Paul Wellman (file)
Sunday, August 19, 2018
The Bellosguardo Foundation — the public charity created to manage the late Huguette Clark’s estate above East Beach for the purpose of fostering the arts — has announced plans to host a private fundraiser dinner on October 13. The event will mark the first occasion anyone other than Clark, her staff, and a few select guests have set foot on the enigmatic 24-acre property in more than three decades.
The “elegant, Gatsbyesque soiree,” the invitation reads, will be catered by the Four Seasons Biltmore and feature live music. Attendees are encouraged to arrive in black-tie period attire and mingle in the courtyard, where “sleek ebony bars laden with crystal decanters and masses of candles will beckon with flowing champagne, wine, and cocktails.” Ticket prices range from $1,500 to $50,000. According to the Bellosguardo Foundation’s website, the Inaugural Gala will generate “much-needed funds [to] continue to maintain the house, grounds, and collections as we move forward with our larger vision and open the property to the public.” A list of perks includes “exposure to our exclusive, ultra-high net worth guest list,” coverage by “various A-list, luxury media outlets,” and the opportunity to “showcase branding materials.”
The Bellosguardo Foundation — a 501(c)(3) nonprofit chaired by Dick Wolf — was formed four years ago but has made little progress in carrying out Clark’s will. According to its tax records, it has raised just enough money to cover the salary of its president, Jeremy Lindaman, who collected $265,000 between 2014 and 2017. Most of that money came from Clark’s estate, Wolf himself, and a few of the foundation’s boardmembers. Meanwhile, the property remains saddled with approximately $12 million in deferred maintenance.
Lindaman has come under repeated criticism for his management of the $95 million estate. He has declined to publicly answer any questions about the charity’s operations or plans for a public opening. Months ago, the foundation was set to receive $4.5 million in cash as part of the final transfer of Clark’s assets. The foundation’s 2017 tax return (the most recent available) lists its activities for that year as “board formation, community outreach, and monitoring estate proceedings.”