November 29, 2011 by staff
Huguette Clark, A newly publicized will by an heiress to a Montana copper mining fortune leaves most of her $400 million estate to her family, while a will signed just weeks later left nothing to relatives.
The childless Huguette Clark died in May at age 104 – a last breath of New York’s Gilded Age that produced the Rockefellers, Astors and Vanderbilts.
Her relatives brought the new will to light on Monday: They filed court papers asking a Surrogate’s Court judge to involve them in proceedings about how her money was spent – and by whom – while she was alive.
Clark’s relatives accuse her co-executors, attorney Wallace Bock and accountant Irving Kamsler, of plundering her fortune. The two were among the few who for years had access to the reclusive Clark in her Manhattan hospital room. Clark had left her 42-room Manhattan home – the largest residence on Fifth Avenue – decades earlier, choosing to live undisturbed at the hospital.
A court-ordered accounting of the Paris-born heiress’ finances as overseen by Bock and Kamsler in the last 15 years of her life is “a chilling report of the mishandling, misappropriation and mismanagement” of her assets, the relatives’ lawyer, John R. Morken, wrote in papers filed Monday.
While Clark was confined to a hospital room, her spending amounted to about $1 million each month, Morken said, citing the figures.
Monday’s filing, which was first reported by msnbc.com, included a will signed in March 2005, about six weeks before another will that Bock and Kamsler filed shortly after Clark’s death.
The March 2005 will benefits 21 relatives on the side of Clark’s father, U.S. Sen. William A. Clark, who represented Montana after building one of America’s largest fortunes mining copper, building railroads and founding Las Vegas. Nevada’s Clark County is named for him. His wealth vied with that of the Rockefellers.
A will signed in April 2005, by contrast, gives Clark’s family nothing and leaves her money mainly to charity and her nurse.
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