Photo by Tingey Injury Law Firm on Unsplash

John Drayton Hastie Jr., patriarch of Magnolia Plantation and Gardens, has brought a lawsuit against his family for $1,587,514.67 plus punitive damages over funds he claims he is owed from the Magnolia Plantation Corporation.

The Drayton family has lived on the plantation on the west bank of the Ashley River since the 1670s. In 2003, then-owner and operator John Drayton Hastie died, leaving the management of the gardens to a nonprofit organization founded in 1985. Its board of directors included his two children and five grandchildren.

The suit was filed Jan. 21, 2022, in the 14th Judicial Circuit in Beaufort County by Beaufort attorneys Kevin E. Dukes and Austin M. Blake. Attorneys representing both sides of the lawsuit did not respond to requests for comment.

A motion filed to dismiss the suit earlier this year was denied, according to court records. An official hearing is scheduled for Aug. 19.

The suit claims the defendants, Taylor D. Nelson, John Drayton Hastie III, Fernanda Moore — formerly known as Fernanda Bashaw, Dylan Nelson and Winslow Hastie “willfully and wantonly failed to seek distributions from the Magnolia Plantation Corporation [on behalf of John Hastie Jr.] … in an effort to enrich themselves.”

According to the suit, the net income of the Magnolia Plantation Corporation in 2021 was $3,175,029.35, leaving John Hastie Jr., entitled to $1,508,138.94 as sole beneficiary of the Magnolia Preservation Corporation Preservation Trust of John Drayton Hastie Jr., and an additional $79,375.73 as a 50% beneficiary of a Generation-Skipping Overflow Trust.

This is a developing story.

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