Dispute Over Reynolds Fortune Spills into Court 

Legal wrangling over the estate of the late Virginia Sargeant Reynolds, an heir to the Reynolds Metals fortune, has spilled into Richmond Circuit Court.

Virginia Reynolds, who died in January 2014 at age 99, was the widow of Richard S. Reynolds Jr., former chairman of Reynolds Metal Co. She also was the mother of the late J. Sargeant Reynolds, a former lieutenant governor of Virginia.

In her will, she left what she describes as at “token gift” of $200,000 to her son, Richard S. “Major” Reynolds.

According to a court filing last week, Major Reynolds is seeking more — a piece of an additional $1.8 million that has yet to be divided. The trustees of the estate are asking a judge to decide whether that constitutes a violation of the will, which contains a no-contest clause that says if any party contests or disputes the will, he or she receives nothing.

The trustees are Virginia Reynolds’ grandson, J. Sargeant Reynolds Jr., and Austin Brockenbrough III, who has served as director of the Virginia Sargeant Reynolds Foundation. If a judge rules that Major should be stripped of his inheritance, the trustees also want advice on how Major’s $200,000 should be redistributed among Reynolds’ heirs.

None of the parties was reachable for comment. Of the Reynolds family, Major and his wife, Pam Reynolds, have been most prominent in Richmond’s philanthropic and social scene.

Major’s son Richard S. Reynolds IV ran into financial trouble in 2009 when an awning company he purchased two years earlier went bankrupt.

The late Virginia Reynolds received an inheritance of approximately $6 million from her husband, according to the court filing. She was known as generous with her wealth, but also as a mercurial character. In her funeral eulogy, a granddaughter recalled to the congregation how Reynolds once called to invite her over for a meal. She asked the granddaughter to pick up hamburgers from a fast-food restaurant on the way. The granddaughter says that when she arrived, Reynolds snatched the bag of burgers and slammed the door.

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