Elsewhere online
April 09, 2012

Questions Raised Over Charitable Gift by Calif. Socialite With Dementia

A Southern California widow suffering from dementia made a $600,000 donation in 2006 to a charity run by nonprofit spirituality group the Kabbalah Centre, of which her financial trustee is a key member, according to the Los Angeles Times.

Relatives said Susan Strong Davis, an 87-year-old former socialite, had no known affiliation with the center and had never expressed any interest when still lucid in the Jewish mystical discipline of kabbalah or other religious matters.

The gift to the Kabbalah Centre's Spirituality for Kids offshoot came a few years after John E. Larkin, longtime co-trustee of Ms. Davis's approximately $11-million fortune, became involved with the center and its leaders, Philip and Karen Berg. Mr. Larkin married a high-ranking Kabbalah Centre official in 2006 and was put in charge of an auditing committee that oversees the organization's finances.

Mr. Larkin not return the newspaper's messages seeking comment. He has not been accused of any crime in connection with his handling of Ms. Davis's money and has not been identified as a subject in a continuing Internal Revenue Service probe of the Kabbalah Centre and the Bergs.