This is a word in defense of the memory of Ben Novack Jr., whose wife, Narcy, and brother-in-law were convicted in New York for orchestrating his murder. A lot of titillating allegations, and worse, were made public about Ben’s personal life during the investigation and trial. Most of them were made by his wife. Naturally, they all received intense media attention. Not many other things about Ben attracted media interest.
Ben was more than just a rich guy from a famous family who lived large and met violent deaths. He also was a smart businessman with almost endless energy and a sharp focus on detail. Like his father, it was not in Ben’s nature to be fully satisfied with the quality or cost of anything. But he usually worked longer and harder hours than anyone else.
After the bankruptcy of the Fontainebleau, Ben’s father lived modestly and managed a small motel on Miami Beach. He put together an estate that he left to Ben and his mother. By then, Ben was in business for himself and was becoming successful. I was the attorney for Ben Sr.’s estate. I saw Ben work his way through a thicket of his father’s financial disputes. He did it the right way. He either paid the claims or defeated them in court. In a few years he satisfied the creditors and salvaged what he could for his mother and himself, as the heirs. At the same time, Ben built his small business into a big one, and eventually it became a fortune.
I knew Ben and his mother, Bernice, quite well. I met Narcy soon after Ben and she began to date. I was at their wedding. I spent many hours in their company. I believe that Ben loved Narcy. I am sure that he loved his mother and that she loved him. There always was an uneasy ‘truce’ between the women.
May Ben and his sweet mother rest in peace.
Woodrow ‘Mac’ Melvin Jr., Miami