Filipina nurse Hadassah Peri used to live with her taxi driver husband and her three children in a small apartment in Brooklyn, New York before she was assigned to take care of billionaire Huguette Clark, the youngest child of William Clark, who was once the richest man in the United States.
This, however, changed after Peri was assigned by an agency to take care of Clark in the 1990’s.
Clark, an eccentric old woman who shunned fame despite being one of the world’s wealthiest women, decided to spend the last years of her life in a private New York hospital room after she was diagnosed with face cancer.
Clark checked into the hospital in March 1991 and stayed in the same room for more than 7,000 nights. During the course of her time at the hospital, she sacked a private nurse who suggested that she go home and only saw one relative.
Clark may have distanced herself from relatives and other people but her relationship with Peri was different. Bill Dedman, who wrote a book about Clark, described the bond between the Filipino nurse and Clark.
“When the other nurses couldn’t get her to take her medication they would get Hadassah on the phone, or just pretend to.” Bill said. “As soon as they said, ‘Hadassah says you’re supposed to do this’, she would comply.”
Such was Clark and Peri’s friendship that the former started to shower her nurse and her family with gifts. Clark initially paid for the medical bills and the tuition fees of the nurse’s children but the gifts and bonuses became more lavish over time.
Peri received expensive gifts and cash over the 20 years that she cared for Clark. In 1999, she received $133,950 for undisclosed reasons.
In February 2009, Clark gave Peri a $5 million bonus. Peri also received several luxury buildings, a 2001 Bentley Arnage sedan worth $204,00 and Lincoln Navigator worth $42,000. When Clark died in May 2011 at the age of 104, she left about $30 million to Peri.
The gifts and money that Peri received from her patient, however, were marred by suspicions.Clark’s relatives claimed that the old woman was not lucid when her latest will and testament, which cut out inheritance for her family, was made in 2005.
They launched a legal battle that successfully overturned the will. In 2013, the will was settled and majority of Clark’s relatives received a total of $34 million.
Peri received nothing and agreed to pay back the $5 million of the gifts she earlier received from her patient. It still isn’t bad though because she still kept the Bentley and the homes she received when Clark was still alive.