S.C. Johnson standing hearing Friday in Buske divorce

Amelia Flood Jun. 10, 2009, 12:13pm

A hearing to determine whether a cleaning-product manufacturer can intervene in an Edwardsville divorce is on for Friday before Madison County Associate Judge Duane Bailey.

S.C. Johnson, the Racine, Wisc.-based maker of many household items, wants to dismiss a divorce it claims is an attempt to hide money owed to the company. Bailey set the hearing in May after refusing to allow S.C. Johnson to argue its claims without first determining if it has the standing to do so.

S.C. Johnson wants Bailey to dismiss the divorce of Sara and Thomas Buske. Thomas Buske has been indicted for on over 20 counts of defrauding the company of millions. Thomas Buske owned trucking firms and the fraud case stemmed from inflated invoices.

Last year, a Wisconsin civil court issued a judgment against Thomas Buske for more than $203 million. Sara Buske, his wife of 15 years, filed for divorce eight days after the judgment was entered by the Wisconsin court.

S.C. Johnson argues that the Buskes colluded to divorce in an attempt to hide monies the company is owed. It cites trips the Buskes took to California and Nevada just prior to and after the divorce.

Thomas Buske had not moved out of the couple's Edwardsville home as of a May 15 hearing. S.C. Johnson points to Sara Buske's maintenance request for $22,000 a month as proof that the couple is hiding assets. According to court records, Thomas Buske makes $180,000 a year, an amount that would be less than the maintenance amount his wife has asked for.

Bailey granted Sara Buske $10,000 a month in maintenance May 29. Thomas Buske already pays $1,000 a week in child support for the couple's two children. Bailey heard the maintenance arguments in May.

Should the court rule the company has standing to intervene in the case, S.C. Johnson would be able to make its arguments for dismissing the divorce June 19 at a separate hearing.

Sara Buske is represented by Howard Feldman. Thomas Buske is represented in the divorce by Vicki Cochran.

S.C. Johnson is represented by Andrew Velloff and Thomas Q. Keefe Jr.

The hearing is set for 10 a.m. Friday.

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