Class action 'king' embroiled in contentious 'cookie jar' divorce

Steve Korris Dec. 16, 2005, 4:38pm

Chiropractor Mark Eavenson, who has filed more class action lawsuits in Madison County than anyone else, has violated a divorce court order by treating marital funds "like his own personal cookie jar," according to his wife, Laura J. Eavenson.

Laura Eavenson has moved Madison County Family Court Judge Nelson Metz for civil contempt sanctions against Mark Eavenson, including imprisonment in the county jail.

In a separate motion, she has asked for an immediate accounting of all funds her husband has received and spent. She has also moved for appointment of a special administrator to allocate marital assets in an equitable manner.

Laura Eavenson alleges that Mark Eavenson "managed to spend $32,000 on an engagement ring for his girlfriend when in fact, he is not yet divorced."

She claims he spent "extraordinary amounts" to remodel his home, "which he alleges was purchased for the amount of $600,000."

She has submitted to the court evidence that her husband pledged $100,000 to Logan Chiropractic College and made two payments of $10,000 each toward the pledge.

Mark Eavenson has not responded to his wife's motions. At the moment he can't respond. He fired his attorney.

Two years ago, at the height of the class action craze in Madison County, Mark Eavenson filed 20 class action suits. Last year he filed two more.

All the suits claimed that insurance companies improperly reduced payments on chiropractic treatment bills. In some cases, other chiropractors sued with him.

He dismissed six of the class actions, presumably after settling them.

The Illinois Supreme Court transferred one class action to another county.

In most of the cases still listed as active, his attorneys at the Lakin Law Firm have done nothing this year to move forward.

In Laura Eavenson's motion for an accounting of marital assets, her attorney, David Fahrenkamp of Edwardsville, wrote that Mark Eavenson "has access to the proceeds from the settlement of lawsuits."

Fahrenkamp wrote, "He has not been required to account for same, and spends money freely and without regard for its effect on the marital estate."

Laura Eavenson petitioned for divorce last year. Metz immediately entered an order restraining the parties from transferring, concealing or otherwise disposing of their property, "whether claimed to be separate or marital in nature."

The order required them to notify each other in advance of proposed extraordinary expenditures or transactions.

In spite of the order, their financial disputes escalated. Laura Eavenson told Metz that Mark Eavenson spent part of a tax refund that he should have put into an escrow account.

This June, Metz ordered Mark Eavenson to restore the funds.

According to Fahrenkamp's contempt motion, Mark Eavenson has "willfully and contumaciously failed to comply with the court's orders by restoring the funds."

Fahrenkamp wrote that Mark Eavenson opened an account with only $50,000, at a bank to which Laura Eavenson had specifically objected.

Fahrenkamp asked Metz to impose sanctions until such time as he is satisfied that Mark Eavenson would comply with his order.

He asked that, "...said sanctions include imprisonment in the Madison County Jail until such time as the Respondent can purge the contempt."

In the motion for accounting, Fahrenkamp wrote that Mark Eavenson said there was enough for everyone and Laura Eavenson should just ask for what she wants.

Fahrenkamp wrote that, "…this manner of allocating the joint marital assets is demeaning to his wife, requires her to, in effect, ask permission to get money to which she is already entitled, while allowing the Respondent to have unbridled access to do whatever he damn well pleases with their money."

Fahrenkamp called on Metz to "take access to the money out of the hands of the Respondent, because he is treating it like his own personal cookie jar."

Mark Eavenson's attorney, Elizabeth Levy of Edwardsville, notified Metz on Dec. 7 that she would withdraw. She presented a Dec. 3 letter in which her client stated that he desired to discharge her.

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