With a narrative that was sufficiently compelling to inspire a Hollywood movie, Melvin Dummar has returned and launched yet another legal challenge designed to obtain a portion of the estate of the late Howard Hughes. Dummar’s claim to a portion of the Hughes estate rests on his tale of being a Good Samaritan when he rescued a wandering Hughes from the Nevada desert in 1967.
Dummar, at the time a Utah service station owner, claimed that he picked up Howard Hughes along a desolate desert highway approximately 150 miles north of Las Vegas, Nevada. Hughes allegedly asked Dummar to take him to the Sands Hotel in Las Vegas and during the trip, Hughes revealed his identify to Dummar. After Hughes death, a handwritten will was discovered at The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (“LDS”) in Salt Lake City. The new will (commonly referred to as the “Mormon Will”) was allegedly prepared in 1968 and had a number of strange discrepancies including the fact that it left money to the LDS (Hughes had never been a member), named a dismissed former employee as executor and referred to Hughes’ famous flying boat by the term “spruce goose”, a moniker Hughes allegedly despised. Most importantly for Dummar, the Mormon Will left 1/16th of Hughes’ estate to Dummar. In June 1978, after a lengthy trial, the Mormon Will was ruled a forgery by a Nevada jury and Dummar received nothing from the Hughes estate.