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Rachel ‘Bunny’ Mellon: Wealthy arts patron dies at 103

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Rachel ‘Bunny’ Mellon, a wealthy patron to the arts, died at age 103 at her Virginia home of natural causes. Mellon, and heiress and philanthropist, was a close confidant of Jackie Kennedy. According to Bloomberg on Mar. 17, she was also ensnared in John Edwards' 2008 Presidential campaign scandal.

In June 2011, a federal grand jury indicted Edwards on charges of violating campaign finance laws. At the heart of the case was $725,000 paid by Mellon -- referred to as "Person C" in the indictment -- starting in 2007 for the benefit of Rielle Hunter, Edwards's pregnant mistress.

Rachel ‘Bunny’ Mellon wrote checks that were central to the case against Edwards. The jury acquitted him on one count and was deadlocked on the rest, deciding not to retry.

Rachel ‘Bunny’ Mellon was also a horticulturalist and helped Jackie Kennedy to redesign the White House Rose Garden. She was also married to billionaire Paul Mellon, son of Andrew W. Mellon, who was U.S. Treasury secretary from 1921 to 1932 and one of the richest men of his time. When her husband died, she received part of his $1.4 billion fortune.

Her daughter survives her from her first marriage, Stacy Barcroft Lloyd, III. It was with Paul, her second husband, that she amassed her art collection. It is said to include one piece by Mark Rothko, "Yellow Expanse," worth $125 million, which she kept in her Virginia home.

What do you think about the Rachel ‘Bunny’ Mellon story? Please drop in your comments below.

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