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As holidays approach, judge keeps ex-CBOT chief, 82, in jail over divorce fight

Patrick Arbor in Cook County Jail earlier this month | Annie Costabile/Sun-Times file photo

Eighty-two-year-old former Chicago Board of Trade chairman Patrick Arbor came to court Thursday in a wheelchair wearing his Cook County Jail uniform.

He was wheeled out less than 30 minutes later on his way back to jail with no resolution in sight for his legal standoff with his ex-wife over their divorce judgment.

In between, the parties followed what has become a familiar script during Arbor’s seven months in custody on a civil contempt of court charge.

Arbor’s attorney, Howard Rosenfeld, argued his client poses no flight risk and should be released.

“There’s absolutely no reason to keep him here,” said Rosenfeld, noting that Arbor has previously surrendered his passports.


video by Annie Costabile and Brian Ernst

But Circuit Judge Myron Mackoff did not even ask lawyers for Arbor’s ex-wife, Antoinette Vigilante, to argue for keeping him in jail.

“I do consider Mr. Arbor a flight risk,” Mackoff said.

Arbor moved most of his assets overseas and fled to Europe in 2012 because of his disagreement with preliminary court rulings in Vigilante’s favor by another judge. She later was awarded an $18 million judgment that he also thinks is unfair. He was arrested in Boston in May after returning to the U.S. to attend his grandson’s college graduation.

In a recent interview with the Sun-Times, Arbor said he does not normally require the use of a wheelchair, although one is provided to him for his court visits to help facilitate his movement.

Mackoff indicated he was in no hurry to release Arbor, who is currently being held on $1.4 million cash bond.

“We still have to let things play out in Europe,” the judge said, in reference to efforts to recover $4 million to $5 million in Arbor’s assets held by a trust in Lichtenstein.

Vigilante’s attorneys, Larry Byrne and Stan Sneeringer, told the judge that Arbor continues to block them in their efforts to collect the funds.

“We’re getting the same stonewalling we had before,” complained Byrne, who contends Arbor has pretended in court to turn over the trust assets to Vigilante while working behind the scenes to thwart her.

Arbor says the Lichtenstein funds are beyond his control because of the provisions of the trust. He argues he lost most of the rest of his overseas funds in a Portuguese bank failure.

Mackoff set Jan. 14 for a hearing on whether to provide Vigilante’s lawyers with jail logs of Arbor’s visitors, mail and telephone calls. They want the information to determine who he might have used to communicate with his representatives in Lichtenstein.