Money for Access (Consciousness)

Obama bundler Curry Glassell sued to have millions stripped from charities, given to herself

Curry Glassell / curryglassell.com

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A bundler for President Barack Obama with a history of bankrolling liberal documentaries and teaching "Access Consciousness" classes unsuccessfully sued to keep her deceased father’s fortune out of the hands of charity.

Curry Glassell is the daughter of the late Alfred C. Glassell Jr., a Houston oil multimillionaire and philanthropist. Glassell Jr. earned millions in the oil and natural gas business and gave much of it away to charities and nonprofit organizations.

He left his daughter millions of dollars. She is now a major donor to the Obama campaign and has pledged to bundle between $100,000 and $200,000 for Obama’s reelection effort.

She donated $5,000 in 2012 directly to Obama’s reelection campaign, as well as $35,800 to the Obama Victory Fund and $30,800 to the Democratic National Committee, records show. She also donated $40,000 to the Swing State Victory Fund.

While the $3 million she was bequeathed has allowed her to become a high roller in the Democratic Party, Glassell apparently was not satisfied with the amount of her inheritance.

She sued after her father’s death to invalidate the last will her father signed, arguing that lawyers pressured a mentally weak man to donate more money to charity—a decision that reduced the amount Glassell inherited.

The Houston Chronicle reported on her lawyer’s argument:

"For decades, Mr. Glassell's wills provided substantial gifts to his daughter and his two grandchildren. Only at age 87 did his will change to dramatically reduce those gifts. Curry Glassell contends that her father was heavily influenced to reduce these gifts by others he trusted at times when he was vulnerable," said Jack Lawter, one of her lawyers, in a written statement Wednesday.

At stake in the lawsuit were millions for Glassell and her brother, Alfred Glassell III. Curry refused to testify that her father was mentally incapable of changing the will, according to the Houston Chronicle:

In often tearful testimony Curry Glassell testified Thursday that though she didn't really think of her father as incompetent when he signed his last will, he never intended for the bulk of his half-billion-dollar estate to go to charity while she only received $3 million and some oil interest.

Glassell's brother, who managed the family foundation that received much of the elder Glassell’s estate, opposed the suit and defended the last will.

Ms. Glassell reportedly sat alone in the courtroom, with the rest of her family on the other side of the room.

"Curry, who is worth roughly $15 million … testified about feeling that way in the family since her father divorced her mother when she was 6," the Chronicle wrote.

Despite her father’s opulent wealth—he collected African gold, among other artifacts—Ms. Glassell’s website describes her "feeling a sense of lack" growing up and says that she heard every day, "You’re stupid and can’t take care of yourself."

Glassell may have lost her suit to increase her inheritance, but she also found a new sense of self-worth. She discovered Access Consciousness, a self-help program, her website says.

"What if everything you’ve learned about money is a lie?" her biography says. "What if ALL of life (that includes money) could come to you with ease and joy, and glory?"

Her pursuit of ease, joy, and glory has led Glassell to be an Access Consciousness facilitator, inviting people "to come play with us in the wacky world of Access and find your own personal brilliance once and for all."

Access Consciousness has been described as a "cult-like" group; its most famous adherent is NFL running back Ricky Williams.

Glassell teaches classes titled, "Right Riches for You." A video on her website homepage with the same title as her class opens with Ms. Glassell saying. "Hi Everyone! I’m on the 49th floor of the upper house in Hong Kong. Come, come!"

She then exclaims, "Look, look at this amazing space where we’re going to have breakfast! Isn’t this one of the most beautiful rooms you’ve ever seen in your life?"

Glassell also bankrolls liberal documentaries.

She funded the documentary Illegal, the website for which warns that "the president's order to halt the deportations of some young undocumented residents … could change as early as January under a new administration."

She was also a producer of the documentary Ann Richards’ Texas, which features "Bill Clinton, Nancy Pelosi, Dan Rather, Tom Brokaw, Lily Tomlin, and Willie Nelson," according to a New York Times review.

The film looks at Richards’ failed reelection bid against George W. Bush in 1994, and implicitly draws parallels with this year’s election.

"In the film, Ms. Richards is portrayed as the left-leaning populist outmaneuvered by Mr. Bush, who was running against her on behalf of highly organized big-business interests," wrote the Times.

Glassell, who also helped fund the movie, drew a parallel between 1994 and 2012: "‘This man is trying to create change and be a catalyst for something good, and everybody is against him,’ she said, comparing Mr. Obama to Ms. Richards," wrote the Times.

Glassell makes no secret of her favorite liberal politicians. The first page of her website features pictures of Glassell with Obama, his wife, and Julián and Joaquín Castro—" keynote speaker at the Democratic Convention!!!!!!" the caption underneath this picture reads.

She could not be reached for comment.

Andrew Evans   Email Andrew | Full Bio | RSS
Andrew Evans is an assistant editor at National Affairs and a former reporter for the Washington Free Beacon, where he covered government accountability and healthcare issues.

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