Tuesday, January 15, 2002

"The rich," said F. Scott Fitzgerald, "are different from you and I." And it's not just because they have more money. In witness of which, I offer this story from Grim Amusements about the lifestyles of the rich and ... well, judge for yourself.

To begin at the beginning, Kirk Kerkorian had a romantic partner, or to put matters less kindly, a mistress, named Lisa, who had a daughter, Kira. In order to remove the stigma of bastardy from the child (whatever that amounts to, these days), she got him to marry her, but only if she agreed, in writing, to file for divorce a month later, and waive all rights to spousal support.

Leaving aside Lisa's delusional whining (she "believed and hoped that Kirk's and my marriage would last", and was "heartbroken" when it didn't), or the bizarre way the relationship continued for two years after the divorce (until the no-longer-wife confronted the no-longer-husband about rumors he was seeing other women), this leaves the question of child support. After all, she says, he had always promised to take care of Kira's every need, and "the word 'needs' never meant basic needs, but what was required to maintain [Kira] in the station of life and with the things and benefits befitting the daughter of Kirk Kerkorian." For which her mother is asking not the $35,000 in the prenup, nor the $50,000 in the divorce settlement, but $320,000, in what is evidently a separate palimony suit following the breakup of the relationship, post-divorce.

Does that sound like a bit much to support a three year old in the lifestyle to which she has become accustomed? Well, those aren't annualized figures. She's asking for $320,000 a month. For which she submits an itemized justification, including, among other items, $144,000 for travel, $14,000 for parties and play dates, $1400 for laundry and cleaning, and $436 to take care of Kira's pet bunny rabbit.

Obviously, this all has to do with maintaining Lisa in the station of life and with the things and benefits befitting the mistress of Kirk Kerkorian. (She was shocked and dismayed when he told her, "My airplane is no longer part of your lifestyle"). But that's not my point.

Forget the $320,000. Kerkorian clearly agreed to pay $50,000 a month in child support for a three-year-old --- that's $600,000 a year annual gross. (Is child support taxable?) Which, if guaranteed, is enough to support an adult, or two, in a lifestyle that almost everyone in the country would consider lavish.

Which is the kind of thing I like to use as a gut check when I hear people getting too sanctimonious about the egalitarian glory of America.


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home