The legal battle over the assets of Huguette Clark, the $400 million dollar heiress of a copper fortune, has heated up with the release of early court filings pitting the family against her attorney. The court has already raised concerns about her accountant’s and attorney’s use of the power of attorney they have had since 1996.
The court has asked for more information regarding the sale of various properties by Clark, and specifically how the accountant and attorney duo has ended up owning the home of another one of their elderly clients. Further, over $126.3 million dollars was spent by the pair from her accounts during the past fifteen years, and another $43.3 million was transferred to her personal accounts. The amount spent (which works out to about $1 million per month) seems especially suspicious when contrasted with the fact that she did not leave the hospital room over that entire time period.
There are also allegations that the attorney improperly solicited donations to charities. An attorney is not allowed to solicit donations from a client for a charity they or their immediate family benefit from. The attorney admitted asking for money that benefitted the West Bank settlements where his daughter lived.
As executors of Clark’s estate the attorney and accountant stand to receive about $8-$10 million each. Each is also listed as a beneficiary under her second will, leaving them $500,000 a piece and giving them nearly unlimited ability to draw fees and salaries as trustees of a new art foundation. Not surprisingly, the Manhattan District Attorney Office is currently engaged in a criminal investigation of the actions of her attorney and accountant.