Lupton will holds few clues

Lupton will holds few clues

June 10th, 2010 by Monica Mercer in News

The will of Chattanooga philanthropist John T. "Jack" Lupton gives little clue about how the late multimillionaire's money and assets will be distributed.

Mr. Lupton's executors filed the 30-page will Tuesday in Hamilton County Chancery Court. He died in his Lookout Mountain home on May 16 at age 83.

The will names only two beneficiaries -- a trust established by Mr. Lupton's father, Thomas Cartter Lupton, and a caretaker whose home loan Mr. Lupton forgave.

Executor Joel W. Richardson, who was Mr. Lupton's personal attorney, said Wednesday that the will is typical of someone who wishes to keep private the distribution of assets after death.

Mr. Richardson declined to say who will benefit from the trust, though language in the will indicates Mr. Lupton's wife, Alice, and their children likely will be among the beneficiaries.

Mr. Lupton's assets include real estate in Tennessee, North Carolina and Florida and at least $20 million in cash.

The will stated that any charitable financial commitments that had not been met by his death would be paid immediately, but it did not specify those commitments.

Commitments totaling $4.75 million made to organizations such as Baylor School and the Boys and Girls Clubs of Chattanooga already have been paid, the will states.

Mr. Lupton amassed a fortune as one of several family members who helped build Coca-Cola's bottling empire.

He was a well-known local philanthropist, becoming the driving force behind the Tennessee Aquarium, The Honors Course, the Tennessee Riverwalk and scores of education, arts and other community projects. In 2001, he gave the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga $25 million to revitalize the campus.

But Mr. Lupton also helped in smaller ways, his will indicates.

A woman named Debra S. Fisher, whom Mr. Richardson said took care of Mr. Lupton after he suffered a stroke, will not have to repay the balance of a $131,000 loan she used in 2002 to buy a house.

"I hereby forgive and discharge such outstanding principal amount and accrued interest," Mr. Lupton wrote in the will.