Wills, Trusts & Estates Prof Blog

Editor: Gerry W. Beyer
Texas Tech Univ. School of Law

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

The Estate of Tom Carvel

Carvel_tomTom Carvel is famous for his invention and promotion of soft ice cream in the northeastern United States.

Although Tom died in 1990, controversy about his death and his estate continue.

Here are some details from Joel Siegel, Cold Case, Conde Nast Portfolio, Aug. 2008, at 108:

  • During the days before his death, he decided to fire his long-time lawyer and financial adviser (Robert Davis) and the secretary who had worked for him for almost four decades (Mildred Arcadipane).  He believed they were scheming behind his back and perhaps stealing from him as well.
  • But, before he could do so, he died of an apparent heart attack.
  • Tom's estate was valued at $67 million.
  • A bitter dispute has been going on for almost 18 years between (1) Davis, Arcadipane, and a charity and (2) Tom's widow (Agnes) and niece (Pamela).
  • In 2007 (17 years after Tom's death), Pamela asked the U.S. District Court in Fort Lauderdale, Florida for permission to exhume Tom's body to see if he was actually murdered.
  • The judge decided it was a matter of New York law and Pamela states that she may continue to pursue an exhumation.
  • Davis and Arcadipane are now deceased.
  • Legal fees have exceed $28 million.

Special thanks to Joel Dobris (Professor of Law, UC Davis School of Law) for bringing this article to my attention.


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