Oil Magnate Loses Favorite Geode in $1B Divorce

Harold Hamm will pay ex-wife $322M now, $7M a month starting in 2015
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 11, 2014 12:12 PM CST
Oil Magnate Loses Favorite Geode in $1B Divorce
Billionaire oilman Harold Hamm, chairman of Oklahoma City-based Continental Resources Inc., delivers a speech on May 22, 2014, during the 22nd Williston Basin Petroleum Conference in Bismarck, ND.   (AP Photo/Kevin Cederstrom)

Oil tycoon Harold Hamm got two horses named Star and Uno, firearms, and family photos, but he lost his favorite geode to his ex-wife. The 68-year-old Continental Resources CEO still has "billions to spare," though, even after an Oklahoma City judge ruled yesterday that he must pay Sue Ann Hamm, 58, nearly $1 billion in one of the costliest divorce settlements ever, the New York Times reports. Harold will cough up $322 million by year's end, then start paying Sue Ann at least $7 million a month starting in January until he pays the balance, the AP reports. Sue Ann also got three of their homes, while Harold retained a Missouri home and an Oklahoma log cabin situated on 154 acres. The settlement could make Sue Ann one of the richest women in the country, Reuters notes, though she had hoped for much more.

The couple married in 1988 with no prenup; Sue Ann filed for divorce in 2012. What made the largely closed-door, nine-week trial interesting is that what gets divvied up under Oklahoma law depends on whether money made during the marriage was obtained based on a spouse's skill (fair game) or "circumstances beyond the parties' control" (not fair game). Harold's attorneys tried to argue that the successful energy entrepreneur had lucked into his fortune—a hard sell the judge didn't go for, calling Hamm "an expert in the oil field service business" whose expertise facilitated an "increase in value for Continental," per the Times. (A Russian magnate is said to have had "the most expensive divorce in history.")

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