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Originally published May 7, 2007 at 12:00 AM | Page modified May 7, 2007 at 5:01 PM

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Salvation Army settles its dispute over Issaquah man's $33 million bequest

The dispute over a multimillion-dollar estate left by an Issaquah man has apparently been settled. "The case involved disputed issues of...

Seattle Times staff reporter

The dispute over a multimillion-dollar estate left by an Issaquah man has apparently been settled.

"The case involved disputed issues of estate and trust law," said the Salvation Army in a prepared statement. "The parties fully believed in the positions they advanced and the matter has been resolved by a settlement agreed to by all the parties."

The Salvation Army would not say how the case was settled, but Tom Wetterer, attorney for Greenpeace, said his organization expects to get $27 million.

Wetterer said the order dismissing the lawsuit has not been signed by the court yet. That could come later this week. "Cases are never officially over until the judge says that they are," Wetterer said, "however, it's true that the parties have agreed to settlement terms."

The dispute involved a $264 million estate left by H. Guy Di Stefano, who died last summer at his Issaquah home at age 90.

He left his money equally to eight charities, including the Salvation Army and Greenpeace.

But Di Stefano's will said the $33 million should go to Greenpeace International, which no longer exists. Instead, it was absorbed into the Greenpeace Fund.

The Salvation Army argued that because the Greenpeace Fund isn't the same organization named by Di Stefano in his will, it should forfeit the money, the largest bequest in Greenpeace history.

Di Stefano made his money as heir to United Parcel Service because his wife's father was one of the company's early managers.

Only the Salvation Army challenged the will. Greenpeace argued that, under Washington law, the court look at the intent of the will and Greenpeace should receive the money.

The Salvation Army declined to talk about the case. Wetterer said over the past few years there were other cases where the money was left to Greenpeace International, but it never was a problem. Wetterer said Greenpeace International existed when Di Stefano wrote his will in 1991, but became Greenpeace Fund seven months before he died.

Susan Gilmore: 206-464-2054 or sgilmore@seattletimes.com

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