Judge Bailey no longer presides over Buske, Jones divorces

Steve Korris Jul. 9, 2009, 3:28am


Madison County Associate Judge Duane Bailey, who presided over a pair of divorce proceedings that intertwined with criminal investigations involving millions of dollars, no longer presides over them.

On June 30 Chief Judge Ann Callis reassigned him from family court to juvenile court.

Callis chose Associate Judge Ellar Duff to replace Bailey in the Jones case.

On July 1 presiding family court judge Stephen Stobbs assigned Duff to a divorce between former Triad Industries owner Rick Jones and wife Dorothy Jones.

Rick Jones pleaded guilty in January to income tax evasion and agreed to pay $2.4 million to the Internal Revenue Service and $1.2 million in restitution to BP Amoco.

He confessed that he spent for his own benefit money that BP Amoco paid Triad to decontaminate soil at its refinery.

Jones will be sentenced July 16.

In April he signed a divorce agreement that would have paid his debts, but in May he protested that Dorothy should pay.

Bailey authorized the payments himself on June 26.

"There is in this case a misunderstanding that involves millions of dollars," he wrote.

In the other case, household products maker S.C. Johnson challenges a divorce between trucking company owner Thomas Buske and wife Sara Buske as a sham.

S.C. Johnson tried to convince Bailey that Thomas and Sara seek a divorce solely to protect assets from a fraud judgment against Thomas in a Wisconsin court.

Madison County Associate Judge Thomas Chapman has now been assigned to the case.

Last year Bailey enjoined S.C. Johnson from pursuing the Wisconsin judgment, but appeals judges in Mount Vernon reversed him on June 18.

Justice Stephen Spomer wrote that Bailey issued the injunction "without any allegation, let alone finding, that fraud, gross wrong, or oppression would result from Johnson continuing with its legitimate collection efforts."

Spomer wrote, "The trial court also did not find that a clear equity was presented which required the injunction to prevent a manifest wrong and injustice."

Bailey included no provision to protect S.C. Johnson's interests, he wrote.

On June 12 Bailey signed another order adverse to S.C. Johnson, dismissing its collusion claim against the Buskes.

That order still stands.

In addition to the state court judgment against him, Thomas Buske was indicted March 10 in the Eastern District of Wisconsin on 23 counts of defrauding S.C. Johnson of $15 million through false and inflated invoices between 1999 and 2004.

Buske's divorce lawyers advised Bailey that he expects to go to prison.

As of July 7 Stobbs had not reassigned the Buske divorce.

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