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Divorce ruling reached in Cancer Treatment Center founder's multimillion-dollar case

Robert McCoppin and Amanda Marrazzo, Chicago Tribune on

Published in News & Features

CHICAGO -- The ex-wife of the multimillionaire founder of Cancer Treatment Centers of America will net about $27,500 a month in alimony after taxes -- far less than she was seeking in a long and bitter court battle.

Alicia Stephenson also will receive a lump sum payment of about $6.5 million, according to a McHenry County judge's ruling that was handed down Wednesday morning. And while the monthly maintenance number was significantly short of the $400,000 a month she was seeking, it was more than the $9,000 ex-husband Richard Stephenson suggested she should get.

The legal decision comes 26 years after the Stephensons were married in a lavish ceremony at his Barrington Hills mansion, 10 years after their breakup and eight years after she filed for divorce.

Despite the years that elapsed, the former husband and wife were unable to reach a settlement outside court, so the case went to trial last year, with testimony revealing minute details about the Stephensons' high-flying lifestyle.

Judge James Cowlin, in a written ruling, also awarded Alicia Stephenson a Porsche, jewelry, two motorcycles, a Santa collection and a 401(k) fund. She will gross about $55,000 a month, but that amount drops to about $27,500 after taxes. The lump sum payment is the amount Cowlin determined Alicia should receive as her share of 10 financial assets that the former couple had agreed were jointly held.

Neither Richard nor Alicia Stephenson was present in court Wednesday, and they were not immediately reachable for comment.

The fight over finances has at times boiled over into acrimony in court between the two camps. Richard Stephenson's attorneys asserted Alicia Stephenson was merely "along for the ride" during the marriage, did not contribute financially and did not seek further education or employment in the years since the breakup.

Alicia, who was a teenager when she met Richard, said she played an important role in his health care empire and supported him and his family. At the time they met, Alicia worked as a sales clerk, and she later got an associate's degree in fashion merchandising. Eventually, she became involved in her husband's business and nonprofit fundraising.

"I loved him," she testified. "I still do. I'm only looking for an equitable settlement. I am not a gold digger."

She was receiving about $66,000 a month in payments as a temporary agreement as the court case plodded along. She had indicated she'd hoped to have enough money to buy watercraft, a home and condo, motorcycles and high-end furnishings, as well as a personal assistant.

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