In an unexpected move, Sue Ann Arnall, ex-wife of Oklahoma oil magnate Harold Hamm, deposited a handwritten $975 million divorce check.
The move, according to Hamm’s lawyer, might just be the end to what has become an epic divorce battle over not just millions, but billions. Arnall, 58, had previously pledged to pursue an appeal of the initial divorce ruling, on accusations that it was unfair. But it seems she might have changed his tune, finally depositing the check after having previously declining the payment.
The November divorce ruling by an Oklahoma County Court judge, awarded Hamm, the chief executive of Continental Resources, the ability to retain 68 percent stake in the firm (valued at about $9 billion). Arnall was awarded just under $1 billion in cash and assets from the marital estate.
The check that Arnall has deposited represents the entire remaining balance that is owed to his based on the divorce ruling, in addition to interest. Hamm’s divorce lawyer, Craig Box, believes this deposit marks the end of Arnall’s efforts to appeal the case. “We have received confirmation that the check was deposited in an Oklahoma City bank,” Box said. “We feel this is the end of the case from his perspective. It means she’s done and should dismiss his appeal.”
Hamm had also filed his own appeal to reduce what he owed Arnall after the plunge in oil prices at the end of 2014 shaved billions from the value of Continental’s shares.
The two were married for 26 years. Arnall was an attorney and longtime executive at Continental. While Hamm owned Continental prior to the marriage, the values of the shares he owned grew by 400% during the length of their marriage. Arnall sought a multi-billion portion of that wealth.
Hamm’s defense was able to prove that the company’s growth was the result of factor’s beyond his control, such as the increase in oil prices. Arnall’s defense maintained that Hamm’s management of the firm was the reason for its growth. Under Oklahoma law, only growth of wealth resulting from active efforts or skills of a spouse is able o be split during divorce.
Sources: The Huffington Post, Harold Hamm’s Ex-Wife Cashes $975 Million Divorce Check After All, January 8, 2015
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