Divorce man ‘not on same planet’


Published: Friday 27th February 2015 by The News Editor

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A highly successful businessman from the United States “not willing to pay a penny” in a multimillion-pound divorce battle has been told by a judge: “I am not sure you and I are on the same planet.”

Randy Work, a former key executive in Texas-based private equity company Lone Star, was explaining to the judge why he was arguing in court that his estranged wife was only entitled to £5m despite his huge fortune of at least £150m.

Mr Work, 47, said that “unfortunately” the mother of his two teenage children, Mandy Gray, 45, had failed to abide by a Texan post-nuptial agreement.

She was therefore prevented from receiving a more substantial sum, or anything other than the £5m deemed to be her own separate property, an amount expected to fall to just over £3m when bills are paid.

From the opening of the case Mr Justice Holman, sitting in the Family Division of London’s High Court, urged the couple – who had “married without a bean” – to settle their differences.

The judge told them as they sat on opposite sides of the courtroom there was “plenty of money to go round”, there were no difficulties and it “should be so easy”.

He added: “People who are struggling to afford two-bedroom houses have difficulties.”

The couple began living together in 1992 and married in 1995 in California. They separated in 2013 and have two children, now aged 15 and 12.

The court was told that Randy was “the breadwinner” and Mandy “the homemaker”.

In 1997 he was offered a job with Lone Star in Dallas, Texas, and soon after he was offered a post in Tokyo, where they lived from 1998 until 2005.

The couple moved to the UK in 2008 and their matrimonial home has been in London ever since. After the marriage broke down Mandy moved to a flat in Kensington.

In the witness box Mr Work described how he had gone to Japan and made billions of dollars for Lone Star buying up real estate, including troubled golf courses, after the Japanese economy became stuck in a sharp downturn.

Mr Work told the judge that Mandy had been “a good wife” over 20 years and “a good mother” and would have been entitled to at least £70m, the “total sum payable” under the post-nup agreement they had signed in October 2000.

But he argued Ms Gray was not entitled to any of his money, or any of his property, after coming to court to seek a better settlement.

Ms Gray argued when she gave evidence that Clause V of the addendum agreement gave her “the unfettered right” to seek from the court “any form of financial provision the court has power to order”.

She argued the family wealth was generated during the marriage and there should now be an equal division of the current total net assets.

The judge told Charles Howard QC, appearing for Mr Work that he was “really concerned” about the husband’s “open” position that he was “not going to pay her a penny”.

The judge expressed his disbelief that “a wife of roughly 20 years, married when neither had a bean, and he is now worth at least £150m, should be expected to go away with just over £3m”.

He added: “At the moment I am not sure Mr Work and I are on the same planet.”

Mr Howard did not disagree that that was Mr Work’s position in court, but he suggested to the judge that he was “trespassing into negotiations” that might be taking place out of court.

The judge replied: “No I am not. I don’t know how many times I have said the focus should be on negotiation.”

He said he had no doubt that Mr Work “would like to close this down” and had probably got more money on the table outside court, but he was maintaining an open position “where he and I are not on the same planet”.

The court heard how both Randy and Mandy were born in the US but had “expatriated” and both are now resident in London.

Ms Gray told the court that the post-nup was part of the move to separate their assets when her husband first decided to give up his US citizenship to avoid tax in America.

Mr Work denied that was true.

Published: Friday 27th February 2015 by The News Editor

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