Irish carer left $8m by New York heiress settles bitter legal battle with family
Published 11/12/2012 | 05:00
AN IRISH woman left $8m (€6.5m) by a New York heiress has settled a bitter legal dispute with the family of the dead woman.
But neither side in the row that rivetted New York high society can reveal details as both are bound by a confidentiality agreement.
Elsie McCarthy (68), originally from Co Cork, was left the cash by heiress Robin Archer Moles, who died in 2009.
Surviving members of Ms Moles's family claimed the will was signed under duress and that the 70-year-old alcoholic was not of sound mind.
Her nephew Christopher Ljungkull, the main beneficiary of her original 40-year-old will, launched a legal action to stop Ms McCarthy receiving the money. It's not known exactly how much of the $8m she received as part of the settlement. Mr Ljungkull's lawyer confirmed the dispute had been settled but would give no details.
Ms McCarthy could not be contacted for comment but she has spoken before of her relationship with Ms Moles and revealed other details in court documents. She said she worked as a carer for Ms Moles – on a salary of $40,000 a year – for 20 years and that she loved her employer "like a mother".
"I worked 24/7, 12 months of the year. We travelled all over the world together," she told a New York newspaper.
She is originally from Schull, west Cork, where she claims to have three houses by the sea. In response to allegations contained in court papers, she said: "I'm not shanty Irish. I come from royalty."
An appeals court in New York, overturning a lower court decision, ruled a year ago that Mr Ljungkull had a case and ordered a full trial. It will not now happen with the two sides reaching an agreement.
Ms Moles – whose grandfather founded a food company later taken over to become Archer Daniels Midland, now a $81bn Fortune 500 company – was frail, not of sound mind and was unduly influenced by her long-time companion when she signed the updated will in 2007, court papers claimed.
Her will was witnessed by Niels Lauerson, a now 75-year-old former gynaecologist to the stars, who spent time in prison for insurance fraud.