Maureen O’Hara’s former long time friend and power-of-attorney lawyer Carolyn Murphy has hit back at the the O’Hara family and advisors. She did so following accusations of mishandling of business and elder abuse. Murphy maintains her innocence and dedication to O’Hara, and says she has the paperwork to back it all up.
"They have annihilated my name in this community," Murphy said. "I am just not capable of this kind of thing. I can tell you with all my heart and soul, I have not done anything wrong. I would never hurt Maureen.
Recently, in hopes of “setting the record straight,” aging actress O’Hara called a press conference at the Eccles Hotel in Glengarrif. There, she delivered a prepared statement in which she demanded that Murphy turn over all financial records to her accountant.
O’Hara said she recently made “discoveries” which caused “great concern” about Murphy that led the actress to revoke Murphy’s power of attorney.
O’Hara said that she was "damned upset" over the whole situation.
Murphy had no warning of the O’Hara statement, and issued her own short statement through a spokesperson in response.
However, she was so stung by the accusations—which have yet to be officially defined, but are damaging enough to her name and reputation—that she decided offer her own statement on the matter from her home on the outskirts of Bantry. Accompanying her were her son Brendan and husband Bill.
Murphy traced her longstanding relationship with actress Maureen O’Hara back to 1978. The two met at a local environmental awareness project in Bantry that year, and the two “just clicked” according to Murphy. It was just after O’Hara’s husband had died and the actress was sharing her time between America and Glengarriff.
"We just had an affinity to one another,” said Murphy. “I wasn't star struck. She didn't know who I was. But, you know, you just look someone in the eyes—and we just clicked.”
Murphy detailed how despite busy schedules and bustling families, the two always found time for each other from then onward: "She'd always come in June and go home before October. She'd always have family around her and I had a lot of children too. We were very busy but we'd always manage to have a lunch together or a dinner together and just talk about real-life things, not movies, or anything. We were just friends.”
"When I had the restaurant, she would come two or three times a week. I was really, really busy those years. But we still managed to get time together. She spent a lot of time in the house with us. We've been very, very close friends since then."
It wasn’t until 2004 that O’Hara initially turned to Murphy for help in handling the actress’s business affairs, a duty which Murphy claims to have never accepted wages for, but only an occasional €500 to help cover expenses.
Murphy remembers O’Hara asking for her help in 2004: "She [O’Hara] said, can we have a sandwich or something here, Carolyn. I need help and I don't know who to turn to. We sat down and she said: 'I have signed some papers. I've changed my will and I've changed my trust'."
Murphy said that O’Hara indicated she wasn’t happy with the changes made. Murphy agreed to help O’Hara, and the two flew together to the US were they had O’Hara’s original will and trust reinstated.
Two years later in 2006, O’Hara asked Murphy to accept power of attorney over the actress’s complex business and financial affairs in the wake of her ailing health and doctor’s orders against foreign travel. Bound by confidentiality, Murphy is barred from speaking about the details of O’Hara’s affairs.
"We talked about what needed to be done. I never did anything without asking Maureen first. I never spent a penny without asking her," said Murphy, who was only paid €500 "every now and again" to cover her expenses, but wouldn't take a regular payment.
"I really have to say on behalf of Maureen, at least three times a year for the last eight years she has offered me wages, which I continually turned down," she said.
Murphy explained how her position as power of attorney for Maureen O’Hara incited some friction between her and the rest of O’Hara’s family. However, she noted that due to legal reasons, she couldn’t elaborate much further than that.
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