|EXPLOSIVE: Estate lawyer Wallace Bock allegedly got a $1.5 million check from reclusive Huguette Clark to build a "bomb shelter."|
Saturday, August 28, 2010
Reclusive, 104-year-old Heiress Huguette Clark Lavished "Millions" on Her Lawyer by Dan Mangan - NYPOST.com
A 104-year-old heiress lavished "millions" of dollars in gifts on the family of her lawyer, who is now under investigation for his handling of her finances as she lives out her days in a Manhattan hospital, an ex-employee told The Post.
Huguette Clark once bought at auction a dol lhouse worth well more than $10,000 for lawyer Wallace Bock's grand daughter, and gave him a check for about $1.5 mil lion to build a "bomb shelter" for a settlement in Israel where his daughter and her family live, two people said yesterday.
Bock's co-workers were so amused by his reliance on the copper heiress that they once gave the estate lawyer a purported signed copy of her last will and testament -- which named him as a big beneficiary -- at the firm's holiday party, said Bock's former paralegal, Cynthia Garcia.
"It was a joke," said Garcia.
Bock, after initially being stunned because he thought it was the real deal, then realized the document was phony, Garcia said. "But he kept it," she added.
The Manhattan District Attorney's Office is aggressively investigating Bock, 78, and Clark's accountant, Irving Kamsler, 63, for allegedly mismanaging Clark's $500 million fortune. Kamsler is on probation for attempting to send porn via the Internet to an undercover detective posing as an underage girl.
"What they're doing to her is horrible," Garcia said, referring to Clark and her millions.
Garcia said Bock called her Thursday night -- after years of no contact -- and asked her not to discuss with anyone his dealings with Clark. He also allegedly asked if she had gone on "vacation recently."
"He sounded patronizing . . . and so desperate to placate me," Garcia said.
Hours later, the DA's Office called Garcia and left a message asking to speak with her, she said.
Bock's spokesman, Michael McKeon, said, "After more than 50 years as an attorney, Wally Bock has an excellent reputation and an unblemished record. Any inquiry will confirm that all matters have been handled appropriately and consistent with Ms. Clark's wishes."
"We believe Ms. Garcia is confused about the facts," McKeon said.
Kamsler refuses to comment.
Clark, whose US senator-father was America's second richest man in the early 1900s, has spent more than 20 years living in New York City hospitals, and is currently at Beth Israel Medical Center.
Meanwhile, her 42-room Fifth Avenue apartment is unoccupied, and her lavish mansions in California and New Canaan, Conn., have been vacant for more than 50 years, costing her millions of dollars in maintenance and taxes.
Garcia said Bock has several daughters and grandchildren living in Israel, and that after 9/11 he had Garcia write to Clark asking for $1.5 million to "build a bomb shelter" in Israel.
"He was not asking other people" for money, Garcia said. "In less than an hour," they received a check in that amount from Clark, Garcia said.
A source close to Bock confirmed that Clark, for the purposes of building a security system to protect against a terror attack, had made the substantial donation to the West Bank settlement where Bock's daughter and grandchildren live.
The donation was initially held in escrow by a lawyer there before the shelter was built, the source said.
With Rebecca Rosenberg, Laura Italiano, Sabrina Ford and Jeane MacIntosh