I know how to spend as much as the next guy.
Case in point: I spent last weekend in Portland Maine with my girl gang, the Banshees (sisters/cousins making our annual winter getaway). I wasn't really planning on shopping, but Kath and I got there before the other Banshees arrived, so we hit the LL Bean Outlet, where I got a quilted jacket and some socks. The quilted jacket wasn't exactly a necessity, but... The one I have (which was a cast-off of Kath's that I dumpster-dived out of a bag of clothing she'd given me to donate to St. Francis House) was getting a little shabby, so.... (By the way, we didn't just shop, we also went to the Portland Art Museum. So there.)
On Saturday, the Banshees did spend the day spending.
Yes, I absolutely did not need that really cool backpack from Portmanteau, but it was on sale, the fabric was gorgeous, and we were being encouraged (signs, signs, everywhere signs) to Buy Local.
So I did.
On Sunday, we went up to Freeport, where the LL Bean Mother Church is located - as well as all kinds of outlet stores.
At LL Bean, I found the cute cotton sweater I wanted that was sold out online, and a little rain jacket to replace the one I have that no longer repels rain. Last time I wore it, I got soaked through to the skin.
In the outlets, other than the blue-striped tee-shirt at the Gap, I stuck to necessities: underwear from Hanes, and a pink tee to replace the pajama top that had shrunk up to a midriff shirt. I hate that cold-breeze on the back at night.
All told, I spent about $300 on stuff for myself, which I rationalized as pent-up demand, since I haven't done much personal spending this year on things other than a new laptop battery and similarly boring goods.
But, yes, I can and do know how to spend.
Anyway, while we were sitting around one of our hotel rooms yacking and drinking wine, my cousin MB mentioned a Connecticut divorce case she'd been following , in which the soon to be ex-wife was asking for $53K per week. Yes, you read that correctly. Marie Douglas-David, a 36 year old Swedish countess (ahem) and former Lazard Freres banker, is getting a divorce from former UTC chair, George David, a 66 year old American non-count. And she's looking for some serious walking around money - the equivalent of the average American's yearly income. (Info source: Journal Inquirer.)
Poor little rich girl. Marie apparently can't scrape by on the $43 million that she's got coming to her, based on the post-nuptial agreement she signed -signed, she now claims, under duress, as he "preyed upon her fears of being divorced and childless."
Apparently those fears are panning out, but now she's looking for $100M outright - plus $130,000 a month in alimony.
Marie and George were married for 6 years, so she's after a pretty hefty rate of return.
Her $53,800 in weekly expenses, which were itemized for the court include:
- Maintaining a Park Avenue apartment and three residences in Sweden.
- $700 for limousine service
- $4,500 for clothes
- $1,000 for hair and skin treatments
- $1,500 for restaurants and entertainment
- $8,000 for travel
- Personal assistant $2,209
- Horse care $1,570
- Flowers $600
Well, that $4,500 for clothing per week certainly puts my paltry $300 once-in-a-blue-moon to shame, as does any comparison of my $50 a month (on average) Zipcar rental to her $700 limo tab. Guess you couldn't expect a countess to have to stand in Park Avenue whistling down a cabbie, let alone schlepp over to the closest Zipcar site and drive herself.
And $1K for hair and skin treatments? Each week? According to my mental math, she must be having her highlights, cut, and blow dry done daily. All that dye: can't be good for the hair. But maybe she's a natural Swedish blonde, not yet going gray. If so, where's all that money going?
Compared to everything else on her list, the $600 she spends on flowers looks like chump change, although it's pretty clear that she's not picking up a bunch of plastic-wrapped tulips at her local supermarket. Oh, I forgot, if she's spending $1,500 in restaurants, she's probably not doing a lot of cooking in, so she's not in a grocery store where she could get her fleurs fro $15.
Marie's represented by William Breslow, the big-time divorce lawyer who sought justice for Mia Farrow vs. Woody Allen, and for Marla Maples vs. Donald Trump.
Wonder how his fees factor into those weekly expenses.
If you're wondering how poor George's weekly stack up against Countess Marie's, look no further:
- Clothes $2,500
- Yacht maintenance $95,943
- Eating out $1,773
- Travel $7,491
- Charities $18,042
- Entertainment $7,125
- Wife’s residences $67,126
Anything leap out at you?
Sure, there's the $67K for her residences, that's on top of the $53K she spends weekly.
And it's nice to see that George shells out $18K/week for charitable donations.
But $95K per week for yacht maintenance? That's $5 million per year. How much is this yacht worth that it requires $5 million a year to maintain it.
The divorce, meanwhile, sounds like a really wild version of the classic he-say-she-say.
Mr Beslow accused Mr David of pushing his wife into quitting her job so that she could travel and entertain with him. “He ridiculed her as a professional. He diminished her self-confidence,” he said. Mr Beslow said the final straw for his client came in 2008, when she found e-mails disclosing an affair between her husband and a younger woman.
Mr David’s lawyer, Anne Dranginis, accused Ms Douglas-David of nagging and hounding her husband with “extensive, long diatribes” over little things “like how he held his fork or how he drafted invitations”.
Dear, oh dear, she's lost her mojo to an even younger woman. And he's worth over $300M but, alas, can't hold a fork to the satisfaction of a descendant of Grand Duke Ludwig of Baden.
The rich are sure different from you and me....And it ain't always because they have more money.