Patrick Arbor, former chairman of the Chicago Board of Trade and prominent Chicago citizen, has lost some legal options as his appeal to the Illinois Appellate Court has been dismissed, the Sun-Times reports. Apparently citing Arbor’s efforts to conceal, evade, and otherwise stonewall his ex-wife, Antoinette Vigilante, and her legal team, a panel of three Illinois Appellate Court judges tersely dismissed Arbor’s appeal of a divorce decree that has Vigilante collecting $18 million from Arbor. This should come as no surprise, as Arbor is currently in Switzerland (or Italy) and has very few assets remaining in the United States. Shortly before he left the country, he established corporations in Panama and Liechtenstein, where he transferred the bulk of his assets.
While Arbor has frustrated the court’s attempts at reaching his finances, he has also frustrated efforts to reach him. Early in the divorce proceedings, a judge ordered Arbor to transfer over $200,000 to Vigilante to prevent his soon-to-be ex-wife’s property from going into foreclosure. Arbor failed to comply with this order, and the court held him in contempt. The Cook County Sheriff now has a bench warrant for Arbor’s arrest. Those who are following the story, however, believe that Patrick Arbor, 76, will likely never set foot in the United States, or at least Chicago, again.
One Must Obey the Court to Be Protected by It
This is not the first time that the Illinois Appellate Court has summarily dismissed what may have been an otherwise valid appeal because the appellant had shown an unwillingness to comply with the court’s orders. Vigilante’s lawyers cited the case of In re Marriage of Timke, in which Vernon Timke fled with much of his assets to the Cayman Islands to avoid paying his wife approximately $8.4 million. The trial court had already held the husband in contempt for failing to comply with numerous court orders, including discovery disclosures and court appearances. While he was in the Caymans, Vernon’s attorneys entered an appeal arguing an unfair disbursement of marital property that had some legal merit. However, in a terse, three-sentence paragraph, the Appellate Court swept away Vernon’s argument, stating that there was “no authority . . . that puts our judicial system at the disposition of one who shows it only rank contumacy.”
Most people seeking divorce do not have the assets of Vernon Timke or Patrick Arbor. But, in the throes of emotion caused by perceived or actual betrayal, some are prone to irrational behavior that can raise the ire of the court, and deny them that court’s protection. Hiding assets is a crime; an Illinois family law attorney can help advise on the best course of action, and prevent you from incurring the court’s wrath. If you are contemplating divorce, contact Sullivan Taylor & Gumina, P.C. today.