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18 June 2013

Diane Wells (1953 - ) trustfunder

Constance (1922 - 2007) was born in South Africa. Her father, a mining engineer who made his money in the diamond business, set up a trust fund for her. She moved to New York aged 19, married Joseph Cheney, a radiologist, and they had three children: Jonathan, Jennifer and James. In 1954 they found an apartment in the Eldorado building on Central Park West.

Jonathan became Diane Wells in the mid-1970s and disappeared for several years.

Joseph, who had had a bad heart since age 11, died in 1977.

In the early 1980s the Eldorado became a co-op and Constance bought her apartment. Jennifer left when she was 27 and did not see her mother again for 20 years. Diane ran out of money in 1989 and returned home. She and her mother each had their own locked room. Diane spent much time in her room chain smoking. Constance had given substantial sums to the two younger children to buy Manhattan apartments. Diane persuaded her mother to pay for expensive life insurance so that Diane would be able to afford the apartment after her death.

In 1999 Diane was listed as a co-owner of the apartment. In 2001 and again a few years later Mrs Cheney called the police, but did not press charges against her daughter. In May 2005 Mrs Cheney had lawyers come over to talk about her will. Diane was pressing that she be left the bulk of the estate. This led to an altercation that left Mrs Cheney with a broken arm, and left until the housekeeper arrived the next morning and called an ambulance.

Diane was obliged by court order to move out. She was later convicted on a misdemeanor assault charge and served 60 days at Rikers Island prison. Constance Cheney died of cancer in April 2007. A month later Ms Wells was arrested on a charge of solicitation of murder based on reports that that she had asked around to have her brother killed. However the case was later dropped, and after a court case about ownership Diane was able to move back into the apartment.

In 2012 the apartment corporation alleged that Diane had become a nuisance: her chain smoking caused smoke and odors to seep into the corridor and she did not allow maintenance staff to fix this; she failed to pay her monthly maintenance fees and did not maintain her escrow account at a sufficient level.

1 comment:

  1. No matter how we try, some things (and some people) never change!


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