This story isn't specifically real estate related, but as all the children surely know, Your Mama is obsessed with the following story and we can't resist the urge to pass it along...
Pulitzer Prize winning journalist Bill Dedman filed his latest installment today on the life and times of reclusive heiress Huguette Clark who went to meet her maker in May 2011 at the very old age of 104.
Mister Dedman's newest story covers the juicy details of Miss Clark's just-filed will and its numerous bequeaths that include half a million dollars to a long-time male assistant and a cool million to Beth Israel Medical Center where she lived in a nondescript room for the last couple decades of her long life. Other disbursements include $100,000 to her personal physician, and estimated $12-14,000,000 to a goddaughter and half a million each to her controversial attorney Wallace Wally Bock and even more controversial accountant Irving H. Kamsler who pleaded guilty to charges related to his attempt to send lewd material to underage children.
Miss Clark's longtime nurse makes out with an estimated $33,600,000 and a valuable collection of French and Japanese dolls. Her relatives, all distant and by all accounts not particularly close to Miss Clarke, were very pointedly left out of the the will. It's presumed the will be contested.
Miss Clark owned three substantial pieces of real estate. Prior to moving into an unmarked room in a hospital under a fake name, her primary residence was a prairie-like full-floor apartment in a very swank (but not top-tier) building on New York City's posh Fifth Avenue. Miss Clark also owned an additional half floor in the building. The apartments have for decades been maintained as if Miss Clark were about to return at any moment. Rumors are already started to swirl about just who wants a piece of Miss Clark's Manhattan real estate pie. Some have gossiped that Martha Stewart, who owns a pied a terre in the building, has long had her real estate eyes of Miss Clark's spread. Let those games begin...
Miss Clark also owned Le Beau Chateau, a 52-acre New Canaan, CT estate she bought in 1952 and in which, rumor has it, she never spent a single night. Miss Clark's Connecticut residence has been on and off the market since 2005 when it was first listed with an asking price of $34,000,000. The 9 bedroom and 9 bathroom mansion remains listed but with a much reduced $24,000,000 price tag.
The undisputed sugar in Miss Clark's real estate coffee is Bellosguardo, a 23-plus acre estate on a prime bluff top in Santa Barbara that includes an imposing 21,000-plus square foot beast of a mansion that she staffed and maintained at great expanse but, reportedly, had not stepped foot in since 1963 when her beloved mother died. Miss Clark will provides about $8,000,000 to establish an arts foundation on the grounds of Bellosguardo, her legendary Santa Barbara, CA estate. Your Mama assumes–without any direct knowledge–that the Bellosguardo endowment will balloon with the proceeds taken in by the eventual sale of her Connecticut and New York City properties.