Inheritance pays for Milan carers, old folks’ meals

Almost €6m left as inheritance to the city “that gave me everything”.

When lawyer Rinaldo Spataro, 73, went on his scooter for his usual swim in the Muzza Canal near Lodi in June 2014, he was alone in the world. So the authorities were perplexed when his body was snagged by a fisherman’s hook, and they could find nobody to alert to the sad loss.

Finally, they found he had a secretary, who confirmed he had no living relations, and who set about looking through his papers for a will.

What she found was a bombshell: apart from €100,000 set aside for a girlfriend from his youth years, and to be shared with whoever organised his funeral, the rest was left to “the city where I was born and lived [and] has had a particular significance in the development of my personality and my existence – [it] has given me everything.”

The only condition Avv. Spataro set was that the inheritance – the greatest ever received by the city administration – be used “for charitable works and help for the needy.”

The rest”, astounded officials in city hall discovered, turned out to be a treasury of some €6 million in the form of cash, shares, and above all real estate around the city. It has taken them almost two years to trace the full extent of the property, but the city has now started to spend the proceeds according to the wishes of the generous benefactor.

A first tranche has been set to fund Milan’s badante di condominio project, a scheme for carers to be assigned to several households in the same block of flats who individually don’t need a full-rime helper. A second sum has been destined to cash help for elderly with critically low incomes, and for shopping vouchers for needy families.

These “quick fixes” used up the ready cash on Avv. Spataro’s bank account, apart from a small sum set aside to cover the cost of managing the rest of the estate.

The stocks and shares for an estimated value of some €3.7m are now to be sold off, and the proceeds used for restoration of city properties used for social activity. The rest of the inheritance – three flats, a shop and a garage worth around €1.4m – posed a problem for the city administration, as they are not suitable for social amenities. So they will be sold off, and the proceeds will be invested in restoration of existing property or the purchase of new buildings suitable for community use, as the benefactor had wished.