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Melvin Dummar - a Utahn who claims he saved Howard Hughes' life by picking him up in rural Nevada on a frigid night and was repaid by being named in the billionaire's will - has filed suit seeking almost half a billion dollars.

Dummar, a former gas station operator from Willard, claims that a Hughes relative and an executive in Summa Corp., the holding company that took control of Hughes' wealth after his death in 1976, coordinated false testimony to ensure that a handwritten will leaving Dummar a one-sixteenth share in the estate was rejected by the courts.

At a news conference Tuesday in downtown Salt Lake City, an emotional Dummar, who has been the target of criticism and late-night TV jokes, said he has always told the truth about what happened. He also said getting rich doesn't matter.

"Over the last 30 years, I have been deeply hurt over this situation," said Dummar, now 61.

The suit, filed Monday in U.S. District Court, estimates Dummar's share of Hughes' fortune at $156 million. Named as defendants are William Rice Lummis, whose mother was an aunt of Hughes, and Frank William Gay, described as the "effective" chief operating officer of Summa. Lummis became the sole direct beneficiary after buying out other beneficiaries.

The two men are accused of fraud, unjust enrichment and racketeering. As allowed under Racketeering Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) laws, Dummar is seeking three times the amount of his alleged damages - $468 million.

Lummis and Gay, who live in the Houston area, could not be reached for comment Tuesday.

Dummar was branded a scammer in 1978 after a Las Vegas jury labeled as bogus the document, which became known as the Mormon Will, that purportedly left him a share of Hughes' wealth.

While driving on U.S. Highway 95 on Dec. 29, 1967, Dummar says, he pulled off onto a dirt road to relieve himself and saw a man lying face down.

Dummar was about to go get the sheriff when the man regained consciousness. He put him in his Chevy and, at the man's request, drove him 160 miles to Las Vegas, where he left him at the back door of the Dunes Hotel after giving him some pocket change.

"I couldn't leave him there," Dummar said. "He would have died of exposure."

Before departing, the man said he would be forever indebted, according to Dummar, who said he disbelieved the stranger when he said he was Howard Hughes.

The handwritten will that surfaced after Hughes' death left assets to medical institutes, charities, the Boy Scouts of America, relatives, personal aides, scholarships and executives of Hughes companies - plus one-sixteenth of the estate each to Dummar and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Dummar never collected a cent.

The dispute was revived when former FBI agent Gary Magnesen, the brother of a business partner of Dummar, investigated the case and wrote a recently published book titled The Investigation. Its findings supporting the rescue story include the recollection of a Hughes employee who says he flew his famously womanizing boss to the Cottontail Ranch, about seven miles from where Dummar says he found the reclusive billionaire, over the Christmas holidays in 1967.

Stuart Stein, an Albuquerque attorney representing Dummar, said his client has told the truth for 30 years.

"We begin the last chapter, which is the redemption of Melvin Dummar," Stein said at Tuesday's news conference.

His office is encouraging former Hughes employees and anyone else with information about the case to call a toll-free number, 877-460-0100. He noted that the statute of limitations for perjury in the Las Vegas trial has expired.

Dummar now lives outside Brigham City and says he is battling cancer. He has made his living through the years in the liquidation and delivery businesses, as well as a stint as a country-Western singer.

On Tuesday, Dummar said he has no regrets about what he allegedly did almost four decades ago.

"If I had to do it over again, I'd pick up Mr. Hughes," he said.

Dummar said he would help anyone who was stranded but added he would "hope they don't leave me in their will."

Hughes made his fame and fortune in motion pictures, aircraft and tool manufacturing and in the casino industry. He was the subject of the 2004 film "The Aviator," which won five Academy Awards. A 1980 movie about Hughes and Dummar, "Melvin and Howard," won two Academy Awards.