Mayor Koch Willed $100,000 To His Loyal Secretary Mary Garrigan
Garrigan, 63, who was hired to work as a secretary for Koch's Congressional office in 1975, will receive $100,000.
"He trusted her more than any single person on his staff," Koch's former press secretary George Arzt told The New York Times. "She knew everything and she never spoke about anything."
Dennis Christensen, an elder law attorney for two decades, says it's "fairly common" for individuals to leave money to non-relatives. "It's not usually a whole lot of money. But oftentimes it's some money just to give that person some acknowledgement of how important they were." But giving money to an employee is far rarer, he says. "Most of the time, people feel like they've fairly compensated their staff during their lifetime, and don't see any reason to give them additional compensation or recognition after death."
Garrigan certainly knew she was special to Koch, who credited her, along with three other women -- one of his deputy mayors, his chief of staff, and former executive director of the city's Art Commission -- as responsible for his success. Out of those four women, however, Garrigan was the only one to get pride of place in Koch's will.
"Many times people just don't have any idea," says Christensen, "that the person thought of much of them as they apparently did."
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Claire Gordon has contributed to Slate's DoubleX, the Huffington Post, and the book Prisons: Current Controversies. While an undergraduate at Yale University and a research fellow at Yale graduate school, she spoke on panels at Yale and Cornell, and reported from Cairo, Tokyo, and Berlin.
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