Arbor the fugitive: Ex-CBOT chief shackled—but unshaken—in divorce court date
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A handcuffed and unrepentant Patrick Arbor was escorted into divorce court Friday by Cook County sheriff’s deputies, ending for now his five years as a globetrotting fugitive.
With his suit coat draped over his wrists to hide the handcuffs, the former chairman of the Chicago Board of Trade was led before Domestic Relations Court Judge Myron Mackoff on an arrest warrant for contempt of court.
Mackoff ordered Arbor held in Cook County Jail on $1.4 million cash bond.
Arbor, 81, 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.
Arbor was arrested Wednesday in Boston 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.
Vigilante watched as Mackoff set a $410,265 cash bond for Arbor on the earlier contempt charge.
Then the judge agreed with her lawyers to slap Arbor with an additional contempt charge for his continued failure to pay her maintenance — and added an additional $1 million cash bond to keep him from fleeing again.
Mackoff said he was concerned Arbor would pay the smaller amount and again “be in the wind for five years.”
Arbor told the judge he did not intend to pay the money or to sit for a legal proceeding — known as a citation to discover assets — at which Vigilante’s lawyer, Lawrence Byrne, could question him about where he has stashed his fortune.
“I’m not going to do it,” Arbor told the judge.
“Well, then you will be held in contempt again,” Mackoff warned.
Arbor appeared in court without a lawyer or any friends or family.
He looked tan and lean and stood ramrod straight, but at times had difficulty speaking loud enough to be heard. He told the judge several times he understood what was happening.
The proceedings were interrupted briefly when Arbor asked for permission to confer privately with his ex-wife and her lawyer — apparently to discuss a possible settlement.
The trio — along with the sheriff’s deputies — moved to the hallway behind the courtroom but emerged 10 minutes later with no deal.
Byrne told the judge Arbor indicated during their talk he has between $4.6 million and $5.2 million in “liquid assets.” Afterward, Byrne declined to discuss the settlement talks.
Even in court, the couple continued to squabble. Vigilante estimated under oath she had been able to recover $500,000 of the amount due her under the divorce judgment. Arbor argued it was more than that.
Mackoff also ordered Arbor to surrender both his U.S. and Italian passports as a condition of his bond. Byrne first put Arbor under oath to make him testify those are the only passports he has.
Arbor’s unusual life on the lam — he has also claimed a residence in Frosinone, Italy, and has been known to spend a lot of time in Playa Del Carmen, Mexico — turned even stranger this week when he had to be arrested twice.
Arbor was first taken into custody by Massachusetts State Police on Monday then quickly released when the sheriff’s office declined extradition.
During their 17 years of marriage, Arbor and Vigilante maintained homes in Kenilworth, Lake Geneva, Palm Beach and Water Tower Condominiums.
But Arbor told the judge Friday he doesn’t know where he would stay if released from jail.