Louisiana Record

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Family financial impasse jeopardizes contribution to Tulane University

By John Severance | Jun 27, 2017

NEW ORLEANS — The future of a $1 million donation, which was earmarked for Tulane University, is heading to federal court.

The case involves two grandsons of a Texas billionaire, who was married to Anna Nicole Smith, a former model. The two sons are at odds as to whether to continue funding the Peroxisome Trust, established by J. Howard Marshall II’s heirs.

Filing the suit was Dr. Stephen Cook, a former Tulane professor, who helps run the Marshall Heritage Foundation. The suit was filed by the charitable organization in hopes of gaining the decision of a judge who would reestablish quarterly funding, which was pledged by the Peroxisome Trust.

The complaint said, "since June 6, 2016, Preston L. Marshall, as co-trustee for Peroxisome Trust, has failed and refused to execute documents required to effect the quarterly payments by Peroxisome Trust to the Marshall Heritage Foundation and the Marshall Legacy Foundation."

"On information and belief, E. Pierce Marshall Jr., the other Co-Trustee for Peroxisome Trust, stands ready, willing and able to execute documents as necessary to effect the payments due to the beneficiaries of Peroxisome Trust, but is unable to unilaterally act to transfer funds in the face of Louisiana law requiring that such payments require joint action by both co-trustees of Peroxisome Trust.’’

Since the brothers have been in odds, there has been a shortfall of $1.6 million to the foundation. According to IRS regulations, both brothers have to give consent to make the charitable donation.

Preston Marshall is a Houston-based oil industry executive and his brother E. Pierce Marshall runs a capital investment management company in Dallas, according to NOLA.com.

The suit blames Preston Marshall for the lack of funds to the foundation.

"As a result of continuing to meet its legal obligations to fund previously committed donations and the funding shortfall caused by the unlawful refusal of Preston L. Marshall, the Marshall Heritage Foundation will not have sufficient funds to meet its obligation to Tulane University" for $1 million in June.

Oil magnate J. Howard Marshall II died in 1995 at the age of 90, and at the time, he was married to Smith, who later died in 2007 of a drug overdose.

The Marshall inheritance cases have been well documented as Smith had been left out of the will and Smith’s estate twice tried to sue but was rebuffed by the U.S. Supreme Court.

Other members of the Smith family also are embroiled in three other probate cases, which have yet to be resolved. One of the family members is Elaine Marshall, a daughter in law of the late billionaire and mother of the brothers involved in the above suit. Elaine Marshall, meanwhile, is estimated to be worth close to $13 billion.

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Organizations in this Story

Tulane University