SOURCE: Richard S. Lehman P.A.

April 21, 2010 07:00 ET

Executor of Lucom Estate Commits $50 Million for 'Poor Children of Panama' to Panamanian Institutions

Recent Rulings Clear Path for Largest Donation in Country's History

BOCA RATON, FL--(Marketwire - April 21, 2010) -  In an international estate battle, the now legally recognized executor has placed the fate of the "poor children of Panama" in the hands of the country's most powerful institutions -- the Church and the Panamanian government.

After four years of defending the Will of Wilson Lucom, South Florida-based attorney Richard Lehman, Lucom's friend and attorney of 31 years, who was appointed as the Executor of Lucom's Will by two Panamanian courts gave his irrevocable commitment that two Panamanian entities would receive any judicial award that is made to carry out the intentions of the Will of Wilson Lucom.

Once completed this would give $50 million to the Fundacion De Apoyo a Los Ninos Pobres de Panama, a Panamanian charity and the Panamanian Ministry of Social Development. The latter is the Panamanian government agency responsible for addressing malnutrition in the country. 

"As the legally recognized executor of this estate, I am going to give all proceeds of the Lucom estate that will result from any judicial award in Panama to these two leading institutions," said Lehman. "Based on recent rulings, it is apparent that I can now use my powers as executor to carry out the wishes of my late client and to best protect this Estate. This action protects the Estate for the kids."

Lehman's position as the Executor was confirmed by several Panamanian Court rulings that recently held that Lehman has been illegally and unconstitutionally prevented from carrying out his duties as Lucom's Executor for four years. Lehman was then awarded a $3.8 million judgment against the Panamanian law firm, Infante & Perez Almillano, in a ruling that showed the illegal abuse of the country's legal system by the law firm to stop Lehman's efforts as executor.

The case involves Wilson Lucom, an American expatriate who died in Panama in 2006 and left a Panamanian will with an approximate $50 million gift to "feed the poor children of Panama." The will appointed Lehman as executor. Lucom's third wife, 87-year-old Hilda Arias, has sued to nullify the will in Panama and keep the entire fortune for herself. 

Until recently Lehman reportedly was prevented from fulfilling his legal role as executor by illegal and unconstitutional actions. This was accomplished through a mixture of illegal Panama probate court rulings and through a concerted effort to brand Lehman as a criminal in Panama. Lehman faced a series of Panamanian prosecutorial and judicial corruptions and was falsely charged in Panama with 15 crimes, including murder and gang conspiracy. Five false arrest warrants were issued against him and he was falsely imprisoned even though no crimes existed.

According to Lehman, it was a way to intimidate and try to force him into resigning as executor and dropping the case. Every false charge against Lehman has since been dismissed by the Panama Courts.

Despite the efforts against him, Lehman has been able to prevent the will from being nullified for four years and organized a strong grass roots campaign receiving strong support and endorsements from the most prominent charities and religious groups in the country. 

"As an American standing alone in Panama and fighting a corrupt legal system and one of the most powerful families in the country, I am now in a position as Executor to make this commitment to the rightful recipients -- the starving children on Panamanian streets," said Lehman.

"All of Panama knows what is happening in this case. The only way to truly guarantee that Lucom's gift will reach Panama's poor kids is for the Panamanian government and religious institutions to defend Lucom's gift and insist on justice. The choice to do the right thing is Panama's," said Lehman. 

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