Nomadic Politics travels to the Caribbean to report this story about how a family squabble has left one dead millionaire on ice since before Obama became president.
Here's a small story that caught my attention.
According to an article in the Jamaican Observer, seven years have passed since an unnamed local man died and yet today his body is still being kept in storage at a downtown Kingston funeral home.
To top it off, even now, nobody is quite sure when the man will ever be properly interred.
An ongoing dispute about money between family members.
Mr. Michael Jones, the director of the funeral home, says he has run out of patience. After waiting since 2007, he is now is threatening to take legal action against the family to recover millions of dollars, he says, he is owed for storage fees.
Back in 2007 things seemed to be going smoothly. After the initial negotiations the discussions with family members seemed to finalize things, claims Jones, But then, there was some kind of problem. According to Jones, the family suddenly became unable (or unwilling) to bring him the necessary documents and payments to allow him to proceed with the burial. And that's how things have stood since that time.
Jones claimed that, at the time, family members requested that the man be buried and promised that payments would be made at a later date. But he said he refused to do that.
The funeral director says that in more than 20 years of business, he has never seen anything like this. He has encountered similar cases in the past where people were unable to pay for the costs. And obligingly- though probably not happily, he has in the past offered to write off the expenses. It's one of the things that comes with the job.
However, this case, he claims, is quite different.
Jones was informed that the deceased died "leaving millions of dollars in both cash and assets to family members." And these were funds that allegedly the family has access to and could have used- as was specified in the will- to pay for the burial.
The funeral director said:
"Information we received is that the man passed away leaving more than $40 million and at least two properties valued at close to $15 million, and left instructions that funds should be used from his assets to cover his funeral expenses.
An investigation by The Sunday Observer revealed that the will of the deceased man left the responsibility of paying certain debts (including his funeral expenses) to a nephew as executor to the will. According to the article, the nephew was left two properties with the provision that one would be sold to pay the debts and liabilities.
A spokesman for the family claims that the funds have vanished, pocketed by a corrupt lawyer. The son of the executor told the reporter:
"The funds were left, but what has happened is that all the funds got messed up. The attorney who was appointed to deal with the case take all the funds and gone.
As far as the property, the various members of the family have been claiming ownership and are refusing to leave. For this reason, the property cannot be sold so the expenses for the funeral cannot be paid.
As the son explained:
"One of the houses, my father and the family are living in; the other house is in the country and we are having difficulty selling that one as another uncle is living in it and claiming that my uncle died leaving him that house."Rendered in his Jamaican accent, the son is quoted as saying:
"To see mi uncle who used to have him money have to face this after him dead is just sad."
Sad, yes, very. But it's also a disgrace for the family who apparently doesn't feel much shame in leaving their uncle in a cooler for seven years.
And now for a musical interlude.
And now for a musical interlude.