Arthur Mondella was the high living, third generation owner of a Brooklyn maraschino cherry family business. When his business was being investigated for illegally dumping cherry juice onto the streets, investigators found a large marijuana grow room. He then locked himself in his private bathroom and shot himself.
His will left 80% of his reported $8.5 million estate to his three daughters and the remaining 20% to his sister. The will designated one of his daughters to serve as executrix. The attorney who prepared the will lost it and offered a copy of it for probate. While the will is being validated by the probate court, his ex-wife, a Russian mail order bride by her attorney’s description, is opposing the appointment of his daughter as executrix on the grounds that she is not qualified to fill that role.
So many points that it is hard to focus only on the following:
1. The individual designated as executor in a will is almost always appointed as executor by the court. If a temporary executor is needed to operate a business, the individual designated as the executor would seem to be the best person to fill the role.
2. I am not sure that a Russian mail order bride is the best person to challenge another’s qualifications to serve as executor unless the position involves marketing.
3. As profitable as marijuana growing might have been, Mr. Mondella might have missed his true calling. The cherry juice in the street was causing neighborhood bees to turn red and produce cherry tainted honey. The Whole Foods/Fresh Market base would have paid a premium for the legal production of cherry flavored honey. Heck, even Walmart customers would like the product if sufficiently discounted.