$5m payout wrecked my life, says 9/11 widow

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The Independent US

In the weeks after the 11 September terror attacks, one widow who received generous attention from the media and the condolences of strangers was Kathy Trant, whose husband was killed in the offices of the brokerage firm Cantor Fitzgerald.

In the weeks after the 11 September terror attacks, one widow who received generous attention from the media and the condolences of strangers was Kathy Trant, whose husband was killed in the offices of the brokerage firm Cantor Fitzgerald.

Now she is back in the limelight; her life has been wrecked again, this time by money.

Ms Trant has stepped forward to admit that in the three and a half years since the attack, she has received some $5m - from the government and from well-wishers - and wasted almost all of it.

Her tale has provided Americans with a poignant reminder that nothing has been able to replace loved ones, not even money.

Ms Trant, whose husband, Dan, was 40 years old when he died in the inferno at the World Trade Centre, was originally showered with private donations that rose to a total of $3m.

Later, she was given half of a $4.2m settlement from a federal compensation fund.

Today, she says, she is down to her last $500,000. And she has not even enjoyed her spending spree "It's blood money that I don't want," she told reporters this week from her suburban New York home in Long Island.

The spending, she said, was part of what kept her sane in the months after the terror attack, when she was beset by depression, drinking and a body weight that yo-yoed between 90 and 170 lbs.

"That's what kept me alive," she said. "Staying up late ordering chandeliers from catalogues."

At her house, she made a series of additions, tripling its square footage, adding a pool and hot-tub as well as a full-size basketball court for $35,000. She filled her wardrobes with expensive fashion items, including shoes that altogether cost half a million dollars.

Some of her spending was for others. She gave a maid $15,000 to help her buy a house in her native El Salvador and blew $70,000 on taking herself and a group of friends to the Super Bowl. On a trip to Las Vegas she tipped a spa attendant $4,000 to help her pay for a breast implant.

"I didn't know how to give back because so many people gave to me," she said, explaining why she came forward to confess her spree. "I want my husband back."

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