As final preparations are made for this weekend's unveiling of a headstone on trans icon Carmen Rupe's grave a threat has been made that it will be removed and replaced by a group unhappy at the way her affairs have been handled. After consultations with Carmen's New Zealand-based family the executor of her estate, Jurgen Hoffman, has arranged for the headstone to be unveiled this Saturday. Her grave at Sydney's Rookwood Maori Cemetery has since her death in December 2011 been marked by a tall white cross. The Carmen Rupe Memorial Trust, co-created by Sydney woman Kelly Glanney, has long said that it, Glanney and Carmen's Australia-based niece Chanette Hemopo dispute the provenance of Carmen's will, Hoffman's authority and his handling of the estate. However, writing in an internet posting, Glanney has now threatened that "when Carmen's grave is finally back in the hands of CRMT Trustee Chanette Hemopo, Carmen's favourite niece, who according to Carmen's Will should have been the major beneficiary of the Estate, a more appropriate headstone will be fitted ceremoniously in full recognition of her achievements and to mark the wonderful and courageous person that Carmen really was." There is no indication of how the Trust will go about replacing Hoffman as executor or how long that process would take. Hoffman, who has the public support of many of Carmen's friends and associates and most of her immediate family, says he is "shocked and dismayed" at the threat. He says he and Carmen's whanau, including her sister Tessie and brother Francis, have worked on details of the headstone design for almost a year and all, except Hemopo, have signed off on it and given it their blessing. He says Hemopo is the only hold-out, having said she would sign off but never actually doing so. Hoffman is also critical that Hemopo's delaying of the unveiling by not signing off on it has meant Carmen's sister will no longer be able to attend the unveiling due to deteriorating health. "The delay by Chanette in signing off the headstone has now prevented Tessie from travelling to be at the unveiling as she is very sick and not very mobile," he says. "If Chanette had signed off in August, Tessie would have been able to attend – she was so looking forward to it."
Credit: GayNZ.com Daily News staff
First published: Thursday, 5th June 2014 - 11:16am
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