Sunday, May 27, 2018
News Roundup

Jailed Cast-Crete executive admits to bigamy in court paper

TAMPA — Former Cast-Crete executive John D. Stanton III admits to bigamy in a court paper his attorney filed Tuesday.

It's the latest twist in his federal bankruptcy case.

His former wife Susan, among the creditors, filed a claim against him last year for $13 million in child support and alimony.

But an attorney for Stanton, 64, says their marriage, divorce and settlement are all "void" and that Susan Stanton's unsecured claim should be given no priority status in bankruptcy court.

In bankruptcy court, secured claims such as mortgages get paid first, followed by priority unsecured claims such as child support and, finally, all other claims.

"John Stanton was still married to his first wife at the time he was purported to have married Susan Stanton," attorney Paul DeCailly wrote.

The latter marriage, to Susan, took place Aug. 22, 1998, in Mackinac Island, Mich., Hillsborough County court records state, and the two divorced July 19, 2011.

But the prior marriage never ended, the attorney wrote.

That wife has a similar name: Susanne. It's unclear when she and Stanton took their vows, but real estate transactions put them together in July 1974, when a deed to a Town 'N Country home named "John D. Stanton III and wife, Susanne L. Stanton."

A deed also lists the two as husband and wife selling a $300,000 home in the Shore Acres area of St. Petersburg in April 2000.

That would have been 20 months after he married Susan in Michigan.

Meanwhile, in October 1998, Susan Stanton, "joined by her husband" John D. Stanton, sold a house she owned since 1989 on Santiago Street in South Tampa.

Susan Stanton bought a $620,000 house in the exclusive Avila neighborhood in Hillsborough County in July 1999. John Stanton's name initially appeared on the deed beside hers, but was later lined out. Beside her name someone simply wrote "a married woman."

Susanne L. Stanton is 63.

Susan K. Stanton is 54.

Attempts to reach Susanne Stanton through a son were unsuccessful, and voice messages left for Susan Stanton and her attorney were not returned.

Tampa attorney Todd Foster called Tuesday's assertion by Stanton "very significant."

"This is new information," he said. "We're going to be filing a supplemental motion for authority to inquire into this matter."

Foster represents creditor Renegade Consulting Inc., which currently has a $5 million pending claim in the bankruptcy case. Renegade Strategies Inc., which uses the same address, has a $1.6 million pending claim.

On behalf of Renegade, Foster took issue in May with the value of assets transferred to Susan Stanton before the divorce. He asked bankruptcy Judge Michael G. Williamson to compel her to produce documents and appear for questioning.

Hearings on that motion have twice been postponed.

It's unclear how much of the $13 million claimed by Susan Stanton relates to child support.

"I would say there is a portion of it for child support that is certainly valid," said DeCailly, the ex-husband's attorney. As for how much, "the judge is going to have to make that decision."

Even if John Stanton did not meet some court-ordered obligations, the wife still collected millions of dollars in assets, Foster and DeCailly said.

Stanton is scheduled to be sentenced on the federal tax evasion charges in August. Prior dates were delayed so that his mental competency could be evaluated. DeCailly said Tuesday night that he does not, at this point, intend to use the doctor's report.

At the 2012 trial, prosecutors portrayed Stanton as a greedy and devious Cast-Crete president who looted the building materials company of $43 million while failing to pay taxes — either his own or the company's. Stanton at one time was one of Tampa Bay's business elite, boasting a net worth of $269 million.

A jury convicted him of seven counts of failing to file federal tax returns and one count of attempting to interfere with tax laws.

Bigamy has never been listed among the charges.

DeCailly alleged that Susan Stanton "was fully aware of the infirmities of her marriage" and used that knowledge to "extort" Stanton into agreeing to the terms of the divorce settlement.

He supposes the state of Michigan could now charge Stanton with bigamy, but he thinks it's unlikely, given that the federal government is already picking up the bill for his housing at the Citrus County Jail.

Staff writer William R. Levesque contributed to this report. Patty Ryan can be reached at [email protected] or (813) 226-3382.

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