Looking into the estate of the late U.P. Coca-Cola King

ISHPEMING TOWNSHIP — After a six–month investigation into the estate of the Upper Peninsula Coca–Cola King, the late Gordon Elson of Ishpeming Township, ABC 10 has filed a grievance against two Marquette County attorneys with the Michigan Attorney Grievance Commission, attorneys Daniel mead and Richard Graybill.

The two attorneys will not talk to ABC 10 off the record, after months of trying to get comments.

Following a six–month investigation, and due to the preponderance of evidence at this point, it’s possible the estate of the late Gordon Elson, the U.P. Coca Cola King, is being looted again, and he may be the victim of an ongoing crime spree.

Elson, who by all accounts was a kind, generous man, died this past March. He has no heirs. Before his death, civil trials and hearings were held in Marquette County Circuit Court against the those who originally ripped off Elson’s estate for untold millions.

Estate Attorneys Richard Graybill and Daniel Mead have refused to answer questions surrounding the estate and missing luxury cars like a Rolls Royce. ABC 10 has made numerous attempts to talk with those attorneys and to estate executor George Paavo of Negaunee. The estate is reportedly worth $3 million dollars.

A judge ordered relatives of late Marquette County businessman Bill Pesola to repay the Elson Estate. Pesola was best known for running some of the (U. P.) Big Boys Restaurants and the Red Fox Inn Golf Course at K.I. Sawyer.   However his estate is likely worth much more.

Elson is one of the last business owners to sell his U.P. Coca–Cola franchise back to the company.

“As they were buying up quite a few of the local owner bottlers out,” Leonard Laurila of Negaunee, who worked at Elson Bottling Works for nearly 30 years, said. “After they (Coca–Cola Midwest) purchased it, the bottling operations of Elson’s stopped, and from then on (Elson Bottling) we were a distributor for Coca–Cola Midwest and they were out of St. Paul and Minneapolis. And since then, from what I know Coca–Cola Midwest sold Marquette (former Elson Bottling) to Coca–Cola USA , so it (the franchise) went back to Coca Cola USA.”

The latest Elson will, filed by the estate attorneys, is only giving away a tiny part of that estate, about $150,000.

Other questions about the Elson will include no date next to a signature that is reported to be Elson’s, and the last will and testament does not include Elson’s alma maters–Michigan State University and Finlandia University. ABC 10 is seeking copies of 300 checks written off the Elson Estate, used in evidence in the civil trials.  Another group of checks gave a shock glimpse into how his estate was bleeding money.

ABC 10 will have more on this story in the future.