Family Won’t Contest Slain Restaurateur’s Marriage : Fang’s Widow Settles for $55,000 of His Estate

Times Staff Writer

A woman who said she secretly married restaurateur George Fang two months before he was shot to death in February has agreed to accept $55,000 from Fang’s estate, at one time estimated to be worth $1.75 million.

The woman’s attorney said she had abandoned a legal claim to half the estate because she “wasn’t interested in money,” wanting only “recognition of their marriage.”

Under the legal settlement reached with George Fang’s relatives, the family acknowledged the marriage and agreed that the dead man’s tombstone would include the inscription “beloved husband.”

Van Nuys Superior Court Judge G. Keith Wisot tentatively approved the estate settlement reached by two of Fang’s brothers and Amy Fang, the former Chui-Hui Chuang, who said she married the 41-year-old George Fang at a Canoga Park chapel.


Shot in His Restaurant

George Fang, who lived in Tarzana, was shot point-blank on Feb. 19 in his office at the Mandarin Wok in Northridge, one of the four restaurants he owned. He was shot in the face with a small-caliber handgun and died two days later at Northridge Hospital Medical Center.

Los Angeles Police Detective Wayne Newton said Monday that “there is absolutely nothing new” in the police investigation of the case. “To this date, there has been no motive established. It’s an unsolved homicide.”

Newton said the slaying could have been a professional execution, a crime of passion or an aborted robbery. A flat tire on the victim’s car indicated that the killing might have been planned by an assailant who deflated the tire and was waiting for George Fang to return to his office to call for assistance, Newton said.

Several days after the murder, Amy Fang, 31, contacted police, saying she and George Fang were married Dec. 8 at the Chapel of the Canyon.

Asked to Administer Estate

Amy Fang subsequently asked to be named administrator of the victim’s estate, but abandoned her attempt when Grover and Richard Fang, the dead man’s brothers, contested her claim that she and the restaurateur had been married. George Fang named the brothers as his beneficiaries in a 1981 will.

In Monday’s action before Judge Wisot, Amy Fang agreed to accept $55,000 from the estate, with $40,000 of that going to pay back a loan made by Roger Shu, a friend of Amy Fang, to George Fang. The money was earmarked to open a motel in San Diego and another restaurant in Torrance, according to Roderick Lipscomb, Amy Fang’s attorney.

The agreement also called for Amy Fang to receive a gold chain that belonged to George Fang. The Fang brothers also agreed to have the headstone of the slain man read: “Beloved husband, son, brother and father.”

Amy Fang agreed in court that, contingent on receipt of the $55,000 and the gold chain, as well as the inscription on the headstone, she would seek nothing more from the George Fang estate, Lipscomb said.

Marriage Not Contested

The Fang brothers, in turn, agreed to refrain from contesting the validity of the marriage between George Fang and Amy Fang.

According to Lipscomb, the marriage was kept confidential under a state law designed for couples who have been living together as common-law spouses. No blood tests are required and the marriage was not listed on the public record.

The family did not invite Amy Fang to attend George Fang’s funeral at Forest Lawn Memorial Park, Hollywood Hills. She did attend but she sat among acquaintances rather than in a section reserved for family members.

After the funeral, however, Lipscomb entered into court records a copy of the confidential marriage certificate, along with a sworn statement from the minister who performed the ceremony.

If the marriage had been determined to be valid, Amy Fang would have been eligible to receive one half of Fang’s estate, Lipscomb said.

Estate Value Undisclosed

No exact value of the estate has yet been disclosed in court, but Lipscomb initially said its assets were greater than $1.75 million.

On Monday, however, Lipscomb said he had discovered that Fang had accumulated debts that lowered considerably the value of the estate. The attorney for the Fang brothers, Warren Goodwin, said the estate is worth less than $1 million.

“Amy wasn’t interested in money from their family,” Lipscomb said. “She is financially sufficient. She told me that she didn’t need the money.”

George Fang, a native of Taiwan who arrived in United States in 1973, worked for several years as a waiter and busboy in Valley Chinese restaurants before opening the Mandarin Wok in Northridge. After borrowing money from family and friends, he opened restaurants in Thousand Oaks, Woodland Hills and Ventura.

He is divorced from his first wife, who lives in Taiwan with his 13-year-old daughter.

Lipscomb said George Fang had planned to announce his recent marriage to his family during the Chinese New Year. He was slain on the eve of the holiday.