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 Post subject: Jack Kerouac - Major News on His Estate
PostPosted: Sun Aug 02, 2009 10:04 pm 
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Fla. judge rules will on Kerouac's estate is fake
July 28, 2009 - 4:31pm
By CHRISTINE ARMARIO
Associated Press Writer

TAMPA, Fla. (AP) - There are new questions about the estate of Beat Generation writer Jack Kerouac after a Florida judge ruled that his mother's will was fraudulent.

Gabrielle Kerouac left all of her son's assets to his third wife, Stella Sampas Kerouac, when she died in 1973. Ever since, the Sampas family has had control of Jack Kerouac's manuscripts, letters and personal belongings.
Jack Kerouac's daughter, Jan, challenged the will in 1994, after seeing a copy and deciding the signature was fake. She died two years later, but Paul Blake Jr., the writer's nephew, continued the litigation.

In an order filed Friday in the Sixth Judicial Circuit Court, Judge George W. Greer ruled the will was a forgery. The ruling does not make any decision on who allegedly forged the document.

"Clearly, Gabrielle Kerouac was physically unable to sign the document dated February 13, 1973 and, more importantly, that which appears on the will dated that date is not her signature," Greer wrote.

The ruling is sure to please some Kerouac devotees who have objected to the handling of the writer's estate, including the sale of his raincoat to actor Johnny Depp for $50,000 and the original manuscript scroll of Kerouac's 1957 classic "On the Road," which was sold to the owner of the Indianapolis Colts for $2.43 million.

"They will first see this as a wonderful ending to this story," Blake's attorney, Bill Wagner, said.

It's unclear, however, how much the estate is currently worth and what action Blake might take. Wagner said that early in the litigation, they agreed not to question the Sampas family on what assets they still had. Previous estimates of the estate, which included Kerouac's unpublished manuscripts, journals, thousands of letters and the St. Petersburg house where Kerouac lived when he died in 1969, have placed its value at about $20 million.

Blake did not immediately respond to a request for comment through his attorney.

Lawyer Elaine McGinnis, who was appointed to represent the estate's interest, said she was not surprised by the decision, given testimony from a handwriting expert presented at trial.

But she said that whether or not the will was forged remains a mystery.
"Everybody is dead now that was ever involved in it, so no one will really ever know," she said.

Shortly before his untimely death from alcoholism at age 47, Jack Kerouac wrote his young nephew a letter, expressing his desire to leave all of his work and belongings behind to his mother.

"And not to leave a dingblasted (two expletives) thing to my wife's one hundred Greek relatives," he wrote.

Gabrielle Kerouac inherited a majority of his estate, but her health was failing as well. By 1970, she required constant care. A doctor testified at the trial that she would not have been able to sign her signature as it appears on the will. She died an invalid three years later under her daughter-in-law's care.

"The court does not have to decide who in fact signed her name on the document," Greer wrote in his decision. "It is enough that Gabrielle Kerouac did not herself sign it."

Gerald Nicosia, a Kerouac biographer, said that neither Kerouac's nephew nor his daughter were notified immediately after their grandmother's death. When Stella Sampas Kerouac died in 1990, she left the estate to her siblings. Jan Kerouac later become a vocal critic of their handling of the estate.

Nicosia, who was close friends with Jan Kerouac, said she wanted to see her father's work put in a library, but that the Sampas family ignored million-dollar offers from university archives in favor of selling the items individually.
Jan Kerouac died in 1996 at age 44 after battling kidney disease.

Blake, meanwhile, has lived much of his life in poverty and has sometimes been homeless. Nicosia said that today he lives in a rented mobile home in Arizona that does not have a toilet.

"While the Sampas family was reaping millions of dollars from a forged will, this man, Jack Kerouac's closest blood relative, was sleeping in a truck for two years," Nicosia said.

A Sampas family attorney said he could not comment on the legal ruling until speaking with his clients. The Sampases have previously said their aim was not to profit.



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 Post subject: Re: Jack Kerouac - Major News on His Estate
PostPosted: Sun Aug 02, 2009 10:22 pm 
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WOW! This is huge news. Thanks very much for posting this article. Very interesting. I wonder how this will affect items already sold, since they were sold under false pretenses. I would have loved to see that manuscript scroll in person. Maybe in a museum someday! :hope:



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 Post subject: Re: Jack Kerouac - Major News on His Estate
PostPosted: Sun Aug 02, 2009 10:26 pm 
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All the thanks goes to fansmom, who alerted me to this.



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 Post subject: Re: Jack Kerouac - Major News on His Estate
PostPosted: Sun Aug 02, 2009 10:32 pm 
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Very interesting to hear about. I have to admit the fact that Johnny bought a raincoat for 50 grand surprised me. I guess I missed that one somewhere along the line.



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 Post subject: Re: Jack Kerouac - Major News on His Estate
PostPosted: Sun Aug 02, 2009 10:37 pm 
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Thanks fansmom and Liz!!

This is huge, but it only covers that the signature was forged so presumably the will was, too. It will be EXTREMELY interesting to see what comes of it. So many possibilities. :hypnotic:

Thanks!! :cool:



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 Post subject: Re: Jack Kerouac - Major News on His Estate
PostPosted: Sun Aug 02, 2009 10:41 pm 
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johnnybloom wrote:
Very interesting to hear about. I have to admit the fact that Johnny bought a raincoat for 50 grand surprised me. I guess I missed that one somewhere along the line.


Seems modest compared to the possibility that he just bought Dillinger's pistol for $95K... though of course we don't know for sure if it was him. I am not surprised that Johnny makes very extravagant purchases, like bottles of wine worth 5 digit dollars. However, I could have SWORN I've read he "only" bought the coat for $15,000, and then bought several other of Kerouac's stuff for a grand total of 50K.



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 Post subject: Re: Jack Kerouac - Major News on His Estate
PostPosted: Sun Aug 02, 2009 10:51 pm 
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It's beyond my comprehension. :-) Must be nice to have that kind of money.



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 Post subject: Re: Jack Kerouac - Major News on His Estate
PostPosted: Sun Aug 02, 2009 10:52 pm 
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Serendipity wrote:
johnnybloom wrote:
Very interesting to hear about. I have to admit the fact that Johnny bought a raincoat for 50 grand surprised me. I guess I missed that one somewhere along the line.


Seems modest compared to the possibility that he just bought Dillinger's pistol for $95K... though of course we don't know for sure if it was him. I am not surprised that Johnny makes very extravagant purchases, like bottles of wine worth 5 digit dollars. However, I could have SWORN I've read he "only" bought the coat for $15,000, and then bought several other of Kerouac's stuff for a grand total of 50K.

It wasn't the price that surprised me. I just didn't remember reading that...I was more surprised in myself for missing that tidbit or not remembering it. $50,000 isn't very much money for someone of Johnny's career brackett... especially for something of Jack Kerouac's who had such an impact on his life.



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"Three is a sort of special number for me. It's a very creative number.
Triangle, trinity-you know, how two people make another person.
Three is a MYSTICAL, MAGICAL number."
~~ Johnny Depp~~
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 Post subject: Re: Jack Kerouac - Major News on His Estate
PostPosted: Sun Aug 02, 2009 10:53 pm 
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Liz wrote:
It's beyond my comprehension. :-) Must be nice to have that kind of money.

You said it sister... :grin:



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 Post subject: Re: Jack Kerouac - Major News on His Estate
PostPosted: Sun Aug 02, 2009 11:04 pm 
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I will take advantage of this opportune moment to tell you that we will begin to post the Q&A with William Helmer tomorrow morning. Keep a sharp eye....



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 Post subject: Re: Jack Kerouac - Major News on His Estate
PostPosted: Sun Aug 02, 2009 11:06 pm 
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Hopefully what is left will be given to Paul Blake Jr. and the Jack Kerouac legacy will be indeed put in a museum instead of going into private ownership. That last statement about the Sampras family, is that a paradox? Their aim was not to profit from the sale of Jack Kerouac memorabilia but yet still they sold several items to private buyers. I would have taken the profit and sold the items to museums.



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 Post subject: Re: Jack Kerouac - Major News on His Estate
PostPosted: Sun Aug 02, 2009 11:17 pm 
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Sandsgirl wrote:
Hopefully what is left will be given to Paul Blake Jr. and the Jack Kerouac legacy will be indeed put in a museum instead of going into private ownership. That last statement about the Sampras family, is that a paradox? Their aim was not to profit from the sale of Jack Kerouac memorabilia but yet still they sold several items to private buyers. I would have taken the profit and sold the items to museums.

It has been a very long time since I researched this—and it was all lost when my computer crashed. And that was before we moved to the "current" Zone; so it isn't in the ONBC Archives either. But my memory is that it all seemed rather contentious. At the time I tried to remain neutral. In light of the latest developments, I’m finding that taking that stance is now quite difficult.



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 Post subject: Re: Jack Kerouac - Major News on His Estate
PostPosted: Sun Aug 02, 2009 11:49 pm 
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Here's the information about Johnny's Kerouac purchases. It also talks about Sampas' alleged motivations:

Quote:
THE FIGHT OVER ALL THINGS KEROUAC
By William R. Levesque, Times Staff Writer
St. Petersburg Times
11/24/02

Jeffrey Weinberg couldn't believe what John Sampas was asking. (Sampas is the brother of Jack’s widow and the executor of Jack’s estate.)

A Kerouac fan, Weinberg owned a book shop in Sudburg, Mass., that specialized in Beat materials. Now Sampas was asking him to inspect and sell materials from Kerouac's estate. Music to his ears.

Sampas ushered Weinberg into his Victorian home in Lowell one Sunday and locked the door behind them. Kerouac clutter was everywhere. Manuscripts of Mexico City Blues and The Subterraneans lay out, filing cabinets overflowed, the baseball game Kerouac invented was spread on the floor. Cats wandered about.

"I was willing to get involved just to be near this stuff," Weinberg said. "These were the crown jewels of Beat."

He said Sampas told him, "I want to turn some of this stuff into cash."

Weinberg said he began selling books from Kerouac's personal library, his paintings, letters, original manuscripts and first editions that the author had inscribed for Stella.

Scouting for buyers, Weinberg contacted the owner of Flashback Books, whose daughter happened to be dating a Kerouac fan of some means, Johnny Depp. The daughter's name: Winona Ryder.

Depp came to Lowell. He started with letters and manuscripts. According to Weinberg, Sampas brought in a large box and said, "Johnny, I think you're going to like this stuff better."

In the box were Kerouac's clothes: hats, shoes, raincoats, jackets.

"Johnny tries on the clothes," Weinberg said, "and by God, they fit."

Depp paid $15,000 for the raincoat, $5,000 for a suitcase, $3,000 for a rain hat, $10,000 for a tweed coat and $5,000 for a letter Kerouac had written his friend, Neal Cassady, the model for Dean Moriarty in On the Road.

Sampas said he never sold anything important or related to Kerouac's work. Most of the letters, journals and notebooks remain, including all original manuscripts. He said he stored and handled all Kerouac materials like the treasures they are.

What he did sell, he said, covered the costs of office equipment and cataloging the archive. As the family member in charge of the estate, he said, "I had a financial responsibility to the heirs."



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 Post subject: Re: Jack Kerouac - Major News on His Estate
PostPosted: Mon Aug 03, 2009 12:03 am 
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Liz wrote:
It's beyond my comprehension. :-) Must be nice to have that kind of money.


It would be nice just to hold that much money in my hands! :baby:



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 Post subject: Re: Jack Kerouac - Major News on His Estate
PostPosted: Mon Aug 03, 2009 12:04 am 
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johnnybloom wrote:
Liz wrote:
It's beyond my comprehension. :-) Must be nice to have that kind of money.

You said it sister... :grin:


I keep forgetting that Johnny Depp is a mutlimillionaire. He wears jeans with holes in the knees and old work boots and he treats his fans as though they were the most valuable asset he has (in effect, he says so). I sometimes think that if all that wealth was gone tomorrow and he was selling pens again, he would still be the same person with the same values and he would be content. Perhaps that is just my dream, but that is what I believe about the man.


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