McLean, Va. — One of Robert F. Kennedy’s children is suing over custody of a decorative planter outside the historic northern Virginia home where the Kennedys once lived.
The Washington Post reported Sunday that the dispute stems from the sale of RFK’s famed “Hickory Hill” estate in McLean in 2009.
The late senator’s widow, Ethel Kennedy, had told her children to choose one item from the house. Daughter Kerry Kennedy picked a four-foot-high urn planter from the front yard.
Kerry Kennedy said the new owner initially resisted but agreed to part with it in 10 years and signed an agreement. She’s now suing Hickory Hill owner Alan J. Dabbiere in federal court for breach of contract.
“It belonged to the people who are so important to me,” Kerry Kennedy said. “I’m going to put it in Hyannis Port, where my children live, my mother lives, all of my family comes every summer, so they can have this connection to our family’s history.”
Dabbiere said he had been under the mistaken belief that Jackie Kennedy brought the urn to the property in the 1950s, and changed his mind after learning that it had been there long before the Kennedys arrived.
“As a steward of the property’s long and rich history it is my belief the urn should stay with the property,” he said.
Hickory Hill is a designated National Historic Landmark. It was built on about five acres of land in 1870. It has nine bedrooms and 11 bathrooms as well as a tennis court and a pool.
John F. Kennedy and his wife Jackie bought it in 1955 when he was a U.S. senator, then swapped homes in 1957 with Robert and Ethel Kennedy.
The suit claims the urn is worth more than $75,000, the minimum needed to file a federal claim.
“It was something her parents treasured because it was one of the few things they had that had also belonged to President Kennedy, and Ms. Kennedy has treasured the Urn as a special and symbolic artifact of her family’s life and unique history,” the suit said.
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