Huguette ("hue-GET") Marcelle Clark is the last surviving child of (1839-1925), a copper miner and United States senator who in his time was said to be neck and neck with John D. Rockefeller for the title, richest American.
Clark's attorney, 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.)
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.
Neither Bock nor Kamsler would respond to questions about these incidents.
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Huguette Clark's beneficiaries may have to give back gifts
|Heiress Huguette Clark|
Cynthia Garcia, a paralegal who worked for two years for Clark's attorney, Wallace "Wally" Bock, described those gifts in an interview with msnbc.com. Garcia also said that Bock and Clark's accountant drafted a will that would have left money to Bock, trying repeatedly to persuade her to sign it — then joked about their client and cursed her behind her back when she would not sign the will.
The paralegal also said that attorney Bock called her last week after investigators started looking into Clark's affairs, encouraged her to leave town, and offered to pay for an attorney to represent her, who then told her not to talk to investigators or the press.
A spokesman for Bock acknowledged the gifts, but said that he acted "appropriately, professionally and consistent with her wishes."
Msnbc.com reported last week that the Manhattan district attorney is investigating the finances of the 104-year-old Clark, daughter of a Montana copper miner and heiress to one of America's great fortunes. The DA's Elder Abuse Unit has detectives looking at transactions in her bank accounts, as well as the sale of her Stradivarius violin for $6 million and a Renoir painting for $23.5 million.
Her wealth, estimated at half a billion dollars, is managed by her attorney, Bock, 78, of Queens, N.Y., and her certified public accountant, a convicted felon named Irving H. Kamsler, 63, of the Bronx, N.Y. The men have not been accused of a crime.
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Msnbc.com also reported that the 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.
Private nurse on call Clark is said to be alert and in good health for her age, but she left her Fifth Avenue apartment for hospital rooms some 22 years ago. A few years later, she hired a nurse through an agency, and that nurse has been with her ever since.
Clark gave Peri the cash in 2000 and 2001 to buy two apartments in Manhattan, on E. 96th Street near Park Avenue, for Peri's children to use as dorms while they were in college, the attorney said. They're valued between $200,000 and $350,000 each, according to property records.
There also is a two-unit house near Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn, near the Peri family home. Clark offered to buy this house so there would be room for Peri's visiting family to stay. It's valued at about $700,000.
Finally, there's a vacation house next to a golf course on the Jersey Shore near Long Branch, N.J., valued at about $500,000.
Peri referred all questions to her attorney, Reiner, who said Clark bought the four homes for Peri and her family as gifts to thank her for nearly 20 years of attentive service.
The paralegal Cynthia Garcia, the former paralegal for Clark's attorney who has been interviewed by the DA, described expensive gifts that benefitted the family of attorney Bock — including the dollhouse and the security system. She first described these gifts in Saturday's New York Post.
Bock's spokesman, Michael McKeon, confirmed that those two gifts were made, but he said the paralegal has many of the details wrong and is just seeking "her 15 minutes of fame."
She told msnbc.com that Clark gave Bock's granddaughter an antique Barbie dollhouse worth more than $1 million. Bock's spokesman, McKeon, said the dollhouse was neither an antique, nor a Barbie dollhouse, and was worth somewhere in the five figures, between $10,000 and $100,000.
Garcia also said Bock solicited from Clark a check for $1.5 million after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, to build the security system, which Garcia called a "bomb shelter," for the community in Israel where his daughters and their families live.
McKeon, Bock's spokesman, said Clark did make a donation of about $1.5 million to the community in Israel, but it was not to Bock's family. He said it was for a sophisticated security system for the community — not a bomb shelter — and that the money was handled scrupulously through an attorney inIsrael, with money placed in an escrow account and paid out as needed for the installation. If Bock's family were to leave the community, McKeon said, the security system would stay.
New York state ethics rules prohibit lawyers from soliciting gifts from clients "for the benefit of the lawyer or a person related to the lawyer," but allow some gifts that are volunteered.
'Consistent with her wishes' 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 described by The New York Times as neck and neck with John D. Rockefeller for the title of richest American. Huguette, born in Paris and married only briefly, had no children. She has lived as a recluse for several decades, leaving unoccupied her three empty homes in California, Connecticut and New York City. Her attorney, Bock, has said he is the first of her seven attorneys to meet her, and that even he has met her only twice.
Kamsler and Bock have not responded to repeated requests for explanation, but McKeon offered point-by-point rebuttals to some of Garcia's claims, and also issued a blanket statement on Bock's behalf: