Oklahoma Oilman Agrees to Pay Ex-Wife Nearly $1 Billion in Divorce Settlement
An attorney for Harold Hamm calls the decision "fair," while his wife explores her options
Donald Trump’s divorce from Ivana Trump cost him an estimated $25 million. Paul McCartney paid ex Heather Mills an estimated $48 million. Tiger Woods’ settlement in his split with Elin Nordegren dented his pocket by an estimated $100 million.
But none approach the nearly $1 billion that Oklahoma oilman Harold Hamm must pay his ex-wife to end their 26-year marriage, according to a ruling Monday by Oklahoma County District Judge Howard R. Haralson.
But Harold Hamm’s not complaining. “We think the judge’s decision was fair and equitable,” his attorney, Mike Burrage, tells PEOPLE.
According to NewsOK.com, Sue Ann Hamm asked her husband to move out in February 2012. Divorce papers were filed three months later, citing “mutual irreconcilable differences.”
What Sue Ann gets in the settlement, as spelled out in the judge’s 80-page order that was broken down by NewsOK.com: Assets worth about $25 million, including homes in Nichols Hills and Enid, Oklahoma, and a ranch in Carmel Valley, California; a 97.2 percent stake in a company called Orbit Gas Transmission, valued at $3 million; $322.7 million by the end of this year (Harold Hamm already had paid almost $23 million to his now-ex-wife during the divorce proceedings); and, starting in January, at least $7 million per month until she receives the remaining $650 million, plus interest, toward a total settlement of about $995 million.
Harold Hamm keeps a house in Branson, Missouri; an office building in Enid, Oklahoma; a $10 million airplane; and two horses at the Carmel Valley Ranch named Star and Uno. More significantly, he keeps control of the publicly traded oil company, Continental Resources Inc., that he founded, continues to serve as CEO, and remains as the majority shareholder.
“This is a company he had before the marriage that increased in value during the marriage,” his attorney tells PEOPLE. “There were market forces in play, such as the price of oil, the development of technology The judge heard about two and a half months of testimony and sorted that out and left all of the company intact. He got all the stock.”
He added: “We think that the judge heard all of the evidence, and that it’s a fair resolution of the divorce case.”
An attorney for Sue Ann Hamm, Ron Barber, said after Monday’s ruling: “We are currently evaluating Ms. Hamm’s options.”
On Monday, Forbes.com put Harold Hamm’s wealth – “as of this afternoon” – at $14 billion, based on his 253 million shares, or more than 70 percent ownership, of Continental Resources. In a May 5 cover story, Forbes magazine hailed Hamm as “The Billionaire Oilman Fueling America’s Recovery.”
In an emailed statement to the magazine after the judge’s order, Harold Hamm wrote: “This has been a long and arduous process and we are appreciative of Judge Haralson and his staff for their dedication and attention to the witnesses and evidence presented. This is a fair and equitable outcome to the case. Out of respect for my family, we will have no further comment on the matter.”