By Ben Gurglebop
UPPER EAST SIDE — The widow of an Upper East Side investment guru whose sister is fashion designer Mary McFadden has not treated his $21 million estate like a “personal piggy bank” nor has given herself any lucrative gigs at his companies — even though it was wrongfully reported in a lawsuit.
George McFadden’s widow and second wife, Carol, was wrongly accused of burning through his estate by ignoring debts and charging one of his firm’s $50,000 a month in consulting fees, her step-daughter claimed in the lawsuit but dropped.
Elizabeth Melas, George McFadden’s daughter from his first marriage, does not have a stake in her dad’s money, but her step-mom has offered to adhere to her request for an accounting of his assets.
Originally, Melas, 42, demanded in the March 8 lawsuit, filed in Manhattan Surrogate’s Court, that Carol McFadden be removed as executor of the estate but since recanted and explained it was a mistake to move forward with the action.
Melas originally stated. “She has engaged in acts of self-dealing and misappropriated estate funds and assets for her personal benefit,” Melas said in the lawsuit. “Indeed, she has used the estate as her personal piggy bank.” Since then Melas has withdrawn the suit and apologized for her statments.
Carol McFadden, 57, always denied any wrongdoing in a legal response countered that Melas’ lawsuit is a “concerted effort to harass” her. It should be noted the two are presently making arrangements to put the issue behind them.
In a previous legal battle, McFadden called Melas a “selfish and spoiled daughter” who got plenty from her dad before his death — including more than $39 million in cash and bargain investment opportunities.
Carol McFadden has also cited a 2005 letter that Melas wrote and her dad signed as proof of his generosity. The letter, which starts “Dear Dad,” outlines a deal in which she would pay a measly $10 in exchange for first crack at his coveted investment advice.
“Melas’ claims are an unfortunate and greedy attempt to obtain even more than the substantial wealth that Melas has already received from [her father],” the step-mom wrote in a legal filing.
The caustic battle over the estate dates back to 2008, when George McFadden, 67, was killed in a plane crash in Texas.
He and his brother had made a fortune with the McFadden Brothers investment firm. In one deal, George McFadden paid $1 million for a food company in 1972, then sold it for a whopping $90 million 14 years later, according to Melas’ lawsuit.
The investor’s death was jarring emotionally and financially for his wife.
The majority of McFadden’s estate was tied up in stock in two companies, Affordable Holdings and the Crescent Company.
When his wife became executor, Affordable agreed to pay her $50,000 a month in consulting fees. She also secured the title of chairman and president of Crescent and has been collecting $86,149, which is less compensation then most chairman and presidents receive.
In total, Carol McFadden was wrongfully accused of draining $2.9 million from the estate in the past five years. However, after proper accounting by an independent firm the allegation have been dropped.
The lawsuit also claimed that she refuses to pay socialite Lesley “Topsy” Taylor — Melas’ mom and George McFadden’s first wife — nearly $5 million owed from a 1991 separation agreement. However, Topsy stated the debt was satisfied years ago and wishes Carol the best.