SC Johnson alleges 'unbridled greed' in wife's divorce request

Amelia Flood Feb. 10, 2010, 10:57am

The maker of Scrub n' Bubbles and other common household cleaning products will argue that one of the parties in an Edwardsville divorce is not entitled to keep $10,000 in monthly maintanence payments.

The ex-wife does not agree.

S.C. Johnson and Sons Inc., which intervened in the divorce of Thomas and Sara Buske, is set to argue on Friday its motion to order Thomas Buske to repay an unauthorized loan from his former trucking company.

Sara Buske filed a response to the motion Feb. 1, stating that she had no problem with the company's request, so long as she received the $325,000 promised to her under the divorce's December 2009 settlement and that she continues to receive $10,000 a month as previously ordered by the court.

In its Feb. 9 response, S.C. Johnson calls that assumption "unbridled greed."

Thomas Buske is facing federal charges for alleging defrauding S.C. Johnson of millions using inflated incomes from his trucking companies.

He has pled not guilty.

In 2008, the Racine Wisc.-based company secured a $203.8 million verdict against Thomas Buske.

His wife of a decade, Sara, filed for divorce eight days after the judgment was entered.

S.C. Johnson moved to intervene in the divorce, alleging it was a sham meant to hide moneys that Thomas Buske owed to the company.

Thomas Buske continued to reside at the couple's Edwardsville home until May of 2009 and the couple took trips together, sharing the same hotel room.

Sara Buske testified that she and her husband could no longer see eye to eye on issues and that she no longer wanted to continue her marriage.

The three parties settled the case Dec. 1. A copy of that settlement is not currently available.

S.C. Johnson currently seeks the repayment of $30,000 from a loan Thomas Buske took from his former trucking company, Buske Lines Inc. S.C. Johnson now owns that company under the December settlement terms.

In her Feb. 1 motion, Sara Buske cites the fact that S.C. Johnson has not moved to vacate an order signed by then-presiding judge, Madison County Associate Judge Duane Bailey, that granted her $10,000 a month in maintenance from an escrow account at the Bank of Edwardsville. She argues that she is therefore entitled to continue receiving payments.

In its reply to her motion, S.C. Johnson calls Bailey's order "outdated." It dismisses Sara Buske's arguments for continuing to receive the monthly payouts.

"As support for her unbridled greed, Sara Buske claims only that the prior court order awarding her temporary maintenance has not been formally vacated," the motion reads. "What Sara Buske conveniently ignores, of course, is that she expressly agreed to forego her rights to such monthly maintenance payments."

The company contends that Sara Buske surrendered her right to ask for the money when she agreed to the settlement Dec. 1, 2009. The company calls the Feb. 1 move a "post-settlement money grab that Sara Buske wants this Court to sanction."

Madison County Associate Judge Thomas Chapman is set to hear motions in the Buske divorce at 1:30 p.m. Feb. 11. Chapman took over the case from Bailey last year.

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

Thomas Buske is represented by Vicki Cochran and others.

Sara Buske is represented by Howard Feldman and others.

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Organizations in this Story

Bank of Edwardsville
330 West Vandalia Street
Edwardsville, IL 62025

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