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Judge orders ex-CBOT chairman Pat Arbor kept in jail, so ‘we know where he is’

Former Chicago Board of Trade Chairman Patrick Arbor, right, arrives for court in the Daley Center on May 25, 2018. | Max Herman/For the Sun-Times

Former Chicago Board of Trade Chairman Patrick Arbor, right, arrives for court in the Daley Center last month. | Max Herman/For the Sun-Times

A Cook County judge refused Friday to reduce bond for former Chicago Board of Trade Chairman Patrick Arbor after his lawyer argued he should be released because he is in poor health and can’t access his money from jail.

The wealthy trader, a member of the Futures Industry Association’s Hall of Fame, has been held in Cook County Jail since May 25 on a $1.4 million total cash bond for two contempt of court citations growing out of a contentious divorce proceeding.

His lawyer, Vivian Tarver-Varnado, asked Judge Myron Mackoff to reduce the bond to $50,000. She said Arbor is unable to pay the higher amount at this time because “he has no financial resources in North America.”

Arbor left the country and moved his assets overseas to avoid an $18 million divorce judgment entered against him in 2013.

He was arrested in Boston last week as he prepared to board a flight to Rome, then extradited to Chicago.

Tarver-Varnado said it will take several weeks for Arbor to move money from overseas to the U.S. and that there is no reason to hold him in jail while that’s taking place.

She noted the judge’s previous orders that Arbor relinquish his U.S. and Italian passports and be placed on electronic home monitoring are sufficient to ensure he remain in Cook County and appear in court.

Her argument drew an exasperated response from Mackoff, who said it would be an easy matter for Arbor to remove his electronic monitoring bracelet and charter a private plane.

“At least when he’s in jail, we know where he is,” Mackoff said.

The judge was also dubious of Arbor’s contention he doesn’t have access to his money.

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“He can’t siphon all his money offshore and claim that he can’t get to it now that he’s been caught,” the judge said.

Tarver-Varnado said the 81-year-old Arbor suffers from basal cell and squamous cell carcinoma, is “somewhat frail” and has not received adequate medical care at the jail.

In an affidavit accompanying the request for a lower bond, Arbor told the court: “I feel as though I am deteriorating on a daily basis, and my physical and mental health are at risk.”

Tarver-Varnado argued Arbor, who was not in court Friday, should not have been required to face a hearing before Mackoff last week without a lawyer to represent him.

At that hearing, an unrepentant Arbor — just back from Boston and still wearing handcuffs — seemed to indicate he had no intention of paying the bond nor to disclose the whereabouts of his assets to his ex-wife, Antoinette Vigilante.

But Tarver-Varnado said Arbor’s failure to pay “is not a lack of willingness but a lack of ability.”

She also promised the judge that Arbor now intends to “fully cooperate” with Vigilante’s lawyers so “the court will know where his assets are.’’

In his affidavit, Arbor revealed that at the previous hearing he offered Vigilante $1 million “to settle all matters against me,” which he hoped to pay “over time.”

Vigilante’s lawyers argued previously that Arbor had at least $55 million in assets when he left the country.