Police: Morgantown woman took all of her mother's estate
Nearly nine years after the death of a Fayette County woman, five of her six children contend they never saw a penny of her $677,216 estate, and one is still looking for the $147,000 baseball card collection he stored at his mother's Hopwood home.
Now one sibling faces criminal charges in the money's disappearance and a civil lawusit in the missing 250,000 baseball cards, including rare ones for icons Mickey Mantle, Hank Aaron and Willie Mays.
Marlene Wesolowsky, 47, of 8 Meadow Brooke Drive, Morgantown, W.Va., has been charged by state police at Uniontown with theft by failure to make required disposition of funds received. In a criminal complaint, Trooper John Marshall alleges that Wesolowsky, while serving as executrix for the estate of her mother, Rosemary A. Mehall, failed to share the estate's proceeds with her five brothers and sisters.
In a related civil case, Wesolowsky is accused of failing to produce a $147,000 baseball card collection that had been stored at her mother's home for one of her brothers, 39-year-old Micheal Mehall of Scottdale.
Rosemary Mehall, 61, died in January 2004. Court records show that in her will, she named Wesolowsky executrix of her estate and directed that the proceeds be split equally among her six children.
Instead, Marshall said in the criminal complaint, Wesolowsky refused to cooperate with her siblings and kept details of the estate settlement secret. When the siblings went to their late mother's house in November 2007 and discovered “all the personal property had been removed,” they filed a civil action with the Register of Wills seeking access to the estate's bank records.
The records, according to the complaint, showed Wesolowsky had transferred some of the money from her mother's bank accounts into her own accounts or had made out checks to herself. Money from the sale of two of her mother's properties and various assets were not put into the estate account, according to the criminal complaint.
“In so far as of this date, the total more or less shows $677,216 (in) monies that are missing from the estate of Rosemary A. Mehall,” Marshall wrote in the complaint.
In a related civil complaint filed in 2009 with the Prothonatary's Office, Michael Mehall alleges his $147,000 baseball card collection disappeared from his mother's house on Junior Street after his sister became executrix.
Michael Mehall discovered the 250,000-card collection missing when he was allowed into his mother's house for the first time since her death in November 2007, according to the civil complaint.
On Monday, Michael Mehall said he began his collection as a child, picking up cards at flea markets and yard sales he visited with his mother.
“The really, really rare ones I just lucked into,” Michael Mehall said. “It does make me emotional, because of the sentiment attached.”
The collection included nine complete sets of Topps' cards from the 1960s and 1970s and numerous individual cards for such baseball greats as Lou Gehrig, Roberto Clemente, Willie Stargell, Steve Garvey, Johnny Bench and Jackie Robinson, according to the civil complaint.
The oldest cards in the set dated to 1909 and included ones for Bill O'Hara and Tris Speaker that were valued at $6,000 each when the civil lawsuit was filed.
“I'm not in it for the money,” Michael Mehall said. “I just want this to pass on to my son. This was me growing up.”
Through her attorney at the time, Jason F. Adams of Uniontown, Wesolowsky denied she ever had possession of the baseball card collection, according to court records.
Adams, who represents Wesolowsky only in the two civil matters, declined comment Monday. Wesolowsky did not return a call seeking comment.
Wesolowsky is wanted on an arrest warrant in the criminal case, with charges filed before North Union District Judge Wendy Dennis.
Court records show the civil cases are still pending.
Liz Zemba is a reporter for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-601-2166 or firstname.lastname@example.org.