Skip to comments.LA billionaire Burkle loses, then wins, in divorce battle
Posted on 05/19/2006 10:23:21 AM PDT by NormsRevenge
Billionaire Ron Burkle's day began with a devastating defeat as documents relating to his bitter divorce were released to the public following a California appeals court ruling.
But he had reason to celebrate later Thursday when the court rejected his wife's claim that he had tricked her into accepting an agreement for a fraction of their assets - $30 million plus interest and a house - if the couple ever divorced.
Janet Burkle's fraud allegation triggered court and legislative battles over whether their divorce records should be kept sealed.
"It is unfortunate that Mr. Burkle's desire for privacy was exploited as a tactic in this case," said his attorney, Dennis Wasser.
Janet Burkle's attorney, Hillel Chodos, did not return phone calls Thursday seeking comment.
An appeals court ordered the Burkles' divorce documents to be released after the California Supreme Court nullified a state law Wednesday that shielded the financial records of people getting divorced.
Lawyers for media outlets including The Associated Press successfully argued that the public should have access to the records.
Lawyers for Janet Burkle, who filed for divorce in 2003, argued in the documents that her husband concealed pending mergers in 1997 - when the marital agreement was reached - that eventually created one of the largest supermarket chains in the nation.
"Ron knew that he had already successfully negotiated two huge merger transactions generating many times $30 million," her lawyers wrote.
Through his Yucaipa Cos., Ron Burkle owned the Ralphs and Food 4 Less grocery chains before selling them to Kroger Co. in 1999.
The state appeals court, however, sided with Ron Burkle, issuing a ruling Thursday that rejected his wife's claim that he had hidden assets.
Burkle's lawyers wrote in the documents that his wife was represented by attorneys, accountants and a private investigator during negotiations over the marital agreement.
The result, his lawyers wrote, was a contract that gave them both what they wanted - financial stability for her and freedom to make risky investments for him. But when his gambles paid off, Janet Burkle - who married her husband in 1974 - decided she wanted a larger share of his wealth, his attorneys said.
"After receiving the benefits of the settlement for several years, Mrs. Burkle simply decided she wanted more," Wasser said.
Ron Burkle, whose estimated personal wealth exceeds $2 billion, is also a well-known political contributor who has given millions of dollars mostly to Democratic candidates and campaigns. He's also given more than $200,000 to Republican Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and his campaigns.
The court filings provided a window into the Burkle family's lavish lifestyle and circle of famous friends. The documents included photographs with President Clinton, Mikhail Gorbachev and basketball star Shaquille O'Neal as well as photos of the couple's children and photocopies of checks from a joint account.
The publicity-shy billionaire recently accused New York Post gossip writer Jared Paul Stern of trying to shake him down for $220,000 to ensure he was portrayed in a favorable light in the well-read Page Six column. Stern denied the claim.
Associated Press Political Writer Michael Blood contributed to this report.
Burkle is America's home grown George $oreA$$.
Now, he will probably try to buy a lot of Dinosaur Fishwraps to push his left wing bs and to protect him while his investment funds continue to $crew the retiree funds in California. Of course he will use Union funds and CalPers funds to buy these Dinosaur Fishwraps.
I'm confused. The article states that they were married in 1974. Why were they doing a 'marital agreement' in 1997? Was Janet trying to shield some assets for herself, separate from those Ron wanted to use to grow his business, in the event that she did file for divorce? If that's the case, then as far as I'm concerned, that's ALL she's entitled to. If she wasn't willing to risk any of HER money, she shouldn't reap the rewards from Ron risking HIS.
"Things" accumulated during the marriage could surely be seen as a different story.
The support of children born during the marriage,or adopted by one or both during the marriage is also a different matter.
I beleive that's pretty much the case in most states.
I always thought that was true,but if it is why are pre-nups so popular?