Virgins victorious in DHL suit

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — In life, Larry Hillblom — the “H” in DHL Worldwide Express — was known for his money-making zest. But his death revealed a private passion: an alleged penchant for bedding young virgins.
In the two years since Hillblom’s body was lost at sea, several women from the Far East who say they bore his children have come forward to demand a share of his millions.
Now, the lurid court battle appears to be nearing an end.
Last month, a court on the tropical island of Saipan approved a tentative settlement granting 13-year-old Larry “Junior” Hillblom and three other children up to $90 million each, pending more DNA testing.
A much-squabbled-over scrap of skin from Hillblom could prove decisive.
Hillblom was majority shareholder in closely held DHL, the delivery company he co-founded in 1969 with Adrian Dalsey and Robert Lynn. It now employs more than 40,000 people in more than 220 countries.
In 1995, Hillblom’s World War II-vintage seaplane crashed near Saipan, his home for 10 years. His body was never recovered, but he was legally declared dead.
That was when friends and associates found out that the 52-year-old, never-married Hillblom — who had narrowly escaped death when he crashed a small plane in 1993 — had left sparse instructions on how to divvy up his far-flung fortune, estimated at $500 million to $700 million.
“He thought he was going to live forever,” said David Lujan, a Guam attorney for Junior Hillblom.
Hillblom’s will, written in 1982, said only that $300,000 should go to each of his two brothers and the rest to a charitable medical trust. The trust was directed to “show particular attention” to supporting research at the University of California.
Hillblom had graduated from UC-Berkeley’s Boalt Hall law school and also had long been an admirer of the doctors at UC-San Francisco, some of whom treated him after the 1993 crash.
The most important part of Hillblom’s will was what he didn’t say: There was no standard clause disinheriting illegitimate heirs.
That opened the door to paternity suits from women who said they bore Hillblom’s children during what they described as his pursuit of teen-age virgins in the bars and nightclubs of the Far East.
“I think it was his form of safe sex,” said attorney David Axelrod, who represented one of the children.
The obvious answer to paternity claims is DNA testing. But there was no body to obtain samples from and Hillblom’s relatives were reluctant to provide blood samples. At one point, his mother turned down an offer of more than $1 million.
Doctors at UC-San Francisco said they had taken a mole from Hillblom, and the lawyers thought that would solve the dispute. But then it was announced there had been a mix-up; the mole belonged to someone else. Doctors said they did have scar tissue left over from Hillblom’s 1993 surgery. But they refused to relinquish the tissue, prompting a legal battle that went to the California Court of Appeals.
In the meantime, lawyers for the children commissioned DNA sibling tests to see whether Hillblom’s alleged offspring had a common parent. The answer was yes for four children: two Filipino girls, a Vietnamese boy and a Palauan boy.
Last month, a probate court in Saipan approved a settlement under which the children will split 60 percent of Hillblom’s fortune and the trust will get 40 percent.
If another round of DNA tests confirms the sibling relationship, lawyers for the trust can try to prove Hillblom was not the father, either with a blood sample from a relative or with the scar tissue.
This week, as part of the agreement, the scar tissue, preserved in paraffin wax, is to be turned over to the lawyers, who will give it to Dr. Ed Blake, a DNA expert member of O.J. Simpson’s defense team.