It’s a book.
It just doesn’t have an ending.
On Friday, former Chicago Board of Trade chairman Patrick Arbor, handcuffed and dressed in jail garb, is expected to appear once again before Judge Myron Mackoff in a bitter mucho-mega-million-dollar divorce proceeding right out of a movie script.
For the past 51 days, Arbor, 81, who is in ill health and appears frail, has been held primarily in the Cermak Hospital wing of Cook County Jail because of his inability to post a $1.4 million bond set by Judge Mackoff, who considers Arbor a flight risk.
• At issue: Arbor’s decision to leave the country five years ago — seven months before his divorce judgment was entered in October 2013 ordering him to pay his ex-wife, Antoinette Vigilante, nearly $18.3 million.
• The kicker: Arbor’s decision to move a large chunk of his assets overseas was made before the divorce judgment was issued.
Arbor was detained May 23 boarding a flight to Rome after attending a relative’s wedding in Boston. He was returned to Chicago, where he has been held in jail since May 25, charged with failure to comply with a judgment of divorce.
Arbor told Sneed in a recent phone call from jail that he “is holding up,” eating a daily breakfast of bread with jelly.
“I haven’t been outside in 51 days,” said Arbor. “No sunshine. But I’m not complaining. They are doing the best they can here. I am segregated and isolated.” (Full disclosure: Sneed has known Arbor through mutual friends, is familiar with his work on the Loyola University Board of Regents and once lent him books on World War II while he was undergoing chemotherapy. Sneed also has met Vigilante, who appeared friendly and charming, on one occasion through mutual friends.)
Surprisingly, Arbor claims he and Vigilante had communicated and seen each other from time to time since he left the country in 2013.
“We saw each other in several countries and were corresponding back and forth [emails]. I really didn’t want the divorce. I was hoping to reconcile or work toward some solution,” Arbor said.
Vigilante’s attorney, Lawrence Byrne, tells Sneed the couple may have communicated, but probably about the divorce proceedings. He did not go into any further detail.
Howard Rosenfeld, Arbor’s attorney, tells Sneed he will ask the judge to release Arbor for two primary reasons. “We believe he has complied with his obligation under the order of court on May 25,” Rosenfeld said. “At the time he left the country, he did not violate any law by doing so — nor did he violate any law by removing the money because there was no divorce judgment against him at the time.”
Rosenfeld also wants his client released because Arbor is in poor health because of a heart condition and suffers from basal cell and squamous cell carcinoma, which has required numerous treatments.
Vigilante’s attorney, Byrne, told Sneed,”We will ask the court that he remain in custody because he hasn’t paid the bond.”
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“He is a flight risk with or without a private jet,” Byrne also told Sneed. “I don’t think he has any more purchase with the judge.”
Judge Mackoff refused to lower the bond at Arbor’s second court hearing on June 2 and denied placing Arbor on electronic monitoring because “at least when he’s in jail, we know where he is.”
Mansion musings . . .
Scoopla hoopla: Bicentennial beer and mini sweet corn fritters will be served Friday to all the mega donors who helped rebuild the old pile known as the Governor’s Mansion in Springfield.
• Here, there & nowhere: Col. Jennifer Pritzker will hit the digs, but Sneed hears an apparent “scheduling conflict” (oops!) may prevent M.K. Pritzker, a mansion renovation committee member, and hubby J.B. Pritzker — who is running against Gov. Bruce Rauner — from attending the event.
Former Gov. George Ryan is expected to attend the mansion’s ceremonial event with three of his children, whose kids secretly stuffed their autographs behind a mansion mirror years ago; Leslie Hindman and Joe Gromacki, who spearheaded the mansion’s Art of Illinois Exhibit, are also expected — as well as Pilsen artist Marcos Raya.
Sneedlings . . .
I spy: Aerosmith legend Steven Tyler spotting watching Deadpool 2 at AMC River East 21 on Sunday night. . . . Belated Thursday birthdays: James Rodriguez, 28; Malala Yousafzai, 21; and Bill Cosby, 82. Friday birthdays: Cheech Marin, 72; Harrison Ford, 76; Patrick Stewart, 78, and Vito Burdi, ageless and priceless.