Millionaire's family battles will that leaves his mistress millions

The Georgia Supreme Court heard oral arguments on Valentine's Day for a heated will contest between the family of millionaire businessman Harvey Strother and his mistress, Anne Melican.

Melican's attorney characterizes the relationship between Strother and Melican as an "epic love story" but Strother's family takes a less romantic view of the situation. Strother was allegedly drinking a gallon and a half of wine each day when Melican wheeled him into his lawyer's office shortly before he died in 2004. Court records say that Strother overhauled his will to leave Melican about $6 million in cash and $37 million in property.

Strother's original will from 1988 left most of his estate to his wife, children, and grandchildren. After meeting Melican, Strother made three amendments, or codicils, to the will. Each codicil gave Melican and her family members property such as condominiums, a $7,900 cash allowance, and health insurance.

In October 2009, the Georgia Supreme court ruled against Melican, finding that she was not entitled to the cash allowance or certain properties in Florida and Cape Cod. The oral argument on Valentine's Day involved the a $1.36 million dollar Florida condominium called the "Cozumel Condominium."

Melican's attorney stated that she should be protected by a Florida law that was designed to protect will beneficiaries who are bequeathed property from being disinherited. The attorney for the Strother family requested that the court not allow Georgia laws to be "usurped by a foreign state, Florida."

The Strother attorney also asked the court to end the feud. "We respectfully request that this long trek that we have been on for several years with Harvey Strother and Anne Melican will finally come to an end," he said.

Source: Associated Press, "Case of millionaire and mistress back in Ga. Court," Greg Bluestein, 2/14/11

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