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The hubris of Patrick Arbor

May 28th, 2018

Patrick Arbor’s divorce is unusual, but he’s not the only powerful executive who thinks rules aren’t made for him.

And maybe that’s why he has so many supporters.

Arbor is the former chairman of the CBOT who’s been fighting a court order to pay up on his divorce. He’s been on the lam for five years trying to avoid the $18 million judgment he’s been ordered to pay his ex-wife, Antoinette Vigilante.

That amount may seem unfair to a self-made man. But rules are rules, and most of us follow them.

In dramatic fashion, Arbor was arrested last week at his grandson’s commencement ceremony in Boston. Confusion over extradition wording allowed him to walk free but a day later, as he was heading for a flight to Rome, he was arrested again.

Now in Cook County’s court system, he’s been ordered held in jail on a $1.4 million cash bond.

So far, he’s refused to pay it, according to a source close to the case.

What hubris.

Arbor isn’t the only master-of-the-universe accustomed to getting his way. There are plenty who try to get around the system.

They have fixers who can get them out of anything and attorneys who find loopholes.

Just look at all the billionaire tax cheats. Ty Warner, owner of Beanie Babies maker Ty Inc., deposited millions in a Zurich bank to avoid paying taxes. The law eventually caught up with him and he paid a hefty fine for tax evasion.

And Jesse Jackson Jr. and his ex-wife, Sandra Jackson, became symbols of power corrupting absolutely when they pled guilty to campaign and tax fraud, respectively. They’ve served their time and have moved on to the next chapters of their lives.

It’s not just high net-worth individuals who ignore the rules, or there wouldn’t be so many pro se litigants choosing to represent themselves to try to avoid court orders.

“It’s a lot like real life,” Berger Schatz attorney Brendan Hammer told me. He represented Jesse Jr. in his divorce case. “People at the high end and low end of life misbehave. And the middle class follows the rules.”

Arbor’s beef may be with his ex-wife. But by ignoring orders of the court, he’s shown his real problem is with the judicial system that the rest of us follow and respect.

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One Response to The hubris of Patrick Arbor

  1. Donna Tuke says:

    Thanks, Shia for writing about this! I hope that his former wife recovers the money awarded to her. She has been dogged in pursuing him. Many others would have given up. Credit to her lawyer also!

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