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Texas Billionaire Harold Simmons' Redacted Will Released

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Dallas Morning News
    Harold Simmons.

    Texas billionaire Harold Simmons made his wife the sole beneficiary of his estate, listing no political or charitable contributions in a will made public Monday.

    A Dallas probate judge ordered the release of a redacted version of Simmons' will, signed about three weeks before his Dec. 28 death.

    Simmons was an East Texas native who eventually turned his investment in a single Dallas pharmacy into a corporate empire with interests ranging from metals to a nuclear waste dump. The will does not disclose the value of his estate, but lists Annette Simmons as the recipient of his savings, personal and household effects, and properties in Texas, California and Arkansas.

    Simmons was a reclusive yet powerful political donor who gave to state and national Republicans and bankrolled the 2004 campaign to discredit the war service record of Democratic presidential nominee John Kerry. He also donated money to Planned Parenthood and the Resource Center, a group that serves Dallas' lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community.

    Before he died, Simmons was well-known in Texas for his donations to hospitals, universities and civic organizations. The president of UT Southwestern Medical Center estimated that Simmons gave $200 million to the research hospital alone.

    In the will, Simmons established an array of charitable foundations and trusts to receive donations from his estate, but only in the event that Annette Simmons died before him. It also would have strictly forbidden any political giving.

    "None of the assets...shall be used for carrying on propaganda or otherwise attempting to influence legislation," he wrote in the will.

    Attorneys for Annette Simmons had argued that the will should be sealed to protect her safety and privacy, as well as the names of her children and grandchildren.

    Probate Judge Michael Miller agreed to have those names withheld from public release, as well as the addresses of Simmons' homes and ranches.

    Simmons did not leave anything in his will for his four daughters and their children. He wrote in the will that two of his daughters and their children, "all of whom I love," were separately provided for with assets "far in excess of the value of the assets distributed by this will."

    Two other daughters who sued Simmons in the 1990s were also left out of the will "because they were otherwise provided for pursuant to a legal settlement years ago."