Thursday, November 23, 2017
News Roundup

A year after her death, Joy Culverhouse has final resting place but legal battle continues

RECOMMENDED READING


Nearly a year after her death at 96, the widow of former Tampa Bay Buccaneers owner Hugh Culverhouse finally has been cremated.

Joy Culverhouse's estranged son, Hugh Jr., said her ashes arrived by mail late last week at his Coral Gables home.

"While not a Chinese food box, they are in a cardboard box," he said today.

The cremation was the latest chapter in the bitter, sometimes bizarre fight over Culverhouse's multi-million dollar estate. Hugh Jr. and sister Gay — who accuse their mother's grandson and two other men of taking financial advantage her — had refused to allow disposition of her remains without an autopsy on her brain and access to her medical records.

But after a probate judge in Tampa denied the autopsy request in December, the two sides agreed to go ahead with the cremation.

"Enough time had passed and at that point Gay and I talked and said, 'Look, we'll get the info about mom during the lawsuit,'" Hugh Jr. said, referring to the ongoing probate battle.

How it started: Children of former Bucs owner Hugh Culverhouse refuse to release mother's body as family feuds

After her death April 26, Joy Culverhouse's body remained at a Tampa funeral home until the cremation in Temple Terrace on March 13. Her son said he initially planned to scatter her ashes on the golf course at the University of Alabama, where she was the women's state golf champion and where she met her future husband while both were students. Hugh Jr. has donated $2.7 million to the school to endow golf scholarships in his mother's name.

After further thought, Hugh Jr. said, he decided to bury the ashes in his backyard "where I'm going to be buried."

"At least I'll have somebody to fight with when I die," he said. "Mom is going to be put right by my two cats and I right by my mom and when we get bored we can argue or laugh, which was normal for us."

According to representatives of Culverhouse's estate, she wanted nothing to do with her adult children and once called them a "greedy twosome" who had "gotten all they're going to get from me."

Previous coverage: Joy Culverhouse didn't want her children to get a penny of her estate, court motion says

But the children say that Culverhouse's grandson, Christopher Chapman — who is Gay's son — had joined with attorney Robert Waltuch and accountant Scott Lynch to take advantage of a woman addled by age and alcohol abuse. In documents filled in probate court, the children allege that the trio siphoned off part of their mother's assets for "outrageous above-market salaries and bonuses and below-market loans." The three men have denied any wrong-doing.

Hugh Jr. and his sister also are suing Chapman, Waltuch and a South Florida auction house over the sale last year of thousands of dollars worth of Joy Culverhouse's jewelry and other personal possessions. The children allege that auctioneers were instructed not to sell any of the items to Culverhouse's relatives.

Previous coverage: $1.2 million of Joy Culverhouse's jewelry 'surreptitiously sold' prior to her death, son says

Hugh Jr. said he offered $100,000 for scrapbooks containing family photos as well as his mother's original Alabama golf scrapbook, a copy of which is on display at the university.

"The response was, 'Your mother wouldn't want you to have it but if you pay us the money and give us personal releases and drop that lawsuit we will,'" Culverhouse said. He declined.

Through their attorney, the representatives of Joy Culverhouse's estate said Monday she would not have wanted the albums sold to any party. "However, the estate did indicate that it was willing to give the photograph albums to Hugh Culverhouse, Jr. for no compensation whatsoever, but only upon Hugh Culverhouse, Jr. and Gay Culverhouse agreeing to end this litigation," attorney Eric Adams said.

While Culverhouse received most of his mother's cremains, the agreement on cremation called for a tablespoon of ashes to go to Chapman, her grandson. There was no word on what he plans to do with them .

Contact Susan Taylor Martin at smartin@tampabay.com or (727) 893-8642. Follow @susanskate

Comments

Updated: 1 hour ago

Motorcyclist, 27, dies in crash with taxi cab in Largo

LARGO — A motorcyclist died after crashing into a taxi cab Thursday morning, police reported.Sydney Pender, 27, was riding a 2012 Yamaha motorcycle southbound on 66th Street about 10:30, according to a Largo Police Department release.At the same time...
Updated: 3 hours ago

Update: Mother, toddler hit by car in critical condition at TGH

TAMPA — A mother and one of her two small children who were hit by a car while trying to cross Dale Mabry Highway on Wednesday were still in the hospital on Thanksgiving, according to Tampa General Hospital.Cassandra Marie Spicola, 29, and 18-month-o...
Updated: 4 hours ago

Pasco County put under immediate tornado warning

The National Weather Service has put out a tornado warning for Pasco County. Thunderstorms capable of producing a tornado and strong winds are expected over Jasmine Estates, New Port Richey and Hudson until 1:15 p.m., according to the NWS warning. Ba...
Updated: 6 hours ago
Thanksgiving forecast: Rain today, but sunny skies this weekend

Thanksgiving forecast: Rain today, but sunny skies this weekend

It’s going to be a wet Thanksgiving across Tampa Bay, but sunny skies are coming during the long weekend, according to WTSP 10Weather meteorologist Ric Kearbey. 10News WTSPThe latest Tampa Bay-area radar 10...
Updated: 8 hours ago
Self-proclaimed Nazi banned from University of North Florida — but allowed to remain a student

Self-proclaimed Nazi banned from University of North Florida — but allowed to remain a student

A self-proclaimed Nazi is banned from the University of North Florida’s campus — but will remain a student, university officials said.Ken Parker, a 37-year-old Navy veteran who once served as the grand dragon, or highest-ranking leader, of the Ku Klu...
Updated: 8 hours ago
Days after a high fever, Jon Mott wins his fifth Times Turkey Trot 10K

Days after a high fever, Jon Mott wins his fifth Times Turkey Trot 10K

CLEARWATER — On Tuesday, Jon Mott had a 103-degree fever. That was not enough to keep him from maintaining his dominance Thursday at the 39th Tampa Bay Times Turkey Trot.The former Northeast standout added to his record with his fifth title in the ev...
Updated: 9 hours ago
President Trump presents his report card, passes with flying colors

President Trump presents his report card, passes with flying colors

PALM BEACH — President Donald Trump has a Thanksgiving Day message for the nation: Look at all I’ve done. Trump is telling followers in an early-morning holiday tweet that, "your Country is starting to do really well." He says: Jobs are "coming back,...
Updated: 9 hours ago

Lutz pedestrian dies in accident on U.S. 41

LUTZ — A man is dead after deputies said he walked into the path of a car on U.S. Route 41 Wednesday night.Charles Miller, 69 of Lutz, was walking east across the highway at 7:34 p.m., according to Florida Highway Patrol.Daniel Johnson, 35 and also o...
Updated: 9 hours ago
Tarpon Springs seeking to honor sponger George Billiris

Tarpon Springs seeking to honor sponger George Billiris

TARPON SPRINGS — The city is considering a way to honor the legacy of the late longtime sponge merchant George Billiris at a city building. "We know how he promoted Tarpon Springs," Commissioner David Banther said at a recent City Commission meeting....
Published: 11/23/17