Wills, Trusts & Estates Prof Blog

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

Tuesday, March 28, 2023

Man pledged to give NYC building back to Lenape Indians, instead left $50K to cat

Jean-Louis Goldwater Bourgeois made headlines in 2016 when he declared he would give a Weehawken Street property to the original residents of Manhattan— the Lenape tribe. 

The three-floor wooden building was purchased in 2006 by the Bourgeois family for $2.2 million and is worth roughly $5 million today. 

Bourgeois passed away in December of last year at age 82, leaving behind a $15 million estate. He bequeathed his black house cat, Mali, to his friend along with the sum of $50,000 to care for the animal. However, his estate plan made no mention of the Weehawken Street property. This is due to the 2019 falling out that Bourgeois had with the former chief of the Ramapough Indians, part of the Lenape Nation.

For more information see Kathianne Boniello “Man pledged to give NYC building back to Lenape Indians, instead left $50k to cat” The New York Post, March 25, 2023.

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


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