The recent stories on Huguette Clark and her father's family have been entertaining and depressing. It illustrates a generation of thoroughly unproductive lives, lived cut off from actual society and its responsibilities, amazingly similar to royals of old Europe.

Now, we're witnessing several extremely well compensated and lavishly gifted lawyers, doctors, nurses, caregivers and hospitals facing off with distant Clark relatives, who already had received four-fifths of the original fortune at Mr. Clark's death, all scavenging for the remaining unsquandered funds of Ms. Clark.

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Butte, Mont., would be a lovely setting for a town, if it wasn't for an extremely toxic Superfund site, left behind from the process of making Clark's fortune. Perhaps this money could actually assist in addressing a small part of the environmental damage created by W.A. Clark's copper business and its successor. It certainly isn't the only toxic "gift" Clark's companies left to the U.S. taxpayers, in order to provide his children the wherewithal to purchase $25,000 dolls and similar self-absorbed expenditures. Many of the workers in this family's businesses made less than $2 a day and their families suffered with the effects of airborne heavy metals and toxic water in their struggle to survive.

There was a human cost for all those empty castles, covered artworks and fruitless lives. The problem is, the Clarks didn't pay a fair price, to this point. Maybe it is time for a magnanimous gift to ameliorate the family's excesses.

Joel Reynolds

New Canaan