S.C. Johnson moves to vacate order in Buske divorce

Amelia Flood Aug. 3, 2009, 3:32am

Attorneys for S.C. Johnson and Sons Inc. are asking a Madison County judge to finish work the appellate court started when it threw out an order barring the company from collecting on a $203 million Wisconsin judgment against Edwardsville trucking firm owner Thomas Buske.

The Madison County court hearing Thomas Buske's divorce from his wife, Sara Buske, had enjoined the company in December 2008 from collecting on a Wisconsin judgment.

The Fifth Appellate District in Mount Vernon reversed the order issued by Associate Judge Duane Bailey on June 18.

The motion and its amended form, filed by S.C. Johnson attorney Andrew Velloff of Alton, asks the court to completely vacate the Dec. 19, 2008 enjoining order, pursuant to the appellate court's finding.

The motion contends that "Thomas Buske in concert with his wife Sara Buske, has sought to shield his assets from collection via this divorce … and to have the domestic relations court bless the Buskes' continued dissipation of assets."

"Despite Thomas Buske's desire to first distribute some or all of his funds and property to others … S.C. Johnson cannot be made to wait and hope to collect what, if anything, is left," Velloff wrote in the motion.

S.C. Johnson was awarded the $203 million judgment against Thomas Buske eight days before Sara Buske filed for divorce last June.

Thomas Buske is facing multiple criminal charges in a Wisconsin federal court over allegedly defrauding S.C. Johnson of millions through inflated invoices. He has pleaded not guilty to all charges.

S.C. Johnson had attempted to intervene in the Buske divorce, calling it a sham orchestrated to hide moneys the company is owed.

Bailey had denied the company standing to argue collusion in a June hearing shortly before the appellate decision over the enjoinment order came down.

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

Bailey has since been reassigned.

Thomas Buske is represented in the divorce by Vickie Cochran of St. Louis.

Sara Buske is represented by Springfield attorney Howard Feldman.

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

Madison County Judge Thomas Chapman is now presiding over the case.

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