TYCOONS: THE HUGHES LEGACY SCRAMBLE FOR THE BILLIONS

Perched atop the service elevator in Acapulco's pyramidal Princess Hotel, Repairman Lidio Sandoval was performing a routine maintenance check one morning last week, when suddenly the car began to rise. To his surprise, it ascended all the way to the forbidden 20th-floor penthouse, which elevators could reach only if summoned by a special key. Peering unseen through an open panel in the ceiling, he watched in fascination as a drama unfolded in the car below. Anxious aides and a doctor wheeled in a stretcher bearing an old, apparently unconscious man covered only...

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