CHICAGO — With multiple homes, a full-time private chef, vacations, entertainment and $746 for pet care, Alicia Stephenson needs more than $400,000 a month to meet her living expenses, according to testimony from a financial expert who specializes in divorces.
Cathleen Belmonte Newman, a certified divorce financial analyst, said she completed a “lifestyle analysis” to determine that Stephenson would need $433,991 “net” in monthly maintenance to keep up a standard of living similar to what she had during her marriage to Richard Stephenson, the multimillionaire founder of the Cancer Treatment Centers of America hospital network.
Richard Stephenson was also the president of chairman of International Capital & Management Company according to his LinkedIn profile and media reports.
Seven years after she filed for divorce, a trial is under way in McHenry County to determine Alicia Stephenson’s financial settlement. She signed a prenuptial agreement before the couple married in 1991, but it said monthly maintenance would be up for negotiation if the marriage lasted more than seven years. The two sides also are at odds over her possible stake in several other assets.
Newman completed her third day on the stand Tuesday after Richard Stephenson’s attorneys scrutinized her analysis, methods and qualifications and whether the expenses she outlined are simply “desires and wants.”
Much of the trial, now in its third week, has featured testimony from Alicia Stephenson’s friends and business associates who have outlined her lavish lifestyle during the marriage: trips on private jets, several homes complete with staff and high-end furnishings and artwork, millions of dollars in jewelry, couture clothing, fancy parties, expensive vehicles, motorcycles and yachts.
The planner said Alicia Stephenson was “never on any budgetary constraints.”
Newman testified that Stephenson will need about $9 million total to buy a condominium in Chicago and a home in Naples, Fla., she has been eyeing. Monthly mortgage and taxes would be little more than $30,000 a month, plus about $2,800 in assessments to pay for the Chicago condo. The home in Naples would cost about the same.
Stephenson is also seeking $23,200 a month for waterfront rental property in Michigan, where Stephenson wants to vacation from May to September. During the marriage, she and Richard Stephenson owned residences in Michigan, Illinois, the Virgin Islands, Colorado and Tennessee, according to testimony.
Another expense Newman outlined was more than $100,000 per month for entertainment, including trips to the Sundance Film Festival, Napa Valley and Fashion Week in California. She said Alicia Stephenson regularly dined out and attended sporting events, Broadway plays and concerts during the marriage.
She also wants four motorcycles that would cost her $1,070 to maintain, plus two boats and a four-person watercraft, Newman said.
The financial analyst explained that she typically uses bank and credit card statements and other financial records from the time the couple was married. In this case, many of those records were not provided, she said, so she relied more on records of Alicia Stephenson’s more recent spending, as well as on what Stephenson told her was typical of the couple’s lifestyle.
For instance, Newman calculated the cost of a trip to the Rose Bowl on a private jet as part of an estimate of future vacation expenses because the couple had attended the football game in the past, and other, similar sporting events. But while the couple traveled around the world, the report includes only trips inside the United States and to Mexico, according to testimony.
During his cross-examination, Richard Stephenson’s attorney, David Grund, questioned if Newman was allowed to “accept hearsay,” and if her report could have been compiled by anyone with a high school diploma entering data into a computer program.
Alicia Stephenson’s camp pointed out Newman was accepted by the court as an expert in this area, and she referenced her advanced degrees in finance and her experience testifying in divorce cases.
She also disputed Grund’s claim that the line items in the report were based solely on Alicia’s “desires and wants.”