The Money

The Money

The Battle for Howard Hughes's Billions

Book - 1997
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Random House, Inc.
Howard Hughes's death in 1976 exposed a unique American horror story. Hughes wandered six years in exile in a self-constructed private asylum, the victim of such gross neglect that neither he nor his keepers dared disclose him to public view. When he died, he weighed ninety-two pounds and was indistinguishable from a street derelict, dehydrated and ravaged by drugs.

There was no discoverable will, and thousands of people became involved in a bitter struggle to claim his fortune. There were those who lied, fantasized, and forged in an effort to seize a prize that, in the opinion of most contemporary financial experts, was worth $2 billion. More recently, however, Hughes's worth at the time of his death has been shown to be in excess of $6 billion--approximately three times J. Paul Getty's wealth at his death.

Among the motley of contenders fighting for The Money were two powerful groups. On one side was Will Lummis, a soft-voiced conservative lookalike cousin of the billionaire, and twenty other Hughes cousins claiming legal heirship. On the other side were the people who had managed the empire of the phobia-ridden Hughes during his last six years. They were headed by an executive triumvirate: Chester Davis, Hughes's aggressive and abrasive chief counsel; Frank W. "Bill" Gay, his mousy, low-profile executive vice president; and Nadine Henley, a plump, peroxided one-time secretary.

When Hughes died, both Texas and California claimed him as their taxable own, setting off years of litigation that went several times to the U.S. Supreme Court.

The final irony of Hughes and The Money was that the fight for his fortune demolished the privacy it had bought for him at great cost in his later years. The secrets came flooding forth as the men who had hidden him and those who ran his businesses were put under oath and required to talk.

This remarkable story--revealed here for the first time--is told by two of the most knowledgeable "Hughes watchers." James R. Phelan, for years one of the most respected independent investigative journalists in this country, was the first to reveal the true story of Hughes's final days in the bestselling Howard Hughes: The Hidden Years. Lewis Chester is a former editor of Insight, The Sunday Times (London) investigative team, and is the coauthor of Hoax: The Inside Story of the Howard Hughes -Clifford Irving Affair.

Based on interviews and a massive collection of court documents, sworn testimony, and depositions, The Money tells the bizarre--and truly almost unbelievable--story of the palace struggles that ensued when the emperor died and a contentious cast of contenders, a collection of characters rivaling those on TV's Dallas, fought over his billions.

Baker & Taylor
Describes the bizarre struggle that ensued over control of the vast fortune left after the death of the reclusive billionaire, detailing the years of litigation, the players in the battle, and their complex intrigues and machinations. 25,000 first printing. Tour.

Publisher: New York : Random House, c1997
Edition: 1st ed
ISBN: 9780394556376
Characteristics: xiv, 270 p. ; 25 cm
Additional Contributors: Chester, Lewis


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