Schenectady County

Family bears one more delay, mystery in homeless heir case

Max Melitzer, a homeless man from Utah, was to arrive in Albany on Thursday to claim his brother’s $

The bus pulled into the Albany Bus Station, then emptied.

Richard Goldfarb watched for his long-lost cousin Max Melitzer to exit. Melitzer, a homeless man from Utah, was to arrive to claim his brother’s $100,000 estate.

A man exited and the seeming reunion was on. Goldfarb asked how the trip was.

“It’s been 55 years,” Goldfarb said. He also noted the man looked different from the picture.

He was different. The man wasn’t Max Melitzer.

Melitzer, the man whose family had a private investigator track him down on the streets of Salt Lake City, wasn’t on the bus.

He wasn’t on the next one, either.

It was another chapter in the story of Schenectady resident Morris Melitzer’s estate. His brother, whom Morris wanted to have his estate, had vanished again. Exactly where Max Melitzer was remained unclear Thursday evening.

Goldfarb, his attorney Stewart Finton, and the Utah private investigator they’d hired worked to find Melitzer again. The investigator, David Lundberg, relayed to family that he’d seen Melitzer off on a bus bound from Salt Lake City to Albany with the ticket and some money for food. Melitzer also had Ballston Spa resident Goldfarb’s phone number, though Melitzer didn’t have a cellphone.

He was scheduled to arrive at 1:15 p.m. Thursday. When he wasn’t on that bus, Goldfarb hoped for the best, suggesting he missed a connection and would be on the next one at 3:30. He wasn’t.

Goldfarb said he didn’t think the homeless Melitzer had a change of heart.

“He was very interested in getting the money and that’s what this is all about,” Goldfarb said, “giving him the money.”

Max Melitzer was traveling to the Capital Region to address legal issues related to the inheritance.

Morris Melitzer, 66, of Schenectady, passed away April 16, 2010 after a long fight with pancreatic cancer. He’d worked the line at General Electric. He also served in Vietnam and was buried at Saratoga National Cemetery in the town of Saratoga.

Morris’ estate is estimated at about $100,000, some of that coming from General Electric, Goldfarb said.

Morris Melitzer also endured the destruction of his home on Strong Street in 2005, the result of a gas line accident. He wasn’t home at the time. A train buff, he was at the Schenectady train station.

Morris spent his final weeks at Ellis Hospital, with Goldfarb visiting frequently. It was there that Morris spoke of giving his estate to his brother, Goldfarb said.

“He wanted his brother to stop being homeless,” Goldfarb said Thursday, adding a short time later, “He just said, ‘Hopefully, now my brother will be off the streets.’”

Then they just had to find Max.

Family hadn’t spoken directly with Max Melitzer since some time before Morris’ death. Since, they received a couple phone calls and a letter. But information he gave never allowed them to get in touch with him, Finton said.

Asked about a New York City attorney listed in surrogate’s court files as representing Melitzer, Finton said that attorney said he was in touch with Melitzer, who had hired him to do legal work on the estate. The paperwork, filed last year, came with Melitzer’s notarized signature.

But Finton hadn’t spoken with Melitzer directly.

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