BRIDGEPORT, Conn. – A judge has awarded the former wife of a multimillionaire businessman a divorce settlement worth more than $40 million even though she admitted having affairs with her rock-climbing guide and a man she met on a flight to China.
In addition to a $24 million payment, Susan Sosin (search) will keep the couple's $3.6 million Manhattan apartment, $2 million Utah ski house and $800,000 home in Wallkill, N.Y. (search). But she has to vacate the couple's two mansions in Connecticut and three desert properties in Arizona.
In the divorce granted Wednesday, she also gets to keep $6 million in her brokerage accounts, eight cars and $2.9 million in jewelry, including a ruby piece her husband had bought for her but hadn't given to her prior to their divorce.
Richard Albrecht (search), attorney for Sosin's husband, Howard, estimated the total value of the award at $43 million, or 27 percent of the estate. She wanted half, he said.
"My opinion is her conduct in this matter affected the award," Albrecht said.
Susan Sosin's lawyer, Frederic J. Siegel, estimated the total value of the award was about $45 million and said his client asked for about 45 percent of the estate.
"By anybody's standards, it's a large amount of money," Siegel said. "Both parties will be able to move on with their lives."
Siegel said both sides were at fault for the divorce and defended his client as a good mother.
Howard Sosin, 54, who founded AIG Financial Products (search) in 1987, filed for divorce after discovering his wife's relationships in February 2003. During an upgrade of their computer system, he found hundreds of e-mails between his wife and her lover, according to testimony.
Susan Sosin, 51, admitted in testimony that she had become intimate with a guide while rock climbing in 1996, though she said it was a spontaneous and isolated occurrence. During a flight to China in 2000, she met a married man, and that led to a lengthy affair, according to testimony.
"The parties' marriage has been undeniably marred by the defendant's infidelity," Superior Court Judge Howard Owens stated in his verdict. "Although her sexual relationship was not the sole cause of the breakdown, it did effectively terminate the marriage."
Howard Sosin's wealth was estimated at $168 million. Among the assets he gets to keep are $89 million in bank accounts, 10 of the couple's 18 cars, $960,000 worth of private club memberships and $22 million in fine art.
The couple met in 1978 when Howard Sosin was an assistant professor at Columbia University. At the time, she was married to another man and working in retail.
Howard Sosin served as the president and chief operating officer of AIG Financial Products until 1993 when he left the company. Following litigation, he received $182 million from AIG.