Doctors, nurses, attorneys, and an accountant for the reclusive heiress Huguette Clark coerced the deceased millionaire into giving them more than $44 million in gifts, the executor of her estate claimed in court documents filed in New York on Tuesday.
Born in Paris in 1906, Huguette Clark was the youngest daughter of a William A. Clark, a copper millionaire from Montana. After divorcing in her twenties, Clark lived a reclusive life before she died on May 24 last year.
According to court documents, over a 20-year period, Clark gifted more than $50 million of her assets to persons who were in “a position of influence and power over her day to day existence.”
An investigative MSNBC.com report says that Clark signed off on all of the checks before she passed away at the age of 104 in Beth Israel Medical Center in Manhattan.
A representative for Clark’s attorney denied the claims.
“To suggest that these gifts were not from Mrs. Clark's generous heart is to denigrate the person who gave these gifts, as well as the recipients who cared for her with their love," attorney John D. Dadakis of the firm of Holland & Knight said in a written statement to Msnbc.com.
“Our client, Wallace Bock, has honored Mrs. Clark's wishes during his career and handled her affairs with the utmost duty of loyalty to her. Mrs. Clark understood each and every gift she made, and they were made with the love that she had for those who were close to her.”
The millionaire’s assets were transferred to doctors, nurses, lawyers, and an accountant or members of their families, whom Clark was totally dependent on for her existence.
Clark was especially generous to her registered nurse Hadassah Peri, an immigrant from the Philippines, who began working with the millionaire in 1991.
For two decades, Peri cared for Clark, working 12-hour shifts, five or six days a week. The nurse was paid an annual salary of $131,040, but she also received over $30 million in gifts.
Clark donated a $6 million painting by Manet to to Beth Israel Medical Center, where she lived out the final 20 years of her life.
Two of her doctors and their families received gifts of $3.1 million. Her night nurse and her family got $1.1 million and her accountant was awarded $375,000. Her attorney received $60,000.
Msnbc.com reports that if the Surrogate's Court agrees with the executor, all the money will have to be repaid.