fascinating

This has nothing to do with Chester County or anything to do around here and I am posting just because I find it fascinating:  the continuing saga of Huguette Clarke, the reclusive heiress who died in NYC at 104 in 2011:

Reclusive Heiress Leaves Behind 5 Homes Worth $180 Million

By Eamon Murphy

| Posted Mar 9th 2012 4:20PM

When Huguette Clark died in spring 2011, she left behind a massive fortune, two conflicting wills, the mysterious aura of recluse, and some of New York City’s choicest real estate. Now the fates of three apartments owned by the famed philanthropist, who was last photographed more than 80 years ago, are set to be settled: The residences are on sale for $55 million.
As perhaps befits the homes of a noted recluse, the apartments are said to be frozen in time, stuck somewhere around the Gilded Age and therefore in need of “significant work,” according to the Daily Mail. Located at 907 Fifth Avenue, they include a total of 42 rooms and take up 17,000 square feet. Two of them together comprise the building’s eighth floor, while the third occupies half of the 12th and top floors. Also among Clark’s assets are a $100 million estate on the Pacific Coast in Santa Barbara, Calif., and a $24 million country house in New Canaan, Conn.

NEW YORK — More than $3 million dollars on dolls. Nearly $2 million to her attorney’s favorite charity. Another $380,000 in checks written to the staff on a single day, just as the press started to ask questions. And a magic bottomless checking account with $43 million to spend.

These details emerge from court documents filed in the early stages of a legal battle over the $400 million copper-mining fortune of the late reclusive heiress Huguette Clark. The documents give us new glimpses into the life of one of America’s richest families. And they raise new questions about the actions of her attorney and accountant, who remain under criminal investigation even after her death in May at 104.

Attorneys are readying for a battle in the probate court known as Surrogate’s Court in Manhattan.

Huguette Clark scandal sparks interest in copper king father’s lavish past    

Magnate William A. Clark built 34-room mansion in Montana mining town in 1880s

By NICHOLAS K. GERANIOS 

    updated     2/22/2012 11:18:10 AM ET2012-02-22T16:18:10

A scandal over the fortune of reclusive mining heiress Huguette Clark has renewed interest in the life of her father, copper magnate William A. Clark, once one of the nation’s richest men.

The scandal has also brought more attention to the 34-room mansion that W.A. Clark built in Butte more than a century ago.

That home is now a bed-and-breakfast known as the Copper King Mansion and offers visitors a glimpse into the pampered lives of the robber barons who ruled American business at the turn of the previous century…..

William Andrews Clark was born in 1839 in Pennsylvania and moved to Montana in 1863.

Full coverage: Huguette Clark mystery

He eventually struck it rich in the mining camps and moved to the boom town of Butte in 1872. He branched out into numerous businesses, including banking, copper smelting, newspapers and railroading. He entered politics, serving as president of the Montana constitutional conventions in 1884 and 1889. He was elected by the state Legislature to the U.S. Senate in 1901, serving a single term.

In fact, his purchase of a Senate seat through the bribing of legislators led eventually to the constitutional amendment calling for the direct election of senators.

Clark also created the city of Las Vegas in 1905 as a way station for his Los Angeles to Salt Lake City railroad. Surrounding Clark County was named for him…

Clark left the Senate in 1907 and moved to a Fifth Avenue mansion in New York City, where he devoted himself to his business interests and to acquiring art. He died in 1925 at the age of 86, leaving his children a fortune of more than $200 million.

 

His last surviving child was Huguette Clark, who was born in Paris. She was married briefly in her 20s to a bank clerk. They parted after only nine months.

 

After her mother’s death, Clark’s busy life in New York society slowed and she rarely ventured from her home. She voluntarily moved into a hospital in the 1980s. She died in May at the age of 104, leaving a $400 million estate but no children.

 

Family of heiress Clark claims fraud by nurse, others

A New York judge has suspended the attorney and accountant who administered her estate, after finding evidence they engaged in tax fraud that resulted in $90 million in unpaid federal gift taxes and penalties.