Mrs. Eva Slaven Despierris has failed in her effort to obtain part of the millions her father, Moses A. Slaven made out of the Panama Canal in dredging contracts.
Moses A. Slaven and his brother, Henry B. Slaven, were in Paris at the time when the fat contracts for work on the Panama Canal were given out by De Lesseps and his friends. They obtained the refusal on a large share of the dredging work, and, coming to this country, they organized the American Contracting and Dredging Company, to carry out the contract. Out of 20,000 shares of the company the Slaven brothers retained 11,000. The dividends paid on tne stock from 1883 to 1888 amounted to over $3,000,000. Moses Slaven was in Panama most of the time attending to the business. His daughter, who is now Mrs. Despierris, asserts that her father, fearing that be might contract fever there and die, entered into an agreement with his brother, that in the event Of his death his interest in the business was to be divIded between his wile and daughter.
Her father made a will, making his brother executor of his estate, and naming his wife, who is Mrs. Despierris's stepmother, as sole legatee. He did this, according to the daughter, in order that the dredging contracts might not pass out of the control of his estate, and his will was impressed, she declared, with the alleged Verbal trust in the daughter's favor.
Moses A. Slaven died in 1886, and shortly thereafter Henry B. Slaven married his brother's widow, so that the entire fortune made in the dredging contracts passed into his possession. Henry B. Slaven also had himself, it is charged, appointed guardian of the child Eva, who was then in a convent in Montreal. She never received any portion of her father's estate. She did not know of, and had not read, her father's will, she swore, until Over a year ago, but she had signed a consent to the probate of the will at her uncle's request, without knowing what it was. She always was spoken to by her uncle as an heiress, she declared, and shortly after her marriage, in June, 1893, her uncle called upon her and told her of her interest in her father's estate, and of the verbal agreement that had been made by her father with him.
Being unable to get anything out of her father's property, Mrs. Despierris began a suit against her uncle and his wife to impress a trust in her favor on the estate. This action was tried before Justice Ingraham in the Special Term of the Supreme Court, and yesterday the Justice decided against her.
As Henry B. Slavin denied absolutely the alleged agreement in the daughter's favor with his brother, Justice Ingraham holds that there is nothing to show the existence of such a contract or trust. He says that the circumstances of the case are most peculiar, and the agreement sought to be enforced a most extraordinary one, but that there is not sufficient evidence to justify a judgment for the daughter.
The case will be fought over again in a number of other suits.
New York (New York) Times, April 18, 1895.
Copyright © 2007 Larry Slavens. All rights reserved.