heiress.dies

The late Huguette Clark.

 

Huguette Clark, the fabulously wealthy and generous New York heiress who was reported to have rewarded her Filipino nurse nearly $2 million for her loyalty and dedication, died Tuesday at Beth Israel Medical Center, where she reportedly had chosen to live in recent years.

She was 104.

Clark reportedly gave her longtime Filipino-born nurse Hadassah Peri huge amount of cash to buy four properties, including a $700,000 house in Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn, and a $500,000 home on a golf course on the Jersey Shore.

The generous centenarian, who’s worth an estimated $500 million and owns a palatial Fifth Avenue spread, also gave Peri money to buy upper East Side pads for her children to use, Msnbc.com said in an investigative report last year on Clark’s charmed life and odd, self-imposed sequestration.

The gifts to Peri, 60, were tokens of Clark’s appreciation for Peri’s spending long hours at the hospital as Clark’s private nurse, lawyer John Reiner said, adding that the immigrant from the Philippines is on call 24 hours a day.

Authorities are looking into allegations that Clark, the daughter of a Montana copper miner and heiress to one of America’s great fortunes, may be a victim of elder abuse or fraud.

Property records show that Peri owns at least six properties in the New York area, including four that Peri’s attorney confirmed were gifts from her employer.

Clark gave Peri the cash in 2000 and 2001 to buy two apartments in Manhattan, on East 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 elder abuse unit of the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office is reportedly probing her finances, which are controlled by her longtime attorney Wallace “Wally” Bock, 78, of Queens, and accountant Irving Kamsler, 63, of the Bronx.

Kamsler is reportedly a convicted felon.

Msnbc.com also reported that both men became the owners of the New York City apartment of another elderly client after his last will and testament was revised six times.

Besides giving cash to Peri, Clark also reportedly showered relatives of Bock, 78, with pricey gifts.

She gave a dollhouse worth more than $10,000 to his granddaughter, his spokesman confirmed.

She also funded a $1.5 million security system for the Jewish settlement where his daughters live in the Israeli-occupied West Bank.

Cynthia Garcia, a former paralegal who worked for Bock, has accused Bock of fleecing his elderly client.

Garcia, now a resident of Florida, reportedly told the DA 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 Bock called her 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.

Bock’s spokesman ridiculed the claim by Garcia, saying she was only after “15 minutes of fame.”

Inheritance

The daughter of a disgraced former U.S. senator, Huguette inherited millions from the Montana copper mines, and has lived a solitary life while her three fabulous homes sit empty: a $100 million estate on the Pacific Coast in Santa Barbara, a $24 million country house in Connecticut and a $100 million co-op, the largest apartment on Fifth Avenue overlooking Central Park — all immaculately kept but unoccupied for decades.

Assets

Clark’s assets that have been sold or are for sale to fund her operations include the Connecticut property; a $6 million Stradivarius violin; and a $23 million Renoir painting, according to Msnbc.com.

Most of Clark’s interaction reportedly is with Kamsler, who declined to talk with the network.

Bock, of Collier Halpern Newberg Nolletti & Bock, says he talks to his client regularly on the phone and her mind is clear, although she suffers from vision and hearing problems.

He declined both an interview with Clark, on her behalf, and to discuss her situation further, Msnbc.com reported.

In August 2010, the Manhattan DA began an investigation into the handling of Clark’s finances.

Reports said the investigation is continuing; no charges have been filed.