Friday, May 18, 2018

Mellon's Folly and the Infinite Sadness

Matthew Mellon was descended from the famous banking family. He died last month at the age of 54 after ingesting the hallucinogenic ayahuasca before starting rehab. At one time he had a $100K/month oxycontin habit.
When Mellon turned 21, he received a $25 million allowance from a family trust, one of 14 trusts established for him. He recently became a billionaire by investing in cryptocurrency. TMZ is reporting that his estate is now petitioning the probate court to authorize the sale of the cryptocurrency.
So many intersecting points in current events:
1. Someone should never give their child $25 million at the age of 21. Trusts can be created to defer an inheritance for as long as necessary.
2. In probate, assets can usually not be sold or transferred until the entire list of assets has been compiled which an take many months. With the decline in value of crytopcurrency, the estate wants to sell it before people realize its true value is likely zero.
3. Mellon might be the wealthiest victim of our tragic opioid crisis.
4. Following the lynching last month of a Canadian who moved to a Peruvian jungle to seek clarity through ayahuasca but somehow killed a shaman, Mellon is the second person whose newsworthy death can be attributed to it.
5. Ayahuasca is described as a sludgelike hallucinogenic potion used by indigenous shamans in spiritual exercises. I will take my drink inspired spiritual experiences through a nice fruit forward cabernet.


Photo Credit: Forbes/Ethan Pines
License: Fair Use/Education (article linked)

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Make It Rain

Micky Liu is described as an HBO IT exec. When he died in 2015, he left his life insurance proceeds, and 401(k) plan balance and other retirement benefits to Veronica Beckham, a stripper he had met 9 months earlier. His sister contested the $223K left to Beckham alleging that Beckham (no relation to David) had seduced Liu. A court ruled against the sister on the grounds that the only person who could contest the beneficiary designation was Liu’s prior beneficiary, an ex-girlfriend.
A few minor points:
1. The court made the correct ruling because Liu had no presumption of leaving the benefits to his sister or any other family member.
2. Undue influence is more difficult to prove in a non-will matter than a will contest.
3. As a rule of thumb, women who hang with Snoop Dogg are not usually romantically interested in IT guys.  
4. $223K total benefits (including presumably 1X salary in life insurance)? The term “exec” has become as watered down as the term “porn star.”


Photo Credit:  Instagram
License:  Fair Use/Education (from linked article)

Sunday, May 6, 2018

One Down, One To Go

Blair (aka Princess) graduated yesterday from Indiana University's business school. She will start working in Chicago at the end of the month.


Friday, May 4, 2018

He Would Die 4 U

It has been two years since Prince died of fentanyl poisoning. Because he did not leave a will instructing how to administer his estate (remember he thought was going to live until he was 1999), a bank has been appointed as executor of his estate while his siblings and half siblings will be the beneficiaries.
Several points:
1. If Prince wanted to control his legacy he should have executed a will. Even people with no sense of mortality need to provide for their demise.
2. It is easy for friends who have no financial stake in Prince’s estate to complain about the revenues being generated by not respecting his legacy.
3. Justin Timberlake needed all the help possible for his Super Bowl performance.
4. Pains me to say this as a huge Prince fan, but Nothing Compares 2 Sinead’s version of the song.


Photo Credit:  Michael S. Williamson/Washington Post
License:  Fair Use/Education (from linked article)

What Is It With Sacramento?

Rosalie Achiu is a recently widowed Sacramento woman. Her neighbors described her as suffering from dementia. Shortly after she called the Sacramento sheriff for assistance in January, one of the responding deputies obtained her power of attorney, drilled a safe deposit box, moved her out of her house, and placed her on a plane to the Phillippines ostensibly to visit relatives there. The deputy claims that she did all of this at the behest of the woman. The deputy is now under investigation by her department.
A few points:
1. Color me skeptical that a woman would instantly give financial control of her assets to a law enforcement officer she recently met and that the officer would accept such power for benevolent purposes when social services and the probate court could assist the woman.
2. Mrs. Achiu should have executed a power of attorney prior to her husband’s death, or shortly thereafter, designating a trusted friend or relative as her attorney in fact for both financial and medical decisions.
3. In true 2018 fashion, the deputy claims that she is being investigated because she filed a harassment claim against her now current supervisor in 2007. This does not explain why her partner is also being investigated.


Photo Credit:  Unknown (AP?)
License:  Fair Use/Education

Saturday, April 21, 2018

The Morning Line

I subbed for Paul Daugherty's TML blog in the Cincinnati Enquirer again yesterday. I discussed the Reds new manager, the FC Cincinnati MLS bid, and our day in Cuba among other topics.
I hope you enjoy it.



Photo Credit:  Sam Greene for Cincinnati Enquirer
License:  Used by Enquirer in article I wrote for the Enquirer

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

#MeToo (#SheWasFirst)

William Agee was a boy wonder corporate exec in the late 70's and early 80's when he helmed Bendix Corporation. Mary Cunningham was a Harvard MBA grad voted most likely to be CEO of a non-cosmetics company. She spurned job offers on Wall Street to work for Bendix as Agee's personal assistant before being promoted to Vice President. They eventually divorced their spouses and married each other while ignoring rumors that Cunningham had "slept her way to the top."

After Agee's several failed business deals reportedly undertaken under Cunningham's advice, Cunningham became known as the Yoko Ono of finance. They settled in Napa Valley where Cunningham acquired the moniker of "Tomato Lady" for growing special tomatoes.

Six weeks before he died, Agee, reportedly suffering from dementia, changed his will to leave half his assets to his children from whom he had been estranged for 35 years. He also filed for divorce from Cunningham and named his daughter as his health care power of attorney. His last communication with his wife was via Face Time from Seattle. Cunningham is challenging the will although it does not matter because most of his assets were in his trust which was unchanged before his death.

A few points:

1. A will change six weeks before death to benefit children who have been estranged for 35 years will always generate questions of competency..

2. If Agee changed his will prior to his death, he should have also changed his trust if his assets were titled in the name of the trust.

3. Yoko Ono of finance? Tomato Lady? Music fans could only wish that Yoko Ono had grown tomatoes instead of creating unlistenable music and breaking up the Beatles.



Photo Credit:  Mary Moritz for the New York Times

License:  Fair Use/Education