A lawsuit filed by the granddaughter of the late Dr. John Hundley, a prominent Little Rock orthopedist and thoroughbred horse breeder, against her father for allegedly misappropriating funds from a trust inheritance was settled in January. Heather Hundley Beitzel had argued that since her father's wife attacked her with a hammer last January he should be
removed as trustee of the various family holdings she was named beneficiary to.
A month after Beitzel filed suit against John Hundley Jr. in December 2008 in Pulaski Circuit Court, she was allegedly attacked by her stepmother with a hammer in her Austin, Texas, garage. The stepmother had apparently driven all night from Little Rock and had lain in wait for Beitzel, who was returning home after dropping her daughter at school.
Beitzel had asked the court to require her father to provide her with a full accounting of trusts left by Hundley Sr., who died in 1995, and his wife, Jeanice, who died in October 2008. Beitzel said the settlement's provisions prohibited her from disclosing details, but said she was no longer a part owner in the family trusts.
According to Hundley Jr.'s filings in the case, the assets of the trust and the Hundley Family Limited Partnership created by the trust are between $3.5 million and $4.5 million. Hundley Jr. and Beitzel were the only named beneficiaries, with two-thirds to go to Hundley and a third to Beitzel.
According to police, on the morning of Jan. 14, 2009, Beitzel's stepmother, Janet Hundley, appeared in Beitzel's carport dressed in black and wearing leather gloves with surgical gloves underneath. Beitzel said her stepmother told her that she was ruining her life and then attacked Beitzel with a claw hammer, hitting her on the head. Beitzel, whose then-14-month-old child was in the car, wrestled with Hundley for 11 or 12 minutes, she said, before she could escape into her house, where she called a neighbor and 911 for help. The neighbor, who was armed, came immediately and held Hundley until police arrived.
Beitzel was treated at a hospital for deep lacerations to her scalp requiring seven stitches, concussion and scrapes on her arm and back. Janet Hundley was jailed in Travis County on charges of aggravated assault. She was released on a bond of $200,000 six days later and was required to wear a GPS monitoring unit on her ankle. A criminal trial is set for May 24 in Austin.
On Jan. 29, 2009, Pulaski Circuit Judge Collins Kilgore enjoined Hundley from transferring or disposing of assets in the trusts and Janet Hundley, who did accounting for the trusts, was removed from involvement with the trusts.
Among other allegations, Beitzel said in the suit that Hundley used trust funds to buy homes in Little Rock and San Marco, Fla., and transferred funds into accounts in his name. She maintained that her grandmother, Jeanice Hundley, complained to her that Hundley Jr. told her the trust was “out of money” and that Hundley Jr. had eliminated a home health care worker and reduced Jeanice Hundley's “grooming allowance.”
Hundley, head of oil and gas exploration company Hundley Hydrocarbons, acknowledged borrowing $730,000 from the Hundley Family Limited Partnership and $475,000 from the Hundley Sr. trust to purchase his condominium in San Marco, Fla., where he and his wife legally reside. Hundley maintained that the loans were made with Jeanice Hundley's approval and would be taken into account when the trust is closed and assets are distributed. He denied that he had transferred trust funds into his own investment accounts.
Beitzel said his continued support of his wife after the attack on Beitzel was “callous, humiliating and demeaning” and raised the question of loyalty to Beitzel as beneficiary.
Patrick James, who was representing Hundley, said the daughter's suit against her father was a “regrettable situation” and that his client “feels sad” about it. Beitzel said that she does not anticipate reconciling with her father.