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Rupe family defends Carmen's executor

Fri 2 May 2014 In: New Zealand Daily News

Members of the Rupe family at the February 2011 Auckland memorial service for Carmen The brother and sister of the late Carmen Rupe have called for an end to on-going social media accusations of wrongdoing aimed at two of the trans icon's closest friends, including the executor of her will, and have strongly endorsed the couple's "past and future actions." In a "Rupe Family Statement," just obtained by Daily News, New Zealand-based Francis Rupe and Tessie Hemopo, and Hemopo's daughter Ann Paterson, say they are "utterly dismayed at attempts by two individuals and one organisation to use social and other media to discredit both Robin Waerea and Jurgen Hoffman." The trio say they "denounce all accusations... of wrongdoings" made against the gay couple, who supported Carmen in her final years in Sydney and particularly in her final months. Hoffman is also the executor of Carmen's will. The statement is the latest twist in a saga which flared up shortly after Carmen's death in December 2011, with allegations of wrongdoing frequently leveled against Waerea and Hoffman. Much of the expressed discontent has originated from Carmen's Sydney neighbour, Kelly Glanney, the Carmen Rupe Memorial Trust (CRMT) which Glanney helped to establish, and Hemopo's Australia-based daughter, Chanette. As late as November 4 last year on social media Chanette was at length questioning Waerea and Hoffman's motives and involvement in the preparation of the will, accusing them of perpetrating multiple lies in connection with Carmen's legacy and enjoying "the power that comes with Aunt's legacy and the possibility of making money by using her name." Waerea and Hoffman have repeatedly and strenuously denied all allegations of impropriety and appear to have the backing of most of Carmen's long-time associates in New Zealand and Sydney. However, the latest statement to hand, dated November 23, 2013, just days after the November 4 allegations, names no particular perpetrators and has been unable to contact either Hemopo or Rupe to clarify. The statement appears to signal a turnaround in the views of the Rupe family in New Zealand. In a previous letter, publicly released in late March 2012, Tessie Hemopo had expressed confidence in Chanette and the CRMT. She said she and Chanette found it "very disappointing that certain people have been spreading distasteful and false rumours in an effort to undermine the CRMT before it even gets off the ground... under the pretence of acting to protect Carmen's legacy." Tessie Hemopo said at that time that Chanette had been appointed to the CRMT and "will from now on be the only person to speak on behalf of Carmen's family." She said Chanette was a joint executor of Carmen's estate and a major beneficiary of her will, "as Carmen trusted her." At that time the objectives of the CRMT were indicated to be social change and potentially as wide ranging as disaster relief in the South Pacific. Tessie Hemopo supported those goals, describing them as "important." Since its formation the Trust has been running a series of small fundraisers around Sydney. In the latest letter Rupe, Hemopo and Paterson say they have "utmost respect" for Waerea and Hoffman's handling of all matters relating to Carmen's affairs." They say they believe the pair "continue to hold her best interests at heart and we fully support their past and future actions."    

Credit: Daily News staff

First published: Friday, 2nd May 2014 - 2:31pm

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