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Doris Duke's Heirs Booted From School for Unpaid Tuition Amid $1B Fight

By James Fanelli | February 6, 2013 8:12am

NEW YORK CITY — They're each expected to inherit a mind-boggling $500 million when they turn 21 in six years, but right now they're just struggling to pay for school.

Teen twins Georgia Inman and Walker Patterson Inman III, the heirs to Manhattan philanthropist Doris Duke's massive fortune, were suspended from their private high school last week because their monthly tuition hadn't been paid, according to court records.

Educational Advantage, a school based in Park City, Utah, sent a letter to the teens' mom, Daisha Inman, informing her that they owe $24,524. The school suspended the 15-year-olds on Jan. 28 until they pay the overdue bill, court records show.

The delinquency stems from a bitter feud in Manhattan Surrogate's Court between Daisha Inman and JPMorgan, which administers a trust for the teens until they turn 21.

DNAinfo.com New York previously reported in October that JPMorgan says it exercises discretion in doling out money to the twins because of Daisha Inman's hefty requests in the past — including $6,000 for a haunted house party and $50,000 for Christmas gifts.

The banking giant claims that while it provides cash for the twins' cost of living — including tuition — it fears the fund will be drained if it concedes to the mom's financial demands.

Daisha Inman says JPMorgan's stinginess leaves them scrambling to pay their bills each month and nearly got them evicted from their rental home in South Carolina last year.

The legal battle got so bad that in May a Surrogate's Court judge appointed lawyer Lawrence Murphy as an independent guardian to act in the interest of the children in the proceeding.

In a report he submitted last week, Murphy said that "a great amount of friction" exists between the twins' mom and JPMorgan.

Murphy said that in a Jan. 27 email, Daisha Inman blamed JPMorgan's harassment and negligence for the twins' impending suspension and said the bank continues "to embarrass, humiliate and disrespect this family, putting us through hell with funding our providers and personal funding."

"My children are upset, anxious and embarrassed about being expelled from school due to the trustees not paying their monthly tuition," the mom wrote.

She added that the kids fear that by missing class they'll have to attend summer school and miss out on a vacation to visit their relatives in Oregon.

The Inmans claimed they were almost evicted last year because JPMorgan only gives them money to rent rather than a lump sum to buy a permanent home, the report says.

Daisha Inman also told Murphy that JPMorgan advised her just before the holidays in December that she, the twins and their pets would have to move into a one-room apartment. The situation was resolved at the last minute, and the family now lives in "adequate accommodations," Murphy said.

The tumult over the trust is the latest chapter in a roiling intergenerational saga involving one of the country's wealthiest families.

The twins are the children of Walker Patterson Inman Jr., the nephew of Doris Duke, the late tobacco heiress who split her time between a $44 million Upper East Side mansion and 2,740-acre New Jersey farm.

Inman Jr. was a globe-trotting adventurer who married his fourth wife, Daisha, in 1996. They divorced after four years of marriage and spent 10 years in an acrimonious custody battle. In one proceeding, Inman Jr. said his children would be worth $1 billion when they turn 21 on Oct. 23, 2018.

Inman Jr. died at 57 in 2010 from a methadone overdose, and his fortune went to his children.

In his report, Murphy asked the judge to have Daisha Inman and JPMorgan representatives meet face to face in court in March to hash out their differences.

JPMorgan declined to comment. Murphy and the Inmans did not respond to a request for comment.