Why The Ex-Wife Of Oil Tycoon Harold Hamm Didn’t Accept This Check For $974,790,317.77

Business Insider | Link to original source
by Michael B KelleyJanuary 7, 2015

Oil tycoon Harold Hamm offered to pay h is former wife $974.8 million in an intense and unusual divorce proceeding — and she promptly rejected it.

Hamm, who Bloomberg estimates is currently worth $8.7 billion (after previously being worth as much as $18 billion), sent the handwritten check to the legal team of ex-wife Sue Ann Arnall to cover the full cash value of what he owes, based on a November divorce ruling by a county judge in Oklahoma.

Jacqueline Newman, a family law attorney and managing partner at Berkman Bottger Newman & Schein in New York City, agrees with Arnell.

“While it may seem insane to most Americans that Ms. Arnall did not run to the bank to cash her check for $975M, I can understand why she handed it back,” Newman, who specializes in complex high-net-worth matrimonial cases and negotiating prenuptial agreements, told Business Insider in a statement. “Firstly, I agree with her attorneys that it could weaken her appellate case. Secondly, she believes (maybe correctly, maybe not) that she deserves more.

“You may ask ‘How much more than almost a billion dollars does one person need?’ That same question can be posed to her husband who had an estate valued at $18B.

“If the wife’s attorneys are able to prove to an appellate court that the her contributions to the marriage should have received a credit greater than 5.5% of the estate, then Ms. Arnall should receive a larger check than what Mr. Hamm delivered to her today.

“Think of it this way, imagine that Mr. Hamm was worth $100,000 – which would mean that Ms. Arnall would receive a $5,500 payment while Mr. Hamm kept $94,500. Would that be fair? Maybe not … maybe in that case, a court would have split the estate differently. If so, then I am not clear why the law should be inconsistent simply because we are adding a bunch of zeros to the numbers.

“The law is the law and I do not think that it should be altered because we are dealing with high net worth cases.”

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