Sunday, September 12, 2010

Huguette Clark's Multi-Million-Dollar Fortune Remains in Hands of Her Financial Managers - by James Fanelli - NY Daily News

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Heiress Huguette Clark (l., in the 1930s) has had her $500M fortune, including the 42 rooms she owns at this swanky 5th Ave. apartment, handled by her lawyer and accountant for decades.
Millionaire recluse Huguette Clark's $500 million fortune will remain in the hands of financial managers who are under investigation, a Manhattan judge decided Thursday.
Judge Laura Visitacion-Lewis tossed a request by Clark's relatives to appoint an independent guardian to oversee her finances and property, including Fifth Avenue's biggest co-op apartment.
The judge called the family's concerns about Clark's health and state of mind "speculative" and "insufficient" to merit wresting control from her lawyer, Wallace Bock, and accountant, Irving Kamsler.
"I am grateful the judge took the time to parse through the issue and Mr. Bock hopes that at this juncture Ms. Clark now be allowed to maintain her valued privacy," Bock's lawyer, Robert J. Anello, said in a statement.
Manhattan prosecutors are investigating whether Bock and Kamsler have mishandled her estates. No charges have been filed.
Three of Clark's kin claimed in a petition last week that she is "likely to suffer personal and financial harm," and is "at risk of abuse" from the two men.
In the family's petition, they cited concerns about Clark making a $1.5 million donation to build a security system at an Israeli settlement where Bock's family members lived. They also claimed that her financial handlers had limited access to the copper-fortune heiress.
"We remain concerned about the safety and well-being of our great aunt," the family said in a statement after yesterday's ruling.
"We are disappointed that the court did not see fit to appoint an unbiased, independent evaluator to examine her circumstances, particularly in light of the numerous reports that raise serious questions about whether professionals ... are taking advantage of her while at the same time they assert that they are honoring her wishes by keeping her isolated from her family."