Pixel Tracker

Sunday, December 16 , 2018, 12:57 am | Fair 44º


Schneider to Nominate Members for Huguette Clark-Funded Arts Foundation

The fight over Huguette Clark’s estate was settled Monday night, and the agreement established a New York-based Bellosguardo Foundation to promote the arts.

The foundation was gifted Clark’s Santa Barbara mansion, her $1.7 million doll collection and $4.5 million in cash, and the New York Attorney General’s Office will be putting together the nonprofit foundation. The foundation's Board of Directors will oversee the property and assets.

Santa Barbara Mayor Helene Schneider will come up with nominations for seven of the foundation’s 10-member board, so the local community is well-represented, she told Noozhawk on Tuesday. The goal is to open up the Bellosguardo home and gardens to the public.

The other board members will be nominated by the Clark family, the Corcoran Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., and Clark’s California attorney, James Hurley.

Schneider will establish a working group to come up with a list of nominations.

“I believe the Attorney General’s Office worked to follow Ms. Clark’s wishes to the best extent possible under the circumstances, and respected the Santa Barbara community’s strong desire to see this property utilized in the public’s interest,” she said, adding that the foundation will significantly add to the community’s strong artistic and cultural heritage.

Local leaders have called for the estate’s preservation and formed the Friends of Bellosguardo — a community group committed to getting the foundation created.

There is also a separate, California-based corporation named the Bellosguardo Foundation that is headed by Hurley, former Santa Barbara mayor Sheila Lodge as secretary and Robert Emmons as chief financial officer.

However, the New York surrogate court judge didn’t allow the foundation to sit at the settlement table since Clark’s will at the center of court proceedings is what establishes the organization in the first place. 

The California foundation has hired legal representation and filed an appeal to that decision on Monday. 

Either way, the settlement agreement dictates that the New York foundation will be the one that oversees the property and assets in the will settlement.

According to NBC News investigative reporter Bill Dedman, Clark owed $82 million in gift taxes at the time of her death and the Santa Barbara estate could have to be sold to fund the settlement. The agreement signed Monday relies on the Internal Revenue Service forgiving the tax penalties since most of her gifts went to charity, Dedman reported.

Clark was the daughter of William Clark, a copper tycoon and Idaho senator at the turn of the last century who made his fortune from copper mining, banks and railroads. When Clark died in May 2011 just before her 105th birthday, a legal battle started over her two wills signed six weeks apart. Distant relatives from her father’s first marriage were cut out of the April 19, 2005, will and questioned the influence of Clark’s attorney and accountant in her later years.

Increasingly reclusive over the last decades of her life, she lived at Beth Israel Medical Center in New York for more than 20 years even as her Santa Barbara estate was said to be maintained at the ready for her arrival at any time. She reportedly hadn’t visited the Cabrillo Boulevard property in more than 50 years.

Noozhawk staff writer Giana Magnoli can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

Support Noozhawk Today

You are an important ally in our mission to deliver clear, objective, high-quality professional news reporting for Santa Barbara, Goleta and the rest of Santa Barbara County. Join the Hawks Club today to help keep Noozhawk soaring.

We offer four membership levels: $5 a month, $10 a month, $25 a month or $1 a week. Payments can be made using a credit card, Apple Pay or Google Pay, or click here for information on recurring credit-card payments and a mailing address for checks.

Thank you for your vital support.

Become a Noozhawk Supporter

First name
Last name
Select your monthly membership
Or choose an annual membership

Payment Information

Membership Subscription

You are enrolling in . Thank you for joining the Hawks Club.

Payment Method

Pay by Credit Card:

Mastercard, Visa, American Express, Discover
One click only, please!

Pay with Apple Pay or Google Pay:

Noozhawk partners with Stripe to provide secure invoicing and payments processing.
You may cancel your membership at any time by sending an email to .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

  • Ask
  • Vote
  • Investigate
  • Answer

Noozhawk Asks: What’s Your Question?

Welcome to Noozhawk Asks, a new feature in which you ask the questions, you help decide what Noozhawk investigates, and you work with us to find the answers.

Here’s how it works: You share your questions with us in the nearby box. In some cases, we may work with you to find the answers. In others, we may ask you to vote on your top choices to help us narrow the scope. And we’ll be regularly asking you for your feedback on a specific issue or topic.

We also expect to work together with the reader who asked the winning questions to find the answer together. Noozhawk’s objective is to come at questions from a place of curiosity and openness, and we believe a transparent collaboration is the key to achieve it.

The results of our investigation will be published here in this Noozhawk Asks section. Once or twice a month, we plan to do a review of what was asked and answered.

Thanks for asking!

Click Here to Get Started >

Reader Comments

Noozhawk is no longer accepting reader comments on our articles. Click here for the announcement. Readers are instead invited to submit letters to the editor by emailing them to [email protected]. Please provide your full name and community, as well as contact information for verification purposes only.

Daily Noozhawk

Subscribe to Noozhawk's A.M. Report, our free e-Bulletin sent out every day at 4:15 a.m. with Noozhawk's top stories, hand-picked by the editors.

Sign Up Now >