Vicious CEO Divorce over $329 Million 1

The divorce trial of George David, former CEO of mega-corporation United Technologies Corp., has grabbed national headlines this week. David’s estranged wife, Swedish countess Marie Douglas-David, is seeking to invalidate a post-nuptial agreement which would give her $43 million.

UTC is the parent company of Carrier air conditioners, Otis elevators and Sikorsky helicopters, among other subsidiaries. David left his position as CEO several years ago but is still chairman of the board.

David, 67, and Douglas-David, 36, were married in 2002. Since then, David has filed for divorce three different times. After one reconciliation, he and his wife signed a post-nuptial agreement. Douglas-David now claims that she was unfairly coerced by her husband into signing the agreement. She claims that, between divorce filings, David was attentive with gifts, travel and sex. Her lawyers now argue that this behavior was all manipulation to get Douglas-David to sign the agreement.

David has been cross-examined about at least one extramarital affair. Douglas-David also apparently had adulterous liaisons during the marriage.

She is asking the court to award her $100 million and $130,000 a month in alimony. Douglas-David claims that her regular weekly expenses exceed $53,000, including upkeep for several properties.

Douglas-David is represented in the Connecticut divorce by attorneys Robert Cohen, William Beslow and Bruce Louden. Cohen is a New York City divorce attorney who has previously represented Christie Brinkley and Uma Thurman. Beslow has previously served as divorce lawyer for Tatum O’Neal and Marla Maples and child custody lawyer for Mia Farrow.

David is represented by New York divorce attorney Adria S. Hillman, retired Connecticut Appellate Court Judge Anne C. Dranginis and attorney Austin McGuigan. Hillman previously represented billionaire executive Ron Perelman in his divorces from socialite Patricia Duff and actress Ellen Barkin.

I, personally, will be surprised to see the post-nuptial agreement invalidated. Based upon media reports, Douglas-David was represented by Beslow in the negotiation of the agreement – so she had good counsel – and the amount of the prospective award – $43 million – seems reasonable for a seven year marriage. It will difficult for her to convince a judge that she was defrauded and coerced in those circumstances.