Hedge-fund billionaire’s wife says she was coerced into signing pre-nup
BY MICHAEL SNEED September 2, 2014 6:08PM
Ken Griffin has filed for divorce from his wife, Anne Dias Griffin. | File photo
Updated: September 2, 2014 10:45PM
It looks like the gloves are off in the divorce of one of Chicago’s wealthiest couples.
In an explosive response to the divorce filing from her husband, billionaire investor Ken Griffin, Anne Dias Griffin filed a petition in Cook County court Tuesday demanding the couple’s premarital agreement be dissolved because it was signed under duress.
Dias Griffin also filed a petition requesting sole custody of the couple’s three children, claiming Ken Griffin has shown “little interest” in them.
◆ Backshot: Ken Griffin is the founder and CEO of Citadel Investment Group, who filed for divorce from his wife of 11 years, Anne Dias Griffin, in late July. According to the filings, the Griffins have been living apart since Feb. 2012.
Dias Griffin requests sole custody of the couple’s children, who are 2, 3, and 6, and plans to file a separate petition to move them to New York. She claims Ken left the family home in 2012 when she was pregnant with their third child, and has never been part of the children’s care.
The prenuptual agreement requires her to waive rights to property and financial help — and Dias Griffin asks the court to dissolve the agreement and give her support for both herself and the children.
In the filing, Dias Griffin said she was given a copy of the prenup just before the wedding, preventing her from reviewing and fairly negotiating it. She first met with a lawyer to review it 11 days before the wedding – and she didn’t get Ken’s financial disclosures until three days before.
Anne repeatedly told Ken she was not comfortable with the prenup and was concerned that it required her to waive maintenance and marital property when she was giving up her home and business in New York to move to Chicago for Ken.
Three days before the wedding, Ken and Anne had a massive argument over the prenup – during which Ken broke furniture, the filing claims. Ken suggested the two of them go to see a therapist about their dispute, and two days before the wedding they met with a psychologist Ken chose.
The psychologist sided with Ken and told Anne she was being difficult, according to the petition – though neither Ken nor the psychologist told Anne they had worked together in the past. Anne relented and signed the prenup just a few hours before their rehearsal dinner.
If the prenup is enforced, Anne Griffin would be left with an estate worth “approximately 1 percent of Kenneth’s net worth,” the filing reads.
“The provisions of the Premarital Agreement which purport to eliminate Anne’s rights to an equitable share of the marital property and to bar her from receiving maintenance from Kenneth are unconscionable.”
The filing says Ken Griffin is a “multi-billionaire” and has provided a “substantial lifestyle” for his family; Anne Griffin does not have the assets to continue this standard of living, and thus requests support to continue this lifestyle for her family. Anne put her focus on the family and the Ken and Anne Griffin Foundation, which she leads, so her own hedge fund, Aragon Global, was not a priority.
Dias Griffin writes Ken has not asked to spend any nights alone with his children, and hasn’t shared in decision-making or their daily care.
Dias Griffin also requests she be given ownership of a Chicago home at 800 N. Michigan Avenue on the 66th, 67th and 68th floors.
In response, Ken Griffin’s attorneys at Berger Schatz released a statement calling Anne’s claims “salacious and simply untrue.”
“Ken will respond to Anne’s allegations on the merits, move this process forward, and protect his close relationship with the children. It is sad that Anne continues to make inflammatory statements purely for her own gain, and in an effort to attract publicity to what should be a private matter. As he has done in the past, Ken will proceed in a manner which is straightforward and seeks to protect the best interests of the children,” the statement said.
Sources told Sneed in July that Anne Dias Griffin was blindsided by the divorce filing, as the couple had been in settlement negotiations just a few days before.
In the filing, Dias Griffin said her husband filed for the divorce as she was on her way out of the country; he let her know via email after alerting the press. He then sent movers into the home Dias Griffin shared with the children and took art and furniture.
The Griffins celebrated their marriage in 2003 at the Palace of Versailles outside Paris in a two-day extravaganza featuring singer Donna Summer and the Cirque du Soleil, according to a 2007 article in Fortune magazine.