Angel's Envy family feud: Lincoln Henderson's widow sues her son - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Angel's Envy family feud: Lincoln Henderson's widow sues her son over inheritance

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Wesley Henderson Wesley Henderson
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- The widow of Angel's Envy bourbon creator Lincoln Henderson says in a lawsuit that her son has “effectively stolen” her share of the proceeds from Angel's Envy's recent sale to Bacardi Limited.

Cecilia Henderson, 71, claims her son Wesley Henderson has not shared information or proceeds from her late husband's interest in a company that owned about 10 percent of Angel's Envy when the brand was sold to Bacardi in March.

“Mrs. Henderson deeply regrets having to file a lawsuit against her own son, but she must protect Lincoln's wishes and her own rights,” according to the lawsuit, filed Monday in Jefferson Circuit Court.

Wesley Henderson, of Crestwood, did not return a call for comment on Monday afternoon.

View of a copy of the complaint here.

Cecilia's husband of nearly 50 years, Lincoln Henderson, cemented his legacy in the bourbon industry by creating Angel's Envy in 2006, according to the lawsuit. Henderson, the former Master Distiller for Louisville-based Brown Forman Corp., died in September 2013 at the age of 73, according to the suit.

After only about five years on the market, the fast-growing boutique brand was acquired by Bacardi, a private company, for an undisclosed price. Angel's Envy plans a distillery and tourist destination in downtown Louisville across from Slugger Field.

In 2010, when Angel's Envy was introduced to the market, Lincoln Henderson and Wesley Henderson each took a 50-percent stake in a company called Spirited Holdings, which in turn had a stake in Angel's Share Brands, the company that owned the brand, according to the suit.

The Hendersons had an 8-10 percent stake in Angel's Share Brands when it was sold to Bacardi, according to the suit. (Angel's Envy had taken on several other investors, such as the Louisville private equity firm Blue Equity.)

A few weeks before he died, Henderson executed a will leaving his “entire estate” to his wife, according to the lawsuit.

But instead of sharing information or proceeds with this mother -- who “needs her inheritance to be financially self-sufficient” -- Wesley Henderson may instead use the money to “finance his lifestyle,” according to the suit.

“(Wesley Henderson) has stated to others his intent to purchase exotic luxury cars and vacation homes,” the suit says.

The suit also says that Wesley Henderson tried to get his father to give him full ownership of the family interest in Angel's Envy, including “rush(ing)” to the Louisville International Airport in an unsuccessful attempt to get his father to sign papers just before he left for a family cruise in 2012.

It plays up Lincoln Henderson's role in creating and securing early investors for Angel's Envy while saying that Wesley “did not have any meaningful or long-term experience in the bourbon industry prior to joining his father in the creation of Angel's Envy.”

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