Howell Estate Files $35,000 Lawsuit Against Sister

by Arkansas Business staff  on Monday, Sep. 5, 2005 12:00 am  

Remember the strange case of M. David Howell Jr. of Little Rock, who died in a Beverly Hills hotel room in October 2002 as his $80 million Ponzi scheme was starting to unravel?

Since his death, of course, Howell's estate has been the target of numerous lawsuits by jilted investors who have been trying to recover their money. Most of those lawsuits are still pending.

But recently, Howell's estate filed a lawsuit against Howell's sister, Linda Howell Bailey of Memphis and her husband, Roderick J. Bailey, in an attempt to collect more than $35,000.

The estate said David Howell should have gotten something - specifically, $17,275 — for the 1996 Jaguar he gave his sister on Oct. 18, 2002, just days before his death, according to the lawsuit filed in Pulaski County Circuit Court.

Howell also let his sister and brother-in-law use his American Express credit card on the understanding that they would reimburse him later, Robin Mays, the administrator of Howell's estate, said in the lawsuit.

But they didn't, the lawsuit said.

American Express has made a claim against the estate for the money, so the estate turned around and tried to get the cash from the Baileys. Mrs. Bailey has a bill of $11,557 and Mr. Bailey's total is $6,768.

The Baileys couldn't be reached for comment.

Even if the estate receives the money from the Baileys, it still has a long way to go to pay off claims filed against the estate.

The estate has only about $300,000 to cover claims that once totaled about $60 million. And Bank of America is fighting over the $300,000 in court, saying the money is the bank's. (Bank of America, you recall, honored almost $2 million worth of bad checks that Howell wrote in the days before his death.)

Some good news might be on the way for Howell's creditors. A 175-acre spread of undeveloped land just off Highway 412 in Springdale is being auctioned on Sept. 23. Howell's estate owns a fourth of the land, which was appraised at $2 million.



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