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February 3, 1961




The estate of Alfred N. Steele, former head of the Pepsi-Cola Company, is unable to meet its bills, it was reported yesterday.

The insolvency was disclosed when Surrogate Joseph A. Cox granted a petition by Mr. Steele's divorced wife, Lillian Steele, to question the executors.

Mrs. Steele had presented a claim for $12,750, and her son Alfred had claimed $16,150 in unpaid allowances.

Mr. Steele was remarried to Joan Crawford, the actress, whom he named as residuary legatee and one of the executors of his will. When he died, on April 19, 1959, he left assets of $607,128.

However, the executors told the court, they now hold a balance of $95,000. Against this are Federal and New York State tax claims of $93,500 and $16,150, respectively, both of which have priority, and unpaid administration costs of $17,000.

In addition, Miss Crawford claims $97,534 for money lent to her husband.

Assets of $383,000 have been held in "escrow by Pepsi-Cola under a stockholder suit challenging the legality of Steele stock options.

The executors told the court that they could not pay tax and administration claims in full or make any payment on "non-prior" claims.

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