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Huguette Clark

Huguette Clark lived the last 20 years of her life in a New York Hospital, even though she was not sick.

At least one lawyer has sued his former law firm over money he says is owed him since he helped settle Huguette Clark’s $300 million estate.

And the possibility of a movie on the reclusive heiress and daughter of Butte copper baron William A. Clark is in the works.

Huguette died in 2011 at age 104. Long-lost relatives and lawyers went to court in 2013 to settle her estate.

Charles Gibbs, 80, has sued Holland & Knight for $1.5 million, claiming he was underpaid, reports the American Bar Association Journal on Oct. 16.

Debra Cassins Weiss writes that Gibbs says he was due $825,000 for origination credit, but he got a reduced amount after another partner claimed part of the credit.

Gibbs was fired last March after he objected to a letter from the law firm stating that he would be an “inactive senior partner” in 2014. He and the firm disagreed over an earlier partnership agreement.

Clark is profiled in the No. 1 bestseller “Empty Mansions: The Mysterious Life of Huguette Clark and the Spending of a Great American Fortune,” by investigative journalist Bill Dedman and Paul Clark Newell, Jr., Huguette’s cousin.

Earlier this year, Dedman reported from New York that the Manhattan district attorney closed the investigation of the handling of Huguette’s $300 million fortune without charging anyone with a crime.

The district attorney’s decision served as vindication for Clark's attorney and accountant, who fell under suspicion after managing the finances of the copper heiress while she lived for two decades in a simple hospital room in New York City.

Dedman wrote that documents and testimony backed up the men's story: “They were carrying out her wishes, not controlling her but doing as she directed, selling off her property to raise cash to fuel her relentless generosity to friends and strangers.”

The ebook, audiobook and paperback versions of “Empty Manions” include several pages summarizing the settlement. Stories about that are at

Hanging steady, “Empty Mansions” has been on the Los Angeles Times Bestsellers list for 34 weeks. It’s now No. 12 in the paperback nonfiction category.

It’s been on the New York Times Bestsellers list for 12 weeks. As of Oct. 20, “Empty Mansions” sits No. 5 on the e-book nonfiction list out of 25 selected books.

“It’s been astounding, the demand,” Dedman told The Montana Standard this week.

The book’s popularity knows no bounds. A new 13th printing of the hardcover containing updates will be out late this year, Dedman said.


And, “Empty Mansions” could end up on the big screen.

Dedman, who updates Huguette fans regularly on his Facebook page, said Hollywood producer Ryan Murphy has optioned rights to the film.

Murphy’s HBO movie, “The Normal Heart,” recently won an Emmy Award for best television movie.

Murphy also created the popular TV series “Glee” and “American Horror Story” and “Nip/Tuck” (2003-2011), plus the feature films “Eat Pray Love” (2010) and “Running With Scissors” (2006).

The fact that Murphy won such high-profile accolades boosts the chances that the “Empty Mansions” feature will actually be made.

Now the question remains: who should play the lead role of Huguette in the film?

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Education Reporter who also covers features at The Montana Standard, I am a Cascade-Ulm-Great Falls native. Originally a sports writer, I wrote for the Missoulian and the Great Falls Tribune. I freelanced for The Seattle Times and other NW publications.

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