Our Pledge To You


Judge orders ex-CBOT chief to stay in jail — rejecting ‘debtor’s’ prison’ gripe

Former Chicago Board of Trade Chairman Patrick Arbor leaves court in the Daley Center on May 25. | Max Herman/For the Sun-Times

Patrick Arbor, the former chairman of the Chicago Board of Trade, was ordered to remain in the Cook County Jail Friday.

Arbor’s attorney filed an emergency motion to spring the 81-year-old from jail during a sometimes contentious hearing in the basement of the Daley Center.

Domestic Relations Judge Myron Mackoff opted to put off his ruling on that motion until July 31.

Arbor, clad in a beige green jail jumpsuit, sat silently throughout the hour-long hearing. At least a dozen people sat behind him on the left side of the courtroom gallery to show support.

Howard Rosenfeld, Arbor’s attorney, tried in vain to convince Mackoff that Arbor could not access any money while in custody to pay for his $1.4 million bond.

“This has become a debtor’s prison,” Rosenfeld said.

Mackoff, who on several occasions chastised Rosenfeld for interrupting and raising his voice, disagreed.

“Debtor’s prison is for people who can’t pay,” the judge replied. “This is someone who won’t pay.”

Before he was arrested last month, Arbor had spent the last five years trying to avoid the inside of a Cook County courtroom to keep his ex-wife, Antoinette Vigilante, from collecting on an $18 million divorce judgment against him.

Antoinette Vigilante, former Chicago Board of Trade Chairman Patrick Arbor’'s ex-wife, arrives for court at the Daley Center on Friday. | Max Herman/For the Sun-Times

Antoinette Vigilante, former Chicago Board of Trade Chairman Patrick Arbor’’s ex-wife, arrives for court at the Daley Center in May. File Photo. | Max Herman/For the Sun-Times

He was arrested in Boston in May as he prepared to board a flight to Rome. Arbor, who gave authorities a home address in Switzerland, was in Boston to attend his grandson’s college graduation.

Arbor was returned to Chicago by sheriff’s deputies who took him directly from the airport to Mackoff’s courtroom in the basement of the Daley Center.

Rosenfeld also argued that his client’s “extremely poor health” was being exacerbated by him being held at Cermak Hospital in the jail. Rosenfeld said Arbor has a “heart condition” and cancer and he’s unable to get the treatment he needs while in custody.

Lawrence Byrne, one of Vigilante’s attorneys, said it was not the jail’s fault that Arbor wasn’t getting the treatment he may need, but Rosenfeld’s. Byrne said that if Arbor’s treatment wasn’t satisfactory, then Rosenfeld should petition Sheriff Tom Dart’s office for an improvement.

“He’s got an avenue to get his medical treatment,” Byrne said. “He hasn’t done that.”

Byrne’s remarks elicited guffaws from Arbor’s dozen or so supporters, with one woman saying that Byrne was “gonna rot in hell.”

When Rosenfeld asked Mackoff to allow him to read into the record a complete list of Arbor’s ailments, the judge would not allow him.

“How long does he sit there?” Mackoff asked facetiously. “Does he sit there until he dies?”


Earlier this month, Mackoff refused to lower Arbor’s bond and denied placing Arbor on electronic monitoring because “at least when he’s in jail, we know where he is.”

Friday, Rosenfeld asked Mackoff, “You’re concerned that he’s going to flee even with an ankle bracelet?”

“Yes,” the judge replied.

The $1.4 million bond is the result of two contempt charges brought against Arbor since the divorce case started six years ago.