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Ex-Butler Loses Power To Squander Duke’s Money

Tue., May 23, 1995, midnight

A judge removed Doris Duke’s former butler as co-executor of her $1.2 billion estate Monday for allegedly squandering her assets.

The judge did not immediately rule on whether the butler had a hand in the tobacco heiress’s death.

Bernard Lafferty, 45, has been living luxuriously “largely at estate expense,” using Duke’s homes as his own and spending freely, Surrogate Court Judge Eve Preminger wrote. The judge also removed U.S. Trust Co., the other executor.

Duke was 80 when she died at her home in Beverly Hills, Calif., in 1993. Her will left $1 billion to charity.

It named U.S. Trust and Lafferty, an Irishman with a sixth-grade education, to watch over her assets.

Lafferty mingled estate and personal funds, wasted assets and went on drinking binges, the judge said.

U.S. Trust, the judge ruled, should have seen the need “to rein in the excesses of an unsophisticated and unknowledgeable” Lafferty.

Preminger appointed lawyer Alexander D. Forger and Morgan Guaranty Trust Co. of New York as temporary administrators.

Tags: ruling, wills

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