Pay for my Manhattan apartment, or I won’t be your doctor.
That was the threat Dr. Jack Rudick allegedly made to elderly heiress Huguette Clark, who had already handed over $1 million to the surgeon in a sham loan, court papers charge.
Rudick, the head of surgery at Beth Israel Hospital North, where Clark lived for 13 years, raked in a total of $1.9 million from the heiress. His wife, Irene Rudick, got $210,000, despite never having met the reclusive patient, court papers say.
“Rudick knew that Mrs. Clark had ‘no concept of money’ and exploited his relationship with Mrs. Clark by repeatedly seeking funds from her on the ground of some feigned ‘need,’ ” according to a recent court filing by New York City Public Administrator Joy Thompson.
Thompson, who is overseeing Clark’s $306 million estate, is seeking the return of the cash given to the Rudicks.
The doctor is one of a number of caregivers, including Beth Israel honchos, accused of trying to exploit the heiress, who died last year at age 104.
Rudick started treating Clark in 1991 when she came to Beth Israel North at the age of 85. Clark lived there and at the main downtown campus for the rest of her life, despite not needing hospital care. During that period, she gave away more than $40 million to the hospital, her private duty nurse, her doctors and others — money that Thompson is now seeking to return to the estate.
Rudick became Clark’s favorite doctor. She insisted that he perform surgery on her, even though a gynecologist would have been a better choice, court papers say.
The checks flowed to Rudick: $20,000 in 1997; $85,000 in 1998; and $50,000 in 1999, according to an accounting in court papers.
In 2001, Clark agreed to loan Rudick $500,000. It was supposed to be paid back at 6 percent interest in one year. In 2002, Rudick got another $500,000 “loan” under the same terms, court papers say.
“Rudick knew that, at some future date, he would be able to influence Mrs. Clark to forgive payments of the ‘loan,’ ” court papers charge. Clark eventually forgave the loans.
After pocketing the $1 million, Rudick asked for more cash, saying he wanted to buy an apartment to use as both a home and office, a lie allegedly uncovered by Clark’s lawyer, Wallace Bock, court papers say.
“Bock discovered that Rudick lived in New Jersey, had no intention of selling his home, and intended to close his medical practice,” court papers say. “Rudick further threatened Mrs. Clark not to serve as her doctor if she did not comply with his ‘request’.”
Even after Rudick retired in 2002, he continued to visit Clark until at least 2008, and collected more cash — a total of $330,000 between 2004 and 2008, the filing says.
Rudick, who graduated from medical school in South Africa in 1957 and was licensed to practice medicine in New York 10 years later, was named in at least a dozen malpractice suits. He also practiced at Mount Sinai hospital.
“He needs to be nicer with sick people,” said Sandra Calderon, 68, of Manhattan, who sued Rudick for malpractice after breast-cancer surgery and eventually settled.
The last malpractice suit against him was filed in 2001 by a different woman who claimed she suffered nerve damage after a hernia repair. The case was settled for $1.1 million.
Rudick now lives in a $1 million condo in a gated community in Westport, Conn. He refused to speak to a reporter last week.
Additional reporting by Kathianne Boniello
Doctor milked heiress for millions: lawsuit
Isabel Vincent/Melissa Klein
December 9, 2012
New York Post