Battle Over $500M Fortune of Manhattan Heiress Huguette Clark

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A spokesman for Citibank's corporate parent, Citi, said the bank has "acted appropriately in carrying out our fiduciary responsibilities in this matter and the allegations first made several years ago by a former employee are entirely baseless."

The bank spokesman, Mark Costiglio, stressed that the 2008 lawsuit was filed by two former employees who are now seeking damages and did not directly involve the dispute over Clark's fortune.

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In a state court in Manhattan, a petition filed last week by Ian Devine and Carla Hall Friedman of New York and Karine Albert McCall of Washington, D.C., says they are descendants of three of William Clark's children from his first marriage and are among Clark's closest living relatives. They claim t that if a guardian isn't appointed, "Ms. Clark is likely to suffer personal and financial harm because she remains at risk from her purported fiduciaries, Bock and Kamsler."

A Bomb Shelter in Israel

In a statement, Kamsler's attorney, Elizabeth Crotty, said her client has "acted both professionally and diligently. It is unfortunate and questionable that Ms. Clark's distant relatives are ignoring her decision to live a private life and now seek to make her personal matters public."

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A lawyer for the relatives declined to comment but the petition alleges that Bock and Kamsler have kept family members and others from visiting Clark by falsely claiming she does not want to see them. It also states that Bock received $1.5 million from Clark to build a bomb shelter for a settlement in Israel where Bock's daughter lives.

In a court filing in response to the relatives' petition, Bock said the shelter would protect the community from terrorist activities, that he informed Clark of a fund-raising effort at the time and asked her in a letter to consider making a donation. "Ms. Clark decided on her own, outside of my presence, to make a significant donation," he said.

Bock also denied persuading Clark to present his family with gifts, including a custom-designed dollhouse worth more than $10,000 for his then-6-year-old granddaughter. "Over the years, Ms. Clark frequently made gifts of dolls or dollhouses to the children or grandchildren of her friends and employees," he said.

Death of an Heiress
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Bock stressed that Clark, while physically frail, is sound of mind and has asked him to shield her from visitors, including relatives.

"Ms. Clark has explicitly instructed me on many occasions that she does not want visitors and does not want anyone – including her relatives – to know where she resides," he said in his filing. "I have not 'controlled' Ms. Clark's affairs; I have managed then in accordance with her wishes," he said.

Bock said over the course of their fifteen years as Clark's lawyer, she gave him increasing authority over her affairs, including details ranging from the sale of her properties to the arrangements for her burial. He said the two nieces and a nephew named in the petition are "very distant relatives of Ms. Clark, who have only recently appeared on the scene."

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In his affadavit Bock insisted all decisions were made in accordance with Clark's wishes adding, "Ms. Clark has been a very private person for as long as I have known her. She has often expressed to me her desire to maintain her privacy."
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