A few days ago we wrote about an Oklahoma divorcée who somehow had the nerve/guts/balls/lack of common sense… to reject a $974 million divorce settlement check. More specifically, Sue Ann Hamm rejected a hand-written check in the amount of $974,790,317.77 that came from her billionaire, oil tycoon, ex-husband Harold Hamm. It was astonishing. How could anyone in their right mind ever turn down such a massive amount of money being offered in one simple piece of paper?? Even if you're still fighting for more, who could tear up a billion dollar check?
Through her lawyer, we learned that Sue Ann rejected the money because she feared that depositing the check would be a sign that she was accepting what she considered a disputed judgement. According to Oklahoma law, depositing the check may have automatically forfeited her right to continue appealing the judgement. You see, despite being the recipient of what is currently the fourth most expensive divorce in human history, Sue Ann didn't feel $1 billion was fair. She was still seeking $8-9 billion, which is equal to roughly half of her husband's fortune, as it stood in November 2014 when the judgement was delivered.
Well it looks like sanity may have finally prevailed because late last night, Sue Ann finally broke down and deposited the check. The deposit was confirmed by Harold's lawyer Michael Burrage who found out after speaking with an executive Morgan Stanley. The Morgan Stanley exec confirmed that Sue had opened a new account and deposited the enormous check late Thursday afternoon.
So what caused Sue Ann's sudden change of heart? Maybe she finally woke up and realized that $1 billion was an absolutely gigantic amount of money that should never be rejected no matter how contested the circumstances. Or maybe she realized that if the price of oil continues to slide (and subsequently continues to decimate her ex-husband's net worth) an appeal might not work out in her favor. At the time the judgement was delivered, Harold was worth $20 billion. Today he is worth $9 billion. He's lost $2 billion on paper in the last week alone. Based on those falling numbers, it's not unreasonable to think that an appellate judge might also cut their settlement in half, from $1 billion to $500 million. And as we all know, having $1 billion in the hand is worth a lot more than $500 million in the bush.