Saturday, May 23, 2015

Gore-Tex heiress adopted her ex to grab $ for their kids: report

One faction of Gore-Tex's founding family is trying to grab a bigger stake of the Gore fortune through a novel, complex adoption strategy

Gore-Tex heiress adopted her ex to grab $ for their kids: report

Ex-DuPont Co. chemist Wilbert L. Gore, founder of Gore-Tex insulated fabrics, "aimed to have each grandchild inherit the same amount of money," reports Cris Barrish in the Wilmington News-Journal. "Almost a quarter century after his death, however, Gore's careful calculation has become the focus of a vicious family fight...

"Susan W. Gore, one of Wilbert's five children, triggered a five-year Delaware Chancery Court battle by adopting her ex-husband... so that each of her three natural children could reap tens of millions of dollars more from a family trust worth hundreds of millions... because she had spent too much of her own inheritance..."

Lawyers for 16 cousins who oppose the adoption "went so far as to ask Susan, now 71, if she had sex with her ex-husband and fourth 'son,' Jan C. Otto, after adopting him...

"The five children of Wilbert and Genevieve Gore are board directors of W.L. Gore & Associates, Inc. and all hold significant shares of Gore stock... A spokeswoman for W.L. Gore, which has 9,000 employees across the globe, including more than 200 at its headquarters on Paper Mill Road north of Newark, called the case a "family matter" of little concern to the company, which expects record revenues of $2.7 billion this year...

"At a trial set to start Jan. 10, the key issue will be whether the Wyoming adoption entitles ex-husband Otto to become a 'grandchild' and trust beneficiary," enriching his children while ensuring that "their 16 cousins would get less...

"The dispute does not involve U.S. Sen. Chris Coons (D-Del.), whose mother married (Wilbert's son) Robert Gore after she already had three sons. While Coons and his two brothers were never adopted by Robert Gore and are not trust beneficiaries, his February financial disclosure form showed (that Coons, an ex-Gore general counsel) owns more than $2 million worth of Gore stock." Time to sell?

About this blog

PhillyDeals posts drafts, transcripts and updates of Joseph N. DiStefano's columns and stories about Philly-area business, which he's been writing since 1989.

DiStefano studied economics, history and a little engineering at Penn and taught writing at St. Joseph's. He has written thousands of columns and articles for the Inquirer, Bloomberg and other media, wrote the book Comcasted, and raised six children with his wife, who is a saint.

Reach Joseph N. at,, 215.854.5194 or 302.652.2004.

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Joseph N. DiStefano