Feud erupts over Diane McIver’s estate

The company Diane McIver led plans to file a legal claim asserting the late businesswoman’s estate owes it nearly $1 million.

The move by U.S. Enterprises - where Diane McIver was president - could tie up her considerable assets as her husband faces criminal charges in her death. And it points to friction between Diane McIver's husband, who is auctioning off some of her possessions to settle her affairs, and her longtime mentor, Billy Corey, who groomed her to take over his company.

In a Jan. 3 letter obtained by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, U.S. Enterprises said it had lent $975,000 to a separate company of Diane McIver’s, called DRS Investments.

The letter was sent to Claud “Tex” McIver, who is the executor of late wife’s estate.

“We would appreciate your remittance in the above stated amount to Enterprises,” the letter said.

Tex McIver, himself a politically connected attorney, shot his wife in the back as the couple rode in their SUV near Piedmont Park on Sept. 25. He was in the back seat and she in the front when, according to McIver, he accidentally pulled the trigger on his .38-caliber revolver. He was charged in late December with involuntary manslaughter, a felony, and reckless conduct, a misdemeanor. The case has yet to go before a grand jury for consideration of an indictment.

The letter went on to say the $975,000 is part of some $3 million that McIver’s company DRS had owed to U.S. Enterprises.

U.S. Enterprises is the company of Billy Corey, who had hired Diane McIver as a teen and would eventually make her the company’s president. The two were said to be very close.

Since her death, Tex McIver has been disappointed that his relationship with Corey has deteriorated, said Jeff Dickerson, spokesman for Tex McIver.

A legal claim by U.S. Enterprises has the potential to tie up her estate for some time, and to prevent any distribution of the money, Dickerson said.

Diane McIver rose through the ranks at Corey Airport Advertising, spending more than four decades with the company whose namesake tower is a landmark on the Downtown Connector.

She helped lead a years-long lawsuit in which Corey alleged municipal bias in the awarding of contracts at Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport. The city of Atlanta settled in 2011, agreeing to pay the company $3.9 million.

Tex McIver was a lawyer for Corey in the case.

U.S. Enterprises had little to say on Tuesday beyond the letter.

“This is an estate matter that will be dealt with accordingly,” said Kenneth Rickert, Enterprises’ general counsel. “It is not connected to the criminal charges filed against Mr. McIver.”

Dickerson said that all the estate has received is the letter, and further documentation of the debt is needed. He anticipated that U.S. Enterprises would file a formal claim with the probate court.

“This is a claim that lacks any supporting documentation,” Dickerson said. “We’re going to review and investigate as necessary.”

In recent weeks, Tex McIver has auctioned off many of his wife's possessions at several estate sales. Fulton County District Attorney Paul Howard had asked a judge to stop the auction Friday, but the judge refused. Saturday's sale included high-end items, like diamond stud earrings worth more than $40,000.

McIver’s attorney has said he will not profit from the sales of his former wife’s possessions. Money from the estate sales will help pay off $350,000 that Diane promised in her will to a few people who worked for her, as well as help with their children’s education, he said.

DRS Investments was formed in 1992 and filed statements with the Secretary of State’s Office as recent as last year. Diane McIver is listed as secretary, and the company is located at Corey Center in Atlanta.

The company filed papers to dissolve in 2007 but then started up again, according to information of the website of the Secretary of State’s Office.