The day I returned from overseas at the end of World War II, I came back to Roslyn, Long Island, my boyhood home. I had not seen my father since the night before I left the United States, more than three years previously, when we had dinner at his favorite New York restaurant. I walked, that late Autumn day in 1945, from the little Roslyn railroad station through the woods and fields, as he and I had done so many times before. As I approached the house, he waved from a distance, as if expecting me, although I had not told him of my coming. Over dinner that night, recounting my war experiences, and listening to him tell of developments in his medical equipment manufacturing firm, I noticed that he had a new housekeeper. I do not recall hearing her name that evening, a name I was subsequently never to forget. The next day I returned to my outfit having not yet been discharged from U.S.Army service.
People usually laugh derisively when they hear that an old man has married his younger housekeeper. ((1)) It is a story with a familiar ring and the butt of many a joke. But the marriage of a much older man to a younger woman with motives other than love, respect, and companionship can sometimes have serious consequences. Such a marriage sometimes raises questions of mental competency and bad faith. In the following story, my father was declared legally insane by a jury in a court of law and his younger wife was shown to have exerted undue influence, taking advantage of his deteriorating mental capacity to deprive him of his property and to usurp control of a million dollar medical equipment manufacturing firm.
My father, a well educated, successful businessman and president-owner of the Foregger Company, Inc. located in Roslyn Heights, New York, at the age of 74 in 1946 married his housekeeper, Mrs. Lillie Mae Lassiter Holt (1900-1990), age 46 at the time. Mrs Holt, originally from Raleigh, North Carolina, had been living in New York City when she responded to an ad placed in the New York Times by my father. She had come with her husband, Henry Holt (1899-1986), to work for my father as his cook and housekeeper in February, 1944, while my brother, John Herbert Foregger, and I were away at war. Mr. and Mrs. Holt, and their two boys, Jackie (1932-1975) and Russell (1937-), were assigned to a house on my father's estate set aside for the housekeeper.
Richard von Foregger (1872-1960) was from a well to do, socially prominent, Viennese family. His father was a lawyer and a member of the Austrian Senate. ((2)) He attended the Universities of Munich, Stuttgart, and Bern where, at the latter, he received the Doctor of Philosophy degree in chemistry. After he came to America in 1898, he was employed by the General Electric Co., and then by the Roessler and Hasslacher Chemical Co., of New York City. He set up his own firm in 1914 for the manufacture of anesthesia equipment with funds from my mother Dorothy Ledwith. ((3))
The purpose of this account is to point out the importance of planning for orderly succession in the single owner business firm. Successive leadership should be planned for and designated long before an acute need arises. The newly designated leadership must have the necessary executive skills, ability and experience to carry on the mission and goals of the firm if it is to survive. In the modern day competitive environment those aspiring to serve the firm in a top executive capacity should preferably have a MBA level of education. Executives planning to serve as leadership in firms manufacturing medical equipment, where patient safety is of concern, should also have additional scientific knowledge and technical expertise. Above all, it will be shown that plans for succession must be commenced long before the aging business owner who remains at the helm too long, becomes mentally incompetent.((4) )
Some might wonder why I have waited so long to write this historical account of events that occurred long ago. In 1993 Professor Lucien Morris, distinguished professor of anesthesiology at the University of Washington, Seattle, WA, wrote to ask whether I would write a review of my father's contribution to the development of clinical anesthesia. I was initially reluctant and hesitated, having in mind the tragic end of his life and that of the company he had founded, but in time agreed. As I wrote the biography I soon realized that there was as yet an untold element to the demise of the company. This is the result.
I drew up the first draft of Death of a Company in July, 1960 and put it away and came back to it after Professor Morris wrote to me asking me for a biography of my father to be presented to the Anesthesia History Association in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, May 11, 1995. I subsequently published the biography in January 1996. I started the rewrite of Death of a Company in 1995 and published the first edition in January, 1997.
The following narrative will illustrate the disaster which befell a manufacturing firm when the foregoing longtime and well tested precepts were ignored.
Why should the information be made public? I feel that the importance of the public issues justify publication even though the facts may be humiliating to some of the individuals involved.
This is an historical account of the destruction of a manufacturing firm and it will include of necessity, descriptions of the behavior of those individuals who were in charge of managing its affairs. The account may be a source of embarrassment to those persons, some living, others now dead, but it is necessary for a full understanding of the larger public issue.
The Foregger Company specialized in the manufacture of equipment for the administration of anesthetic gases to human beings. The development of the Company was the life work of my father, Dr. Richard von Foregger, who devoted his entire time and effort to it. He participated in and contributed to numerous practical and scientific endeavors that benefitted the development of anesthesiology in the United States and throughout the world. He built the business of The Foregger Company, Inc. by virtue of his unceasing efforts to satisfy the needs of the medical profession for safe, reliable and efficient anesthesia equipment. Overlooking the New York Public Library and adjacent Bryant Park through the large picture window of his New York office for 44 years, he corresponded with manufacturers, surgeons, anesthesiologists, nurse anesthetists, hospital superintendents, government officials throughout the world, and in addition, with Foregger salesmen on the road, Foregger dealers and representatives, equipment suppliers and all the vendors necessary to keep a business thriving. He worked personally with doctors, hospitals and institutions for the teaching of anesthesiology, devised and manufactured special equipment to meet the specialized requirements of particular doctors and institutions, and acquired patents on his developments. The business of The Foregger Company was a highly personalized business revolving around the personality and personal ability of my father and relying for its success upon the faith and confidence of the medical profession in him.
Although there were other experienced individuals in the corporation, its affairs were dominated by him. He was the chief executive officer and closely supervised sales, production, financial and technological matters.
There was no commercial relationship between my father and the anesthesiologists in the development of equipment. Anesthesiologists who came to him with their design requests did not ask for compensation and my father would not permit himself to offer it. It was his position to make himself available at medical meetings for discussions which he thoroughly enjoyed as well as through correspondence. He would discuss new ideas or improvements in equipment at the Foregger display booth at medical conventions or in the evening at the hotel. He was very exacting and punctual, answering letters within a few days. His relationship with anesthesiologists interested in the design and improvement of equipment was the overriding essence of his life.
Professor Lucien Morris, University of Washington, wrote, "No other company listened to the clinicians as well or worked with them as effectively as your father did for nearly half a century. With his passing it was indeed a tragically deplorable ending to an era."
On Saturday mornings my father, my brother Herbert and I, would travel to the factory located in Roslyn Heights where in a group meeting all the ideas gathered at medical meetings or accumulated during the week's correspondence were discussed at length by those responsible for equipment development. Dad wanted us to learn the business so that we could eventually carry on his work. I was to be responsible for scientific matters, research and development of new equipment and Herbert for business matters, thus continuing the functions combined in himself. When we were very young, in our teens, during summer vacation time after seeing Dad off at the train station we would walk over to the factory where Mr. Walter Engert would assign us to easy tasks like punching out washers for several hours in the morning. Later on during vacation time we sometimes worked in the office or traveled with the salesmen in the New York area and whenever we were not in school we always accompanied Dad to the medical meetings and on trips to visit important doctors.My father made it thoroughly understood that Herbert and I would be continuing his work and to this end he encouraged and helped in planning our respective educations.
When I was four years old my father caught a mouse, tied a string to its tail and gave it to me to play with. When I was four years old, my father would carry me on his back while he went swimming.
At Roslyn our home was our paradise. High up a hill, in the midst of sloping lawns and fields, surrounded by evergreens and wooded lands, it was a remote and isolated refuge. Life there was warm and fun loving and filled with outdoor sports. After I had learned to read, from my earliest childhood, our evenings were occupied with reading. There was a sizeable library and music, either classical or semi-classical. There were friends on weekends and parties and games with gifts and prizes in the year-end holiday season. In summer the sports were swimming and sailing; in winter they were skating, skiing and tobogganing. Active in all these sports, my father broke a few ribs and toes through the years, none of which interfered with his daily railway commute to his office in New York. Oftentimes my brother Herbert and I accompanied him to the railway station and met him at night when he returned home. Later on, the trip to the New York office was made by car with Herb driving, until he went away to war. In fall and spring when our father came home from work, there were long walks in the miles of nearby fields and forests, always accompanied by the dogs, Airedales and German Shepherds. At Christmas there was a very tall tree strung with full size lamps that could be seen for miles around from our hillside home. On cold and windy winter days while we younger members of the entourage hesitated, Dad would mount the tree, dragging long lines of wire and lamps to the top. He was a graceful and accomplished figure skater and patiently taught many of us younger followers. On clear nights and oftentimes with some of the children from the neighborhood, he taught us the constellations. There was always work: pruning and transplanting trees, gardening, caring for roses and more roses, and mowing lawns, all out of doors till sundown in the summer. The work built muscle but I must say he was always there working with my brother Herbert and me. During school vacation times we were given a short list of work to be done each day before going off to the beach, swimming and sailing. Dinner was never served before sundown which meant a long wait in summer. He planned the next day's menu, instructed the cook in the method of food preparation, and did the food purchasing or assigned it to the housekeeper or me when I grew older. All in all, it was a wonderful life.
At Christmas time one year we all traveled on a large ship to Cherbourg, France and then on through Paris to Vienna on the famous Orient Express. In Paris and in Vienna we visited many of the historical sites. Evenings in Vienna were set aside to spend with Grandmother Elizabeth at her winter apartment. After a month we returned through Berlin where we spent several days. Dad had lived there in the 1900-1904 period where he met and married his first wife. We took the homeward bound ship at the Port of Bremerhaven.
Martha Cameron, who lived above the village of Roslyn, not far from our home, knew my father from her early childhood and later came to work for the Foregger Company, writes:
I first met your father as a very young girl in 1926 and his influence on me has been long lasting, particularly in education and in physical activity. When I graduated from high school in 1934, it was in the midst of the depression period, and I was the only one in my class who had a job waiting, in your father's office. During this time I commuted to the City with your father and took dictation on the way. I don't have to tell you how difficult he could be--a hard working tyrant who expected the same from his employees. I could not stand the stress and left in 1937.
I returned to work for him in 1950. Lillie Mae was very much on the scene at this point and she didn't like me at all so that I left after a year.
Your father was a man of many facets. He was always a gentleman and could be generous and kind. On the other hand, he was very demanding and expected complete submission to his will.
My father had a strict, authoritarian personality with a determined drive to achieve each current project. He demanded and received complete loyalty, obedience and honesty from both his employees and sons. He never hid anything from Herb and me. He always stressed we had to be open with each other. In return we trusted him fully. Work consumed his life except for sports on weekends. Yet, he could be warm and fun loving. He worshiped the sunshine and outdoor life. He loved life immensely. He lived an austere, Spartan, personal life. Dad was not always financially well off. In the 20s and 30s we raised our own chickens for both the eggs and eating. We sifted the ashes from the furnace to reuse the coal. We used the refuse and garbage as landfill and to save the expense of cartage. We washed the family car. Dad had no large sailboat in those early days; we went sailing in our canoes. Things were especially lean during the years of the Great Depression. I wore dad's old suits. And several times I returned home from the University of Virginia at Charlottesville riding the rails. In later years when he became fairly well off financially, he still remained quite frugal and we always lived modestly. He belonged to no religious organization and did not believe in a god. He had an inordinate fear of death and would not brook its discussion. At his New York office no smoking was permitted and the female office personnel did not put on their makeup until after he left to go home. He had a terrible temper which quickly dissipated and he never used obscene or scatological words. Many times when we attended a medical meeting, we arrived early to visit whatever historical sites there might be in that city, history and biography being of great interest to him. On the few occasions when we went to a movie during one of these trips or to the little theater in Roslyn, he invariably fell asleep.
He subscribed to the Journal of the American Medical Association and to Science, to several of the anesthesia periodicals including Schmerz, Narkose und Anaesthesie and to the various surgical trade journals. He also received the DraegerHefte, published by the well known Draeger firm of Lubeck, Germany so that he was well acquainted with their work in the manufacture of oxygen breathing apparatus for mine rescue work, diving apparatus and anesthesia equipment. He read two newspapers a day on the railroad trip to and from the office, the New York Herald Tribune before its demise and the New York Evening Post, both conservative, which he brought home to us boys and we read them assiduously. We also read the weekly Roslyn News.
In all his letters to me overseas during the Second World War he never said much about the actual War or his feelings except once. On that occasion he urged me to continue as far as possible into Germany and said it would be a major event in my life of which I should take advantage. I was not permitted to tell him that my outfit at the time was already deep into Germany, having reached and crossed the border in mid September, 1944, along with other forward units of the First U.S. Army.
After more than three years in the Army overseas in the European theatre including eleven months in the combat area, I returned from the Second World War in the autumn of 1945. Like my wartime comrades, I expected nothing and asked for nothing. When I came back to Roslyn I found that life in that magic place was over. With the arrival of Lillie Mae, the idyllic and halcyon days "up on the Hill" above the Village of Roslyn had ended, and turmoil was to beset the Foregger Company.
My father placed great value on education and continually stressed its importance in all areas of life. Long ago he wrote a discourse in which he stated, "I claim education."((5)) Any books I needed were purchased and brought home within days. At the end of my third year in high school I lacked only two courses to enter college. Dad and I discussed the matter and I decided that I should apply for college in the fall skipping the last year of high school. We had already visited the campus of the University of Virginia at Charlottesville so that I chose to apply there with his encouragement. Within days he obtained and brought home the necessary textbooks. Going to college was a big event in my life and both Dad and my mother sent me off at the huge Pennsylvania Railroad Station in New York City to take the late evening sleeper. At 6:30 A.M. next morning he had arranged to have me met on arrival at the Richmond railway station by Mr. Irving Schier, Foregger Co. salesman in the southern area, who drove me to Charlottesville. I passed the two exams and was admitted to the University. Mr. Schier stayed the week to see that I was properly set up. From the beginning I entered the premedical course, since my father and I had long ago discussed it would be necessary to have a medical degree to succeed him in his work Colleges and universities were directed to submit tuition and textbook bills directly to him. Any study course was paid for without question. With his encouragement and help I graduated from the University of Virginia in three years and went on to medical school at Marquette University in Milwaukee. My father and Mr. Louis Bullard, Foregger Co.salesman, had attended the annual meeting of the American Medical Association in Milwaukee early in June 1933 and had met several of the professors from Marquette University School of Medicine. During the week they had visited, met the Dean and toured the new medical school building. They were impressed with the facilities and the faculty so that I applied there and was accepted. I remained there for the four years and took my internship at the famous Charity Hospital of Louisiana at New Orleans. On the advice and suggestion of my father I spent the first year of my residency in anesthesiology at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Montreal, Canada, and then signed up for the three year residency at the University of Wisconsin in Madison, at that time considered the foremost Department of Anesthesiology in the country for research and teaching. The director of that department was Dr. Ralph Waters. Waters and my father had been working together for almost 20 years, so that it could be said that I was very much influenced by that association in my decision to apply there. I was careful to take no advantage of that relationship, and I am sure neither Dr. Waters or my father would have tolerated it.
Each year at the Universities and during my internship and residency he took time from his busy schedule to visit.
In each of the catalogs of the Foregger Co., personally prepared by him every two years, he tried to impart useful and helpful information regarding anesthesia equipment, along with detailed instructions. Articles describing apparatus in the anesthesia literature were cited and reprints distributed for anesthesiologists seeking further information. One prominent anesthesiologist wrote, "Your father's influence was the Foregger catalogue and many anesthesiologists took pride in seeing their ideas in the catalogue, named after them."
I return to the story of Lillie Mae ((6)) and the fall of the Foregger Company. In what follows I tell of what happened to the individuals who Lillie Mae determined stood in the way of her goal of acquiring the Foregger Company.
When Henry Holt came to Roslyn with his wife, Lillie Mae and children in February 1944, they all lived in the large double house set aside for guests on one side and the housekeeper and her family on the other. My brother Herbert on one of his flying trips to see his father while on active duty with the U.S. Army Air Corps met Henry a short time after the Holt family moved in. He became acquainted with the entire family. Herb says, "My impression of Henry Holt was that he was quiet and kept to himself and apparently had a job somewhere near there."
It was not long before Lillie Mae decided that she wanted to marry Dr. Foregger, and she told her husband Henry of her plans. At first Henry did not want a divorce because he did not want to be separated from his wife and two sons. He became so despondent that as a result in December 1945, he tried to commit suicide by hanging. His brother Charles Holt(1895-1969) found him in the nick of time and cut the rope.
Robert MacCargar, Charles Holt's stepson, age 16 at the time, says that Charles and his mother, Josephine Holt, were living in Jamaica Estates, Long Island, and Henry was living with them having moved from Roslyn. Henry is described by Robert MacCargar as quite a charming person.
On the way to the hospital from Roslyn Lillie Mae, who had been notified, told my brother Herbert, who was driving, "Too bad he didn't complete the job " When she came out of the Hospital she said, "He'll live, and it's too bad he didn't do a good job as it would have saved a lot of trouble."
Herb was quite shocked at that attitude. In retrospect Herb feels that she was referring to the fact that divorce in New York at that period of time was obtainable only if adultery could be proven. Of course all this was held in utmost secrecy due to the wishes of Lillie Mae who, knowing the reason for Henry's attempted suicide, wanted to conceal it. Despite her wish for secrecy the event was published in the Long Island newspapers.
Mr. Robert Cameron,((7)) Foregger Company salesman, had returned to Roslyn after the war and lived on the estate in one half of the double guest house, the other half being occupied by the housekeeper, at that time Lillie Mae and her family. Cameron says that he often talked with Lillie Mae and he gathered that Henry was induced to agree to the divorce through the power of Lillie Mae's remonstrations. According to Cameron, Lillie Mae told Henry that it was all for the sake of the boys, "so that they could be rich and have everything that they needed", since, as she said, Dr. Foregger was very old, the marriage would not last for long and she and Henry would be remarried. Also Henry was told that he would not have to pay alimony or for the support of the boys..
In order to arrange the divorce Lillie Mae needed a lawyer and for this she retained the services of her personal friend and lawyer, Nathaniel Ellenbogen. I add, parenthetically, that she subsequently also used him to draw up my father's will, which needless to say, left almost everything to Lillie Mae. Mr.Ellenbogen's license to practice law was later suspended in November, 1956. He was permanently disbarred in March, 1959, for various unethical acts. ((8) )
At the time of the divorce arrangements Henry was living in Jamaica, Long Island, N.Y. One morning in March of 1946 Henry and Lillie Mae, Mr. Robert Cameron, witness for Lillie Mae, and another woman, Mrs. Eva Travis, who had been working as Lillie Mae's assistant housekeeper, all left together from the housekeeper's house in Roslyn where Lillie Mae Holt lived, to travel to the Jamaica Arms Hotel, Jamaica, Long Island. Henry had stayed overnight in the house. Arriving at the hotel at 10:00 AM, the divorce party obtained a room and had beers sent up. They all sat around talking and had a fine time. Later Cameron testified to Henry's adultery. As previously mentioned at the time New York State did not have the modern, no-fault type divorce law and adultery was the predominantly stated grounds for divorce. It was not uncommon for the parties to arrange for a fictitious adultery and later, in court, to lie to the judge who was very often aware of the duplicity.At the divorce proceedings, well coached by Attorney Ellenbogen Lillie Mae did not ask for alimony. Henry did receive a cash money allowance according to Cameron.
My brother, Herbert, graduated from Tulane University, New Orleans, with majors in science and business and took additional studies at the University of Texas, and at Columbia University. He had been trained to take over his father's position, and had previously worked for the Foregger Company for 8 years. During those years Herb attended the medical conventions, where Foregger products were exhibited, and drove with our father on many cross country trips, where at each stop they met with prominent anesthesiologists to provide an opportunity for Herb to get acquainted with them. Herb was present at the New York office when visiting foreign doctors came for discussions and often entertained them at night after our father had left to go home.Herb had for years, even while in school, attended the Saturday morning meetings at the factory with our father, where new ideas for equipment design were discussed. All these developments in equipment and business affairs were discussed and explained at length by our father during dinner at night.
It had always been understood, before Lillie Mae had appeared, that Herbert Foregger would eventually be taking over our father's place as head of the Company for which he had been thoroughly groomed by our father..
One of the earliest casualties of Lillie Mae's influence and ambition was my brother Herbert. Herb was a pilot in the U.S. Army Air Force during World War II eventually rising to the rank of Lieutenant Colonel. He was stationed at Tuskegee, Alabama, and would occasionally fly up to Long Island, fly over our house and then land at nearby Mitchell Field, where Dad, often accompanied by John Wiles, would drive over to get him. ((9))
During the late summer of 1945 at the end of the war Dad wrote to Herb, telling him that because of his advancing age he felt it more difficult to carry on the business and asked Herb to return to work at the Foregger Co. At the same time he wrote to Herb's commanding officer and asked to have Herb discharged so that he could help with the business.
In the fall of 1945 Herb arrived in Roslyn with his wife and young son, Herbert Jr. then two years old, to rejoin our father in the Foregger Company. He lived in one half of the double house on the property, the other half being occupied by Mrs. Holt as already mentioned. Since Lillie Mae shared the same house with Herb, she would report everything that Herb and his family did to my father. In the spring of 1946 Herb's second son James, was born but our father showed little interest. In fact he became more and more irritable at this time and treated Herb like an outside intruder. Herb received only a meager salary and when he needed money to pay for the doctor's bills, our father refused to extend him the loan, saying it was none of his affair. Lillie Mae sympathized with our father and agreed that he had no obligation to help Herb with the doctor bills and indeed it was presumptuous of Herb to ask. The tension mounted and the precipitating incident occurred one Saturday morning at the factory when our father struck Herb, knocking him down, in the presence of the employees and Herb's little boy. (Previous to this my father had never used physical force against either myself or my brother.) Herb and his family then began preparations to leave, while Lillie Mae was busy buying clothes for a coming trip West with my father and for her forthcoming marriage to him.
Some individuals become more suspicious and distrustful with advancing age and my father was no exception. At this time in his life he was developing delusions of persecution which later developed into full blown paranoia. By agreeing with him Lillie Mae merely accentuated his morbid suspicions and delusions. Thus, it was not difficult for her to turn our father against Herb, merely by agreeing with Dad's delusions of persecution and distrust.
Herb returned to the South and eventually became the manager of a large industrial gas manufacturing firm. He continued as an officer in the U.S. Air Force Reserve and never gave up his love of flying. All in all, he was probably better off, considering the turmoil which was to beset the Foregger Company in the coming years, through its eventual demise.
Marie Vescia, a former executive of the Foregger Company, who
knew Lillie Mae closely, writes:((10))
Your father was quite charmed by Lillie Mae, and she was very sweet to him, but (I'm sorry) I cannot say more in her favor; she did not marry for love but for money. She divorced her husband in order to marry your father and, slowly but surely, she worked against you and your brother Herb in favor of her boys. The minute they got married your father cut off her housekeeper salary, but she kept on cleaning the house anyway until he finally gave her an allowance. She catered to him by going out in the sail boat with him, even though she burned in the strong sun.
She tried to make him happy so that she could get what she wanted from him and, when he got older and developed ulcers on his legs, she gladly changed his bandages and treated his wounds. She had tremendous energy, even though it was used only as a means to her ends. He wasn't easy to get along with; she had to put up with a lot. After they were married she was with him constantly and manipulated him to get what she wanted. As he grew older and reached senility, he couldn't run the business and she took over. If she had been more intelligent and educated and had surrounded herself with business people, she might have saved the Company. Your father, in his declining years due to his loss of mental capacity, had let it deteriorate by his adherence to obsolete equipment designs and rejection of suggestions for newer, more advanced devices.
When I first worked for your father he was a great man and I am glad I had the opportunity of working for him. When I left in 1959 I went out to Roslyn and saw him at the house. His leg had an open sore and Lillie Mae was there. When I told him I was leaving the Company, he stood there and said, 'Please don't leave, please' And I said " I'm sorry I just can't stand her' I was touched when he begged me to stay. I told him I could not work with Lillie Mae running things and that she was ruining the Company. I am sure he knew it was so, but he could not do anything about it. Lillie Mae who stood by during my statement actually was silent; she did not say a word."
Velta Foregger Roosa, ((11)) remarried widow of Lillie Mae's son, Jack Holt Foregger, and Lillie Mae's daughter-in-law, knew Lillie Mae for many years. She worked for the Foregger Company from 1955 until it was sold in 1968.
She describes her personality as "hyper, insecure, controlling, starving to be accepted, and untrusting. Lillie never got a true grasp of what went on around the Company and she showed her short- comings by flying off the handle whenever she felt trapped."
I add here two trivial stories illustrative of Lillie Mae's office behavior related to me in an interview with Marie Vescia in Boca Raton Florida on July 15, 1997 which some readers may wish to skip.
Lillie Mae was accustomed to walking around the office parading a mink coat. For Lillie Mae's upcoming birthday RvF asked Marie Vescia to buy a fur piece matching the mink coat. Accordingly Marie purchased a mink neck piece. When she received the fur neckpiece Lillie asked who had purchased it. When RvF told her that Marie had purchased the fur piece she was furious. Marie was humbly requested by RvF to return it which she did and returned the money to RvF, who in turn gave it to Lillie Mae.
It was the custom for RvF to purchase Christmas presents for each of the office personnel. On one occasion he purchased and presented a golden feather to Marie to be worn as decorative jewelry and with the gift presentation RvF gave a short speech commending her outstanding work during the year. When Lillie saw the gold feather she made a fuss in front of the assembled staff and demanded a similar feather for herself.
I add the following final responses by Marie Vescia taken from the above interview on 7/15/97. I asked Marie to describe the personality of Lillie Mae.
I agree with Velta Roosa that she was hyper, controlling, insecure, starving to be accepted, untrusting and she was very deceitful. She wanted to be known as Mrs. Foregger. She was very thankful to me when I introduced her to the doctors as Mrs. Foregger. She told every doctor I introduced her to that she made the felt laryngoscope bags."
Question: What were Lillie Mae's duties in the Foregger Co. when you were there ? Answer: Nothing, except to water the plants which she had planted.
Question: In your opinion as an individual who has been written up in the business literature as a successful executive, was Lillie Mae qualified by education, past work experience, management skills, character and personality to be an executive in charge of a medical equipment manufacturing company where patients' lives were at stake? Answer: No. She was not equipped to handle anything in business. She had no formal management education, no business background and not the intelligence to grasp.
Finally she said:
I learned a lot working for the Foregger Co. I really did learn a lot, and I enjoyed working for your father because he was a remarkable man until he started to lose his mind. An unusually remarkable person. There's no other explanation for what happened.
It may be of interest to record the response of another employee, Alvira Ranaldo, who worked at the Company in the accounting division from 1945 to 1961 and was Corporate Secretary, 1954-1959. Asked to describe the work and personality of Lillie Mae she states:
"Lillie Mae began to come into the office in the 50s and gradually came more often. In 1959 she became executive Vice President and was everywhere. She was busy putting friends and family in key positions. She seemed to always be in a frenzy. She never seemed peaceful or content."
Note that neither Marie Vescia nor Alvira Ranaldo describe the duties of Lillie Mae aside from concerns with personnel.
In the past my father had been a domineering, strong willed and authoritative individual with a violent temper, but as age took his will Lillie Mae was more dominant and even stronger willed. There was considerable conflict and temper flare ups between the two after their marriage. As he was getting on in years, Lillie Mae was more often the victor in the arguments, using intimidating tactics of verbal and physical abuse along with threats.
One of Lillie Mae's methods that she used to get her own way was to belittle him and shame him in front of employees and doctors. Since my father had developed some urinary incontinence, Lillie Mae would say, "Rici, go to the bathroom before you wet your pants," or pulling his necktie she would call him a "crazy old man" until he gave in to her demands. When he drew up a will not to her wishes she beat him about the face and head as he was seated in a wheelchair. She screamed and cried so that he was afraid to complete it. This of course did not help her when the whole matter came to the attention of the Court in the competency hearings which later took place. Whereas my father had always been a thrifty, frugal person, almost penurious -- we used to save pieces of string and paper and sift the furnace ashes -- Lillie Mae was a heavy spender. Lillie Mae would purchase many goods and supplies at New York department stores where my father had established charge accounts. When the goods were delivered, Lillie Mae would return them and obtain the cash. She spent heavily on liquor, cars, clothes, luxuries and her relatives.
The sages tell us not to speak ill of the dead. Yet there are life lessons to be learned. There is no point in discussing my father's work, influence and contributions without acknowledging the flaws, imperfections and contradictions in his character.
By way of explanation and elaboration of his personality characteristics, Dr. Foregger was throughout life suspicious by nature. At about age 65, paranoid ideation began to appear that focused on individuals close to him, such as employees, close friends and sons. He could not tolerate suggestions for improvement and thought that people were attempting to steal his property or business. Moreover, he found it difficult to delegate authority, saying that he could not trust others to do the work. This had peculiar consequences in that an executive running a business employing many people was often placed in the position of supervising trivial projects. He had a maniacal temper and used projection as a defense mechanism. Employees and others, including sons, were blamed for acts which they had not committed. No reasonable argument could remove the delusion. This lead to errors in judgement in vital business areas. He refused to believe he was getting old and loudly proclaimed he was the first and best in varied endeavors. These basic, underlying, paranoid, personality traits were of course accentuated as mental deterioration progressed and in later years were accompanied by gross memory defects, confabulations, disorientation, and confusion. It is remarkable how long an individual with this amount of mental deterioration could carry on in business activity. ((1))
The mental pathology was well demonstrated by poor judgement and delusion in the business area. In 1940 he received word that the apparatus he had proposed for army purposes would not be acceptable to the Army because of a faulty type flowmeter. Since these used water they were not acceptable in the usage encountered in rough field army practice. Several anesthesiologists who had studied the matter suggested that a type of flowmeter called the rotameter used in industrial practice should be used to correct this mechanical deficiency in the anesthesia apparatus. These devices had been in use in England on anesthesia machines since 1937.((12)) Anesthesiologists returning from the war who had been in England pointed out the advantages of this type of flowmeter and several articles had by now appeared in the literature. However, my father looked upon these recommendations for the new and superior type device as a threat to his leadership. In personal statements and in advertisements the Foregger Company claimed that it had experimented with the rotameter for many years, which of course was not true. The rotameter was disparaged and made available only to those who specially requested it. In the 1950-1952 period, the demands of many anesthesiologists forced the Foregger Company to incorporate the rotameter into the design of its gas machine. Thus, through faulty judgment and delusions of persecution, the advent of a useful piece of equipment was delayed for 10 years. By 1958, the rotameter had replaced the obsolete water flowmeter.
As a further example, the competitors had already introduced large capacity carbon dioxide absorbers then and now considered a major advance in anesthesia equipment design, while he, rejecting the concept, had delayed their manufacture for several years. When Dr. James Elam, an eminent research anesthesiologist, proposed developing a mechanical ventilator to be combined with an anesthesia machine, a system which has been universally adopted in anesthesia practice since, my father rebuffed the suggestion.
The reader should not conclude that I am depreciative of my father's work and the position he had attained in life. He had achieved world wide preeminence and recognition for his contributions to anesthesia equipment design and development during his productive years. ((13))
He was an extraordinary individual, a wonderful, caring father, and I was devoted to him. His very presence represented rock solid stability for all of us. Above all he gave us his time as we grew up. He was always available. It was only in his advancing age with mental illness and declining cognitive capacity that there were signs of loss of leadership.
In late June of 1946, Lillie Mae and the "old man"--as everyone affectionately called him--traveled by car to the annual meeting of the American Medical Association in San Francisco, July 1-5, where Lillie Mae was introduced to the doctors as Mrs. Foregger although they were not yet married. On the way west Lillie Mae sent a telegram from Salt Lake City to the office of the Foregger Co. announcing the marriage but in actual fact the marriage did not take place until several months later, on October 7th 1946. The divorce judgement for Lillie Mae and Henry had been granted on June 27 , was not finalized until September 27, in accordance with New York State law, and Lillie Mae was not free to remarry until after that date.
When John Wiles and his girl friend stopped by the housekeepers double house on the way to my father's house on a Saturday morning in mid July expecting to spend the day with my father, they were met by Lillie Mae who came running down the stairs as she addressed the girl friend breathlessly,"I don't suppose Johnny told you Rici and I are married and now I am rich and will give my boys everything they want." John who had observed Lillie Mae's behavior since she arrived as housekeeper in 1944 was not aware that they had married. He was very surprised and disappointed by her statement. Years later, after the marriage record was discovered and obtained, John learned that the actual date of the marriage was October 7, 1946, several months after Lillie Mae's breathless announcement.
Mr. Robert Cameron, Foregger Co. salesman, who had been a witness at Lillie Mae's divorce was also a witness at the marriage along with Mary Lassiter, Lillie Mae's sister. Mr. Cameron was told to keep the time and place of the marriage a secret from Herbert and I and all the employees of the company. Why, I do not know.((14))
During the Christmas holidays, 1945, Dad asked me to travel to South America to see some of his customers and to demonstrate the Foregger Company apparatus, to which I agreed. However, because of the delay in getting a discharge from the Army and in obtaining a passport from the State Department, I was unable to make arrangements in time to meet his planned schedule and had to forego the trip. He sent Marie Vescia instead. Her ability with the Spanish language was much better than mine and she also spoke Portuguese of which I had no knowledge.
In the Spring of 1946, I accepted an appointment as Director, Department of Anesthesiology, Marquette University School of Medicine and was busy during the rest of 1946 and 1947 organizing the department and establishing a private practice in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. I returned to New York City on December 3, 1947 to attend the annual New York State Society of Anesthesiologists Postgraduate Assembly and was met by Mr. Robert Cameron. He informed me that my father had married Lillie Mae Holt, his housekeeper. I was not asked to dine with my father as had been customary at previous such meetings. This was the first I learned of the marriage, fourteen months after it took place, although we had been in correspondence quite often concerning my proposal for the Foregger Company to manufacture the rotameter and other matters. I felt rejected, disappointed and angry at his failure to inform me of the marriage.It was an assault on our close attachment. ((15)) Nevertheless, I withheld judgment in favor of a "wait and see" attitude, although I was dumfounded and disturbed by his peculiar secrecy. I assume that my father must have found some desirable and attractive qualities in Lillie Mae, especially in the early years of their marriage. He probably was fully aware that any younger woman would be marrying him for the financial advantage. He was alone and she provided one last chance for companionship. However, others did not share my views, and as it turned out, they were right.
In retrospect I feel that had he brought us together, Herb and I, himself and Lillie Mae, we might possibly have arrived at a family accommodation. It never occurred.
Our father never told me or my brother of the marriage and never discussed his wife or his marriage with us. In the thirteen years after this he alluded to her briefly in conversation twice and once briefly in a letter.. After the marriage, Lillie Mae left the housekeeper's house where she had been living and went to live with my father, leaving her two sons, ages 9 and 14, alone except for visits and overview. My father being an extremely frugal person took no interest in them except for the drain on his finances. The boys did not eat their meals at my father's house and they were not welcome there. As far as being one happy family, under one roof, eating and sleeping together, it never happened. At the same time the boys developed an enduring resentment towards my father for the way they had been treated so that the rejection was mutual. Everything they wanted had to be coerced from my father through Lillie Mae. Under this living arrangement, she was unable to devote full time support and care to her two sons. The effect of this maternal deprivation and neglect during important formative years can only be speculative.
Later on, in 1948 Lillie Mae prevailed upon Dr. Foregger at the age of 76 to adopt her two sons, Jack Roger Holt and Russell F. Holt. My father had no use for them, as he said, and would never have done it of his own volition. For some reason, perhaps shame and embarrassment, the adoptions were also kept secret from Herbert and I, although he was in continuous correspondence with each of us. The adoptions were arranged by Mr. George Brennan, my father's attorney. At this time my father had been in poor health, having spent six weeks of the summer of 1948 in Doctor's Hospital, New York City, with an intractable arteriosclerotic ulcer of the lower leg. Lillie Mae, on the other hand was very proud of her accomplishment and told everyone that her two sons by Mr. Holt were not Dr. Foregger's sons, and that when they grew up they would own the Foregger Co. and run it. When I met my father in New York in December, 1949, for some reason he did not seem to want to talk as on previous occasions.
As previously mentioned, in the summer of 1948, Dad was laid up with a non-healing arteriosclerotic ulcer of the leg. He had his lawyer George Brennan and Mr. August Schultz, Treasurer of the Foregger Co. and long time friend, come to the house where he was convalescing in a wheel chair, to draw up a draft for a will. About this time he discovered that Lillie Mae's motives in marriage did not represent that type of affection and respect usually designated as married love. Mr. Brennan had carefully explained Lillie Mae's property rights as a wife and Dr. Foregger said that he did not want her to have any more of his property. It was his plan to leave a good deal of his estate to faithful employees with the remainder to his natural sons. When the will was finally discussed and dictated and Mr. Brennan and Mr. Schultz left for their car in the driveway, Lillie Mae who had been hiding outside the open window, came bursting into the room screaming and with fists flailing, beat him over the head and about the face. Brennan and Schultz, hearing the disturbance, returned to intervene and prevent further damage. The will never got signed nor several others that Mr. Brennan drew up. The episode didn't help Lillie Mae when the whole matter came to the attention of the courts years later. On December 2, 1954, Nathaniel Ellenbogen drew up a will witnessed by Lillie Mae's brother and his wife which left almost everything to Lillie Mae but with some shares to longtime employees provided they still worked for the Company when he died.
In 1951 my father wrote me that he would like to obtain the papers of divorce between himself and my mother, Dorothy Ledwith Foregger, so that he could obtain Social Security payments for himself and Lillie Mae. He was now 79. It seemed that he had tried to obtain these payments, and had been told that if he had been divorced in New York State he could not legally remarry in New York State without the permission of the Court. He had been told he needed the divorce papers. These I obtained and sent to him and in turn they were turned over to Attorney George Brennan who had arranged for the adoptions in 1948 of Lillie Mae's two sons. Dad's divorce papers revealed that he had been divorced for adultery and was forbidden to remarry in New York State without first obtaining the permission of the Court. Naturally, when Lillie Mae saw the divorce papers she knew that their 1946 marriage might not be legal and held this over Dad's head. She coerced and abused him until he was forced to remarry her in November of 1951 at Arlington, Virginia, while attending the meeting of the American Society of Anesthesiologists in Washington, D.C. Previous to the remarriage during the week at the medical meeting which they attended, Lillie Mae was drinking heavily. The marriage was witnessed by an employee of the Foregger Company, Kim Hallamore, and an eminent anesthesiologist, Dr. Digby Leigh, both of whom kept it secret by request for several years. The employee witness did disclose the facts but not until after he was fired.
Mr. August Schulz was the accountant and treasurer of the Foregger Co. and also a long time friend. He owned 11% of the common stock or 11 shares. All the rest of the stock or 89 shares had been held by my father.
For several years Mr. Schulz had recommended to my father that an attempt should be made to have Herbert Foregger return to the Foregger Company. As part of the inducement he suggested that Herb should be given shares in the Company. Lillie Mae and her two sons would otherwise have controlling interests in the event of Dr. Foregger's death. This arrangement should be made so that Herbert would have security in the position. Actually, Schulz' proposal for the transfer of shares to Herb was quite reasonable. Under the circumstances it would have been foolhardy for anyone to return without an appropriate arrangement for security, especially since Herb had already had an established position as an executive in a large industrial gas manufacturing firm.
When Lillie Mae learned of Mr. Schulz' recommendation to transfer some shares of stock to Herb Foregger as part of an inducement for his return she was furious and began her own campaign to obtain the stock. She finally did so by obtaining 40 shares in 1956 with the assistance of Nathan Ellenbogen, her personal attorney. Schulz, as company Treasurer, strongly resisted the transfer of shares for several years. Herb knew nothing about the suggestion of transferring stock to him at the time but did learn about it sometime after the trial in 1959.
When my father's personal debt to the company began to mount because of his personal account being overdrawn, in 1954, Mr. Schulz did some checking and found out that Lillie Mae had been spending heavily. He pointed this out to my father and considerable consternation resulted. Mr. Schulz tried to cover it up on the income tax returns by identifying Lillie Mae's personal expenses as company expenses. The Internal Revenue Service did not appreciate this and the company was forced to pay considerable back- taxes and penalties for a three year period. Lillie Mae, overlooking the original cause of the trouble, blamed the additional tax payments on Mr. Schulz and prevailed upon my father's weakened, diseased mind to agree to Mr. Schulz's ouster. A letter of discharge was written to Mr. Schulz in December, 1955 and my father signed it. A second letter was written by my father to Mr. Schulz in January, 1956, expressing regret at his action. In any case Mr. Schulz was out after 30 years because he had sought to protect the financial position of my father and the company. (I note here that Mr. Schulz died in 1958, and willed his 11 shares to his daughter Edna.)
Mr.Anton Breuer, a retired former factory employee of the Foregger Co., lived and worked on Dad's estate as a caretaker. During the 1959 competency trial about which more later, Herb sent me a copy of a letter sent to him in 1951 by Mr. Breuer begging him to come back. He said, "Boss's wife hit me. Boss's wife and sons rob, and hit and murder your father. I go way. Can't stand it. Herb you better come back. Help father. Help me . . . " But when Herb wrote to his father, he was always too busy to have him come and visit. Dad had friends with whom he used to go swimming in the summer and skating in the winter. Lillie Mae glowered and sulked when they came to visit and complained that they were a lot of work for her. Consequently, Dad no longer asked people to come to visit for fear of embarrassment by Lillie Mae while the people were visiting and harassment after they left. Lillie Mae even sent the pictures back which Dad had received from long time friends, so that people were offended and didn't come to visit. When I visited my father's home at Christmas, 1945, my first Christmas in the States after the war was over and before they were married, Dad wrote that his housekeeper had complained that I was too much work for her despite the fact that, Army trained, I made my own bed every morning and ate only my evening meals with him.
Johnny Wiles writes, "I remember Sunday dinners with RvF especially after a long summer day sailing on Long Island Sound or after a day of skating and I loved them. This came to a screeching halt after the marriage. I can remember how she cried that she couldn't handle feeding all his friends. What she was telling me was that I was no longer welcome by her."
In June 1952 at the time of the American Medical Association meeting in Chicago at one of the meeting halls I was informed that my father was in town. I searched by taxicab and telephone up and down Michigan Avenue in an effort to find him when I chanced upon Mr. Robert Cameron of the Foregger Company.. Mr. Cameron and I and several other guests had dinner with my father that evening, seated around a circular table in the beautiful Empire Ballroom of the Palmer House. Conversation was relaxed and pleasant about the events of the day with soft background music. I was seated opposite my father, my usual position for years at home and at restaurants before Lillie Mae. Lillie Mae, who had been sitting silently next to my father, suddenly blurted out as the guests became quiet, "Richard, wouldn't you like to sit next to your father?" To which I answered that it was all right where I was. During dinner my father mentioned that he would be going to a medical meeting in Seattle the following year. Since the train passed through Milwaukee I invited him and Lillie Mae to stop off at my home, or I could travel to Chicago and spend the six hour layover with them. I followed up with a letter but heard no further.
Although I had looked forward to being once again with my father and both he and Lillie Mae were cordial, I did not feel any enthusiasm for my presence. It was the only time in the 13 years from his marriage until his death that I had the opportunity to dine with him and I am not certain whether I invited myself or whether Mr. Cameron invited me.
Lillie Mae used to tell her relatives, friends and the doctor customersof the Foregger Company that she was an alumnus of Peace College Raleigh NC.
Lillie Mae attended Centenial High School in Raleigh and left the eighth grade in 1918 at the age of 18.((16)) She attended Peace Institute, a girls boarding school in Raleigh for several classes during 1921-1923. Here she studied piano, voice,English and physical education in the 7th and 8th grades.((17) ) Lillie M Lassiter is entered in the Raleigh City Directory for the years 1925-1927 as a piano teacher. The New York City Directory for 1933/1934, the last published, enters a Lillie M Lassiter Holt at 300 Fort Washington Ave., as a kindergarten teacher; husband Henry F. Holt.
As above mentioned, Lillie Mae left the eighth grade at the age of 18, yet with her limited education was determined to gain control of the Foregger Co. for herself and her two sons, and she succeeded. One day she appeared at the factory and set up a table and a typewriter. The foreman of the factory called my father at the New York office and explained the situation. Dad said, "You handle her, I can't." Whereupon the men pulled the main power switch and walked out as the machinery came to a halt. Lillie Mae left in disgust and never returned to the factory. Of course, she managed to get the foreman fired in time. However, Lillie Mae now started to attend the New York office in order to learn the business. Instead of learning about the product and background knowledge of anesthesia equipment, she learned just enough of personnel matters to interfere. Indeed, she confined herself strictly to personnel relationships in the company. She harassed, intimidated, and effected the discharge of longtime, faithful and experienced employees, one by one, and replaced them with relatives and friends. In total, Lillie Mae exerted influence to replace 18 executives, department heads, and salesmen with relatives and friends who knew nothing of the business. Her son Jackie who did not graduate from high school after attending for seven years 1946 to 1953,((18)) became a vice president four years after joining the Company. Her son Russell became an assistant secretary while he was still at school, and was made a vice president upon joining the Company in 1960. It is not clear what work they did. Fellow workers and my father said that neither had any ability or talent in business affairs. There is no information that either had received any formal management education. It was unbridled nepotism; a source of disparaging humor and resentment amongst the employees and a source of damage to employee loyalty and morale. Of course the business suffered. Doctors who had known many of the executives and salesmen for many years were bewildered and offended at the loss of their business friends. Dealers in the trade found that they could not do business with the relatives, who had no knowledge or expertise in the use of medical equipment. Lillie Mae's appointees grew in number and they reported to her because they were relatives and owed their jobs to her influence. This led to a conflict situation with part of the employees reporting to her, and part to my father, which in turn increased confusion. Meanwhile, the financial drain upon the company continued. Where previously Lillie Mae and her two sons would charge personal items to the company such as gasoline, liquor, rent, telephone calls, hotel expenses and the upkeep on a sizable yacht, now some of the relatives emulating the new leadership also charged their personal expenses to the company. ((19))
It should be clear to the reader that, living at a distance, I was unaware of many of the events in this account at the time when they occurred and only gained the knowledge at a later date through letters to me from concerned employees. However, each event has been double checked and verified from two or more sources and much of the information is recorded and publicly available in the transcript of the trial held in the Supreme Court of the State of New York, Nassau County, Mineola NY, in 1959. ((20)) As previously mentioned, Lillie Mae had a way of interfering in business operations. For instance, Mr. Roy Dundas of Los Angeles, President of the Dundas Anesthesia Equipment Company Inc. was a dealer for the Foregger Co. products and flew East to attend a medical convention as a Foregger Co. representative. A discussion was held in the Foregger Co. office as to whether and to what extent to pay for Mr. Dundas' travel and hotel expenses. Lillie Mae disagreed with the payment, but the final consensus was that this should be done. At the conclusion of the meeting Dr. Foregger instructed the bookkeeping clerk present to make out the check to be sent to Mr. Dundas. As the girl left the room to make out the check Lillie Mae followed red faced and determined. Roy never received his check.
At another time Lillie Mae hired a high priced, flashy advertising agency to make up some new style advertising copy for the Foregger Co. products. Since the new copy was radically different from the conservative type copy previously utilized by the firm it drew considerable comment and an explosion from Dr. Foregger when the bill for $8000 was presented. Lillie Mae was quick to shift the blame to Mr.Valentine Stankiewicz, then sales manager. But Val could not accept the blame and protested to Dr. Foregger in Lillie Mae's presence. Since Dr. Foregger could not decide between the two versions, Val arranged another meeting at which the advertising man was present who said that Mrs. Foregger had contacted him and placed the order for the advertising copy. Lillie Mae of course was deeply humiliated at having been caught lying. She glowered at Stankiewicz and the advertising man and left the room. In a few days she was walking around the office sporting a new mink coat and Val Stankiewicz was fired with no explanation. Val, however, was a well trained, capable individual and soon found employment with a competing firm.
Many of the doctors in the specialized field of anesthesia equipment design brought their ideas to the manufacturers to be jointly considered for research and development of new equipment. Such mutual consideration and discussion between manufacturers and anesthesiologists was essential for the advance of equipment design. Lillie Mae had no interest or capacity to encourage such an endeavor. Moreover, when doctors came to speak with my father she would intervene in the discussions for fear the doctors would talk to him too long and thus discover his failing mental health, which of course became more evident as time passed. Many of the doctors were becoming aware anyway, through correspondence and conversation. The growing knowledge that the chief executive charged with the responsibility for the design of safe and efficient medical equipment was suffering from advanced senility was disconcerting. The constant interruption by Lillie Mae into conversations with doctors lead to confusion and resentment on their part. In turn the doctors gradually withdrew their interest and support from the company in the area of equipment design with the result that new product development lagged considerably.
As previously mentioned, after the war I took up practice as an anesthesiologist in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Dad and I used to meet several times a year at the various medical conventions we attended, myself as a physician and he as a technical exhibitor with the Company. Whenever I delivered a paper at the meetings he was there in the audience or standing at the back of the meeting hall. As I previously stated, after my visit to my father's home at Christmas, 1945, following the end of my service in the Second World War, I was surprised to receive a letter from him telling me that his housekeeper had complained that I was too much of a burden for her. I figured it was no longer possible to visit him at his home in Roslyn. In conversations at these meetings our discussion became more and more confined to the discussion of anesthetic equipment. In fact he became more and more sensitive and fearful of meeting and talking with me. Similar behavior was reported to me by other doctors who had known him prior to the war. At the American Society of Anesthesiologists annual meeting, in Cincinnati, October 25-29, 1954, in the technical exhibit hall of the hotel we were discussing some ideas which I had brought up in regard to equipment. After a few minutes Lillie Mae came rushing down the hallway, red faced, and abruptly stopped in front of us. Shaking her head at me she cried, "Richard, you got your education. That's enough for you. You're not entitled to any more." And then she was off before I could say anything. That ended conversation between my father and I. Several years later during the 1959 competency trial Lillie Mae's lawyer asked me a similar question, "You got your education, don't you think that's enough for you?" However the Judge ruled the question out and stopped me before I could answer.((21) )
While working at the hospital in Milwaukee, I was surprised to receive a long distance telephone call in the spring of 1956 from a party who would not divulge his name, asking if the Foregger Company was for sale. The same day I wrote to my father, informing him of the message, and telling him not to sell the Foregger Company and that I would be coming to New York to discuss this matter. As soon as my schedule could be arranged, I traveled to Roslyn and arrived there on a Saturday morning. On the way I stopped at the factory to once again look over the machinery and inventory and to talk to the plant managers. Mr. August Schulz, the Treasurer of the Company, had previously provided me with information on the current financial condition and tax liabilities. From previous discussions with him and my father, I was aware of the value they had placed on the business. At the house, after briefly repeating the purpose of the visit, I made an offer to my father to purchase the Company, at the same time putting forth my reasons why I thought it might be advantageous for the continuity of the Company and for himself. He would remain as President, Managing Director or in a consulting position until such time as he wished to step down. Previously my father had informed me that he had for the first time placed himself on a yearly salary and he had mentioned the amount. I told him that the income from the invested capital as a result of the sale would provide an income in excess of his current income in order to provide for his family responsibilities. I was on slippery ground with the statement as he had so far never openly discussed his wife or the adoptions of her two sons, but I wanted to be fair to everyone and to consider his present family. I knew by now that I would have to meet her demands. He passed over the remark as though he had not heard it. Although my father was not impolite, he did not sit down or invite me to sit and throughout the meeting he appeared uncomfortable, uneasy and evasive. He paced about the room and went from one object to another to straighten or reposition them and fiddled with things. He did not pause once to look directly at me. It seemed almost as though he were grasping for an opportunity, any excuse, to end the session. His initial response was to accuse me of acting on behalf of someone else. He raised his voice cutting of further discussion by announcing that the Foregger Company was not for sale. After this rebuff, I left, feeling angry for his refusal to discuss the matter. When I returned to Milwaukee, I wrote him confirming the offer and requested he let me know if he should change his mind. At the time I did not know that he had already given the 40 shares to Lillie Mae, representing 40% of ownership. He was consequently in no position to discuss a sale. Lillie Mae was not present and later I was told she was in her hometown, Raleigh, NC, for the Easter weekend.
When the Foregger Company was sold, after my father died, the sale price was less than the amount of my 1956 offer.
In 1957 I received a letter from Dr. Ernst Trier Morch, a distinguished anesthesiologist, asking me to arrange a meeting to include Dr. Foregger, Mrs. Foregger and the rest of the family to discuss the future of the Foregger Co. I replied that I did not think my father would agree but nonetheless I would ask. I sent Morch's letter to my father and received a negative response, as I expected. In closing my father wrote, "The world is going to be shocked when they learn what will happen to the Foregger Co." This enigmatic and puzzling remark made no sense to me for years.
Mr. George Pickering, President of G. E. Pickering, Inc., Anesthesia & Emergency Medical Equipment Company Inc., and a personal friend of my father, concerned with the continuity of the Foregger Co., asked about its future survival. My father told him, "When I die, the Foregger Company will die."
In 1957 Mr.August Schulz, former treasurer of the Foregger Company, informed my father that an individual had appeared at his home in Rockville Centre, Long Island, asking to purchase Schulz' eleven shares of common stock. Schulz was quite surprised by the encounter, especially since the individual refused to identify himself. Mr. Schulz informed my father, who, evidently realized that he would no longer control the Foregger Company if the eleven shares were not held by his long time friend. He wrote to Schulz begging him not to sell the shares. The letter ended with a hand written note stating, "August, I have unbearable worries."
In his will drawn up and signed on December 2, 1952, my father said, "It is my earnest wish that Edward Wylie give my devoted wife Lily Foregger his wholehearted support and cooperation in the business of said corporation. I have the highest confidence and faith in the intelligence of my beloved wife to retain the loyalty and cooperation of faithful employees..." Early in 1957 Lillie Mae succeeded in squeezing out Mr. Edward Wylie, VP production manager and a valuable key man at the company. For many years my father had impressed upon me the importance of Edward Wylie to the Foregger Co. My father called him, "A mechanical artist who started to work in the factory after finishing his studies and who in the last 25 years developed wonderfully." Nevertheless Lillie Mae had tried for years to have Mr.Wylie discharged.Despite the fact that she had drawn up the will to her liking, Dad still had strength enough to leave nine shares of common stock to Edward Wylie. However, this was on the condition that he was still employed by the Company at the time of my father's death. If Edward Wylie left or was discharged prior to the time of my father's death and the probate of the will, these nine shares of common stock, representing 9% of the outstanding stock of the company were to go to Lillie Mae. (The reader should understand that I only learned about the details of the disposition of the shares and the will, after my father had died although my father had always told me that certain of the long time employees would be receiving shares.) All Lillie Mae had to do to acquire nine shares of common stock was to have Edward Wylie discharged or to make it so difficult for him that he had to leave. She succeeded in doing this in February, 1957. After Mr. Wylie left he set up his own company in a nearby town and did well as a manufacturer of anesthetic equipment. In a codicil to my father's will dated December 26, 1957, the shares in the Company specifically left to him reverted to Lillie Mae. I tried hard through correspondence to get my father to realize his loss in losing Edward Wylie and to get Wylie to return to the Foregger Co., but I was unable to effect a reconciliation. As far as Edward Wylie was concerned he was better off with his own firm.
Grace Wylie Krukowski, daughter of Edward Wylie was an operating room scrub nurse at a Roslyn hospital. She wrote, "My father was a devoted employee for your Dad. I still picture my father late in the evening at his drawing board. He always gave 100% to a job he truly loved. He admired and respected your Dad for 38 years working for him, but the last years were difficult for all. So many broken promises plus hearts. How one treacherous, calculating human being can damage so many lives is unbelievable."
Professor Lucien Morris, University of Washington, Seattle designed an advanced, complex vaporizer for liquid anesthetic agents, and worked with the Foregger Company in making the apparatus from 1948 through 1958. He said, "Dr. Foregger repeatedly tried to modify the vaporizer system in inappropriate ways, some of which were potentially lethal in design. He was a very difficult individual to convince. There were lots of difficulties in getting the original vaporizer made the way I wanted it and it would never have happened except with the very important help of Mr. Edward Wylie to keep it on track. Like many others I knew that Lillie Mae was a scheming woman who twisted Foregger around and ultimately brought the Company down through the far-reaching extent of her manipulations. What a sad story! I really enjoyed and was quite fond of your father." The device was intricate, requiring an engineering knowledge far beyond the educational limitations of Lillie Mae.
The loss of Edward Wylie's knowledge of equipment design and construction was a disaster from which the Company never fully recovered
In June of 1957 after writing letters to my father regarding Edward Wylie and his loss to the Foregger Co., I went to New York to attend the annual convention of the American Medical Association. I wrote my father in advance that I was coming and made an appointment to see him on Monday, the week of the meeting, at 11 A.M. He confirmed the appointment. When I arrived for the appointment he was not available. When I was finally ushered in to see him, he was surrounded by office workers and stated shakily that he was very busy and refused to keep his appointment with me. Lillie Mae was smiling in triumph. This was the first time in our two lives that he ever refused to meet with me. I felt humiliated and very angry.
I returned to my hotel and immediately sent him a telegram advising him that I considered his failure to keep our appointment inexplicable. I notified him I would be available during the week when it was convenient for him to see me. At the end of the week when he had not answered the telegram, I called him on the telephone and informed him that I thought it was time that he should come out in the open and discuss what was wrong with the Foregger Co. I said that I would meet him in Cleveland at a meeting in honor of Dr. Ralph Waters, (world famous and prominent anesthesiologist who was to receive an honorary degree from Western Reserve University), if he were going. He informed me that he was very nervous and he would not be going to Cleveland. I subsequently learned that he had indeed gone to Cleveland but without informing me. So much for my persistence.
In the spring of 1949 our father visited Herbert Foregger at his home in Baton Rouge, LA. He asked Herb if he would come to New York to discuss the possibility of returning to work for the Foregger Co. Lillie Mae was with him on the trip but not present at the discussion. Herb said, "I was wary of this offer since he had married this woman."
In September of 1949 I was in New Orleans for discussions with Dr. John Adriani, a distinguished anesthesiologist, well known for his work on equipment design and testing, and also with Dr. Walter Mannheimer, a wartime comrade who was on Adriani's staff at Charity Hospital. At this visit Adriani informed me that he could no longer work with my father as he had become too difficult and forgetful. On my return from New Orleans I stopped off in Baton Rouge to visit my brother Herbert. I told Herb of the meeting with Adriani and asked that when Herb went to New York to discuss his return to the Foregger Company with my father, I would like to be informed; that I believed a concerted effort was required and I would like to attend any future meeting. I said that we should talk to Dad together. I did not hear from Herb on the matter until 1957.
In 1957 our father wrote and expressed a need for Herb to come to New York to talk, and he sent $500 for him to make the trip. Why our father waited so long to ask Herb to come is unknown. Herb was not quite sure of the details or what our father had in mind. The purpose, as expressed in the letter from our father to Herb, was to discuss the possibility of Herb's returning to work for the Foregger Company. Herb writes, "I had a very brief discussion with Dad on our visit in 1957. It was on a Saturday in the morning. I asked whether either of Lillie Mae's two sons were working for the Foregger Company. 'Yes, and she wants them to be V.P's.. They're no use to me, and no interest in learning,' he said, in his blunt outspoken manner. 'We will talk about it in the office on Monday.' Of course, she was hovering around most of the time so we never really had a chance to sit down and talk."
In the evening a garden party was held at which time the two families and guests attended. Velta Foregger Roosa reports that there was a lot of drinking and loud talk. ((22)) Among the relatives and those employees who had been invited by Lillie Mae, were private discussions before and during the party concerning natural born sons versus adopted. Being an outsider, Herb was not privy to any such discussions. A verbal argument broke out between Russell and Jack, who had been drinking. Herb intervened to quiet them down, but Russell, Jack, and Lillie Mae all turned on Herb with Lillie Mae screaming, "Get Herb! Kill Herb! Kill him!" They threw Herb to the ground, beat and bloodied him, tearing his shirt, with Lillie Mae scratching him with her finger nails. There were 20-30 people present at the garden party but no one made any attempt to stop the assault Our father stood by and said nothing and did nothing to protect him. Herb, broken hearted and dejected, went to our father with blood on his face and shirt and told him that he and his family were leaving and that this would probably be the last time he would see him. He and his family packed and left around 10:00 p.m. that same night. They drove to Washington arriving about 4:30 in the morning They were afraid to stay for fear that one or even all three might do further damage. He wrote to me, "Neither you, nor anyone else, can possibly know how I felt from this experience. I have never been able to put it out of my mind.((23)) This thing has gotten me so disturbed that I cannot bear to think of it."
When I wrote my father to ask for an explanation, he confirmed the truth of Herbert's account, but he did not explain his failure to stop the assault. He had returned from the hospital for treatment of congestive heart failure and thrombophlebitis of the leg several weeks earlier (see Table I). Herb reports that he had been driven to the site of the garden party and that he was so incapacitated he did not get out of his cart to attend the garden party, which may account in part for his failure to intervene. I was particularly concerned for my brother. My father had again lured him to New York with promises to discuss rejoining the Foregger Company, but had failed to protect him from the onslaught of Lillie Mae and her sons. Herb felt betrayed and has never been able to put this out of his mind.
It may be of interest to examine when Lillie Mae and her two sons became officers in the Foregger Company in light of the foregoing statement of my father made to Herb that she was actively seeking the position of vice president for her sons. My father attempted to counter her strategy by bringing Herb, now an experienced executive, back to
Roslyn to discuss his return to work for the Foregger Co. Lillie Mae and her two sons then countered by assaulting Herbert when they saw an opportunity at the garden party so that he was forced to withdraw and once again leave Roslyn. Although my father had forestalled the appointment of Lillie Mae's sons to executive positions, it was only temporary. At the same time he had been unable to reinstate his own son. From a careful analysis of Herb's letters reporting on the incident I believe he was unaware of the tremendous tensions involved in the whole matter. Lillie Mae and her family member employees very probably would have looked upon Herb as an outside interloper and felt threatened by my father's attempt to return one of the natural sons to employment in the Foregger Company. Velta lends credence to that interpretation by her report of much discussion beforehand of natural versus adopted sons along with considerable drinking and boisterousness. That Lillie Mae and her group of family member employees felt they had to eliminate Herbert Foregger at all costs is evidenced by their resort to violence. The fact that 20 or more persons witnessed the assault and none took action to stop the attack, is further indicative of concerted behavior. Dr. Foregger was severely intimidated by the attack. He could not even return his son to the Company coupled with the knowledge that someone was trying to obtain the eleven shares held by former treasurer August Schulz meant that his authority to control was greatly diminished. Who was trying to buy Schulz' 11 shares of common stock in the Foregger Company is not known. Table I shows how Lillie Mae and her two sons succeeded in obtaining executive positions in the Foregger Company, as my father's medical condition deteriorated.
|Lillie Mae's 2 sons adopted.|
|in hospital NYC|
|1957||ASHD congestive heart failure
|in hospital NYC||VP L.M.|
|Several weeks after this hospital stay for congestive heart failure my father tried to bring Herb Foregger back to work for the Foregger Co. but was prevented by Lillie Mae.|
|1958||heart failure||in hospital end Dec
Glen Cove LI NY
|Dr. Foregger was hospitalized during January 1959. Bedridden at home remainder of 1959. After episode of severe mania requiring antipsychotic medication Lillie Mae had him sign over his remaining shares and deeds to property and appointed herself executive VP. Dr. Foregger declared incompetent after jury trial.||Ex.VP LM
VP Jack F.
Asst. Sec. Russell F.
|1960||Dr. Foregger dies||LM Pres.
Source: Hospital medical records; Standard & Poor's Register of Corporations; Newsday.
Transcript of trial record.
In October 1957 at the annual meeting of the American Society of Anesthesiologists in Los Angeles, I had a conversation with my father in which I pointed out that doctors were seriously disturbed that many of the longtime, experienced employees who had helped to build the company were being discharged with no reason given. The doctors could not understand why their attempts to discuss new equipment designs were being rejected. I asked about the loss of Edward Wylie and Herbert Foregger to the Foregger Co. He had no satisfactory explanation. I told him that I had heard that he had rejected the proposal of Doctors James Elam and Elwyn Brown for a new type respirator to be incorporated into the design of the gas machine. They, I said, were now well recognized by the anesthesiologists for their scientific approach and accomplishments in the development of equipment.((24)) I further pointed out that the anesthesiology profession was entering into an era of rapid innovation of equipment including electronic monitoring with an entire new emphasis on safety in the use of equipment for patients. Furthermore, I felt it was necessary to cooperate in the drive for standardization of equipment. I pleaded with him to cooperate with the committee set up for this purpose. I was sometimes harsh, almost brutal, pent up by his refusal to discuss these matters in New York. In answer he said that like everyone else I was against his wife even though I had not mentioned his wife. ((25)) I said that I assumed he was the head of the Foregger Company. ( I still did not know at the time that he had given her 40 shares or 40 percent of the Company.) At that his hostility burst over and he could no longer talk rationally his conversation being interspersed with remarks about his wife. I tried to stay on a discussion of equipment but the conversation became lost in a rambling, incoherent speech on his part which went back over the last 50 years. He was irrational, his speech a typical word salad, and at times did not realize I was sitting in front of him. His speech was so confused and disconnected that it seemed impossible to maintain contact. I had a strange sad feeling to think of this once forceful powerful man talking gibberish I left feeling that no useful purpose had come of the conversation.
Shortly after I returned home I received a letter from him saying that no one had talked to him like that since his father. A handwritten note at the end asked me to please understand how difficult things had become for him and to try to be good to him.
I had noted that he became physically incapacitated, both at the Los Angeles meeting in 1957 and at the Kansas City meeting in 1956, to the extent that in the middle of the morning two salesmen had to assist him, one on each side, when he wished to retire to his hotel room.
The Christmas of 1958 was the last that Dad was able to send Christmas presents to my children. He signed a check which Lillie Mae intercepted and tore up. When the employees learned of this they arranged for him to sign another check and a Christmas card which they smuggled out of the office and sent without Lillie Mae's knowledge.
When Dad was in his 86th year shortly after Christmas of 1958 he went to the nearby Glen Cove, Long Island, N.Y. hospital for the treatment of an arteriosclerotic ulcer of the leg and heart failure. While at the hospital he became unconscious for 24 hours due to cerebral thrombosis. He had, however, suffered strokes previously of which I had not been told. In October 1948, while on a trip to a medical meeting in Montreal he became unconscious in the hotel dining room for a period of two hours and required medication. In the winter of 1956/1957 during a long ride home from the New York office in a blizzard, he likewise became unconscious. Lillie Mae carefully guarded the knowledge of these episodes of unconsciousness when they occurred.
Following the aforementioned period of coma in 1958, while my father was in the hospital for days, Lillie Mae did not notify either me or my brother of his hospital admission or condition. It was only days later that I was informed by one of the salesman with, "But, Richard please don't tell anyone that I told you . . . ". The situation within the company was so bad that the employees were fearful of the loss of their jobs if they informed me that my father was ill. My father was so maniacal at this time that his attending physician called in a psychiatrist to help. Dr. Gordon Templeton, board certified psychiatrist, examined my father on January 30, 1959 and said that he was informed by the nurse and by his wife that there was difficulty in handling the patient because of his unmanageable and irrational behavior. He had exhibited irrational behavior, including shouting and screaming at night. The content of his speech was of the distant past and incoherent. During Dr. Templeton's examination with Lillie Mae present, he thought he was on a boat. Dr. Templeton's diagnosis was: advanced senile psychosis, paranoid type, complicated by cerebral arteriosclerosis. ((26))
My father's condition and prognosis was explained to Lillie Mae and she was advised that it would be better for my father if he were in a nursing home which specialized in the care of patients suffering from this type of disorder. Nothing daunted Lillie Mae; she had my father sign over all his property to her just one day after Dr. Templeton had told her of the diagnosis and the psychosis. On the same day Lillie Mae wrote me that my father had been bothered by his old leg ulcer but was otherwise feeling and looking fine and would be back to work soon.
Meanwhile, several of the doctors wrote to me explaining the medical findings and suggesting that I should visit to take a look. Lillie Mae wrote to me again, stating that everything was fine except for the ulcer and that he should be back to work soon at the office . (These were the only letters I received from Lillie Mae in 13 years.) Because of the conflicting information about my father's physical and mental condition, I visited him at his home. He at first was unable to recognize me until prompted by one of the attendants standing by, who had known me for years. Lillie Mae was at the office. The nurse had been instructed to notify her if visitors came and she was frantically trying to do so on the telephone. Meanwhile, I had an opportunity to examine my father. I returned the next day to visit and to follow up on my examination. The nurse was on the telephone again to Lillie Mae who came rushing over from the office in Roslyn Heights, but by that time I had finished the examination and my visit, so I was not quite sure of why she came.
My examination of my father and his behavior supported the psychiatrist's diagnosis of paranoid psychosis. I reported to my father's longtime attorneys and I commenced a competency hearing as I had now learned that he had been stripped of his property. Subsequently, a jury trial was held. Lillie Mae vigorously opposed my petition to set up a legal guardianship for my father's person and property in the Nassau County courts. She informed the Court through her legal briefs that he was mentally competent and would be back to work at the office.Yet when it came time for trial she opposed his appearance in Court as was his right. At trial my father turned out to be a most valuable witness. Placed in front of the jury he told of the good relationship between himself and his two natural sons. Asked if his sons had ever done anything to harm him, he replied, "No". Further, he did not know that Lillie Mae had him sign over all his property or that she had fired all his long time faithful employees whom he thought still worked in the business. Another feature of the trial was that Lillie Mae used the resources of the Foregger Company to oppose my petition to declare my father incompetent. It is not apparent that the Foregger Company attorneys had any legal basis for opposing my petition or why they deemed it appropriate to support the taking away of my father's shares in the Corporation. Lillie Mae's two sons Jack and Russell were both officers in the Corporation and they did nothing to stop Lillie Mae from stripping away my father's shares. They appeared in Court every day in support of their mother's position and against my father's interests. In the end the Court affirmed my petition. Further, several anesthesiologists for some unknown reason appeared to testify on Lillie Mae's behalf in an attempt to prevent the Court from protecting my father and recovering my father's interest in the Foregger Company. Lillie Mae was unable to explain to the jury what she had done; why she had taken his property and why she had fired longstanding employees some of them after the lawsuit had commenced. The court appointed psychiatrist testified:
My examination of said Richard Foregger revealed that he was completely disorientated for time, and that he was variably disorientated for place. He showed inability to perform simple intellectual tasks. He displayed a complete absence of ability for retention of information. In my opinion, the said Richard Foregger is suffering from a form of insanity, namely paranoid psychosis, which condition is complicated by cerebral arteriosclerosis. I am of the opinion that the said Richard Foregger is incompetent and unfit to care for his person or for his property.
A jury of 12 decided that Lillie Mae had been wrong in her acts and had been hostile to my father's interests through the years. The Court set up a legal guardianship to care for my father's property. The three week trial was widely publicized in the Long Island newspapers.
The Court found:
"That Lillie Mae Foregger had arrogated to herself the management of the business affairs of the corporation and that the Foregger Company has suffered substantial losses, as disclosed by a financial audit, primarily, if not entirely, as a result of grossly incompetent management."
Lillie Mae fought bitterly and when she lost she blamed it all on me, the petitioner. Lillie Mae said, "I will pay a reward to anyone who shoots Richard or who maims his children." Newspaper clippings of the trial were distributed by executives and salesmen of competing firms. Thus, knowledge of the trial became known to the competitors and Lillie Mae's behavior was spread to the doctors and hospitals by the network of competitor salesmen.
The major outcomes of the trial were as follows:
1. The verdict of the Jury was that Richard von Foregger was a mental incompetent.
2. There was an adjudication of fraud and undue influence practiced on Richard von Foregger by Lillie Mae Foregger. ((27) )
3. My father's property which he had been induced to sign over to Lillie Mae in January of 1959, was ordered returned to him and held by the Court, including the 49 shares of Foregger Company stock.
4. A very capable Long Island attorney was appointed by the Court to supervise the management of the Foregger Co. and to serve as legal guardian for my father's property.
5. Long-standing, experienced and loyal employees who had been discharged by Lillie Mae for no cause, were afforded an explanation by the Court and were subsequently able to obtain employment from companies in the industry who had followed the trial or who had obtained digests of the trial.
6. Lillie Mae was ordered to pay all costs of the trial, including reimbursement for my legal fees, the five psychiatrists fees and that of the newly appointed guardian for the property. She had to pay her own legal fees, too. Since Lillie Mae had no funds of her own, she had to borrow from the banks, pledging her shares in the Company as collateral to make these payments.
As previously pointed out, Lillie Mae had for years used the Foregger Company funds for her personal use and that of her extended family, which my father was unable to prevent. A financial audit ordered by the court appointed guardian, Attorney David Holman, Mineola NY, and carried out by the accounting firm of Russell Banks CPA, NYC, made a record and drew up a report of these personal expenditures charged to the Corporation. An informant sent the report to the office of the District Director U.S. Internal Revenue Service, Brooklyn NY, applied for and was paid a reward for the information. The taxes owed, with penalties and interest had to be paid back to the U.S. Internal Revenue Service and to the New York State Department of Taxation and Finance.
My father died at the age of 87 on January 18, 1960. At autopsy the findings were: generalized cerebral arteriosclerosis, extensive cystic degeneration of the brain, arteriosclerotic heart disease with hypertrophy and dilatation, occlusion of the coronary arteries, (the main coronary artery was narrowed to the diameter of a pin) and massive confluent bilateral bronchopneumonia.
When my father died, the same court awarded my brother and me our legacies from the estate. The will which cut off the two natural sons with token payments had been abrogated as a result of the trial. Lillie Mae had to borrow again from the banks to pay the legacies and she had to sell off some of the real estate. I add here that for some inexplicable reason a codicil drawn up on December 26, 1957, rescinded that provision of the will leaving my father's books and papers to the American Society of Anesthesiologists; the books and papers were left to Lillie Mae instead. It is not known what became of this valuable material. In spite of the abrogation of my father's last will, Lillie Mae still turned out to be the major beneficiary and executor of my father's estate by virtue of her marriage to my father, his prior gift to her of shares in the Foregger Company and the secret adoptions of her two sons by my father. Thus, she still maintained control and ownership of the Foregger Company.
After my father died, I briefly entertained the idea of again making a bid to purchase the Foregger Company, although I did not intend to give up the practice of medicine. The minority stockholder also wanted to sell her shares. However, after consultation with the accounting firm which had carried out several audits of the Foregger Co., I was strongly advised against considering the matter because of the internal disorganization of the Company. I learned that some of the employees had resigned. Others Lillie Mae had fired for no cause in her fury. I had known many of them from my youth and I was considerably disturbed at what had happened to them, all of whom were experienced, valuable and loyal individuals who had been with the Company for many years. It was a severe loss from which, as it turned out, the Company never recovered. Several companies had been interested in purchasing the Foregger Co. during this period of time but had declined to make an offer after examining the physical facilities and financial statements. I took no further action.
After a consulting psychiatrist at the hospital had informed Lily Mae of the diagnosis of paranoid psychosis, and while he was under the influence of anti-psychotic medication following an episode of acute mania, she induced my father to transfer to herself not only his shares in the Company and the deeds to his property but also obtained from him a power of attorney. She then appointed herself Executive Vice President, although this function had been ably carried out by a Vice President who had been with the Company for many years. ((28)) As part of her activities, she undertook the two following projects.
1.) She had agreed to purchase the rights to manufacture and sell a respirator which had been developed by the Invengineering Co. of Belmar, New Jersey. Subsequently, she could find no money so she defaulted on the payments to Invengineering who sued her in the U.S. District Court in Newark, N J, to get their money and the return of the plans for the respirator. The Judgement stated "She testified that she had no check or cash with her or available at the time the contract was signed although the signing took place at Foregger's New York office." The Judgement also stated, "Foregger had no production engineer or person trained to engineer production, and thereby lacked the means of producing the devices in quantity." Lillie Mae lost the lawsuit and was ordered to make payment plus legal fees. Not satisfied, she appealed and lost again in the U.S. Court of Appeals, Newark, New Jersey. ((29)) The appellate court added that..."defendant at no time gave any indication that it possessed the financial ability or productive capacity to exploit the devices admittedly lacking the personnel necessary to initiate production."
2.) Having acquired power of attorney from my father, under the above cited circumstances, she proceeded to carry out her newly acquired authority and also extended further control over the Company's affairs. At a medical convention she had met a surgical resident ((30)) the designer of a pump oxygenator for heart-lung bypass procedures, which she decided the Company should manufacture. The device had been tested and successfully employed at a Boston hospital clinic specializing in thoracic surgery. Hitherto, the customers of the Foregger Company were predominantly anesthesiologists; the new customers would have been thoracic and cardiovascular surgeons and their pump technicians, customers with whom the Company had no marketing experience. A well trained, technical sales force to satisfy the highly specialized needs of these new customers and the complicated device, would have been required. The small market was already dominated by the few firms who had been making pump oxygenators for several years. Considerable time and funds were expended in further developing the apparatus, in obtaining new patents, and in gearing up for additional testing and production, before the full extent of the many impediments to penetration of this newly proposed market were realized. Lacking funds for further expansion, she had to abandon the costly attempt and the executives and employees assigned to the endeavor either left of their own accord or were dismissed.
Mr. James St. Leger, joined the Foregger Company in March of 1955 and held the position of corporate secretary from 1956-1959. ((31)) He writes that during the 1959-1960 period following the illness and death of Dr. Foregger and after which Lillie Mae Foregger became president of the Company, "the turnover of top personnel was very rapid. At some point I totaled the years of experience of the people who handled correspondence in the headquarters office which amounted to about 120. To my astonishment and regret I realized that I was the only one left-with a mere five. I left early in 1961."
St. Leger was asked what in his opinion was the reason for the demise of the Foregger Company. He said that it was a disgusting period in his life. Morale was very bad, very low, and this coincided with new management during the 1960 year after Dr. Foregger had died. The main reason was mismanagement and this applied to Dr. Foregger as well. Foregger didn't care whether the Company succeeded to carry on, and if it didn't this was O.K., too. He, Foregger, figured it couldn't survive without him. Foregger, he said, vigorously and repeatedly rejected recommendations for more efficient production.
Mr. St. Leger was also asked whether he knew Henry Holt the former husband of Lillie Mae. He answered "Yes", and "When Henry got old he retired and went to live with Lillie Mae's sisters Katie Lee and later with Catherine in Raleigh NC. He was no longer close to Lillie Mae, but the relatives felt sorry and took him in." I was really surprised. Lillie and Henry were divorced in 1946, nine years before St. Leger came to America and Henry went to Raleigh in 1974, confirming that there was still an ongoing relationship between Lillie Mae and Henry after 28 years, although perhaps somewhat diminished.
I asked St. Leger why Lillie Mae didn't turn the Company over to her sons instead of selling it? He was frank and open here especially about her son Jackie. Jackie in St. leger's opinion,"did not know anything. Poor Jackie was not quite competent. Very little education. As for Russell he was only 19 when he came in and knew nothing." ( St. Leger was not quite correct here. When Russell dropped out of the University in January 1960 before finishing the 3rd semester he was 23 and when the Company was sold in 1968 he was 30.) Nevertheless the observations of St. Leger are in general in agreement with the opinions of experienced and seasoned former salesmen of the Company that these two sons did not appear interested in the job. Their mother seemed to agree that they could not take over. Hence her decision to sell.
During the 1960-1968 period when Lillie Mae Foregger held ownership of the Foregger Company several devices continued to be manufactured which were defective in design integrity and performance as various authors have pointed out. ((32)
) One authority has gone so far as to state that "It may be worthwhile to consider retrofitting pre-1968 Foregger machines . . . or [they should be] removed from clinical use and donated to an animal research laboratory." ((33)
The following affidavit was prepared by Attorney William B. Pius, of the firm of Bennett, Kaye & Scholly, Rockville Centre, New York, signed by Lillie Mae Foregger and annexed to the New York State Department of Taxation, 1961 Estate Tax Return of the Foregger Company. The document contains a description of the financial position, operations, personnel and organizational changes during 1959-1961. The Company was seeking a buyer during that period. However, no offers could be obtained. According to the affidavit, "The affairs were in such an unsettled state that no actual offers were made to purchase the business at any price...and there was a serious question whether the corporation would be able to survive.... A management survey made by the Arthur D. Little & Co. of Boston was highly critical by pointing out that the corporation lacked experienced and effective management."
The affidavit is particularly informative in that Lillie Mae as deponent, repeatedly refers to the desperate financial condition of the Company and lays the responsibility for this on the death of my father and his lack of planning for capable succession while omitting her role in shaping that succession and impeding his attempts in planning for succession. The affidavit reads in full as follows:
From its inception, and until his death, Dr. Foregger was President of The Foregger Company, Inc. Although there were other officers of the corporation from time to time elected at Dr. Foregger's direction, its affairs were completely dominated by Dr. Foregger. He was the chief executive officer, the corporations's only engineer and its sales manager and closely supervised all production and financial matters. The corporation was, in brief, a classic example of "a one man show." At no time did Dr. Foregger have any plans to train subordinates to perform the functions which he centered in himself; [((35)
)] and he steadfastly refused to delegate authority to his employees. Every corporate activity was subject to his personal approval and he rejected every suggestion that he share management responsibilities.
In 1958, for the first time, Dr. Foregger consented to engage the services of independent certified public accountants to install modern business accounting systems and practices for The Foregger Company, Inc.
In January of 1959, Dr. Foregger became ill and was unable to be in regular attendance at the office and plant of The Foregger Company, Inc. Since he had trained no one to substitute for him,[ ((36))] it became necessary for myself to direct the business of the corporation to the best of my ability. Although your deponent had spent considerable time at the office and plant of the corporation, had accompanied Dr. Foregger to major meetings of anesthesiologists for at least ten years, had observed his methods of dealing with business problems, and, in general had become familiar with the operations of the business, deponent obviously did not have Dr. Foregger's extensive background and experience in running the business and, naturally, lacked the technical knowledge and ability that had made him a leading manufacturer of anesthesia equipment. In addition, your deponent was handicapped in her efforts to operate the business because much of my time was occupied in supervising the care of Dr. Foregger during his illnesses. The situation became even more aggravated and complicated when Dr. Foregger's sons by a former marriage instituted a proceeding to have Dr. Foregger declared incompetent, and when that proceeding resulted in a finding that, in September of 1959, Dr. Foregger was declared legally incompetent by the Court.
All of these events became public knowledge and adversely affected the business of the corporation. Rumors developed and became widespread in the industry that the corporation was in financial trouble and that, with Dr. Foregger disabled, the business was in the process of disintegration. As a consequence of the confusion created in the minds of customers by such rumors, the corporation's position became even more difficult; and it was necessary to constantly reassure customers that every effort was being expended to maintain the corporation's services at the same standards set by Dr. Foregger, in order to keep the business operating.
Commencing in January, 1959, your deponent sought to fill the gaps left by Dr. Foregger's absence. To begin with, the corporation engaged the services of one Bennett Tribken[((37))] who had some experience in managing businesses in troubled circumstances. At first, it was hoped that, with Mr. Tribken's help, the existing personnel of the business could carry on. However, by April of 1959, it was apparent that there was no improvement in conditions, and new problems made it apparent that a large scale reorganization was required.
A new General Manager was employed in June of 1959. The corporation also hired a new purchasing agent, appointed a new Sales Manager, and, ultimately, a development engineer. While these additions to the staff of the corporation produced some results, it was found necessary in 1960 to again reorganize, to halt further decline in corporate affairs.
The additions of personnel in 1959 to perform the functions formerly handled by Dr. Foregger alone resulted in substantial payroll increases. When the 1960 reorganization had been completed, there were further increases in the annual payroll.
At the end of 1958, the corporation's balance sheet reflected no outstanding bank loans. The December 31, 1959 balance sheet, on the other hand, reflected major loan involvement. In that year, a mortgage loan of $175,000 with Roosevelt Savings Bank was negotiated. In addition, at the end of 1959, there were outstanding bank loans of $175,000, making a total indebtedness incurred in 1959 of $350,000. A more aggressive loan condition existed December 31, 1960, when bank loans increased to $210,000 over and above the balance due on the Roosevelt Savings Rank mortgage. In August of 1960, the corporation was faced with the demands of Irving Trust Company and First National Bank of Glen Head for immediate repayment of loans in the total amount of $225,000. These loans were not repaid until October 1960 and repayment was made possible only through refinancing with Franklin National Bank.
After Dr. Foregger died in January 1960, all but a few members of the sales force of the corporation resigned [((38))] including the Sales Manager; and some took positions with competitors of The Foregger Company, Inc. One of the corporation's principal representatives, Roy Dundas of Los Angeles, California, was so much influenced by the rumors about the corporation's poor condition that he established connections with other sources of supply of accessories and fittings for anesthesia machines which, up to that time, he had bought exclusively from The Foregger Company. The corporation also lost its franchise as American representative of Rüsch, the leading manufacturer in Europe of rubber goods used in connection with anesthetic machines. Furthermore, the corporation's representative in Mexico, Colliere & Company, also withheld payment to the corporation of over $66,000 to protect itself in the event the business of The Foregger Company, Inc. failed.
For some months prior to Dr. Foregger's death, and throughout 1960, a steady flow of inquiries was received from firms interested in acquiring the business of The Foregger Company, Inc. Many of the inquirers indicated their belief that the business was in trouble and would welcome an opportunity to be sold but at a distress price. Two firms, The Ritter Company and Ethicon Corporation, reached the point of taking a close look at the records of operation and finances of the corporation, but the affairs of the corporation were in such an unsettled state that no actual offers ever were made to purchase the business at any price.
In 1960, the Franklin Corporation, a small business investment company, expressed interest in making a loan to the corporation in consideration of the grant of warrants to purchase 27% of its stock. As part of the negotiation, a management survey was made of the corporation by Arthur D. Little & Co. of Boston, Mass. The Little Co. report was highly critical by pointing out that the corporation lacked experienced and effective management. The Franklin Corporation did agree to make a loan of $250,000 repayable in five years. However, it imposed such severe conditions that the management felt obliged to withdraw. For example, it demanded a period of seven years within which to exercise options to purchase the 27% interest in common stock and in the interim required that it be entitled to name two of five directors. It also would prohibit, during that time, any expenditures of capital funds, and imposed other restrictions too onerous to be accepted.
The corporation sought other financing sources after Dr. Foregger's death, including sale and leaseback arrangements with respect to corporate real estate and an increase of the mortgage on the real estate. All overtures in these directions were unproductive. Uniformly, the reason given for refusal of aid was the lack of experienced management in the corporation. One such negotiation was made through the Charles F. Noyes Company[((39))]and others were conducted through individual brokers.
In the light of the foregoing facts, the financial position of the corporation was poor and its economic outlook was shrouded in considerable doubt. Good Will and the promise of future prosperity were for all practical purposes non-existent. On the contrary, there was a serious question whether the corporation would be able to survive. The illness of Dr. Foregger had greatly weakened the foundation upon which the corporation depended for its successful operation. His death all but caused the structure to collapse. Satisfactory long term loan arrangements could not be secured; customer and representatives' confidence was undermined; and faith in management without Dr. Foregger's guidance was at a low ebb. Although much interest developed on the part of competitors to buy the business, no offers could be obtained; and such interest obviously came from organizations seeking to acquire the corporation at a bargain price.
As previously mentioned, the competitor companies which manufactured and distributed anesthesia equipment and supplies had kept themselves informed of the details of the trial and its outcome. In turn they had communicated the information to the their customers including hospital executives and anesthesiologists. Lillie Mae's position had become untenable and she was never seen again at national medical conventions where the Foregger Co. continued to exhibit its products. The Foregger Company exhibit booth at national medical conventions, once packed with anesthesiologists inspecting and handling new equipment and seeking out my father for discussions, became in the ensuing years almost deserted.
With all the debts and disorganization, the banks had a great deal to say about the management and affairs of the Foregger Co. After the exposure of Lillie Mae's behavior at the trial, and my father's mental incapacity, followed by a financial audit by the Court appointed guardian and subsequently by Arthur D. Little & Company of Boston, the banks insisted upon the appointment of a professional manager for the firm. The individual, George R. Lake, ((40)) who had this responsibility eventually arranged for its sale. The Company was subsequently acquired by several other firms, but the loss of the founder's knowledge and of his close relationship with anesthesiologists devoted to the development of anesthesia equipment, along with experienced and valued employees, had destroyed institutional memory. In 1984 a Committee of the U.S. Congress, presided over by the then Congressman Albert Gore, (now U.S. Vice President), carried out an investigation and held a hearing following a number of patient deaths due to faulty and obsolete equipment designs, and on the conduct of the Foregger Company in connection with those deaths. The hearing disclosed that Foregger anesthesia machines had been linked with the deaths of four female patients undergoing routine surgery who had died as a result of an overdose of anesthetic agents due to malfunctioning valves. It was shown that the company had failed to aggressively investigate the problem and that it was remiss in fulfilling its responsibilities. ((41)) Following the investigation and hearing the Foregger Co. was liquidated. As a consequence, there are no longer any major American owned firms in the business of manufacturing anesthesia machines, the remaining firms being foreign owned.
John Wiles, as previously noted, was a close friend of my father since age nine. During the Second World War years while Herb and I were away, John was like another son. He later became a salesman for the Foregger Co., and after my father died, joined the Puritan-Bennett Company. John writes: "In hindsight the Foregger Co. died a slow death for 23 years. Your father's inability to handle Lillie Mae assured the Foregger Company's death, but will never reflect on the great contribution he made to the profession he helped pioneer. It was put to sleep by Puritan-Bennett in 1983. By this time the Foregger Co. had little resemblance to the Company your father directed."
Did my father realize what he had done? Sadly, he did.
A former employee and long time friend who had a close personal relationship with my father wrote that, "Shortly after he married Lillie Mae, he recognized all was lost, and the hope he had for the future of the Company was gone".
And I have already recorded that my father said, "The world will be shocked to learn what will happen to the Foregger Company. When I die, the Foregger Company will die."
Although he was aware that as a consequences of his decisions, Lillie Mae had acquired control over the future of the Foregger Company, he was not able to reverse this. The Nassau County NY Court, recognizing that his was an irrational decision, appointed a highly qualified individual to oversee the administration of the Company. Unfortunately, it was too late. Lillie Mae had acquired ownership of the shares of the Company and thus eventually succeeded to full control of the company's destiny.
When the Company was sold, the new management did not hire Lillie Mae's two sons, Jack and Russell, who, as previously mentioned, had been employed by the Foregger Company. According to several former employees including Velta Foregger Roosa no currently employed member of the Foregger family was employed by the reorganized Foregger Company. There is no information that Jackie was employed after leaving the Foregger Company. Jack is described by those who knew him as a likeable and pleasant person but not too smart. Alvira Ranaldo who was Corporation Secretary from 1954 to 1959 says he was pleasant and approachable. His wife Velta describes him as a "generous and giving " type of personality. He had not been able to graduate from high school after seven years. He became more overweight, increased his drinking and smoked four packs of cigarettes a day. He died suddenly from advanced fibrosis of the lungs, complications of alcoholism and right sided heart failure at the age of 43. In a way we might say that Jackie was also a victim of what his mother had set in motion. There was the terrible tragedy of his father, Henry Holt, trying to hang himself and then the loss of his father's companionship after the divorce. There was the loss of his mother's full time support and care in his early years when she left him to live with my father in his house after their marriage in 1946. There was his resentment and suppressed long standing anger, reported by fellow workers and associates, towards my father, who had taken away his mother and would not allow Jack and Russell to live with him when they were young boys. There was the turmoil and tension in the Foregger Co., the trial and the loss of his job. Finally, his brother and mother moved away, leaving Jack and his family alone and isolated in Roslyn to face the people who had lost their jobs when the Company was sold. It is problematic to say whether these psychologically stressful life events may have contributed to his alcoholism, heart disease, and eventual death at a young age. There is no information that Jackie had sought or received professional help for the psychologically stressful events which he had experienced during his lifetime. ((42))((43))((44))
As for Russell, he did not finish college; he dropped out before completing the third semester.((45)) When he was not hired by the new owners of the Foregger Company, he retired at the age of 30. ((46)) He left Roslyn and his mother left soon after. Former friends and fellow employees of the Foregger Company report that he became withdrawn and non communicative.((47)) He refused to meet with John Wiles, a former long-time friend and co-worker at the Foregger Company who wrote in advance notifying him of the forthcoming publication and who traveled to Vermont hoping to discuss with him the details of the events outlined in Death of a Company. It is reported that he developed coronary artery disease which required coronary artery bypass surgery.
When Lillie Mae informed her two sons she had finally succeeded in obtain ing a buyer for the Company, they were disappointed but could not stop her . Overlooking her role in plunging the Company into financial distress, failing to eliminate faulty obsolete equipment designs, and failing to develop much needed new products, she shifted the responsibility to them, angrily proclaiming they had not been of help, not learning more about the Company over the years and not taking interest in the daily affairs of the Company, while spending their time elsewhere; Jack on his boat in Florida and Russell on the ski slopes in Vermont.The heated session took place with Velta Foregger present.((48))
An interesting epilogue is that in the spring of 1960 a few weeks after my father died, Henry Holt showed up on the scene again, although some believe that he had been in the background all along receiving payments from Lillie Mae. There is some support for the view that a contact with the Holt family was maintained by Lillie Mae after the divorce from Henry Holt in that Josephine Holt, Henry's sister-in-law, was brought in by Lillie Mae to work for the Foregger Co. in 1957 under the name of Josephine Eckhard, her maiden name. Josephine was the wife of Charles Holt ((49)) who the reader will recall, cut the rope in the nick of time when his brother Henry tried to commit suicide in December 1945 shortly after Lillie Mae had told Henry she wanted a divorce. I received a letter which said, "On more than one occasion Holt has been seen around Roslyn. He was seen drinking in the Anchorage Tavern in Roslyn Village and one time became very drunk and was talking about going up on the Hill to see Mrs. Foregger to whom he had been married, to get some money to keep his mouth shut. He said he knows plenty and that she will pay and pay well. One time both Russell and Jackie came in and took him away."
Velta Foregger Roosa the remarried widow of Jackie says that,"Henry spent some weekends on the hill and met my girls.He seemed like a very gentle soul in person." Velta does not elaborate on what she means by "in person". I would suspect that she probably meant in contrast to Lillie Mae's derogation of him. Velta's three children were born between 1958 and 1961 so that we may infer that Henry Holt was probably visiting sometime after those dates.
About this time Nathaniel Ellenbogen, who had been thrown over by Lillie Mae several years before when he was suspended from practicing law, began to threaten that he would expose the circumstances under which the will was drafted since he had never been paid by Lillie Mae for his services. Indeed, Lillie Mae had promised Nathaniel Ellenbogen and his wife Alice substantial rewards for their complicity but had double crossed him by cutting him out as executor. Lillie was forced by Nat's threat to pay him off with office cash and Nat signed a release that he would not tell about the will.
In 1974 Velta Foregger, then living in Roslyn, received a telephone call from Lillie Mae. Henry Holt's landlady in Jamaica, Long Island had called Lillie Mae and said Henry had been drinking and had passed out where she found him in the hallway of the apartment building and she wanted him out. Velta said that Lillie Mae was livid over Henry and directed her to go to Jamaica to help pack up Henry's furnishings as Lillie had made arrangements for him to take up residence in Raleigh NC, her former hometown. Velta reports that the next day when she got to Jamaica Henry was in a pleasant mood and they had a fun time packing and making lunch. Lillie Mae paid for the cost of the move, including air fare. Lillie Mae was still living in Roslyn but was planning to relocate to Vermont to be near her son Russell.. Henry was born in the Bronx, and had lived and worked all his life in the New York City area. It has not been possible to find out why Henry was sent to Raleigh. Velta says Henry was not wanted in Vermont but she does not explain why. One might conjecture that it would have been inconvenient to let him take up residence in Vermont where his son, Russell, was then living. This would have required an explanation of his relationship to his son who was living under the adopted name of Foregger. In Raleigh Henry reported to Lillie Mae's sister, Katie Lee Lassiter Wolfe ((50)) who took him in. When Henry drew up his will in 1983, he appointed another sister, Catherine Lassiter Stein, also living in Raleigh, personal representative .((51)) He died in 1986. He is buried in the same cemetery as Lillie Mae, her son Jack and my father in Raleigh. Henry's son, Russell, made the funeral arrangements. The Holt family, including those carrying the adopted name of Foregger, with their descendants attended the funeral in Raleigh.
The reader is cautioned in drawing conclusions regarding statements that Henry Holt may have been an alcoholic. None of the informants actually observed Henry under the influence of alcohol, i.e., the information is second or third hand. The claim of alcoholism may have been a pretext used by Lillie Mae to exculpate her behavior in divorcing Henry in order to marry Dr. Foregger three months later. It should be apparent to the reader by now that Henry Holt was a kind and gentle person who suffered greatly from what had been done to him. It is more probable that his drinking, if any, was on an incidental, tension reduction basis, and Henry had certainly been subject to tension. Mitigating against alcoholism are the facts that he lived to a ripe age, he held a job in a prestigious firm, Evyan Perfumes, Inc., and there is no evidence on the death record of cardiac myopathy, cirrhosis of the liver, fatty degeneration or brain damage characteristic of chronic alcohol toxicity. Finally, correspondence with Mr. Charles Holt, nephew of Henry who lived nearby in Concord, NC, and knew Henry when he lived in Raleigh, does not confirm that Henry was an alcoholic. Likewise, correspondence with Katie Lee Lassiter Stamey does not confirm that Henry was an alcoholic.
Lillie Mae died in Vermont in 1990. Like my father, she too had advanced dementia.
For those persons who may be tempted to question the account in Death of a Company, let me remind the reader that Lillie Mae had ample opportunity to present her side of the story at the three week competency trial during the summer of 1959. Lillie Mae was subjected to vigorous cross examination regarding the events herein recorded both in pre-trial depositions and again at the trial, as were the other witnesses, including myself, the Petitioner. As she stood before the Jury, she had no credible answers for what she had done. What is presented here in Death of a Company are the conclusions of the Jury after hearing all the evidence. I have no intention to retry a matter in these pages which was adjudicated in 1959.
At the trial in 1959 Lillie Mae had vigorously resisted setting up a legal guardianship for my father, vociferously claiming that he was mentally capable and would soon be back to work directing the Company. The truth is and always will be that the Jury decided that he was legally incompetent and the Court appointed a Guardian to oversee management of the Company. Later the banks also insisted on professional management. The truth is and always will be that the Jury found that she had taken his property when she knew he was mentally incapacitated and that she had discharged a number of valuable, long-time, experienced employees without cause, leaving the Company hopelessly crippled. The truth is that under her management "the corporation lacked experienced and effective management and ... there was a serious question whether the corporation would be able to survive." ((52))
I have been asked how this kind of tragedy could have been avoided. This is a difficult question to answer, given the situation at the time. It should be recalled that the Second World War separated my brother Herbert and myself from our father, at a time of decline in his health and stamina. This could have been a time when the mantle of his dreams and wishes could have been passed on to those who were to carry on. Our father was alone during those years. Instead, along came Lillie Mae, ready to fill the void, and this account has outlined how she took advantage of his mental incapacity in order to forward her personal goals rather than that of the Company and the advance of anesthesia equipment.
Here I should interject that in retrospect the early signs of what was to come were present at dinner on the evening I returned from overseas at the end of the Second World War in the autumn of 1945. Hitherto the servants had never dined with the family and I was surprised and uncomfortable when the housekeeper sat with us at dinner and afterwards in the living room by the fireside next to me. I wanted to be alone with my father. For a fleeting moment I flattered myself that perhaps it was in recognition of a returning military officer although neither seemed to be particularly interested in my report. She said nothing and he asked only a few questions. The warmth and camaraderie, the easy going closeness and laughter which had always been part of our father-son togetherness seemed to be missing. There was a barely perceptible, subminimal tension present during the evening. Nevertheless, whether from a desire not to intrude upon my father's arrangements for dinner or a failure to discern the presence of a relationship aside from that of housekeeper, i.e., whether from timidity , blindness or gullibility, I did not broach the matter with him.
One may speculate that had a concerted effort been made by the executives of the firm, outside advisors and those anesthesiologists who had shown an interest, it might have been possible to persuade the leader to seek help in setting up a plan for a viable management succession, before the situation became acute. The one and best solution would have been to entrust the settlement of the succession issue to an outsider. Recall that early on when Lillie Mae appeared at the factory and set up a table and typewriter planning to work there, the factory workers, realizing that she knew nothing about the operation of the plant, pulled the central power switch and shut down the entire plant in protest. Their decisive action succeeded in stopping her. The factory workers protest was a strong signal that something was unacceptable to them and not in the best interests of the Company. Unfortunately the executives of the firm and my father did not realize its serious import and failed to exercise leadership in finding a solution.
Today we have answers for everything, experts to guide us and tell us all about the easy ways of life, but as long as we are dealing with human beings, there are no easy answers. Greed and self-maximization still direct our lives much the same way as they have in the past. Today we also have family business consultants to guide us in planning for orderly succession. Several associations, publications and academic programs in university and college business schools have for years carried out educational efforts on the need for planned succession in the family business. There is a large literature on the orderly transfer of the single owner business firm. ((53))
This historical account describes what happened to the last American owned anesthesia machine manufacturing company when the elderly CEO with incipient mental illness married his young housekeeper with an eighth grade education who took over control of the firm and replaced long standing, experienced employees with inexperienced friends and relatives. It relates what happens to a company when the aging business owner who remains too long becomes mentally incompetent and unable to designate a capable successor. The book reports the attempts of the Company to survive after the death of its founder in the absence of experienced and effective management. It details how despite successive acquisitions by other firms, the company could not survive and was liquidated following an investigation by the U.S. Congress. It concludes by pointing out the need for planned succession in the business firm and the importance of early recognition of mental illness.
Fortunately, in most cases it is not necessary to demonstrate and prove incompetency because recognizing that we all grow old, most people do not seek to take advantage of an elderly person. The dividing line between mental competency and incompetency is not sharply defined. Abnormality, weakness of will and mental incompetency may exist in varying degrees. An elderly person is not capable in many instances of withstanding the artful persuasion, flattery and manipulation of a younger, more vigorous person particularly when the elderly is physically dependent on the caregiver for assistance in one or more activities of daily living. To gain respite from intimidation, coercion and shame the aged acquiesce. Where the transfer of property is concerned, the families, heirs and employees, victims of this predatory behavior, often times do not protest in open court out of distaste for bringing private family matters to public attention. Older persons need protection if they become incompetent. They also need protection when they are vulnerable to manipulation and exploitation by others.
The traditional evasiveness and secrecy surrounding the will makers estate planning seems to be giving way to more openness among family members. Until recently most parents were downright evasive about discussing the disposition of their wealth. Many parents still do not tell their children what they will someday inherit and most children do not raise questions about what they will someday inherit. However lawyers and accountants are now advising benefactors to raise the subject. The goal is to limit or reduce the odds of estate litigation by discussing estate plans so that beneficiaries will know beforehand what they are getting and where it came from. ((54) )
Perhaps this story will have accomplished its purpose if it succeeds in emphasizing the importance of planning for succession in the family business, and if attorneys, jurists, psychiatrists and above all, the public are persuaded to restudy the mechanism for declaring an individual legally incompetent, recognizing the mental infirmities of old age in many instances. Although almost all elderly persons experience some cognitive decline, only a minority suffer dementia. It is a fact that large numbers of individuals remain intellectually vigorous into the ninth and tenth decades of life. With our constantly increasing older population the problem of mental capacity will become more and more important. I also hope that this story will explain to anesthesiologists and others interested what happened to the Foregger Company.
And so ends this tragic story; a story of the death throes of an American business firm devoted to the design, development and manufacture of anesthesia equipment. I hope someone confronted with a similar situation some day may receive some help from it. I hope too that something can be learned about avoiding the events that led to its demise and about survival of a company in similar situations.
This is an account of the destruction of a manufacturing firm whose products and services were important to the medical profession and to the public. It is not intended to be a personal account of what happened to my brother John Herbert Foregger and myself. Nevertheless, I add the following postscript for readers who may wonder about the personal impact we experienced as a result of this matter.
My father had always planned that his two sons would continue his life's work; his sons were to take over the leadership and direction of the Foregger Company when he stepped down.
All this ended on our return from the Second World War and the advent of Lillie Mae Holt. I have already noted that I learned of the marriage of my father and his housekeeper, Mrs. Holt fourteen months after it took place, although my father and I had been in almost continuous correspondence. Both Herb and I felt betrayed at our father's failure to inform us and at the secrecy involved and at his disengagement from us without explanation just as many of the faithful and loyal employees likewise felt betrayed when they were arbitrarily dismissed.((55) ) I feel now, in retrospect, that had he brought us together, Herb and I, himself and Lillie Mae and discussed this change, we could have arrived at a family accommodation. I was devastated and very angry with what I considered a betrayal of our previous close relationship.
There was an initial period of disbelief. Returning from the War I refused to believe this was happening.. When I at last realized that it was so, I was enraged at the deception.
My father had throughout our lives stressed the importance of education in preparation for life's tasks. With his guidance Herbert and I felt that we were faithfully preparing ourselves for succession. During childhood and youth he had constantly instilled in us the values of honesty, trust, openness, truthfulness, loyalty. He had made a powerful imprint on our young minds. When I at last realized that an unqualified person had been selected to direct a company where patient safety was at stake I was further dismayed, bewildered and very angry. When I discovered that Lillie Mae had planned the takeover first by the adoptions of her sons which took place two years after the 1946 marriage, as I later learned, and secondly as I later learned, she had induced my father to draw up his will shortly thereafter, cutting out his two natural sons, and then, she succeeded in extracting forty percent of the Company shares, I was further disappointed and enraged. When, exploiting his mental incapacity, she finally stripped him of all his property, I could no longer tolerate her actions and sought relief for him in legal action. It was mandatory to establish the legal mental incapacity of my father not only to protect him from further depredation but also to provide an explanation of what had happened.
Naturally we were disappointed that we could not carry on our father's work. My personal loss and that of my brother pales in significance to that which befell loyal and valuable employees. The enormity of loss to the physician customers who were dependent on the company for equipment design and development resulted in depriving the public of a company whose products and services were important to them. As for Herbert Foregger and me, each of us have used our talents, along with the education, work ethic and the imprinted values our father gave us to lead productive lives.
It was always my father's desire that the Foregger Company should continue in the high tradition that he had set for it as a monument to his contribution to the science of anesthesiology. It is regrettable that his wish was betrayed.
For the purpose of petitioning a court for guardianship the term incompetence has a precise legal meaning. First the person must be mentally incapable of understanding the consequences of his or her decisions. Second the person must be incapable of handling his or her own affairs.
What to do in the event of a looming dispute among family members regarding the competency of a senior member who controls the estate:
1. Save all correspondence; keep careful records.
2. Avoid hostile and personal remarks or actions; they will be used to confuse the issue, prolong litigation, and increase costs, if it comes to legal action.
3. Study and learn the early signs of mental deterioration and its progression. Mere temporary memory lapse is seldom sufficient in itself to make a diagnosis of incompetency. We all misplace our keys or forget a date at some time. There must be evidence of some or all of the following:
(a) memory loss present on a daily basis over time;
(b) very prolonged time to make the simplest decisions or inability to make decisions;
(c) inability to remember words;
(d) an ongoing process of disorientation to time, place, person;
(e) irrational harmful behavior to the person and/or to others;
(f) acts or omissions evidencing impaired judgement;
(g) inability to satisfy basic needs for nourishment, medical care, shelter, or safety;
(h) confusion, delusions, hallucinations.
Moreover, the foregoing has got to be persistent over time; anyone could transiently exhibit some of these signs following an accident, during an illness or following administration of narcotic or sedative drugs.
4. Conversely, individuals are presumed competent if they have the following mental skills and abilities:
(a) if they are aware of who they are ;
(b) if they are orientated to time, place, person i.e., they know the day and year, where they are and how to get home, and they are able to recognize and identify other close persons.
(c) if they are capable of making rational decisions.
Of course the foregoing outline is greatly oversimplified. The legal issue of competence comes under the subject heading of Forensic Psychiatry. Anyone preparing for a competency trial would want to acquaint themselves beforehand with the voluminous literature and to engage an attorney and a psychiatrist well versed in Forensic Psychiatry. The legal literature and case law on the subject is enormous. ((56))
1. Foregger Co. incorporated May 26, 1914. Source: State of NY, Dept. of State, Division of Corporations. The factory was located in Roslyn Heights, Long Island NY from 1914 to 1968.. From 1914 to 1958 the offices were located in the Aeolian Hall building 47-55 West 42nd Street NYC. In 1958 the New York offices were moved to the factory site in Roslyn Heights.
2. Foregger, founder of the Company, died on January 18, 1960 but the Company had been run with an absent or diminished presence since sometime in 1958.
3. The Foregger Company was purchased by Hillman Coal and Coke, a division of Hillman Corp., Pittsburgh PA, venture capitalists, on January 3, 1968. Also in Surgical Business, p. 86, Feb. 1968; the article does not state the price. Clinton C. Cornelius, Chairman, Hillman Coal and Coke Company, 5/6/93, states the purchase price was $2,800,000. At this time the Foregger Co. was merged with the medical product line of Melchior, Armstrong, Dessau Company located in Ridgefield NJ. Mr. George Lake became President of the merged entities, named the Foregger Co. which was then moved to Smithtown, Long Island NY on February 8-13, 1968. Source: Roslyn News, Feb. 15, 1968.
4. The merged companies, named the Foregger Co. were purchased by Air Products and Chemicals on December 1969 for cash and notes totaling $6,250,000. Source: 1970 Annual Report Air Products and Chemicals. Moody's Industrials 1970, page 455 does not state the price. Chemical Week 106: page 16, Jan. 14, 1970 does not state the price. Andrew Butrica in his book, Out of Thin Air: A History of Air Products and Chemicals 1940-1990 (New York Praeger, 1990) says, page 217, "[When] Air Products purchased the Foregger Company they paid a very high price...they paid too much.The newly acquired company began to go into the red. In late 1978 the difficult decision was taken to disband and sell off the Foregger division."
5. Foregger Division, Air Products and Chemicals was purchased by Puritan-Bennett Corp. in October 1978. (Moody's Industrials, page 11, 1979, quotes the purchase price at $7,000,000. Moody's OTC, page 1209, 1979, states the purchase price was $6,805,000, on Nov. 1, 1978.)
6. After a series of lawsuits in 1983/84, and an investigation by the U.S. Congress, the Foregger Division of Puritan-Bennett was dissolved in May 1984. For further details see Anesthesia Machine Failures: Hearing before the Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations of the Committee on Energy and Commerce, House of Representatives, 98th Congress, 2nd session, September 26, 1984. Serial No. 98-188, Washington: U.S. G.P.O., 1985, pp.264.
1. Gerontologists use the terms aged, older person, old age, or elderly person, to
describe a segment of the population 65+ years of age. Old age is divided into:
early old age, 65-74 years, and advanced old age, 75 and above. Gerontologists do
not use the terms with a negative or pejorative connotation.
2. For details of the family history, von Foregger zum Greiffenthurn, see, Wiener Genealogisches Taschenbuch 7: 42-44, 1935/1936. "Ferdinand II, Holy Roman Emperor on June 3, 1629 elevated the three brothers Hans, Franz and Hironimus to the nobility of the Empire with the name von Foregger zum Greiffenthurn." See J. Siebmacher, Wappenbuch, 4: Section 8, p. 149 and plate 14, 1879. In accordance with Section 9, par. 8 of the U.S. Constitution, I do not use the "von" prefix.
3. Dorothy Ledwith Foregger (1891-1981) daughter of a well-to-do family originally
from Savannah GA, was educated at the Academy of the Sacred Heart, NYC, and
married my father in 1911. They were divorced in 1927. There were two sons,
Richard and John Herbert. Her father was a lawyer, her grandfather a judge who
ran against Tammany Hall for Mayor of New York City in 1870 and lost.
4. For additional information on succession in the business firm see:
(a)American Institute of Certified Public Accountants: Assisting Closely Held Businesses to Plan for Succession. New York, 1992.
(b) M Cohn, Passing the Torch: Transfer Strategies for Your Family Business. 2nd ed., New York, McGraw-Hill,1992.
(c) BB Buchholz, M Crane, Corporate Bloodlines. New York, Carol Publishing Grape.
(d) JW Lea, Keeping it in the Family: Successful Succession of the Family Business. New York, John Wiley & Sons, 1991.
(e) Peter F Drucker, How to Save the Family Business. Wall Street Journal, August 19, 1994, Page A10.
(f) D Bork et al, Working with Family Businesses. San Francisco, Jossey-Bass Publishers, 1996.
(g) B Benson et al, Your Family Business: A Success Guide for Growth and Survival. Homewood IL, Dow-Jones Irwin, 1990.
(h) K E Gersick et al, Generation to Generation: Life Cycles of the Family Business. Boston, Harvard Business School Press, 1997.
(i) Manfred F R Ket de Vries, Family Business: Human Dilemmas in the Family Firm. Boston. International Thomson Business Press, 1996.
5. New York Times 23 May 1915, part 3, page 2, col 6.
6. Lillie Mae is the name on the birth record, on the marriage records and on the Social
Security application. There is no official record for the name Lily Mae.
7. Mr. Robert Cameron(1905-1976) originally from Kinston NC attended the University
of North Carolina and joined the Foregger Co. in 1929. He was handsome and popular
and well liked by my father and they often traveled together on business trips. For
many years he spent the Christmas holidays and the summer season with us in Roslyn.
He was a witness for Lillie Mae at her divorce from Henry and for my father at his
marriage to Lillie Mae three months later. Afterwards she exerted constant pressure to
have Cameron discharged which she succeeded in doing in 1955.
8. Nathaniel Ellenbogen,1898-1973. For details of disbarment see, New York State,
Supreme Court, Appellate Division,3A.D. 2nd 237, 1957 and 7A.D. 390, 1959.
9. John Wiles (1929-), a life long friend and admirer of my father, first met him along with my brother Herbert and me in the summer of 1938 at the age of nine.During the war years he was like another son often accompanying my father on weekends and holidays.
10. Maria Vescia was a graduate of City University of New York. Fluent in four
languages she was VP, of the International Division of the Foregger Co. She left in 1959 to work as an executive at Airkem Industries Inc. She served as President of the International Executives Association in 1971 and 1972 and was mentioned in several business periodicals as an example of a successful business executive. For further details, see, NY Times, Sept. 25, 1971, p. 45.
11. Velta Berzina Foregger Roosa was born in Riga, Latvia in 1936. Following the Soviet
invasion of Latvia in 1939, the Berzins family moved west into Germany. Her father
Edwards, an electrical engineer, was one of the original inventors of the miniature Minox
camera. The family came to America in 1949 and took up residence in Glen Cove NY.
Velta worked for the Foregger Co. from 1955 until its sale to Hillman Coal and Coke Co.
in 1968. She married Jack Holt Foregger in 1957.
12. Transferred from the U.S. Army to the Nuffield Department of Anaesthetics, Oxford
University, December 1942, I went up to London, purchased a rotameter and sent it to
my father hoping that he would consider manufacturing it . He didn't. After I returned
from the War he continued to show no interest. I corresponded with Kermit Fischer,
President, Fischer and Porter Co., the American manufacturer of the rotameter who
supplied me with much information and I visited with him at the factory in Hatboro, PA.
I published The Rotameter in Anesthesia, Anesthesiology 7: 549-557,1946 and Early
Use of the Rotameter in Anaesthesia, British Journal of Anaesthesia 24: 187-195, 1952.
The Foregger Co.started to manufacture the rotameter in the 1950/1952 period. By
1958/1960 it had supplanted the outdated acquameter. I kept my father fully informed.
13. For life and contributions of my father see: Richard Foregger II, Richard von Foregger:Ph.D.,1872-1960: Manufacturer of anesthesia equipment, Anesthesiology 84(1):190-200, 1996; B Haid, In Memoriam, Richard von Foregger, Der Anaesthesist 1960;9(5):188.National Cyclopaedia of American Biography, Richard von Foregger, 1965; 48:406
14. On the marriage application my father records his age as 64 and that he had never previously been married. In fact his age was 74 in 1946 and he had been married twice before.
15. For review of attachment theory and close relationship loss see, Terri Auerbach ed., Close Relationship Loss: Theoretical Approaches New York, Springer-Verlag, 1992; Steve Duck, Julia Wood e's., Confronting Relationship Challenges, Thousands Oaks, CA, Sage Publications, 1995; Susan Goldberg et al, Attachment Theory, Hillsdale NJ, Analytic Press. 1995; Judith Feeney and Patricia Noller, Adult Attachment, Thousand Oaks CA, Sage Publications, 1996, J. Feeney, P. Noller, Adult Attachment,1996.
16. Information is from Central Records, Wake County Public School System, 9/2/93.
17. Information from Peace Institute Registrar 7/14/93.
18. Information from Assistant Superintendent for Pupils and Personnel, Roslyn Public
Schools, Roslyn NY 2/18/94.
19. Some of the relatives and in-laws have objected to the statement in the 1st edition
which I base on the trial transcript and the Report of the Russell Banks accounting
firm to the Court appointed Guardian. The statement does not reflect upon the
factory workers who remained loyal to my father and to the Foregger Co..
20. Supreme Court of the State of New York, Nassau County Mineola, NY, In the Matter of the Appointment of a Committee for Richard von Foregger/Richard Foregger (Incompetent) Index No. 3861/1959.
21. The will is dated Dec. 2, 1954, so that Lillie Mae may have had the preparation of the
will in mind during the preceding weeks including the above noted October 25-29, 1954
anesthesia society meeting. The will provided for token legacies to Richard and John
22. John Wiles-Velta Roosa interview Seattle WA 7/6/97.
23. Herbert is not alone in dwelling upon important past life events. When the famous actor
and World War II, USAAF commander James Stewart was asked almost fifty years later
whether he ever though of his war experience he said, " its something that I think about
almost every day,." For further information on thought control and rumination see,
James Uleman and John Bargh, Unintended Thought, New York, Guilford Press, 1989;
Daniel Wegner and James Pennebaker, Handbook of Mental Control, Englewood Clifts
NJ, 1993; Daniel Wegner, White Bears and Other Unwanted Thoughts, New York,
24. For review of work of James Elam (1918-1995) and Elwyn Brown see, Peppriell J et
al , Development of Academic Anesthesiology at the Roswell Park Memorial Institute:
James Elam and Elwyn Brown, Anaesthesia and Analgesia 72: 538-545, 1991.
25. This was one of two times he mentioned his wife to me.
26. This is the terminology for mental disorders used in the 1959 period. For present day
comparable terms see, Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, DSM-IV,
4th ed. 1994 and the ICD-10 Classification of Mental and Behavioral Disorders, 1993.
27. For outstanding accounts of recent contested will cases see: B Goldsmith, Johnson vs Johnson, New York, Knopf, 1987 and D Margolick, Undue Influence, New York, W Morrow, 1993. For additional citations see: Alexander Bove, How to Break a Will, Worth, 2(8): 96-100, October1993; Sandra Titus et al, Family Conflict over Inheritance of Property, Family Coordinator, 28:337-346. 1979; Michael Oldman, Attaching Wills: The Untangling of Frauds, Undue influence and Mental Disorders, Los Angeles Lawyer 17(2): 21-23, 40-43, April 1994; J H Langbein, Will Contests, Yale Law Journal 103: 2039-48,1994; P. Birks, Undue Influence and Wrongs: Pecuniary Recission for Undue Influence, Restitution Law Review 5: 72-79, 1997; Trent Thornley, The Caring Influence: Beyond Autonomy as the Foundation of Undue Influence, Indiana Law Journal, 71: 513-549, 1996; Lawrence Frolik, Biological Roots of the Undue Influence Doctrine: What's Love to do with It? University of Pittsburgh Law Review 57: 841-882, 1996; Sid Moller, Undue Influence and the Norm of Reciprocity Idaho Law Review, 26: 275-307,1990; Jeffrey Schoenblum, Will Contests-An Empirical Study, Real Property, Probate,and Trust Journal 22(4): 607-660, 1987. The interested reader will want to consult the section on Duress and Undue Influence in American Jurisprudence, the section on Wills: Fraud and Undue Influence in Corpus Juris Secundum and the section on Duress and Undue Influence in Restatement of the Law 2nd, vol. 53, Contracts 2nd Sec1-177, 198
28. Mr. Louis Bullard (1901-1971), was educated at the City University of New York and
joined the company in 1929. He was qualified by education, knowledge and experience
to direct the Company. My father and the anesthesiologists had complete confidence in
Mr. Bullard who knew the business thoroughly. Lillie Mae dismissed him after 30
years service in 1959, without cause, as soon as she appointed herself executive VP; one
more disaster from which the company. never recovered. At that time the Company had
no retirement pension plan for its employees.
29. For details see: 184 Fed. Supp. 366-376, 1960 and 293 Fed. Reporter 201-205,1962. Invengineering Inc., Plaintiff vs Foregger Co. and Mrs. Lily M. Foregger,
30. For early description see, Frederick G. Panico, Extra corporeal Pump-Oxygenator for
Organ Perfusion, Journ. Applied Physiology, 15: 757-758, 1960. The device was called
the Pulspirator when sold by the Foregger Co. Also see, W. Neptune et al, Open-Heart
Surgery without the need for donor-blood priming in the Pump Oxygenator, New England
Journal of Medicine 263:111-115, 1960.
31. James St. Leger born May 5, 1925 was originally from Mountmellick, Leix, Ireland. It is
reported that he was well educated and was at one time a copy editor for a newspaper.
He was working and living in Africa and there met Catherine Lassiter Stein, sister of
Lillie Mae and wife of the New York City dentist, Michael Stein. Catherine Stein was
influential in bringing St. Leger to the U.S. where he obtained employment with the
Foregger Company through the influence of Lillie Mae. Both Catherine and Lillie Mae
signed affidavits as witnesses at St. Leger's Petition for Naturalization on Jan. 4, 1962.
32. a) G M Wyant, Mechanical Misadventures in Anaesthesia, Toronto, University of Toronto Press, 1978.
b) E I Eger, R M Epstein, Hazards of Anesthetic Equipment, Anesthesiology 25: 490-504, 1964.
c) L Rendell-Baker, Some Gas Machine Hazards and Their Elimination, Anesthesia and Analgesia, 55: 26-33, 1976.
d) L J Hampton , Absorption of Carbon Dioxide: Influence of Canister Design on Performance Characteristics of Commercial Absorbers, Anesthesiology 28: 255-6, 1967.
33. ) L Rendell-Baker, Problems with Anesthetic Machines and their Solution, International Anesthesia Clinics, 20(3): 1-82, 1982.
34. There are no footnotes in the original affidavit. All characters in the text of the affidavit referring to footnotes are bracketed thus[(*)], to indicate that the footnote was inserted by myself and not by Attorney William Pius who prepared the affidavit.
35. Note by author: The statement concerning the absence of plans for succession is incorrect. My father had groomed my brother, Herbert Foregger,to be his successor. When he sent him money to come and talk about returning to the Foregger Company in 1957, Lillie Mae and her two sons attacked Herb while she cried "Get Herb! Kill Herb! Kill Him!". After the attack on Herb in 1957 my father was unable to support Herb as his successor. Lillie Mae had also fired other well educated and experienced executives with 10-20 years of managing the Company in my fathers absence who were qualified to succeed him; she knew that they were to receive shares in the Company upon his death if they remained with the firm.
36. Note by author: The statement is incorrect. See previous footnote.
37. Bennett Tribken 1895-1972, Manhassett NY 11576, SSN 097-12-6550
38. Note by author: This is not a fully correct statement. After my father died, many of the sales force did resign, as stated. However, during and after the 1959 competency trial Lillie Mae fired several employees, including salesmen, without cause. All the employees who were to receive shares in the Company upon the death of my father, had previously been forced out by Lillie Mae.
39. The Charles F. Noyes Co. Inc., 42 Broadway NYC, was engaged in real estate.
40. George R. Lake 1918-1988, Pinehurst NC 28374, SSN 717-09-5483. Lake was Pres.
Foregger Co. from 1961- 1970 following which he formed Harris-Lake Co., Cleveland.
41. Anesthesia Machine Failures, Hearing before the Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations of the Committee on Energy and Commerce, House of Representatives, 98th Congress, 2nd session, September 26, 1984, Serial No.98-188, Washington DC GPO, 1985, pp. 263.
42. For list of stressful life events see: Leo Golberger and Shlomo Breznits, Handbook of Stress, 2nd ed., New York, Macmillan International, 1993; Also see Thomas H. Holmes and Richard H. Rahe, Social Readjustment Rating Scale, Journal of Psychosomatic Research, 11:213-218, 1967, table 3. Amongst those listed are: loss of job, inadequate support from supervisors, over promotion, isolation from co-workers, divorce, loss of parental support, personal illness or injury. Also see M. Zeidner and N. Endler, Handbook of Coping, 1996.
43. For review of the literature that links psychology factors with heart disease see:
(a) MG Goldstein,R Niaura, Psychological Factors Affecting Physical Condition, Psychosomatics 33(2): 134-145,146-155,1992.
(b)S Booth-Kewley, HS Friedman, Psychology Predictors of Heart Disease, Psychological Bulletin 101(3):343-362, 1987.
(c) RS Eliot, Relationship of Emotional Stress to the Heart, Stroke: 243-246, 1993.
(d) RS Eliot, Emotions and Coronary Heart Disease, Heart Disease and Stroke, 3: 361-364, 1994.
(e)Eugene Braunwald, Heart Disease,3rd ed., Philadelphia, WB Saunders, 1988. "There is strong evidence that emotional distress precedes the development of coronary artery disease.
45. Information from Office of the Registrar University of Connecticut, Storrs CT.
46. From New York Times 7/2/95, section 1, page 37, col. 3,4.
47. For avoiding communication see, John A. Daly et al, Avoiding Communication
2nd ed. 1997..
48. John Wiles-Velta Roosa interview Seattle WA 7/6/97.
49. Charles Holt (1895-1969)public accountant. Josephine Eckhard Holt (1909-1989)held a notary public commission at the time of her employment by the Foregger Co.in the accounting department. They lived in Glen Cove NY 1957-1965 after which they moved to W. Islip NY where Charles died. She married William Swan on 12/31/71 and died in Daytona Beach FL 10/17/89.
50. Now Katie Lee Lassiter Stamey, Raleigh NC.
51. The will was never probated; there were no assets according to the Clerk of Court, Wake County, 5/10/95
52. Op cit: Affidavit, Estate Tax Return of Foregger Co. Inc. to New York State Department
of Taxation and Finance, 14 April 1961, citing the management survey report made by
Arthur D. Little & Company of Boston.
53. See endnote 1.
54. Jeffrey Rosenfeld, The Heir and the Spare: Evasiveness, Role-Complexity and Patterns of Inheritance, pp.73-89 in Social Roles and Social Institutions, Judith Blau and Norman Goodman eds., Boulder CO,Westview Press, 1991; Jefrey Rosenfeld, Will Contests: Legacies of Aging and Social Change,PP. 173-191, in Inheritance and Wealth in America, Robert K. Miller and Stephen McNamee eds., New York, Plenum Press, 1998; Sandra Titus et al,Family Conflict over Inheritance of Property, Family Coordinator 28:337-346, 1979.
55. For scholarly review of the psychology of betrayal see, Malin Akerstrom, Betrayal
and Betrayers: Sociology of Treachery, 1991 and Aldo Carotenuto, To Love, To Betray:
Life as Betrayal, 1996.
56. For additional literature on the medical and legal aspects of mental capacity see:
(a) JE Birred et al, Handbook of Mental Health and Aging, 2nd ed., San Diego, Academic Press, 1992.
(b) GB Melton et al, Psychological Evaluations for the Courts, New York, Guilford Press, 1987.
(c) T Grisso, Evaluating Competencies: Forensic Assessment and Instruments, New York, Plenum Press, 1986.
(d) PS Appelbaum and TG Gutheil, Clinical Handbook of Psychiatry and the Law, New York, McGraw Hill, 1991.
(e) BA Weiner and RM Wettstein, Legal Issues in Mental Health Care, New York, Plenum Press, 1993.
(f) Walsh, Arthur C., Mental Capacity: Legal and Medical Aspects of Assessment and Treatment. 2nd ed., Colorado Springs, Shepard's/McGraw Hill, 1994. An outstanding, important source.
g) Two recently published books which I highly recommend are: Douglas H. Powell, Profiles in Cognitive Aging, Cambridge MA Harvard University Press 1994 and Richard A.Posner, Aging and Old Age, Chicago, Unversity of Chicago Press, 1995.