SUPERIOR COURT OF NEW JERSEY
CHANCERY DIVISION / FAMILY PART
DONNA ANDERSEN, Plaintiff v.
JAMES A. MONTGOMERY, Defendant
Filed September 13, 2000
THIS COURT, having reviewed the documents presented by the plaintiff and various witnesses marked as P-1 through P- 70 in evidence, and having listened to the testimony of the plaintiff, as well as other witnesses, including John Glassey; does hereby make the following findings of fact:
1. This is an application properly brought for divorce on behalf of the plaintiff on the basis of extreme cruelty as well as adultery.
2. Jurisdiction is properly in the State of New Jersey.
3. Venue is appropriately in Atlantic County consistent with the residency of the plaintiff.
4. The parties were married on October 10, 1996 and thereafter lived together for a period of time.
5. The defendant engaged in an intentional course of conduct which is briefly set forth in paragraphs 5(a) through 5(e) of the plaintiff’s complaint and as the plaintiff testified to in detail.
6. The defendant committed adultery with Kathy Macking.
7. It is appropriate for the Court to grant the Final Judgment of Divorce in favor of plaintiff on the grounds of extreme cruelty and adultery.
8. There were no children born of this marriage.
9. There were substantial debts created by this relationship and a substantial dissipation of assets that plaintiff acquired prior to the time she met defendant.
10. The defendant met and became involved with the plaintiff for the sole and complete purpose of using the plaintiff’s assets for his own personal and selfish gain.
11. The defendant has further engaged in a pattern of defrauding women of large sums of money. The defendant perpetrated a series of events on a series of innocent, vulnerable women to take advantage of their emotions and to cheat them out of whatever they owned.
12. This Court finds that the defendant committed an act or acts of fraud against the plaintiff. The elements of fraud are met in that:
(1) there were material misrepresentations made by the defendant to the plaintiff of presently existing or past facts, including but not limited to statements:
(a) the defendant told the plaintiff he was an American citizen, in his late 40’s, and a very successful businessman with a net worth of $2 million to $3 million;
(b) the defendant represented that he had a certain social standing and would be a partner for plaintiff;
(c) defendant further represented he had several successful, high-profile business projects and plaintiff would profit by paying his expenses and credit card debt until he made enough to pay her back and reap profits from his business; in reality, defendant was using the plaintiff to support his lifestyle. He was taking money from the plaintiff to entertain women.
(d) Defendant falsely represented to plaintiff that she would profit from his enteprises and that he would reimburse her for expenses she had paid for him when he had no intention of doing so;
(2) The defendant made these statements knowing that these representations were false and
(3) with an intent that the plaintiff rely on his statements.
(4) The plaintiff did reasonably rely on defendant’s representations and
(5) was damaged thereby.
13. Defendant breached the contract that he had with the plaintiff.
14. In distributing assets that were acquired by the marriage, this Court must rely on the Equitable Distribution Statute, N.J.S.A. 2A:34-23.1. This means that we must equitably distribute assets and debts based on the facts fairly presented, which does not necessarily mean there is a 50/50 distribution. This is a case where there ought to be an unequal distribution of assets and debts.
15. Plaintiff shall receive shares of stock owned by the defendant and Polytechnique Corp. for the purpose of ultimately having control over the assets of the corporation, which have been represented to be the Titanic artifacts. The plaintiff will have the ability to sell those artifacts consistent with the previous orders of the Court. The sales proceeds of the artifacts shall be used to pay off whatever debts there are of the corporation and to distribute the proceeds consistent with Exhibit 10 (page 92)(Exhibit A). The Court notes that the third-party defendant John Glassey believes the distribution is fair and acceptable to him, considering the circumstances, so that the proposed distribution of the proceeds from the sale of the Titanic artifacts and materials can be carried out pursuant to Exhibit 10 at page 92, which has been placed into evidence and is incorporated herein.
16. The Court believes it is appropriate for the defendant to be made to pay the debt for the property lease to Brittany at Waterford in the amount of $2,323.00. The defendant shall be solely responsible for that debt. He will indemnify and hold plaintiff harmless from any responsibility of that debt.
17. As a result of the defendant’s intentional fraudulent behavior, the defendant shall be responsible to pay the credit card debt that the plaintiff incurred during the course of the marital relationship. Judgment shall be entered in favor of plaintiff against defendant for the amount of the credit card debt and home equity loan, $68,453.00, and the form of judgment can provide that any finance charges and interest payments that may be made in the future will be the defendant’s responsibility to the extent that the plaintiff is actually able to enforce this provision.
18. Defendant shall pay 100% of the plaintiff s legal fees.
19. This Court finds it is appropriate for the defendant to pay the expenditures made by the plaintiff on his behalf in the amount of $227,000.00, which includes the total credit card debt and any finance charges. This does not include the normal living expenses that one would expect from people who are married. These are in the nature of extraordinary expenses that the defendant convinced the plaintiff to pay as part of his intentional fraudulent scheme so this Court finds it is appropriate for the defendant to repay the plaintiff the sum or $227,000.00.
20. This Court finds that the marital relationship was not a business venture gone bad where two parties enter into the relationship knowingly with their eyes open and lose their money. It is clear to this Court based upon the testimony of the plaintiff, as well as the other people who have testified, that this is the way the defendant lives his life and this is apparently the way he funds his lifestyle. The defendant met the plaintiff for the sole and complete purpose of defrauding her out of her assets. Unfortunately the defendant was successful. This Court finds it appropriate to assess and award punitive damages against the defendant. This Court assesses punitive damage award against the defendant in favor of the plaintiff in the amount of $1 million.
21. Any other claims that should surface by any third person against the plaintiff as a result of the defendant, the defendant will be ordered to indemnify and hold the plaintiff harmless from any responsibility whatsoever to pay any of those debts.
22. It is the Court’s understanding that the title to the plaintiff’s home has not been changed. The plaintiff’s home shall remain the plaintiff’s property. Any of the personal property contained therein should also remain as the plaintiff’s personal property.
23. Plaintiff may sell the defendant’s automobile, an MG, and use the funds to be paid toward the judgment entered by this Court. The plaintiff is permitted to act as the defendant’s attorney-in-fact for the purpose of signing the title document so that she can sell the automobile.
24. Plaintiff’s business, to the extent she is still able to operate her business, is her sole property free and clear of any claim by the defendant.
25. The stock in Polytechnique shall be transferred to the plaintiff so that she is able to carry out the purpose of being able to sell the Titanic artifacts.
26. Plaintiff owes no duty of support to the defendant and they each shall pay their own medical expenses and medical insurance.
27. Plaintiff’s bank account shall remain her separate property.
28. All property, real or personal, in plaintiff’s name shall be plaintiff’s property free and clear of any claims by the defendant.