Published March 18, 2009
| Associated Press
HARTFORD, Conn. – A 36-year-old Swedish countess divorcing a former CEO says she cannot live on $43 million.
Marie Douglas-David, a former investment banker, says she has no income and needs her 67-year-old husband, George David, to pay her more than $53,000 a week — more than most U.S. households make in a year — to cover her expenses.
David stepped down last year as chief executive at Hartford-based United Technologies Corp. but is still chairman of the board and has an estimated net worth of $329 million. He and his wife accuse each other of extramarital affairs. Their divorce trial started Wednesday.
"I'm just very sad that we are where we are," Douglas-David said. "I hope we resolve this soon so everybody can move on with their lives."
David briefly took the stand Wednesday. Asked if his marriage is irretrievably broken, he simply answered, "Yes."
David and Douglas-David married in 2002, but the marriage was in trouble by 2004, court papers show. Amid a series of reconciliations, the couple signed a postnuptial agreement in October 2005 that would give her $43 million when they divorce.
Douglas-David wants the agreement invalidated. She accused her husband of coercing her to sign it by preying upon her fears of being divorced and childless. She's asking to be awarded about $100 million in cash and stock, plus $130,000 a month in alimony.
David is asking a judge to uphold the agreement and order Douglas-David to vacate their Park Avenue apartment but keep their properties in Sweden. His attorneys asked for a separate hearing Wednesday on the document's validity, but the judge declined.
Douglas-David has filed court papers showing she has more than $53,800 in weekly expenses, including for maintaining a Park Avenue apartment and three residences in Sweden. Her weekly expenses also include $700 for limousine service, $4,500 for clothes, $1,000 for hair and skin treatments, $1,500 for restaurants and entertainment, and $8,000 for travel.
At that rate, Douglas-David would burn through $43 million in less than 16 years. The Census Bureau estimates that the median U.S. household income in 2007 was just over $50,000.
Anne Dranginis, an attorney for David and retired Connecticut Appellate Court judge, predicted that Douglas-David will get much less money in the divorce if she doesn't accept the terms of the postnuptial.
In court papers, Douglas-David said she quit her job as an investment banker for Lazard Asset Management to travel and entertain with David, who still earns $1 million a year from United Technologies. While chief executive in 2007, David made nearly $27 million in salary and bonuses.
Douglas-David's legal team includes prominent New York divorce attorney William Beslow, who represented Mia Farrow in her child-custody suit against actor-director Woody Allen and Marla Maples in her divorce from Donald Trump.
United Technologies is the parent company of Carrier, which makes air conditioning units, and Otis Elevators. It also owns Sikorsky, which makes commercial and military helicopters, and Hamilton Sunstrand, an aerospace manufacturer that makes components for NASA's space program.
David is expected to return to the stand Thursday for several days of testimony.