Framework

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Nov. 19, 1970: Clint Wescott, 54, the homelss man who has again refused $20,000 due him, scans batch of mail addressed to him at his headquarters under the 4th Street bridge at Flower Street. Wescott is not much interested in the messages except that they occasionally contain a dollar bill or two - enough to buy him some wine.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: John Malmin / Los Angeles Times

Feb. 11, 1968: Homeless man Clint Wescot lights a cigarette after refusing a fortune of nearly $20,000. This photo was published in the Feb. 12, 1968 Los Angeles Times.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Richard L. Oliver / Los Angeles Times

Feb. 11, 1968: Homeless man Clint Wescott, right, refuses letter from Los Angeles Times reporter Charles Hillinger telling him about his fortune of $19,219.68. Wescott had 44 cents in his pocket at the time. This photo was published in the Feb. 12, 1968 Los Angeles Times.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Richard L. Oliver / Los Angeles Times

1968: After rejecting a $20,000 legacy, because it would present him with too many problems, Clint Wescott is excited upon receiving two dollars from fanmail. Wescott was profiled in a Jan. 28, 1968 story by Charles Hillinger on the homeless man. Turns out there was nearly $20,000 in a bank in his named. He rejected the money. Friend Herman Honeycutt looks on.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Richard L. Oliver / Los Angeles Times

Nov. 10, 1970: Homess man Clint Wescott, right, is visited unter 4th Street Bridge at Flower St. by attorney John P. Brown. Wescott again refused to consider accepting his $20,000 from attorney Brown. This photo was published in the Nov. 11, 1970 Los Angeles Times.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Cal Montney / Los Angeles Times

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He’s refusing $20,000? And he’s homeless? Yes and yes [updated]

Nov. 20, 1970: Homeless man Clint Wescott, 54,  scans a batch of mail addressed to him at his headquarters under the 4th Street bridge at Flower Street.

Wescott, who more than once refused $20,000 that was due him, was not much interested in the messages except those that occasionally contained a dollar bill or two — enough to buy him some wine.

In  Jan. 28, 1968, Los Angeles Times. columnist Charles Hillinger wrote a profile on the homeless man living near Bunker Hill:

Clint Wescott has lived in the heart of Los Angeles at the same place the last 10 years and not once received any mail.

“Ain’t got no address, that’s why,’ the bearded, flop-hatted, 51-year-old explains.

No address, but his ‘estate’ two blocks from the County Courthouse in the hub of the nation’s third-largest city is known coast to coast. …

Hillinger’s column, reprinted in a Schenectady, N.Y., newspaper, caught the attention of Burnt Hills, N.Y., attorney John P. Brown. With Hillinger’s help, Brown contacted and informed Wescott: Guess what, there’s nearly $20,000 in two New York bank accounts that belongs to you.

“I don’t need the money,” Wescott was said to have replied. “I’m getting along fine.”

Two years later, in 1970, unrelated business brought Brown to Los Angeles. Brown contacted Wescott; again, no thanks, the homeless man said. The money stayed in those New York bank accounts.

In 1953, Wescott had abandoned a gas station he owned and hit the road. The station was purchased in 1961, and proceeds from the sale were placed in two bank accounts in his name.

Hillinger wrote in a Feb. 13, 1968 follow-up piece:

The world of Clint Wescott has been shattered and will never be the same.

Wescott, a 51-year-old man who has avoided people for 15 years, now finds them chasing him — and the $19,219.68 he suddenly found waiting for him in Burnt Hills, N.Y. …

Wescott found himself surrounded by friends and strangers more than happy to help him spend his loot. But the publicity led to one change — when Times staff photographer John Malmin found Wescott in 1970, he was receiving tons of mail.

According to an Only in LA column written in 2000 by Steve Harvey, Wescott died in 1992 with the money still sitting in those banks.

[The original post of Sep. 20, 2010 updated on Dec. 26, 2014 with four additional photos.]

scott.harrison@latimes.com

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2 Comments

  1. September 21, 2010, 8:26 am

    Just goes to show you money isn't everything, and when people know you feel that way they are more than happy to be there for you. I understand where Wescott is coming from. I have thought many a times what it would be like. Alas, I did not have the gumption to do what he did.

    By: Ontracktv.com
  2. January 15, 2015, 12:46 am

    I used to live in Burnt Hills. I wonder where the gas station was?

    By: k.ireton@utoronto.ca

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