Why The Ex-Wife Of Oil Tycoon Harold Hamm Didn't Accept This Cheque For $974,790,317.77

Oil tycoon Harold Hamm offered to pay his former wife $US974.8 million in an intense and unusual divorce proceedings, and she promptly rejected it.

Hamm, who Bloomberg estimates is currently worth $US8.7 billion (after being worth as much as $US18 billion), sent the handwritten check to the legal team of ex-wife Sue Ann Arnall to cover the full cash value of what he owes based on a November divorce ruling by an Oklahoma County judge.

Harold hamm checkReutersThe check in question.

Jacqueline Newman, a family law attorney & managing partner at Berkman Bottger Newman & Rodd in New York City, agrees with Arnell.

“While it may seem insane to most Americans that Ms. Arnall did not run to the bank to cash her check for $US975M, I can understand why she handed it back,” Newman, who specialises in complex high net worth matrimonial cases and negotiating prenuptial agreements, told Business Insider in a statement. “Firstly, I agree with her attorneys that it could weaken her appellate case. Secondly, she believes (maybe correctly, maybe not) that she deserves more.

Sue ann harold hammREUTERSSue Ann Hamm and Continental Resources Chief Executive Officer Harold Hamm

“You may ask ‘How much more than almost a billion dollars does one person need?’ That same question can be posed to her husband who had an estate valued at $US18B.

“If the wife’s attorneys are able to prove to an appellate court that the her contributions to the marriage should have received a credit greater than 5.5% of the estate, then Ms. Arnall should receive a larger check than what Mr. Hamm delivered to her today.

“Think of it this way, imagine that Mr. Hamm was worth $US100,000 – which would mean that Ms. Arnall would receive a $US5,500 payment while Mr. Hamm kept $US94,500. Would that be fair? Maybe not… maybe in that case, a court would have split the estate differently. If so, then I am not clear why the law should be inconsistent simply because we are adding a bunch of zeros to the numbers.

“The law is the law and I do not think that it should be altered because we are dealing with high net worth cases.”

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