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Should this wealthy executive's ex wife get more money?


View Poll Results: Should the ex wife of this wealthy executive get more money?
No, she was paid enough. They've been divorced 20 years. 27 48.21%
Yes, he should step up and do the right thing. 12 21.43%
They both sound like spoiled brats. 17 30.36%
Voters: 56. You may not vote on this poll

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Sep 3, 2006, 2:02pm   #1
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They've been divorced for 20 years. Granted the husband does not sound like a great guy, but the article states he has a trust fund set up for his child, which I guess is better than nothing. When is enough, enough?



Wealthy CEO torments ex-wife

http://news.bostonherald.com/columnists … eid=155266




Staples founder’s ex-wife: I’ll be out on the street
By Margery Eagan
Boston Herald Columnist

Sunday, September 3, 2006

Maureen Sullivan Stemberg, ex-wife of Staples founder, sits in her $5,200 a month, 14th-floor, concierge-at-the-door, elegantly furnished Back Bay apartment and tells you she’s broke. She can’t work. She can’t afford a car, her medications, her rent, even the family springer spaniel, J.J., who she just gave away.

She produces doctors notes detailing medical woes: possible lupus, bouts of pneumonia requiring hospitalizations, a history of cancer, petit mal seizures, plus recommendations for thrice weekly psychotherapy and psychiatry. She says her insurance won’t cover mental health care.

“I’m going to be out on the street,” says Sullivan Stemberg, a tiny, 50-ish woman who alternates between an overanxious recitation of worries, and tears. “I’ve had a change of circumstances.”

And now she wants her ex-husband, Tom Stemberg, whose worth has been estimated at upwards of $150 million, to dramatically increase his support, guarantee health insurance forever and buy her another home in a concierge building. “I’m sicker and thinner every day,” she says. “I’m not asking for anything more than he did for his other wife and girlfriend.”

Tom Stemberg, meanwhile, hailed as an entrepreneurial genius, has just gone through a second divorce and is now living with the mother of his newest child. His paternal shortcomings are evident in a letter he wrote to his then-12-year-old son with Sullivan Stemberg. “It will not be possible for you to be part of our family in the foreseeable future” because of the child’s supposed misbehavior during their divorce, he wrote, blaming the child for taking sides between parents and creating unbearable hassles, such as monthly court appearances.
Enter a political angle: That same child, the same year - 1996 - approached Mitt Romney, an early Staples money man, during a chance vacation meeting. The Wall Street Journal and Sullivan Stemberg herself say her son asked Romney for an appointment to speak about his mother’s problems, financial and otherwise.

Apparently this did not cause Mitt Romney alarm. In April, our would-be president began an op-ed article, also for the Journal, this way: “Only weeks after I was elected governor, Tom Stemberg told me that if you really want to help people, find a way to get everyone health insurance,” Romney wrote. When Romney expressed doubts, he said, Stemberg insisted, “You can find a way.”

One hopes Romney was unaware at press time of the first Mrs. Stemberg’s cries for help.

Now those of you who follow mega-rich divorces may recognize the nasty, sad Stemberg saga. For two decades it’s been detailed in the Herald, the Journal, Forbes magazine, everywhere. Soon after their 1987 divorce, Sullivan Stemberg was worth $5 million, but she spent $4 million contesting her settlement and defending a defamation suit brought by Stemberg and his second wife. At one point Sullivan Stemberg’s lawyer is quoted as saying, “These people acted like adolescents. You want to pick them both up by the ear . . .”

Spokesman George Regan insisted Friday that Tom Stemberg is “a very generous man,” that their son has a “hefty trust fund,” that Stemberg has paid and will continuing paying her insurance - though no word on the house or increased support. He also said Sullivan Stemberg’s characterization of her ex-husband is unfair. “She’s shopped this story all over town,” Regan said. “There’s no story.”

But there is. The story is what a rich, local superstar has done, or not done, for the mother of his son who can’t support herself anymore. It’s hard for mere mortals to relate to this, I know. Still, despite the awfulness on both sides, he should give her the money.

Until then, here’s hoping Romney and other local luminaries skip the Stemberg accolades. The personal is political here, and the personal reeks.
Sep 3, 2006, 2:10pm   #2
sarahcantiik's Avatar
Which bag to buy today?
20 yrs and it's still not over?? The woman should receive no more penny from the ex. I think she's full of s*it.
Sep 3, 2006, 2:12pm   #3
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Originally Posted by sarahcantiik
20 yrs and it's still not over?? The woman should receive no more penny from the ex. I think she's full of s*it.
I feel the same way, but I'm biased. My husband's ex is also unstable and has tried to drag us into court after she got all the assets when they divorced (he got the debt). That's why I posted this poll- I was just wondering if my own personal situation was making me very un-sympathetic towards this woman.

I also found it interesting that a lot of the litigation seems to have taken place during this guy's SECOND marriage. I can tell you that going thru that kind of legal hassle puts major strain on a marriage. It is not surprising to me that his second marriage ended.
Sep 3, 2006, 2:35pm   #4
sarahcantiik's Avatar
Which bag to buy today?
My opinion is this woman is just looking to try screw her ex anyway she can. It's her personal vendetta.
Sep 3, 2006, 2:37pm   #5
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Originally Posted by sarahcantiik
My opinion is this woman is just looking to try screw her ex anyway she can. It's her personal vendetta.
I am also wondering how this would play out if the genders were reversed.

Wealthy female exec who has an ex husband from 20 years ago trying to litigate for more support...?
Sep 3, 2006, 2:57pm   #6
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I am biased too because I have a nasty ex who milks me for every dime..LMAO...so I say she needs to get a job and live her life without looking back at her ex's mula
Sep 3, 2006, 2:59pm   #7
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Originally Posted by Jill
I am biased too because I have a nasty ex who milks me for every dime..LMAO...so I say she needs to get a job and live her life without looking back at her ex's mula
Agree about her getting a job. It sounds like she has some serious mental and physical health issues. Being angry for 20 years can really do a number on you emotionally and physically...
Sep 3, 2006, 3:04pm   #8
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The Bargain Hunter
If her ex wasn't wealthy, she's screwed still right? SHe's just trying ot get more.
Sep 3, 2006, 3:07pm   #9
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Originally Posted by kathyrose
If her ex wasn't wealthy, she's screwed still right? SHe's just trying ot get more.
There are a couple ways to look at this:

1. If her ex was not wealthy, she'd be expected to provide for herself just like you or I would.

2. But the ex IS wealthy so maybe he should just cough up the money and be done with it, since he can probably afford it. The problem is, where does it end? I doubt this woman would be willing to sign some agreement that states a lump sum settlement is it and all bets are off. The goal here, I don't believe is financial. Its vindictive.

3. Also the question of where does a line get drawn in terms of a person being able to move on with their life after a divorce? The child that was involved here (by my math based on dates in the article) is 22 years old now. Should this man and his new spouse/family be tormented by this situation/ex and her demands forever? Does this encourage an 'entitlement' society?
Sep 3, 2006, 3:17pm   #10
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Here is an article about Terry McMillan. She's the African American woman who wrote "How Stella Got Her Groove Back" and several other best-selling books. She has been involved in a messy divorce and was forced to pay alimony to her husband after he revealed he was gay and left her.

Epilogue for 'Stella' author: a messy divorce

In a tale rich in lost love, closeted secrets and acrimonious divorce, it turns out that famed local writer Terry McMillan -- whose celebrated romance and subsequent marriage to a man 23 years her junior became the subject of her fictionized best-seller "How Stella Got Her Groove Back" --actually got her groove back with a man who now says he's gay.

The story is spilling out in made-for-Hollywood detail in Contra Costa County Superior Court, where McMillan has filed for divorce from her Jamaican- born husband of six years, Jonathan Plummer.

McMillan, 53, said in court documents that the marriage was based on a "fraud'' because Plummer lied about his sexual orientation -- and married her only to gain U.S. citizenship.

"It was devastating to discover that a relationship I had publicized to the world as life-affirming and built on mutual love was actually based on deceit,'' she wrote in her declaration. "I was humiliated."
Plummer, 30, countered in court papers of his own that McMillan has turned on him with a "homophobic'' vengeance and is trying to force his return to an uncertain future in Jamaica. He wants to void the couple's prenuptial agreement that would keep from him most of the millions she's earned as a writer.

He also claims he was denied his full share of royalties, as spelled out in the prenup, from "How Stella Got Her Groove Back," the fictionalized account of a single mother's torrid relationship with a Jamaican young enough to be her son that very much parallels the lives of McMillan and Plummer.

Plummer's attorney, Dolores Sargent, said her client has no interest in embarrassing McMillan or extorting money from her.

"All I want to do is settle the case in a way that's fair to both parties ... and that allows Jonathan sufficient funds to re-establish himself,'' Sargent said. "And we have been blocked.''

In court papers, however, McMillan leaves little doubt that she believes Plummer was always motivated by money.

"Jonathan has manipulated me from the very beginning in his scheme to come to the United States, become a citizen and get rich through someone else's effort,'' McMillan wrote in one of her filings.
In fact, McMillan says Plummer zeroed in on her precisely because of her celebrity status as an author whose earlier books included "Waiting to Exhale, '' which sold some 4 million copies and was made into a movie.

In an interview, Plummer insisted that he didn't know he was gay when he met McMillan in June 1995 at a Jamaican resort. Nor, he says, did he seize on the author's fame.

"I was a 20-year-old kid when I met her and had no idea that she was anybody other than an attractive, older woman,'' he said in court papers.

For her part, McMillan, who was then 42, said she worried when she first met Plummer that he was interested only in her money. "But Jonathan was very charming and made me believe that he was crazy about me,'' she told the court.

The two eventually married in Maui on Sept. 8, 1998 -- but not before Plummer signed a prenup that waived his rights to everything should they ever part, including "temporary and permanent spousal support and attorney's fees, '' according to court papers filed by McMillan.

The couple settled in McMillan's $4 million Danville home and, at least according to Plummer, enjoyed a happy life -- until the last few years when the marriage started coming undone.

"He became less attentive, less charming, more distracted and absent from the home,'' McMillan wrote in her declaration.

Plummer said he was spending long hours with a dog-grooming business in Danville that McMillan had set up for him a couple of years ago in apparent anticipation of a split.

It wasn't until just before last Christmas, Plummer says, that the two finally split -- after he revealed he was gay.

"I was kicked out of the house in December right after I told her,'' he said in the interview.

In court records, however, McMillan says Plummer confessed to being gay only after she confronted him about all his hours of phone calls to a male friend living in Jamaica. She also says she later learned that Plummer was participating in online gay chat sites.

In any event, judging from the court filings, the disclosure quickly turned ugly. McMillan obtained a restraining order to keep Plummer from their house, and she claimed she recently discovered that Plummer had embezzled at least $200,000 from her bank accounts before and during their marriage. (He admits in court papers "a gross error of judgment" in taking $62,000 without her knowledge, but said that he was financially dependent on her during the marriage and that he intends to pay it back.)

Plummer obtained his own restraining order against the author, alleging that McMillan constantly harassed him for coming out of the closet, and at one point walked into his dog-grooming business and tossed a ceramic object across the room.

"She kept calling me, saying nasty things about me being gay, calling me a ***,'' Plummer said in an interview.

In a Jan. 14 letter written by McMillan an d filed with the court, the author told Plummer, "The reason you're going to make a great *** is that most of you guys are just like dogs anyway. ... You do whatever with whomever pleases you and don't seem to care about the consequences."

Plummer also says McMillan came into the dog-grooming shop and left him a bottle of Jamaican hot pepper sauce on which she wrote, "*** Juice Burn Baby Burn,'' and that she also scrawled "Jonathan's *** boyfriend ***'' on a photo of a friend.

"She is an extremely angry woman who is homophobic and is lashing out at me because I have learned I am gay,'' Plummer declared in a court filing last month.

McMillan's attorney, Jill Hersh -- a divorce lawyer who has handled civil rights cases involving gay couples and their children -- says her client "is anything but homophobic.''


"However, she feels betrayed and disappointed ... that her husband is gay, '' Hersh said. "And anything you have seen in the pleadings emanates from how she is experiencing the end of her marriage, and it doesn't have to do with anything else.''

Hersh also disputes Plummer's contention that McMillan was seeking an annulment as a way to get him deported, as he alleges. In pressing her claim of fraud, however, McMillan told the court that Plummer waited to tell her he was gay until he knew his application for citizenship was going to be approved.

Plummer says he understands that McMillan felt betrayed by his coming out. "But I was being truthful to myself, and didn't want to hurt her anymore,'' he said.

On June 17, a Superior Court judge handed Plummer a minor victory -- ordering McMillan to pay him $2,000 a month in spousal support, plus $25,000 in attorney's fees -- until a full trial on the validity of the prenuptial agreement and the annulment request is heard in October.
Last edited Sep 3, 2006 at 3:19pm.
Sep 3, 2006, 4:15pm   #11
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I think the guy sounds like a royal jerk though, so good for her for any trouble she can cause him. I can't imagine someone writing a letter to a twelve year old cutting them out of the family. I would bet that by putting up with such nastiness the woman actually did earn 20+ years of support...

If he couldn't afford it and he wasn't a jerk, it would be different, but in this case he can cough over some money for his son's mother after he dumped them both.
Sep 3, 2006, 4:26pm   #12
bagnshoofetish's Avatar
Think Blue.
what the heck did she do all these years? did she think she was going to get free money for the rest of her life simply by having been married to this guy? is he her personal ATM? Why didn't she invest her settlement and plan for her future? Why didn't she get a damn job?
Sorry, this annoys me.
Sep 3, 2006, 4:28pm   #13
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Originally Posted by MandM
I think the guy sounds like a royal jerk though, so good for her for any trouble she can cause him. I can't imagine someone writing a letter to a twelve year old cutting them out of the family. I would bet that by putting up with such nastiness the woman actually did earn 20+ years of support...

If he couldn't afford it and he wasn't a jerk, it would be different, but in this case he can cough over some money for his son's mother after he dumped them both.
She got $5 million (in 1987 dollars!) and spent $4 million of it trying to get more from him and then failed. The sympathy train has derailed on this one, IMO.
Sep 3, 2006, 6:46pm   #14
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handbag fetish!
No offense, but there are many people in worse situations than her, I'm sure, who would've done something good with 5 million dollars instead of going for more money and trying to sell her pity story to people.

Of course, the husband sounds like a jerk too. No one's right.
Sep 3, 2006, 7:07pm   #15
manolo maven's Avatar
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Chances are, she gave up the chance to make a viable career for herself when she was his wife. That has to count for something. I think he's still, to an extent, responsible for providing for her, especially since she spent some of that money defending herself against a suit brought on by HIM! Anyway, it isn't as if he doesn't have the means to do it. She wants healthcare, not a private jet.
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