Buske settlement agreement breaks down over legal fees, assets

Steve Korris Feb. 18, 2010, 12:59am

Before a settlement of S.C. Johnson Company's claims against former trucking tycoon Tom Buske of Edwardsville reached the circuit clerk's office, the deal broke down.

Buske objected on Feb. 10 to execution of a settlement agreement he reached with his wife Sara Buske and S.C. Johnson Company.

Settlement followed a verdict from Wisconsin jurors holding Tom Buske liable for a $200 million fraud against the household products company.

No public record of the settlement existed until lawyers filed it on Feb. 11.

Tom's divorce lawyer, Richard Meives of St. Louis, had raised six objections about it the previous day.

He raised five for Tom and one for his firm, pleading that a company Tom turned over to S.C. Johnson owed $238,600.41 for five months of legal fees and costs.

He reported a dispute over the value of Tom's household goods.

The settlement allows Tom to retain goods up to $50,000, and it provides for S.C. Johnson to hire an appraiser if it chooses.

It allows Sara to retain goods up to $200,000, and Meives wrote that Tom believes a similar dispute arose between S.C. Johnson and Sara.

Meives objected that S.C. Johnson improperly seeks access to a $200,000 escrow fund.

He objected that S.C. Johnson improperly holds $50,000 that belongs to Tom.

He objected that a company Tom turned over to S.C. Johnson owes him back wages and vacation pay.

Meives aimed an ominous objection at Sara, promising to file a petition against her for contribution for fees and costs.

"The settlement agreement is a settlement of attorney fee issues as between Respondent and SCJ, and as between Petitioner and SCJ, but not between Respondent and Petitioner," he wrote.

Prior to this, Tom and Sara cooperated so closely that S.C. Johnson branded the divorce as a sham to place Tom's assets beyond the reach of the Wisconsin court.

Under the settlement, Sara keeps the family home at 22 Greystone Lane, with a 2007 Mercedes and a 2006 BMW.

She receives $325,000 from the divorce, plus $50,000 in legal fees.

Three children receive $475,000 for support and education, plus $25,000 in legal fees.

Tom keeps a 1997 BMW, a 401(k) account, and a $16,000 retirement account.

He keeps enough to defend himself against criminal charges in Wisconsin.

S.C. Johnson takes 17 companies Tom owned, his interest in the Bank of Edwardsville and nine other businesses, and real estate.

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Organizations in this Story

Bank of Edwardsville
330 West Vandalia Street
Edwardsville, IL 62025

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