A contentious divorce involving an Oklahoma oil baron could potentially lead to a multibillion-dollar settlement for his estranged wife that would be the biggest in U.S. history.
Harold Hamm, 67, the chief executive of Continental Resources, is in the midst of divorce proceedings with his second wife, former Continental Resources executive Sue Ann Hamm. After filing for divorce on May 19, 2012, she has claimed in court documents that her husband was unfaithful during their marriage. He has acknowledged that the couple separated back in 2005, and the two have lived separate lives ever since.
Hamm is worth an estimated $11.3 billion and was No. 35 on last year’s list of the 50 richest Americans put out by Forbes. The potential settlement his wife could receive may exceed the more than $1.7 billion paid out in 1999 to Anna Murdoch, the ex-wife of News Corp. chairman Rupert Murdoch, depending on whether or not there was a prenuptial agreement.
“This is the King Kong of divorce cases,’’ divorce attorney Raoul Felder told TODAY. “Vast fortune. Sue Ann stands to make lots and lots of money, more than what is really on the table.’’
The control of Continental Resources also could be at stake, as Harold has a 68 percent stake in the $11.2 billion company that could be considered marital property and divided up in a potential settlement. Since news of the divorce became public on Thursday, shares of Continental Resources have fallen by almost 3 percent.
Hamm was named one of the most influential people in the world by Time magazine, and served as an energy adviser in Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign. The couple married in 1988 and have two adult children. Harold Hamm also has three children from his first marriage, which ended in divorce in 1987.
The couple’s marriage has been tempestuous for the last 15 years. Harold filed for divorce in 1998 and ordered Sue Ann to undergo a psychological evaluation before he later withdrew the divorce petition, according to a report by Reuters. Sue Ann filed for divorce in 2005, but the case was dropped.
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