Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Hold Your Bets on the Aqueduct Deal - DiNapoli's Office Has Reservations About Bid Winner Genting by Ken Lovett - NY Daily News

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State Controller Thomas DiNapoli must sign off on the deal for the racino at Aqueduct, and he has questions for Genting New York, the winning bidder. 

The latest plan for the Aqueduct racino is no sure bet, the Daily News has learned.
State Controller Thomas DiNapoli has worries about the latest deal - and he must sign off on it before it becomes official.
"We have not received the contract yet, but we have had preliminary discussions with the lottery about some of our concerns," said DiNapoli spokesman Dennis Tompkins.
Sources said the controller's office is worried that the company picked to run the lucrative video-slots parlor, Genting New York, was the sole qualified bidder to emerge.
DiNapoli's office also raised concerns about Genting's 3% stake in MGM Grand, which works with Pansy Ho - whose father is a Chinese casino magnate with reported mob ties - at its Macao casino.
The State of New Jersey was so uncomfortable with MGM's relationship with Ho that regulators forced the company to sell its share of the Borgata in Atlantic City.
One source said the controller's objections are unlikely to torpedo the project. Tompkins wouldn't comment on the severity of DiNapoli's concerns.
DiNapoli and state Attorney General Andrew Cuomo both must okay the pact that Genting reached with Gov. Paterson and legislative leaders.
Cuomo's office, which is checking to make sure the contract passes legal muster, also has had some questions, sources said.
In recommending Genting, lottery officials hailed the proposal as the best they'd seen in the nine-year slog to launch a racino at the Queens track.
Lottery spokeswoman Jennifer Givner played down the concerns from both offices. "I think this is part of their due diligence," Givner said.
Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, who is close to DiNapoli, said he believes the deal ultimately will go through.
"I don't think any of these questions raise significant issues," Silver (D-Manhattan) said.
The cash-strapped state is set to receive $380 million from Genting within 10 days of Cuomo and DiNapoli signing off on the contract.
This year, Paterson picked the politically connected Aqueduct Entertainment Group, which boasted the influential Rev. Floyd Flake as a partner, to run the racino.
The deal fell apart this spring when the Lottery Division deemed the group "unlicensable."

Names Circulate For Race To Fill Tom White’s Council Seat by Chris Bragg - City Hall News

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The funeral is not until Thursday, but the jockeying was well underway by the weekend.

Until Tom White is buried, at least, the potential candidates for his Council seat covering southeast Queens seat are reluctant to go on the record about their ambitions. But though they will not speak publicly, the consensus on who is on the list of potential candidates has already begun to take shape, as has the consensus that Assembly Member Vivian Cook—who is herself suffering from health problems that kept her out of Albany and had some questioning her own plans for a re-election run—will play the kingmaker in the non-partisan special election set for Nov. 2, the day of the general election.
Of the dozen names floating around, the most serious possible contenders are seen as Martha Taylor Butler, the chief of staff for Assembly Member Michelle Titus, and Anthony Andrews, the director of student activities at York College, who came in just behind Allan Jennings in the 2001 race for the seat. Andrews was extremely close with White, and is also close with Cook.
Reached by phone, Andrews declined to comment on his plans out of respect for White.
“I’ve certainly been involved in the community in the past, and certainly would like to be in the future, but for now it’s too soon to discuss anything like that,” Andrews said.
Butler did not return a phone call seeking comment.
Ruben Wills, the former chief of staff for State Sen. Shirley Huntley, who ran for the Council last year—and reportedly threw a punch during a dispute at the Board of Elections last year with Allan Jennings, who was trying to reclaim the seat he lost to White in 2005—is also seen as a potentially strong candidate.
Others who may run include Jennings, who was censured for sexually harassing staffers while on the Council, and Albert Baldeo, a perennial candidate who ran for the seat in 2005 and is now running for district leader with the county party’s backing.
Jennings and Baldeo also declined to comment out of respect for White. Wills did not return a phone call seeking comment.
Others being talked about as potential candidates include Taj Ramjkumar, a local district leader and professor at Borough of Manhattan Community College; political consultant Patrick Jenkins (though his candidacy appears less likely after his appointment Monday as deputy director of Andrew Cuomo’s campaign for governor); Elizabeth Goldsmith, the president and founder of Mothers Against Guns; and Charles Bilal, an imam at the Masjib Al Hamdul Lillah mosque in Jamaica.
One potential wildcard: if State Senate candidate Lynn Nunes loses the Sept. 14 primary against Huntley, he would technically have enough time to switch gears and mount a campaign for the Council seat. Nunes came within four votes of beating White last year, and his name recognition has only increased since then in a Senate campaign in which he has already raised more that $175,000.
Reached by phone, Nunes declined comment.
Were Huntley to lose the primary, she could also end up in the Council race.
Cook, president of the Queens County Democratic Committee, is a key powerbroker in the area who helped put Senate President Malcolm Smith, Rep. Greg Meeks, Titus and others into office.
But Cook has been sidelined with an unspecified illness and has not attended an Assembly session since Mar. 23, according to Assembly records. Still, she is running for re-election and controls some 40 percent of the district leader votes in the Council district.
The Queens Democratic Party’s decision will likely be a bellwether of whether Cook still holds the same sway over local politics as she did before her health began to decline.
Though the election is non-partisan and candidates will be able to win matching funds, the county party’s endorsement will still be a major boon, given the condensed time frame to petition onto the ballot and to fundraise.
Update 12:20 p.m.
A reader wrote in to point out that the deadline to apply for Campaign Finance Board matching funds is Tuesday, Sept. 7. That makes it unlikely that either Nunes or Huntley would be able to join the program in the case of a possible Council race, since applying for matching funds in advance of their Sept. 14 State Senate primary would be very politically difficult.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Health Fair at Navitity BVM Church on September 26th - 10am - 2pm

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What: Free Health Fair
Where: Nativity BVM Church Basement
101-41 91st Street Ozone Park, NY
When: September 26th, 2010
Time: 10am - 2pm

For additional information contact: Marisol - 718-738-1111

Sponsored by: State Senator Joe Addabbo

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Reclusive, 104-year-old Heiress Huguette Clark Lavished "Millions" on Her Lawyer by Dan Mangan - NYPOST.com

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EXPLOSIVE: Estate lawyer Wallace Bock allegedly got a $1.5 million check from reclusive Huguette Clark to build a "bomb shelter."

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

Comedy in the Community - Walt Whitman Theater @ Bklyn College on September 9th...

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What: Legislative Comedy Show

  • Congressman Ed Towns
  • NYS Senate Majority Leader John Sampson
  • NYS Senator Eric Adams
  • NYS Senator Kevin Parker
  • NYC Council Member Letitia James
When: September 9th - 7pm - 9pm

Where: Walt Whitman Theater
2900 Bedford Avenue @ Hillel Place

Cost: Free

New York Senate 10th District Debate - September 1st - 7pm @ The Fairfield Pavilion...

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New York Senate 10th District Debate

Senator Shirley Huntley vs. Lynn Nunes

When: Wednesday, September 1st, 2010
Time:  7pm - 9pm
Where: Fairfield Pavilion - 133-01 101st Avenue - Richmond Hill, NY 11419

Elizabeth Warren Rap Video- Got A New Sheriff

h/t: crooksandliars.com

Directed by: Rachel McDonald
Produced by: Bonnie Abaunza, Tiffany Bordenave, and Rachel McDonald
Director of Photography: Ross Riege
Editor: Jason Beattie
Starring: Ryan Anthony Lumas and Satnam S Ramgotra
Music Produced by:Lorne Balfe
Music Mixed by: Satoshi Noguchi
Recorded by: Chuck Choi
Music Programmer: Andrew Kawczynski
Backing Vocals: Michael Levine, Aleksey Igudesman, Lorne Balfe

Backing Track provided by Extreme Music, called Dirty Dollars off of album labeled XCD065.

Talking Business - Consumers Are Clamoring for Elizabeth Warren - NYTimes.com

Elizabeth Warren proposed the financial reform agency in an article in the summer of 2007.

So it turns out that the Elizabeth Warren rap video that went “viral” this week is actually a made-in-Hollywood production.

You know the video, don’t you? The one in which a struggling comedian named Ryan Anthony Lumas, dressed in a cowboy outfit, high-steps his way through two minutes of catchy, if ersatz, rap, with lyrics like Sheriff Warren’s what we need-o/ She’s not about the money and the green-o... /She wants to expose the banks and all the greed/ and get rid of unnecessary fees/Which means more money in my pocket?
The group behind the video is the Main Street Brigade. But when you call the Main Street Brigade, you get the Santa Monica office of Hans Zimmer, a prolific Hollywood composer. The two women listed as the Brigade’s contacts run Mr. Zimmer’s new philanthropic/activist arm.
They are also the ones who recruited Mr. Lumas to write and star in the video — he actually makes his living selling televisions at Best Buy — then spent an all-nighter editing it, and e-mailed it to the Elizabeth Warren-obsessed Huffington Post, where it had its premiere a week ago Friday.
“We’re Trojan-horsing people with the messaging,” said Bonnie Abaunza, one of the Brigadettes. In addition to Mr. Zimmer, supporters of the Main Street Brigade include the directors James Brooks and Ron Howard as well as other Hollywood celebrities. Its purpose is to back the work of Americans for Financial Reform, a large coalition of organizations pushing for financial reform. The coalition’s Web site lists the subjects it follows, including foreclosure, derivatives and mortgage reform.
And, of course, Elizabeth Warren.
The group desperately wants President Obama to name her to run the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, a key part of the recently signed financial reform legislation. “Tell President Obama: Nominate Elizabeth to Head the C.F.P.B,” reads the coalition’shome page. When you click through, you get the text of a message that can be e-mailed directly to the White House, which points out, among other things, that the new bureau was her idea.
But why, I asked Ms. Abaunza, is it so important that Ms. Warren lead the new agency? Isn’t it enough that the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau got passed — especially since the banks were so intent on killing it?
“She’s the people’s choice,” Ms. Abaunza replied. She said she was blown away when she watched a video of a speech by Ms. Warren that outlined all the ways a new consumer bureau could make things better for borrowers.
“The best way to explain it is that she speaks truth to power,” Ms. Abaunza continued. “She speaks about how people have been ripped off in a way that everybody understands. Although she is a Harvard professor, she doesn’t speak in an elitist way. She is a grandmother. She is from Oklahoma. I like the fact that she says ‘golly.’ She engenders this trust immediately. Because she is very honest.”
Also, she walks on water.
O.K., so she doesn’t walk on water. Which isn’t to say that Ms. Abaunza isn’t right. Indeed, the incredible groundswell around Ms. Warren’s candidacy appears to be putting President Obama in a tough spot.
His Treasury secretary, Tim Geithner, by all accounts, would prefer to see Michael S. Barr, the assistant secretary for financial institutions, get the job. Others in the administration worry that she will impose tough new rules on the banks that will make it harder for them to nurse themselves back to health and hence the economy. But it is going to be awfully hard for him to turn his back on Ms. Warren.
With the president on vacation, nobody expects him to make this appointment until he returns at the end of August. But if he chooses anyone but her, he will be widely seen as helping the banks at the expense of the rest of us — something the government has been accused of doing far too often since those grim days of September 2008. With the midterm elections fast approaching, such accusations are not going to be terribly helpful to Democrats. Just a few days ago, 41 Democratic members of Congress sent Mr. Obama a letter pleading with him to appoint Ms. Warren.
How did this happen? How did a once-obscure Harvard Law professor become such a powerful touchstone?
Partly, it is because she really did come up with the idea. Ms. Warren’s views about banks and borrowers were largely formed early in her career when she and two colleagues, Teresa A. Sullivan, now the president of the University of Virginia, and Jay Lawrence Westbrook, a law professor at the University of Texas, conducted two seminal studies about people who file for bankruptcy.
In the late 1980s, when the first study was unveiled in a book the three of them wrote, “As We Forgive Our Debtors,” the root causes of bankruptcy weren’t well understood. The bank lobby routinely complained that Americans with the means to pay their debts were taking “the easy way out” by filing for bankruptcy. The empirical work done by the Warren-Sullivan-Westbrook team proved those claims false.
People who filed for bankruptcy were genuinely in over their heads, the researchers found. They had accumulated debt they couldn’t repay because they had lost their jobs or had some other life event that robbed them of their ability to earn a decent paycheck. They were often middle class, homeowners even. They filed for bankruptcy because they were desperate. Looking through thousands of bankruptcy filings, Mr. Westbrook said a few days ago, “you got a sense of human beings in real trouble.” He added, “All of us were very much affected by what we found in those files.”
By the summer of 2007, when Ms. Warren proposed the consumer agency, she was a well-known advocate for financial consumers — and the scourge of the credit card industry. She coined the term “tricks and traps” to describe how the banks lulled people into agreeing to credit card terms they weren’t even aware of when they signed up for the card. She had testified before Congress many times.
In the article where she proposed the new agency — she called it the financial product safety commission — she began with an analogy to toasters. (Ms. Warren has a thing for toaster analogies.) “It is impossible to buy a toaster that has a one-in-five chance of bursting into flames and burning down your house,” she wrote. “But it is possible to refinance an existing home with a mortgage that has the same one-in-five chance of putting the family out on the street.” Her timing could not have been better, she wrote the article at the exact moment the subprime bubble was reaching its peak.
What struck me, when I reread that article recently, was the bluntness of her language. She used words like “tricks,” “fleece,” and “bribe” to describe the actions of mortgage and credit card lenders. And I think a lot of her appeal stems from that simple fact: she describes abuses — predatory lending, hidden fees, bewildering “disclosures” that hide more than they disclose — in precisely the way most Americans have experienced them. She conveys a powerful sense that she understands what we’ve been through this last decade.
Her critics have complained that in her quest to avenge the downtrodden consumer, she could endanger the safety and soundness of banks, by writing rules that would strip them of billions in profits. Her essential position is that if taking advantage of borrowers is necessary to save the banks, then there is something deeply wrong with the banking system in America. The American Bankers Association may not agree with that, but that is unquestionably what most Americans believe. And they are right.
Ms. Warren also conveys a powerful sense of optimism about the good the new agency can do. I saw this for myself just a few days after President Obama signed the new law, when she was part of a panel discussion by the Roosevelt Institute, a liberal policy research organization that focuses on financial issues. I was also part of that panel, but after listening to Ms. Warren speak, I felt a little like Ms. Abaunza. I was bowled over.
That afternoon, Ms. Warren conveyed a great deal of passion, energy and historical knowledge about consumer lending practices. She gave a minitutorial about the history of usury laws, and about how credit card disclosures had become a tool for gouging customers.
Ms. Warren said that the new agency would have the power to make a rule, for instance, that credit card companies would have to disclose all their contract terms in two pages — in English simple enough for anyone with a 10th-grade education to understand. That one change, she said, would help end the practice of “cheating by contract.” (Another lovely Elizabeth Warren phrase, by the way.) When she had finished speaking, the audience gave her an ovation.
In 1934, Franklin D. Roosevelt had to choose a chairman to head a new agency aimed at protecting financial consumers — in this case investors. The agency was the Securities and Exchange Commission, and the man Roosevelt picked was Joe Kennedy, the legendary investor (and father of the Kennedy clan). When Roosevelt was asked why he had turned to a “crook” to run the S.E.C., he famously replied, “Takes one to catch one.”
This time, the president is facing a different choice. The people who want Elizabeth Warren to run the new consumer agency are rooting for her precisely because she is not one of them. She’s one of us.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Report Sparks Welfare Check on Reclusive Heiress By Bill Dedman - msnbc.com

Wally Bock is a long time member of Community Board 9 Queens...

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Photo slideshow...

Msnbc.com readers have prompted New York City officials to start checking on the welfare of Huguette Clark, the reclusive 104-year-old heiress with three empty mansions.

This is the last known photo of Huguette Clark, taken 80 years ago. She has hidden away in a New York hospital room for at least the past 22 years. This photo was made on Aug. 11, 1930, the day of her divorce, in Reno, Nev.
The inquiry into her well-being is in addition to a criminal investigation into the handling of Clark's finances launched by the Manhattan district attorney.

After msnbc.com's series of reports last week on the men handling Huguette Clark's half-billion-dollar fortune, at least 140 readers contacted Adult Protective Services, according to Rima Rivera, director of the agency's central intake unit.

"Your readers contacted us from all over the country," Rivera said. "They were saying: 'You'd better do something. This happened to my grandmother. Don't let it happen to this woman.'"

Wallace "Wally" Bock, attorney for Huguette Clark. He and accountant Irving H. Kamsler have owned property together that was signed over to them by an elderly colleague and client

Msnbc.com reported last week that Clark's attorney and accountant became the owners of the New York City apartment of another elderly client after his last will and testament was revised six times. Attorney Wallace "Wally" Bock arranged to quietly sell Clark's Stradivarius violin for $6 million and a Renoir painting for $23.5 million, and one of her three luxury homes is on the market now for $24 million. Msnbc.com also revealed that her accountant, Irving H. Kamsler, has a criminal conviction for sending pornography to underage girls in an AOL chat room, according to court records.

A booking photo from the arrest of Huguette Clark's accountant, Irving H. Kamsler, charged with attempting to distribute indecent material to 13- and 15-year-old girls online. He pleaded guilty in 2008 and remains a registered sex offender.

'Income Doesn't Matter'

On Monday, the agency reached out to Clark's distant relatives and the hospital where she lives. A caseworker will try to get permission to visit her in the hospital and to gather other information, Rivera said.

If that permission isn't granted, the agency could then seek a court order. The agency will evaluate her physical and mental condition and living conditions, and look for signs of abuse, neglect or financial exploitation. Adult Protective Services will work with the district attorney to share information, she said.

"The person's income doesn't matter," Rivera said. "Whether you're broken and homeless or you have a billion dollars, we must do what we can to make sure the elderly are not exploited."

A third front could be opened if someone asks a court to appoint a guardian to handle Clark's affairs. That person would usually be a relative, friend or financial institution, but anyone can make the request, lawyers who specialize in guardianship cases said.

Criminal Investigation

The criminal inquiry is being conducted by the Elder Abuse Unit of the New York County District Attorney's Office, which investigated the finances of Brooke Astor, the society matron and heiress whose son and attorney were convicted in 2009 of siphoning $10 million from her. Astor died in 2007 at age 105, with an estate worth $131 million.

Huguette Clark's wealth is said to be roughly four times Astor's, or about $500 million. It is not known whether Clark, who has lived in New York City hospitals for at least 22 years and has no children, has signed a will.

New York City detectives assigned to the office of DA Cyrus Vance Jr. are investigating the case, including the actions of Bock and Kamsler, the attorney and accountant, who control Clark's wealth and access to her hospital room.

A spokeswoman for Vance, Erin Duggan, said the office has a policy of not confirming whether an investigation is being conducted. Msnbc.com confirmed independently that detectives are making inquiries.

Empty Mansions

Le Beau Ch√Ęteau, Huguette Clark's country home in New Canaan, Conn., is on the market at $24 million. Huguette bought it in 1952, expanded it, and never moved in.

Clark's assets include more than $200 million in three unoccupied luxury homes:

  • A $100 million Pacific cliffside estate on 23 acres in Santa Barbara, Calif. She hasn't visited it in at least 50 years.

  • A country house on 52 acres in New Canaan, Conn., on the market now for $24 million. She expanded the house in 1952 but never moved in.

  • A massive apartment in New York City, 907 Fifth Ave. at 72nd Street, the largest apartment on that storied avenue overlooking Central Park. Her 42 rooms on two floors occupy 15,000 square feet. A real estate agent who has sold apartments in that building values Clark's at roughly $100 million. She hasn't been seen here in about 22 years.

In a series of stories since February, msnbc.com has reported that Huguette Clark has lived alone, secluding herself in her home with her French dolls and dollhouses for the past half-century and has been in hospital rooms in New York City, though her health was said to be good.

Msnbc.com also disclosed:

  • Bock, 78, arranged to sell the $6 million Stradivarius violin that her mother gave her for her 50th birthday, according to the dealer who handled the sale. The buyer signed a confidentiality agreement when Clark was 95 years old, agreeing not to disclose who sold the violin for at least 10 years.

  • Kamsler, 63, pleaded guilty in 2008 to sending pornography to underage girls in an AOL chat room, according to court records. He was using the AOL handle IRV1040 (as in his first name, Irving, and the IRS 1040 tax form). He also, like his client Clark, had a federal tax lien for unpaid taxes.

  • The attorney and the accountant became owners of property that was signed over to them by another elderly client in New York City, according to court records. The man, who was Bock's law partner, suffered from dementia in his later years, according to his goddaughter and neighbors. Before he died, he signed over to Bock and Kamsler his New York apartment in the Dorchester, at 57th Street near Park Avenue, as well as his Mercedes and $200,000 — in addition to the $380,000 in fees they collected for managing his $4 million estate.

  • Bock and Kamsler arranged to sell Clark's Renoir in 2003 for $23.5 million. Her country home in New Canaan, Conn., is on the market for $24 million.

  • Access to her is tightly controlled. Relatives who tried to visit her New York hospital room have been turned away by the attorney, though one persistent half-great-niece got as far as the room where Clark was asleep. (We are not revealing the name of the hospital.)

  • Kamsler is said to visit regularly. Bock told msnbc.com in January that he speaks with her frequently by phone and has met her only twice — the first of her seven attorneys to meet her face to face.

Bock and Kamsler have declined to answer questions about any of their actions.

Update: Bock told the TODAY Show that he "denies all allegations," but would not say more.

A Famous Father

Huguette ("hue-GET") Marcelle Clark is the last surviving child of William Andrews Clark (1839-1925), a copper miner and U.S. senator who in his time was said to be neck and neck with John D. Rockefeller for the title of richest American. Clark made a fortune in Montana copper, banks and railroads, collected a museum full of art from Europe, and owned the land that would become Las Vegas, where Clark County is named for him.

William Andrews Clark was caught in a bribery scandal during a campaign for the U.S. Senate — he was said to describe the Montana legislators this way: "I never bought a man who wasn't for sale." Though the Senate refused to seat him, he was re-elected and served one term, from 1901 to 1907, as a Democrat from Montana. During that term the widower Clark announced that he had secretly been married in Paris and had a child with his former ward, Anna, 39 years his junior. ("THEY'RE MARRIED AND HAVE A BABY," thundered one headline.) A second daughter, Huguette, was born in 1906. Her sister died at age 16, leaving her the only surviving child of this second marriage.

When Sen. Clark died in 1925, he left a gaudy 121-room house then at Fifth Avenue and 77th Street and a fortune divided among Anna, Huguette and four adult children from his first marriage. Anna died in 1963, leaving her share to Huguette.

Huguette Clark is said by relatives to be quite alert, or she was the last time anyone besides her attorney and accountant was able to speak with her by phone, some years back.

The district attorney's office has put greater emphasis on investigating and preventing crimes against the elderly since Vance, son of the former U.S. secretary of state, took office in January. The Elder Abuse Unit has been expanded under the direction of an experienced prosecutor, Elizabeth Loewy, who headed the Astor case.

A Previous Client

Bock drew up the wills for one of his law partners, Donald Wallace, who died in 2002 at age 76. Wallace's will — the sixth one drawn up by Bock — left his apartment to Bock and Kamsler, gave each man $100,000 and left Kamsler his Mercedes sedan. Though the co-op board refused to hand over the apartment to the two men, a change to Wallace's will left it to the attorney and accountant. In his final days, when according to his goddaughter and a neighbor he had severe dementia, Wallace was subletting his own apartment from his attorney and accountant, according to probate records in the Surrogate's Court in New York City. (You can read the documents in this PDF file.)

Bock wrote in court documents, "At no time did I ever request or suggest, directly or by implication, to DLW that he provide for me in his will," referring to Donald L. Wallace. "On the contrary, I said to him that he was being overly generous, that he had done enough for me with various gifts given over the years. He insisted however, stating that the people he named as beneficiaries in his Will were 'his family' and that is what he wanted to do."

The Arrest

Her accountant, Kamsler, was arrested on Sept. 6, 2007, in Nassau County on Long Island in an Internet sex sting. The indictment alleged that in 2005 and 2007 he had tried to entice 13- and 15-year-old girls in an AOL chatroom to meet with him, sending them pornography and describing touching their private areas. These girls turned out to be police officers. Police said Kamsler was using the AOL handle IRV1040 (as in his first name, Irving, and the IRS 1040 tax return).

Kamsler told police that he thought he was in an adult chat room and was just "pretending" with women that they were girls. He pleaded guilty in October 2008 to all the charges: six counts of attempting to disseminate indecent material to minors in the first degree and nine counts of attempting to endanger the welfare of a child. He got no jail time, just five years of probation, a $5,000 fine, 100 hours of community service and sex-offender restrictions.

IRS Difficulties

Property records in New York show Kamsler also had trouble with the IRS, with a tax lien in 2003 for $18,853, paid off three months later. Huguette Clark has had her own tax liens — four times the IRS has filed to collect taxes from her.

The Stradivarius

One of the finest violins made by Antonio Stradivari, La Pucelle, or The Virgin, was locked away in Huguette Clark's New York apartment for nearly 50 years, after her mother gave it to her as a birthday present. Her attorney arranged to sell it in 2001 for $6 million. The tailpiece depicts Joan of Arc, the virgin warrior.

In 2001, Clark's Stradivarius violin was sold. It is one of the most famous, known as La Pucelle, or The Virgin, because its works were unopened for more than a century after it was made by Antonio Stradivari in 1709. Huguette Clark's mother, Anna Eugenia La Chappelle Clark, gave it to her for a 50th birthday present in 1956.

The premier violin dealer Charles Beare described it as "almost certainly the finest Stradivari that's not in a museum and certainly the best-preserved."

The first draft of the confidentiality agreement proposed by Bock was so onerous, Beare said, that it would forbid the purchaser from revealing that he owned the violin, much less who he bought it from, or even the seller's gender. He could not play it in the presence of anyone, ever.

Beare said the buyer who paid $6 million, retired software developer David Fulton, balked at those terms but agreed to a 10-year-ban on revealing the previous owner. Fulton would not comment to msnbc.com, citing the confidentiality agreement, which runs until early 2011.

The Renoir

Renoir painted "In the Roses" in 1882. Huguette Clark's attorney sold it for her in 2003 through Sotheby's for $23.5 million. The buyer was Steve Wynn, the developer of casinos in Las Vegas — where the land once was owned by Huguette Clark's father.

In 2003, the year she turned 97, one of Huguette Clark's paintings was sold by Sotheby's for $23.5 million. Reports at the time said the painting came from "the estate of Huguette Clark," though she was alive.

No Comment

Neither Bock nor Kamsler would respond to questions about these incidents.

Bock, in an interview early this year at the Lexington Avenue office of the law firm of Collier, Halpern, Newberg, Nolletti & Bock, would say only that Huguette was quite a beauty in her day, that he talks to her regularly on the phone and that her mind is clear though her eyesight and hearing have dimmed with age. He also said he would not pass on to her a request for an interview and that she doesn't care about publicity or reputation. He threatened to get a judge to stop msnbc.com from printing a word about his client.