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Mystery of Heiress' Ghost Mansion

A $24 million mansion in New Canaan that has stood empty for almost 60 years is at the center of an investigation by the Manhattan district attorney's office into the finances of one of America's richest women, Huguette Clark.

Her lawyer Wallace Bock and her accountant Iriving Kamsler, according to published reports are being probed to see if they have mishandled the half-billion dollar fortune of the shy and reclusive 104-year-old heiress and former socialite.

The 52-acre estate at 104 Dan's Highway, New Canaan, is owned by Clark, daughter of William A. Clark, a copper magnate who was once the second richest man in America. He was reviled by his contemporary Mark Twain who described him as "a shame of America" because of the way he treated his mining employees and corrupted the U.S. Senate.

Huguette Clark, has been a permanent resident of Beth Israel Hospital in New York City for decades, according to published reports, and is said to have never visited the estate since purchasing it. It has been taken care of by 81-year-old Tony Ruggiero, who claims to have never met Huguette, according to published reports. The caretaker lives on a brick gatekeeper cottage on the property. She is said to have paid her servants to iron the clothes for her extensive collection of French dolls.

The nine-bedroom, 22-room mansion, named "Le Beau Chateau," was built in 1937 by famed architectural firm Voorhees, Gmelin and Walker for US Senator David Aikeen Reed. It was later purchased by Huguette in 1952 and has been unfurnished and unoccupied since then. It is listed as having 12,766 square feet and features 11 fireplaces and 13-foot ceilings and herringbone floors. The estate includes a subdivision of 10 estate lots.

According to the real estate listing, "Graciously and generously appointed rooms are found throughout, enhanced by such quality details as marble window sills and fireplace mantels and large French-style windows and doors that provide verdant views and an abundance of natural light. There are a total of nine bedrooms, including the master suite with its grand sitting room and steps to an artist's studio. Among the homes other impressive living areas are a music room, a library and a third-floor great room." To view a video tour of the mansion and 52-acre plot of land, click here.

Huguette also owns a $100 million estate in Santa Barbara, California and a $100 million, 42-room apartment on Fifth Avenue, overlooking Central Park.

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