In search of a man named Gilbert Clerc, wiped out by his large inheritance

Gilbert Clerc’s alleged bequest to Fresnes-sur-Apance (near Bourbonne-les-Bains) remains to be realized. The judiciary is investigating the situation of management under the control of the wealth of this textile entrepreneur, who lives mainly in Langres. Money, money… but who was this “good man”?

From Gilbert Clerc, we only know the municipality of Fresnes-sur-Apance and… millions of euros that interest justice. Municipality, because he is the beneficiary of the estate of his wife Edith, who inherited all his property after the death of her husband. Justice, because the conditions of their management, being under control, raises questions in front of him. Today, the implementation of the succession remains.

Gilbert Clerc the man disappears behind the startling figures. Ironically, there are few memories of the couple in Langres, where he and his wife lived for decades.

“Do you know what today’s youth lacks? It’s a good war. This great gentleman, who knows war, wished for my generation…”. Fifty years after hearing those words, this resident of the city of castles still hears them. “Clerk spouses did not interfere in local life.” This octagon is also all that the Langrois pair holds. And so on.

But over the years, Gilbert Clerc established his financial power, including in the fortified city, where he owned numerous properties – buildings and garages here, buildings and car parks in other cities or outside France. But who was Gilbert Clerc? It’s hard to get an idea of ​​this before meeting Nadine Valette, a tenant of 27 years.

Twenty years of litigation

“I used to run ‘his’ shop on rue Jean-Roussat. I received the good will.” Nadine sells upholstery fabric. When the first discounts appear, he adds to his assortment if there’s even one left to lessen the blow to turnover.

“At first Gilbert Clerc lived here before the great Marius Vechambre lived in the promenade pavilion”. In building 5, surrounded by a stunning carriage entrance. “There was a common corridor to another shop, four flats and a small house at the end of the garden.”

Obviously, Gilbert Clerc owns the walls of Nadine’s business, he is her tenant. Very soon, the first argument goes against them. The court will agree with the tenant. And two more times. He will lose for the fourth time. Hearing this was the nightmare of Gilbert Clerc’s life. “If necessary, it will last 20 years! had warned him. That’s how long the legal battles between the tenant and the landlord took.

“Thrifty” nature

“There were mouse holes in the floor… and mice below, ivy coming through the wall…” According to Nadine’s memoir, Gilbert Clerc neglects the upkeep of the apartments he rents.

As another witness put it, he would intervene: “My friend saw us go into his house in his absence – he put signs to make sure. And finished with changing the lock and installing the bolt. He also sees Gilbert Clerc’s checkbook, an apology for “forgetting” the fixtures on the day of the inventory. His hostage, his friend, will never get him back. This man is a maniac, he insists.

The “thrifty” nature of the landlord is unanimous in the memories. Nadine Valette also reports that artists have gradually shied away from having the amount of their invoices discussed. “His Bible was a heritage magazine Especially », slips husband Michel Valette, who notes Gilbert Clerc’s interest in managing his money as much as possible. – Mr. Clerk told us that you live there. That day, Vergiyigan explains to Nadine why he received a residence tax for his… shop. The landlord relied on having a sink and stove in a cupboard at the back of the shop. The shopkeeper will have to claim to the State Treasury that he lives in Rolampont with his husband and children…

All these years of trouble lead him to paint a generally unfriendly portrait of Gilbert Clerc. Kim’s “long letters insulting her” still haunt her.

Fabienne Aussere


“He sailed between Lille, Belgium and Spain”. Gilbert Clerc has always been interested in Nadine Valette. His fate too. Even today, he cannot believe that his financial success is due only to his business acumen or sense of thrift. Her “unloading rolls of fabric at 2 or 3 in the morning” reinforces her questions. His wife, Edith, remains another subject of confusion. Apparently subordinate to Gilbert, this frail woman, who even served as a petty commissioner to recover unpaid rent early, was seen walking around Blanchefonte several times at night. In turn, he is superior to the mysterious impressions that the couple inspires him.

And Edith’s health failed

“I knew little about him, Gilbert Clerc was a bourgeois. With bourgeois qualities and flaws. He was very kind.” In the memory of Marcel, who was friends with Maguy Danner, another tenant of the textile entrepreneur, Edith’s memory is marked with “discretion”. Extreme, hear. “He was the one who spoke. Gilbert’s wife’s health will deteriorate. “He was a little out of his mind at the end. When we passed him on the street, he no longer knew who we were. Then Marcel struggles to clarify – “2010? 2012? – Edith “couldn’t see clearly, so she didn’t drive anymore, it was Maguy who did the shopping.” In May 2013, Edith signed a mandate for future protection, which was executed in early January 2016, delegating the management of her estate to a third party.

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