MCLE: Empty Mansions: Lessons from the Life of Huguette Clark

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MCLE: Empty Mansions: Lessons from the Life of Huguette Clark

June 27, 2018 @ 12:00 pm - 1:15 pm

Free – $30

Presented by San Luis Obispo County Bar Association, Estates & Trust Section

Guest speaker:  Bill Dedman

Bill Dedman is a Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative reporter and bestselling author. Bill stumbled upon the mystery of the reclusive heiress Huguette Clark, who was featured in a series of reports on and the Today show. The Clark series was the most popular story ever on, with more than 110 million page views. Bill has co-written a nonfiction biography, Empty Mansions: The Mysterious Life of Huguette Clark and the Spending of a Great American Fortune. The book hit No. 1 on The New York Times bestseller list. (More info about Empty Mansions​ is at

Bill got his start in journalism at 16 as a copy boy at The Chattanooga Times. He has written for The Washington Post, The New York Times, and The Boston Globe, and was the first director of computer-assisted reporting for The Associated Press. He taught advanced reporting part time at the University of Maryland, Northwestern University, and Boston University, and served for six years on the board of directors of Investigative Reporters and Editors.

Bill received the 1989 Pulitzer Prize in investigative reporting for The Color of Money, a series of articles in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution on racial discrimination by mortgage lenders in middle-income neighborhoods. He has received other national journalism awards over the past thirty years for investigative reporting, feature writing, and creative use of online media.

In 2014 he joined Newsday, the newspaper on Long Island, New York, as a senior writer, reporting investigative stories for Newsday and its sister cable television channel, News 12 Long Island.

Subject:  Empty Mansions: Lessons from the Life of Huguette Clark

Empty Mansions is a nonfiction history/biography of a remarkable American family, from the father W.A. Clark, who discovered incredible riches in copper during the Civil War and founded Las Vegas, to his last surviving daughter, Huguette, who held a ticket on the Titanic and was still alive in New York City on 9/11. Investigative reporter Bill Dedman stumbled onto the story, discovering that Huguette’s fantastic estates were unoccupied while she lived out her last twenty years in a simple hospital room. Dedman has co-written the book with Huguette’s cousin, Paul Clark Newell, Jr., one of the few relatives to have conversations with her.

Empty Mansions is a mystery of wealth and loss — and a secretive heiress. Dedman will discuss lessons learned​ from the estat​e. He will discuss her nurse who received more than $30 million in gifts, the relatives fighting to inherit Huguette’s copper fortune​, the IRS ​interest and penalties accruing at $9000 per day, and the charitable gifts which include an ocean-front empty mansion in Santa Barbara.

Mr. Dedman will discuss Ms. Clark’s persistence in avoiding estate planning, her choice of attorney and accountant, undue influence, lack of testamentary capacity, the estate tax issues, the gift to her caretaker, and her charitable intent. We will explore what could have been done to minimize the risk of a will contest, what other structures or controls could have been put into place to protect Huguette, whether the will signing ceremony should have been videotaped, how the tax issues could have been mitigated, and what could have been done to improve the foundation’s position. 


Ticket Type

Registration Fee Includes:
The SLO County Bar Association is a California State Bar approved MCLE provider. This program qualifies for one (1.0) hour of MCLE credit.
*SLO County Judges, active and retired, are invited to attend this program without charge and can register on the link provided.


June 27, 2018
12:00 pm - 1:15 pm
Free – $30
Event Categories:


San Luis Obispo County Bar Association, Estates & Trust Section


San Luis Obispo Masonic Lodge
859 Marsh Street
San Luis Obispo, CA 93401 United States
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