The so-called Godfather of Cape Breton left behind an estate valued at $1,417,664.81, with news that the mysterious contents of an Ottawa safety deposit box have yet to be revealed.
But not to worry, three of Allan J. MacEachen’s closest Liberal hack friends, co-executors of his will, are determined to sort it all out in the end.
MacEachen, 96, went off to sing in the Choir Invisible on September 12 of last year after a brief stay at St. Martha’s Hospital in Antigonish.
Once the second most powerful man in the country, serving as Pierre Trudeau’s deputy prime minister, Allan J.’s will, not surprisingly, reflects a fierce social conscience, an attention to detail, true appreciation for his longtime care-giver and soul mate Craig Smith, as well as a measure of Scottish frugality.
Prepared February 23, 2011, seven-plus years before his death, by the historic Ottawa law firm Borden Ladner Gervais, two blocks from Parliament Hill, the will names as co-executors:
l Incumbent Nova Scotia Lieutenant- Governor Arthur LeBlanc, a former aide to MacEachen.
l Halifax lawyer and perennially defeated Liberal candidate Kenzie MacKinnon, also a former aide to the so-called Laird of Lake Ainslie.
l Carol Young, good lady wife of Liberal Party mover & shaker John Young.
Hubby is an antiquity. An ol’ party warhorse from the law firm Boink & Oink Boyne Clarke, whose own name for decades has surfaced as a possible senatorial or lieutenant- governor possible.
Without going all shitface legalese boring on you, dear reader, let it be noted that Allan J. left behind $901,914.81 in personal property and $515,750 in real property.
That real property consists of two homes: Allan J.’s Antigonish abode at 6 West Street, assessed at $281,600, and his pile on the east side of Cape Breton’s alluring Lake Ainsile, assessed at $167,300.
It should also be noted that Lieutenant- Governor Art LeBlanc, 75, has first dibs on scooping up the Lake Ainsile property, should he and his vice-regal wife Patsy decide to do so. Hint: I’ve seen the property. I’d go for it. At reasonable market value, of course.
The remaining $66,850 in real property consists of parcels of land in Inverness County, totalling about 100 acres, in which MacEachen either had sole or shared interest.
The $900K in personal property largely consists of Allan J.’s investment portfolio, valued at $754,567, and a series of bank accounts, a couple of them in U.S. dollars:
l RBC Royal Money Maker Account, $24,488.95.
l RBC U.S. Personal Sixty-Plus Account, $24,068.41.
l Inverness Credit Union Savings account, $17,921.57.
l Inverness Credit Union U.S. Dollars Savings Account, $11,355.74.
l BMO Chequing Account, $9,737.54.
l RBC Day-to-Day Savings Account, $2,020.37.
Soooo, that’s nearly $90,000, $89,592.58, to be exact in total bank balance.
No “cash on hand” was listed.
Rounding things out on the ol’ Allan J. MacEachen Personal Property Front, outside of the obligatory $2,500 CPP Death Benefit:
l His tax-sheltered annuity plan, or TSA, $31,033.18.
l Household goods & personal effects, $22,817.
l Two shares in Atlantic Broadcasters Ltd., or CJFX Radio, Voice of the Little Vatican, $1,400.
l One share in East Coast Credit Union, $5.05.
Now, to the fun part. The beneficiaries part.
As one might expect, confirmed bachelor Allan J. wasn’t going to let his longtime soul mate, latter day care-giver, Craig Smith go without.
In his Deed of Gift, “Donor” MacEachen puts it all on the table, spells it out, comes right to the point re: the “Donee”:
“Whereas in recognition of the Donee’s dedication and care of the Donor during his lifetime and to assist the Donee in re-establishing himself after the Donor’s death... blah, blah, blah, blah, blah... the Donor declares a gift to the Donee of an amount of $550,000, to be effective on the date of death of the Donor and not before.”
Half a millions bucks. Not a bad gig. Not a bad payday, one might say or think.
But the fact of the matter is, as I was cheerfully and rightly reminded of at Allan J.’s funeral, “Craig took good care of Allan.”
Those words came from behind the big wooden doors at Stella Maris Roman Catholic Parish in Inverness. They were also coming from the heart of two lifetime Inverness residents, Ada and Beatrice.
Two wonderful ladies of advanced wisdom, who before the service was over filled me in on Allan J.’s unrestrained obsession with molasses cookies and chocolate birthday cakes. As well as the high premium the coal miner’s son put on education.
He put his money where his mouth was, leaving $10,000 to each of:
l St. F.X.
l St. Mary’s University
l Acadia University
l Cape Breton University
l Sir Wilfred Laurier University, Ottawa
l Loyola College, Baltimore, Maryland
l To Dalbrae Academy, the high school in Mabou, Cape Breton, $50,000 to generate an annual scholarship to be known as The Allan J. MacEachen Scholarship.
To be given to the student with the highest academic standings “for first year entrance to St. Francis Xavier University.”
l Family heirlooms go to his cousin Patricia MacLellan in Ottawa.
l Personal papers go to the National Archives in Ottawa “to be generally available to students and historians with a view to assisting Canadians to better understand their country.”
l Instructions left for a Celtic Cross monument to mark his grave, and that of mother, father, sisters, brothers, and monies left or made available for perpetual care of the family plot in the Stella Maris Parish Cemetery.
l Residue of his estate to be liquidated and transformed into The Allan J. MacEachen Trust to assist students, including grad students, to further their university studies.
You must live within current boundaries of the federal riding, or the old boundaries when Allan J.’s riding was known as Cape Breton Highlands-Canso, and you must study at a university in Nova Scotia.
In the final analysis, the Allan J. MacEachen will is a near-perfect document (I’d have left his personal papers at Cape Breton University, but that’s my only quibble) which will only build on the legacy of a good and decent man.