Heiress fights dad's bequest to the arts

Oct. 29, 2009 at 8:51 PM

HOUSTON, Oct. 29 (UPI) -- The daughter of a late Texas oil pioneer claims lawyers coerced her father into cutting her share of his estate and convinced him to give it to charity instead.

Curry Glassell, 52, claims in a lawsuit her father, Transcontinental Gas Pipe Line Corp. founder Alfred C. Glassell -- who and died at age 95 in 2008 -- was sick and possibly demented when he changed his will at age 87 to give more to Houston arts.

She alleges lawyers for the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, pushed him to make the change. Alfred Glassell also founded the museum's Glassell School of Art.

A spokesman for the Vinson & Elkins law firm, which does its museum work pro bono, said its lawyers might testify in the trial, starting next week, and therefore had no comment.

Curry Glassell wants Probate Court Judge Kathy Stone to rule in favor of her father's 1998 will.

But Glassell's younger brother, Alfred Glassell III, and their father's widow, Clare Attwell Glassell, want Stone to abide by the oilman-philanthropist's last will, signed in 2003, the Houston Chronicle reports.

Joining them are the museum and the Glassell Family Foundation, run by Alfred Glassell III to benefit Houston art.

If Curry Glassell wins, she would get $100 million and land. If she loses, she would get around $3 million and land, the Chronicle reported.

She could lose even that if the jury finds she contested the will in bad faith and should be excluded under a provision barring gifts to anyone who questions the will.

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