Sunday, October 12, 2008

A bequest for Panama's poor children - blocked by family



Children in the San Blas Islands, Panama, doing traditional dancing. While some of Panama bustles with development, more than half of children under 5 live in poverty(Tara Todras-Whitehill for The New York Times)



A bequest for Panama's poor children - blocked by family

1 comment:

webmaster@mks_blogger.com said...

Dear Panamanian Expatriates:

I would like to establish a dialogue regarding the Wilson C. Lucom case. I welcome and encourage your comments and help. I would like to introduce myself to you as the American lawyer who is the executor of the Estate of Wilson C. Lucom and in addition, I would like to introduce myself on a professional level.1/

I know that many of you have been following the Lucom case and I feel that now that I have completely cleared my name in Panama of illegal criminal charges raised against me it would be a good time to bring you up to date and start a dialogue with you so that together we may be able to help stop corruption of the Panamanian legal system and get these malnourished kids their money.2/

1/ A lot has been written about this case. You will find my most recent Report to the Attorney General of Panama that was distributed to her in April of 2008 on the Website devoted to this case:

English version: www.lucomchildren.com
Spanish version: www.lucom-ninospobresdepanama.com

The Report is on the Website together with an extensive document Exhibit package. While those of you in Panama might by now be used to the type of treatment I received to one degree or another, I think you will see the Report spells out a very difficult picture. Since many readers of the Report have said "this can't be true", I felt it necessary to attach the Exhibit list on the Website which proves with written documents all that is said in the Report.

2/ On a professional level, I have been a Federal income, estate and gift tax lawyer in both U.S. government and in private practice for almost 40 years. During this time I have concentrated in the area of international taxation. I define this area of the tax law as the "taxation of non resident aliens immigrating to and investing in the United States and Americans immigrating from and living or investing outside of the United States". Please see www.lehmantaxlaw.com for a more complete description of my professional qualifications and law practice.

Since there have been many changes in the tax laws affecting expatriates that I am familiar with, I will also use this forum to try to provide a resource for tax and related issues in that area of the law.

---------------

Much has happened since the delivery of the Report mentioned in Footnote 1. At the time of the delivery of that Report, I was still subject to many false criminal filings against me and an illegal arrest warrant that kept me out of the country. Furthermore I was not aware of the full extent of the on going attempt, (now exposed), to steal all of the assets of the Lucom Estate so that even if the will contest was won, the Estate would be empty of assets and holding nothing but debt.

The Lucom case has been an education in corruption in Panama. However, all of the following will show great progress has been made.

Recent Developments

1. The Supreme Court Ruling of October 8th, 2008. (Attached Exhibit 1 can be downloaded as pdf at http://www.lucomchildren.com)

On October 8, 2008, in a ruling released in November, the Panamanian Supreme Court ruled that an arrest warrant issued against me in Panama was illegal and unconstitutional and that there was no proof of any underlying crime. This ruling dismissed a criminal charge brought against me by Hector Infante, Hilda Lucom's lawyer, personally. It was a false allegation that I "extorted" Mr. Infante.

The Supreme Court ruling was the last in a series of three Panama Court opinions that overturned14 false criminal charges brought against me by the Arias Family and two false unconstitutional arrest warrants brought against me by the Arias Family. Even though the Supreme Court opinion dealt only with the extortion case, the Supreme Court ruling made several important findings relevant to Lucom's Will that are very positive and indicate their belief that the Will is valid.

2. The Request for Investigation by the National Transparency Council against Corruption Dated November 25, 2008. (Attached Exhibit 2 can be downloaded as pdf at http://www.lucomchildren.com)

The Report noted in Footnote 1, has resulted in two unique consequences. On November 25th the National Transparency Council against Corruption, a special Presidential Commission established to root out corruption in Panama, requested that the Panama Supreme Court open an investigation of the corrupt legal abuse against me by the Arias Family in this case.On December 2nd of this year, the Panama Supreme Court opened such an investigation and has requested that all of the files in this case be transferred to the Panama Supreme Court for its review. All of the tactics and ramifications of this case will now be reviewed by an independent body that is making its decision in the presence of the whole country.

3. The Official Formation and Filing of Red De Apoyo A Los Ninos Pobres de Panama. (Attached Exhibit 3 can be downloaded as pdf at http://www.lucomchildren.com)

In December of 2008, the Articles of Red De Apoyo A Los Ninos Pobres de Panama were officially filed in Panama. This is a new Panamanian charitable foundation that will be a "United Fund" of all of Panama's charities that apply and qualify for the benefits of Lucom's Will. This Foundation is open to all of Panama's charities and we have already started signing up charitable participants from all over Panama. I have given my written pledge, as the Executor, that after paying bequests to the beneficiaries and all Estate expenses I will vote to contribute Lucom's charitable funds to this new charity.

The new charity has received the support of six very prominent founding members and will be open to all charities that qualify to benefit from Lucom's gift. This is a major victory and not only proves that I have no designs on Lucom's fortune but now most of the important well meaning people in Panama will act as the spokespeople for the children. It forever puts to rest the claim by the Arias Family that my purpose was to steal Lucom's fortune. The new group of spokespeople will strive hard to help end the unnecessary starvation of Panama's children. We are actively recruiting as many charities to participate as possible and intend to have charities from all over the country involved very shortly.There finally is a Panamanian voice who can cry out against the abuse by the Arias family of Panama's children. The contest no longer involves me personally. It is now between Hector Infante and the Arias family against the charities and the people of Panama.

Even with the validation of Lucom's Will, I still expect delaying tactics by the Arias Family in Panama. However, now the Country of Panama at many levels of its society knows that the delaying tactics are resulting in the unnecessary deaths of Panamanian children from malnutrition. Therefore, we are prepared to deal with future delays once the Supreme Court has ruled.

The Theft of the Assets

While I was busy overturning multiple false criminal charges in Panama against me, two attempts were made to steal all of the Estate assets.

A. Theft of Hacienda Santa Mónica. Hacienda Santa Mónica, a 7,000 acre plot of land in Panama on the Pacific Ocean, is the main asset of the Estate. The land has been appraised at $62 million as the minimum value. The professional appraisal of the land by the court-appointed Administrator was $144.0 million. Hacienda Santa Mónica has been stripped of its value over the last two years through criminal and fraudulent real estate agreements.

Furthermore, in the absence of administration on the ranch, crops have disappeared, illegal leases have been signed, bank accounts have been pillaged, etc.Key to Hacienda Santa Mónica's value is that the entire Hacienda Santa Mónica property is adjacent to the beach on the Pacific Ocean. In spite of criminal laws barring the sale of this property, the entire area fronting the beach (100 acres of property) has been purchased for a trivial amount by an unknown group through a foreign corporation. They have damaged Hacienda Santa Mónica. All transactions thereon are criminal in nature. SEVERAL DENUNCIAS HAVE BEEN FILED TO HALT THE DESTRUCTION OF THE PROPERTY.

B. Theft of Valores Globales S.A. The second asset that was stolen was the share certificates of a personal corporation of Lucom's. Valores Globales S.A. is a British Virgin Islands corporation that belonged to Lucom at the time of his death.

Valores Globales owns $4 million in cash and $2 million in promissory notes. The shares for this corporation were stolen by Hilda from Lucom's files. She alleges they were a last minute gift from Lucom. Florida and British Virgin Island laws have assisted in protecting this asset of the Estate which is valued at $6.0 million. In Florida there is an injunction that bars the Arias Group from using the Valores Globales assets. I was able to obtain this injunction in defense of the assets of the Estate.

Present Situation

As it stands now, the Lucom Will has been approved by the Panama Probate Court and approved by the Panamanian Superior Court. The case has been before the Panama Supreme Court for approximately one and one-half years and we are expecting a ruling in the near future.

There, of course, has been a great deal of lobbying of the Panama Supreme Court by Hector Infante, Esq. and the Arias family. However, we have finally gotten to the point where the truth of the matter is obvious.

Now that there is the support of the Panama charities, that together with the previous approvals of the Lucom's Will by the Panamanian lower courts and the overturning of all of the false charges and arrest warrants against me signals that the tide has turned.

At this point the poor children of Panama need nothing other than a ruling on the law in Panama. There is no need to lobby for a desired result, the Supreme Court need only adhere to the law. However, the longer this case continues, the more deaths from malnutrition mount in Panama. Certainly any help that can be provided by the expatriate community to lobby for a speedy resolution by the Panama Supreme Court of this case can only help this situation. It would be much appreciated.

Very truly yours,

RICHARD S. LEHMAN rlehman@lehmantaxlaw.com