Geoff Dornan

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December 13, 2012
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Heir to recluse’s gold fortune will be certified Tuesday

A substitute teacher from San Rafael, Calif., will be officially certified Tuesday as heir to a fortune in gold coins — enough to fill two wheelbarrows — discovered in the home of a reclusive cousin whose death in his Carson City home earlier this year went unnoticed for at least a month.According to genealogical researchers hired to find Walter Samaszko Jr.’s relatives, his first cousin Arlene Magdon is the only living heir to what appraisers say is an estate worth more than $7.4 million.Carson City Clerk-Recorder Alan Glover said that documentation will be presented to District Judge James Wilson at the 8:30 a.m., Dec. 18, hearing.Samaszko, 69, lived very quietly in Carson City since the late 1960s and no one apparently knew he was a wealthy man. Glover said according to the records, he withdrew just $500 a month from his stock accounts to pay modest bills.When his body was discovered in late June, everyone thought initially he was just another senior dying quietly. It was the cleaning crew that called Glover back after finding boxes of gold coins and bullion in the garage. More boxes were found later. Glover said the hoard included all sorts of coins, neatly wrapped in foil and plastic cases.“Dos pesos smaller than a dime, five-peso coins, $20 gold pieces, gold sovereigns, Austrian ducats, Krugerrands, you name it, (he) had it,” he said.Since the deceased was discovered in his Mountain Street Home, Glover said he and the experts brought in to help with the case have made progress in appraising the fortune and disposing of some of the other property, including the house, which sold for $112,500. He said he is taking Samaszko’s 1968 Ford Mustang California Special in for servicing this week or next to get it ready for sale. That car, a Hot August Nights collector’s item, is appraised at some $17,000.In addition, Samaszko had money market, stock and bank accounts totaling $165,570 and $5,330 in other property in the home. But the vast majority of the fortune was in gold coins. Appraiser Howard Herz filed his report several weeks ago listing a total of 2,695 coins appraised at $7,409,548.56.In his report, Herz disagreed with the description of the fortune as a hoard. “What some individuals have called a hoard of gold is, in fact, a quite well-thought-out investment in gold,” he wrote.Once the gold and other property is sold off and the taxes and expenses paid, the proceeds will become the sole property of Magdon. Those expenses include the appraisals, storage of the gold and other property, legal fees and 2 percent of the eventual proceeds that, by law, go to the public administrator who handled everything — Glover.Glover said he and legal counsel he brought in, Dawn Ellerbrock, are moving as quickly as possible to accomplish the sale and close the estate.He said an RFP will be sent to the experts who have indicated an interest in handling the sale of the gold. A firm will be selected after determining the best deal for the estate, including what that company will charge and how long a sale will take.“The goal is to save as much as possible for her (the heir),” he said.But Glover said he is under some pressure to complete the process since the Internal Revenue Service wants its cut under the estate tax by March. He said that will cost the estate a minimum of $800,000.He also said there have been a few callers trying to claim some or all of the gold is theirs — one of them annoying enough that Glover got a court order blocking him from further communications. None of the callers presented any evidence to support their claims, he said.“If they have a true claim, they’ve got to file court papers,” he said.

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The Nevada Appeal Updated Dec 13, 2012 02:49AM Published Dec 13, 2012 02:48AM Copyright 2012 The Nevada Appeal. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.