Clark’s Family Asks Court to Bar Her Lawyer and Accountant

September 6, 2010

Relatives of a reclusive 104-year-old copper heiress yesterday asked a court to bar her lawyer and an accountant — who are being criminally investigated for their actions — from managing her $500 million fortune.

“The Clark family is extremely concerned by recent reports that raise troubling questions about Huguette Clark’s advisers,” two Clark nieces and a nephew said after filing a suit in Manhattan that cites Post stories detailing her handlers’ curious conduct.

“It appears that the advisers” — Clark lawyer Wallace Bock and her convicted-felon accountant Irving Kamsler — “are improperly controlling Ms. Clark’s affairs and limiting access to Ms. Clark,” said the relatives, Carla Hall Friedman, Ian Devin and Karine McCall.

Their filing said that “unless a guardian is appointed, Ms. Clark is likely to suffer personal and financial harm because she remains at risk of abuse from . . . Bock and Kamsler.”

Both men are under investigation by the Manhattan DA for their years of control of her finances, which includes their selling off a $23 million painting and a $6 million Stradivarius violin and allowing $2 million in tax liens to be placed on her real estate.

The relatives want Clark declared incapacitated and want one of them appointed as her personal guardian. They also are asking that Fiduciary Trust Company be named to oversee her property.

Full Article and Source:
104-Year-Old Heiress Huguette Clark Kin Make Legal Bid to Free Her From Duo’s Clutches

Huguette Clark (104-Year-Old Heiress) Finances Under Probe

August 27, 2010

A 104-year-old heiress to a Montana copper mining fortune — now living in a New York hospital room — is at the center of a criminal investigation into her fortune and welfare, two people familiar with the probe told The Associated Press.

The Manhattan district attorney’s office is looking into how Huguette Clark is being cared for and how her finances are being handled, according to the people, who spoke on condition of anonymity because they are not authorized to speak publicly about the probe.

Clark has been living in hospitals since leaving her luxury co-op overlooking Central Park more than 20 years ago, according to building staff who saw her leave in an ambulance.

Full Article and Source:
Finances of 104-Year-Old Heiress at Center of Probe