Originally created 03/10/99

Library sues executor of will



HARLEM -- Columbia County library officials agreed to file a lawsuit against the executor of a Harlem woman's will, who they say still owes the library about $8,500.

The library board of trustees voted unanimously to pursue the lawsuit during its Tuesday night meeting at the Harlem Library.

The dispute began last September when library board members learned that Madelyn Anne Creech, a Harlem resident who died in 1994, had left $40,000 to the Harlem Library in her will.

The executor of Ms. Creech's will, Howard G. Roberts III, of Covington, Ga., had failed to notify the beneficiaries of the gift around the time of her death, library officials said.

A check for $40,000 was received by the county Nov. 25, more than four years after Ms. Creech's death.

County Attorney Doug Batchelor said he wrote a letter to Mr. Roberts soon after the check was received asking for about $8,500, the estimated interest that would've accumulated on the money from 1994 to 1998.

Mr. Roberts did not reply to the letter, Mr. Batchelor said.

Mr. Batchelor advised Library Board Chairman Jeff Hardin that the board could sue for interest.

"This was an option," Mr. Batchelor said. "If they want to receive the money, (the suit) was about the only way they were going to do it."

Mr. Batchelor said the board must now draft a complaint and file the lawsuit.

"I think the board will show that those are funds we're willing to go after," said David Porter, a board member from Evans.

Benjamin Carr can be reached at (706) 868-1222, Ext. 109, or at ccchron@augustachronicle.com.