While I’m very tired of reading about it, I’m nonetheless having a lot of trouble trying to sort out the bitter and protracted alimony battle between former Governor Jim McGreevey and his wife Dina Matos.
Matos has calculated the value of taxpayer-funded perks that are no longer there, and seeks a “cost of replicating her gubernatorial lifestyle” award:

ELIZABETH, N.J. – The estranged wife of former Gov. Jim McGreevey tried to convince a divorce judge yesterday that she is entitled to alimony, saying her mortgage, legal bills and a $100,000 loan from a friend have left her deeply in debt.
Dina Matos said she had no savings despite having received $110,000 in tax-free support from McGreevey.
The couple wed in 2000. In 2004 he proclaimed himself “a gay American,” claimed he had had an affair with a male staffer, and resigned as governor. The employee denies the affair.
Matos wrapped up her testimony yesterday as the final witness in the money phase of her divorce. A judge will rule on alimony and support after lawyers make their final arguments next week.
A final issue in the bitter breakup – her claim that she was duped into marrying a gay man – has not been scheduled to be heard. That phase could include testimony from an ex-aide who claims he had sexual trysts with the couple.
Matos, 41, has asked the judge to base alimony payments on the lifestyle she enjoyed as wife of the governor.
She paid an expert $20,000 to compile a lifestyle report for the judge estimating the cost of replicating her gubernatorial lifestyle at $51,000 a month. McGreevey’s expert put the gubernatorial lifestyle around $16,000 a month.

I did not take Family Law in law school, and it was never my area of practice in California, so I’m a babe in the woods where it comes to alimony law — especially New Jersey family law.
However, a New Jersey Family Law firm provides this summary of relevant principles:

Alimony, as opposed to child support calculated pursuant to the Guidelines, is not as definitive and is based on a number of statutory factors.
In N.J.S.A. 2A:34-23(b), New Jersey’s alimony Statute provides:
In all actions brought far divorce, divorce from bed and board, or nullity the, court may award one or more of the following types of alimony: permanent alimony; rehabilitative alimony; limited duration alimony or reimbursement alimony to either party. In doing so, the court shall consider, but not be limited to, the following factors:
1. The actual need and ability of the parties to pay.
2. The duration of the marriage.
3. The age and physical and emotional health of the parties.
4. The standard of living established in the marriage and the likelihood that each party can maintain a reasonably comparable standard of living.
5. The earning capacities, educational levels, vocational skills, and employability of the parties.
6. The length of absence from the job market of the party seeking maintenance.
7. The parental responsibilities for the children.
8. The time and expense necessary to acquire sufficient education or training to enable the party seeking maintenance to find appropriate employment, the availability of the training and employment, and the opportunity for future acquisition of capital assets and income.
9. The history of the financial or non-financial contributions to the marriage by each party including contributions to the care and education of the children and interruption of personal careers or educational opportunities.
10. The equitable distribution of property ordered and any pay-outs on equitable distribution, directly or indirectly, out of current income, to the extent this consideration is reasonable, just and fair.
11. The income available to either party through investment of any assets held by that party.
12. The tax treatment and consequences to both parties of any alimony award including the designation of all or a portion of the payment as a non-taxable payment.
13. Any other factors which the Court may deem relevant.
The New Jersey Supreme Court in Crews v. Crews, 164 N.J. 11, 26 (2000), held that “[a]n alimony award that lacks consideration of the factors set forth in N.J.S.A. 2A:34-23(b) is inadequate, and one finding that must be made, is the standard of living established in the marriage.” The Court found that “[i]n all divorce proceedings, trial courts must “consider and make specific findings’ under N.J.S.A. 2A:34-23(b)” Id. at 25.
The Appellate Division in Boardman v. Boardman, 314 N.J. Super. 340 (1998) reiterated the application of the principles for determining alimony as set forth in N.J.S.A. 2A:34-23, noting that the principles apply whether the spouse seeking alimony is the husband or wife.

“Ability to pay” reminds me of an ancient principle, often summarized as “You can’t get blood from a stone.
While I have zero sympathy for McGreevey (whose aides went to jail in the corruption scandal that engulfed him), I’m having a conceptual problem with the idea that incidental taxpayer-provided perks are income for alimony purposes. A politician’s career can rise or fall depending on a lot of factors, and typically depends on the whims of the voters. The theory is that these people are “public servants,” and that the perks which flow to them are supposed to be tools that go with the job, not financial benefits.
Try as I might, I’m having trouble seeing McGreevey’s wife as a victim of anything more than the change in political fate brought on by her husband’s corruption. But others see her as a victim of more than that:

The press has had a field day with Matos, painting a very one-sided picture of her as an unintelligent money-grubbing gold-digger who hasn’t yet realized that she is no longer first lady of New Jersey. But I think the media has distorted her claims and I don’t think she is claiming that she is entitled to continue to live the lifestyle to which she became accustomed, as if she is “to the manner born.”
She was born in Portugal and came to this country with her parents. According to her testimony, she did not finish college because she had to help her family when her younger brother became ill. She speaks Spanish and Portuguese because her parents were not fluent in English. Matos even lived at home and worked until she met Jim McGreevey, a handsome, ambitious, Ivy League educated lawyer, who was mayor running for governor. She paid for their wedding and worked to support them.
Matos is rightfully upset. When McGreevey wanted a first lady, he got one. Now that he no longer needs one, he laughs at her because she prides herself on being a former first lady.
When McGreevey left his post as governor prematurely after he disclosed his affair with a male state employee, his choices erased her chances, not his. He now lives in a $1.4 million mansion with his wealthy partner, who supports him. He is not working, but is attending seminary school full time to become an Episcopal priest. While he made her a princess, he has also made her a pauper, yet he still lives like a king.

He may be living like a king, but because it’s in his lover’s house, to the extent he is living like a king it’s on someone else’s money.
Is she is entitled to McGreevey’s lover’s money? I don’t know any legal theory which would go quite that far. Barring the possibility of same sex marriage or a legal partnership agreement, McGreevey is legally a tenant at will, and his lover can kick him out any time he feels like it. That’s much too shaky of an arrangement to be called “income” for alimony purposes
Few articles point out that when Matos met McGreevey in 1996, he was still married to another woman with whom he’d had a child, and divorced in 1997.
I think the claim that McGreevey “left his post as governor prematurely after he disclosed his affair with a male state employee” is disingenuous and tends to mislead readers. I keep seeing it in print, though, and it’s as if the goal is to conflate corruption and homosexuality. Why more gay activists don’t object to this, I have no idea. Career-wise, McGreevey is best be described as a career politician, whose eventual fall was occasioned not by his homosexuality, but by one of the worst corruption scandals in New Jersey history. I addressed this in two posts, quoting Inquirer columnist Monica Yant Kinney (a New Jerseyan), who said that McGreevey “forever shall be one of the worst governors in modern Jersey history.”
But the public wants to think he resigned for being gay, and the press seems to enjoy stoking popular mythology.
And Matos, of course, is painting herself as an innocent victim — not of her husband’s corruption, but of his homosexuality.

Matos testified yesterday that her lifestyle plummeted when she left the governor’s mansion four years ago.
“I don’t have a state police vehicle, no driver, no security, no housekeeping manager or other staff, chefs and groundskeepers, that were available. I also pay the mortgage, all the utilities and other expenses,” she testified.
McGreevey contends that the governor’s office perks are not a marital asset.
Matos said she can no longer shop for her daughter’s clothes at high-end boutiques, has taken only one vacation and borrowed $100,000 from a friend to make a down payment on her $430,000 Union County house. She said she has $250,000 in outstanding legal bills, excluding the costs of the divorce trial.
She also said she cannot offer her daughter the things the child enjoys when she stays with her father at his boyfriend’s house in Plainfield. There, she has her own bathroom and playroom and plays on grounds designed by Frederick Law Olmsted, who designed Central Park.

As might be expected, they’re saving best of the courtroom drama juice (Matos’s claim she was duped) for last.

A final issue in the bitter breakup – her claim that she was duped into marrying a gay man – has not been scheduled to be heard. That phase could include testimony from an ex-aide who claims he had sexual trysts with the couple.

This will come down to whether the aide — a former limo driver named Teddy Pedersen — is lying. The New York Post explores Pedersen’s account in detail, and it strikes me as unlikely that Pedersen would be lying, especially because Matos complained about him in her book. He says that he was involved in numerous three-ways with the couple; she says that she didn’t know her husband was gay until an hour before his official announcement. Obviously, either Matos or Pedersen is lying. If Pedersen is telling the truth about sexual three-ways, though, Matos’s claim to victimhood will be demolished, and her place as a laughingstock assured.
While a lot of people have written about the case, overall I think James Kirchick’s analysis is the best I’ve seen:

No doubt the world is unfair to gay people and the higher rates of suicide, depression and personally destructive behavior amongst gay men finds some proximate cause in societal homophobia. But Jim McGreevey was forced to resign for no other reason than that he was a corrupt politician. He’s more Mark Foley than Harvey Milk. That he was sleeping with a male aide is incidental to his downfall. By conflating his political demise and his struggle to cope with homosexuality, McGreevey inadvertently hurt the cause of gay civil rights as much as any crusading, socially conservative political activist could have hoped to do. He fed the stereotype that gays are untrustworthy and self-absorbed, and that homosexuality is a personal weakness.
One gets the sense that the McGreeveys’ long, drawn-out divorce proceedings (which have now lasted longer than their marriage) is the couple’s sick attempt to keep their names in the papers (Matos, remember, published her own memoir, Silent Partner, last year, and told ABC News that McGreevey “enlisted” Pedersone, one his “cronies,” to make the threesome accusations because McGreevey “cannot stand it when I am receiving attention in the media rather than him.”) In a poll released by Monmouth University just a few weeks before The Confession hit bookstores, 77% of New Jersey residents said that they believed McGreevey resigned due to “his personal sexuality.” It seemed that McGreevey’s mission had been accomplished: he convinced the voters that it was his homosexuality, not corrupt behavior, which led to his ouster. The prurient disclosures of Theodore Pederson only fortify this harmful, and mistaken, impression.

Had the same thing happened to a heterosexual politician, I think we’d be spared much of what is an appallingly dishonest drama.
I can’t help notice that McGreevey is studying to become an Episcopal priest. I’ll leave it to others to decide whether that’s what the scandal, plagued, schism-ridden church needs.
But hey, maybe they can conflate McGreevey’s newfound Episcopalianism into the scandal, and say that he resigned as governor because he wanted to become a gay priest….
I mean, why should corrupt sexual hypocrisy be limited to the Republican Party and religious conservatives?
UPDATE: Incorrect link removed. (I thought this was another post, and I’m probably getting senile….)