|Volume No. 1 Issue No. 92 - Monday February 05, 2007
|Nephews of Dame Eugenia Attempt to Claim Inheritance |
Reprinted from the Sun Newspaper
The old idiom states that where there’s a will, there’s a way. But in the case of Dame Eugenia Charles, the former prime minister, there was no will, therefore, there is no way, it would seem, her desired posthumous contribution to the country can be realised, The Sun can report.
"Eugenia made it absolutely clear that she did not want anybody to get her money when she died, she didn't want infrastructure or monuments. She wanted her money in a trust to be used to educate Dominicans,” a close family friend told the Sun.
”I know from day one what her dream for Dominica was. It was to educate the people of Dominica,” another long time family friend said.
The problem is, Dame Eugenia died without a will, several sources have confirmed, and the money which was to have gone to a trust she set up to assist with the education of Dominicans, has now been claimed by two nephews who live overseas.
“Eugenia Charles was a lawyer, she knew what she was doing. If she wanted it (the money) to go to a trust she would have done it,” argued David Bruney, who at one time was Dame Eugenia’s lawyer, but who now represents the nephews. “Her close living relatives were her nephews…and her nephews came to claim.”
But that’s just legal talk from a man who is defending men who were never (or were, depending on who you talk to), part of her life, retorted officials of the Charles Foundation, registered in 1995.
“It was her intention to transfer the cash to the Foundation…she told me so herself. She just did not get to do it,” Donald Boyd, chairman of the foundation, told The Sun.
“She was going to transfer the money when something happened and she was not in a position to do it…then this thing happened, ” stated someone who had been friends with Dame Eugenia since childhood days, and who spoke to The Sun on condition of anonymity because she did not have the authority to speak on behalf of the Charles Foundation. She was referring to Dame Eugenia’s fall at her home and her subsequent “sudden” death soon after undergoing hip replacement surgery in Martinique.
Just how much money is involved remains unclear, with figures from EC$5 million to EC$50 million being banded about, although Bruney said it was not that much.
“It wasn’t an exorbitant amount of money, (but) it wasn’t US$2 million (as has been suggested by one close friend),” the lawyer told The Sun, adding he did not recall the amount.
However, it’s believed that Dame Eugenia had inherited “millions” from a brother who lived in Barbados, and who himself, died without leaving a will, family friends said.
"His lawyer was on his way to have him sign a will but a car accident on the road to his house forced him to abort the visit. Eugenia's brother died before he could reschedule another visit", one friend said, adding the next of kin may have received some of that wealth as well.
Persons close to the Charles Foundation also fear that the living relatives would challenge the validity of the trust, to which Dame Eugenia had already transferred some of her property, including the Wallhouse building and a number of other properties in Roseau.
“Although the houses are in the trust, they want to take it,” Dame Eugenia’s childhood friend claimed.
“They can’t have the properties…the properties were already transferred to the Foundation,” Boyd stressed, adding that he had no official word of any plans to challenge the trust.
But Bruney, who indicated he could not recall his clients’ names, said they had no intention to make a bid for the properties.
“We don’t know what the status is of the properties in town or the property in Wallhouse. Maybe you can talk to the people living in it rent-free……(but) the assets the nephews lay claim to were not transferred to anyone.”