While the body of the 96-year-old widow of former Tampa Bay Buccaneers owner Hugh Culverhouse Sr. waits in a funeral home, her children are battling in court with her grandson, who had her power of attorney.
The Tampa Bay Times reports Joy McCann Culverhouse’s children, Gay Culverhouse and Hugh Culverhouse Jr., refuse to sign paperwork to release her body. A hearing is scheduled Tuesday.
They want an autopsy and medical records to determine whether her brain was so damaged by age and alcohol that she didn’t realize her grandson, Christopher Lawrence Chapman, was selling off her assets.
Chapman, a 43-year-old old lawyer-turned-filmmaker, referred the newspaper’s requests for comment to Jordan Lee, a Tampa lawyer who represents Culverhouse’s estate.
“This is a private family matter, and all our efforts are directed at maintaining Joy’s privacy, and ensuring her wishes are carried out to the letter,” Lee said. “Like anyone else, Joy had no interest in having details of her private medical life disclosed.”
It’s the latest drama centered on the Culverhouse family.
Following her husband’s death in 1994, Joy Culverhouse won a $34 million settlement. She was outraged after learning he was a serial philanderer worth more than she knew.
In a sensational court battle, she claimed he had tricked her into signing away her rights to a fortune so he could dump her for a younger woman.
“If I had known about his philandering I’d probably have shot him, and he knew it,” Joy Culverhouse said during the trial. She was a crack shot who acknowledged having a gun in almost every room of her home.
The case ended in 1997 with a settlement that gave Joy Culverhouse $34 million and put her in charge of donating money from a family foundation to 38 charities, universities and hospitals chosen by her late husband. She contributed millions over the next few years.
Then, in 2001 at age 80, she married Dr. Robert Daugherty Jr., a medical school dean 15 years her junior. Instead of the designated institutions, money began flowing to organizations with ties to her new husband. That led to another court battle in which several spurned beneficiaries and Hugh Culverhouse Jr. challenged the foundation’s new wave of gift-giving. A 2009 settlement required the distribution of millions of dollars to Tampa Bay nonprofits and medical institutions.
Joy Culverhouse’s marriage to a much younger man wasn’t all that raised suspicions that she wasn’t always in full command of her faculties.
In 2006, she divorced Daugherty, citing an “irretrievably broken” marriage. In 2007, he moved back into her Tampa condo, and foundation money again began flowing toward groups with ties to Daugherty.
In 2009, a settlement required millions to be distributed from the estate to local nonprofits and medical institutions. It barred Daugherty from ever serving on the foundation’s board and restored Culverhouse’s deathbed wishes.
Joy Culverhouse died April 26 of pneumonia in Tampa.