The New York executor of Huguette Clark’s $400 million estate is demanding the return of $44 million in highly questionable gifts.

Doctors, nurses, a hospital, her attorney, and an accountant coerced or influenced the reclusive heiress, who died a year ago at 104, to shower them with riches, according to a new report by investigative reporter Bill Dedman of

While virtually no one visited her for the last years of her life in a New York hospital — except those on her payroll — Huguette wrote hundreds of checks to her staff until, at 102, she could no longer see well enough, Dedman reported.

For example, a nurse from the Philippines, randomly assigned to Clark in 1991 and who was her daytime private nurse, was paid $131,040 a year in salary and she and her family received $31 million in gifts, including money to buy five homes, plus jewelry, dolls, and a $1.2 milllion Stradivarius violin.

Clark’s estate is the subject of a fierce battle, as New York officials and Clark’s distant relatives question whether and to what extent she was taken advantage of by those she trusted. Her last will, if validated, would create an art museum at her East Cabrillo Boulevard hilltop property in Santa Barbara, which is valued at $100 million, plus millions in art.

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