"IT IS the only divorce battle in history to feature the sex life of an American president, a philandering billionaire, a golden labrador named Beauregard and six pairs of vintage British asparagus tongs." How could I resist blogging about an article that starts like that?
Richard Mellon Scaife is an American billionaire and newspaper publisher, with an estimated fortune of $1.3 billion. Back in the 1990s he spent "tens of millions of dollars into investigations into Bill and Hillary Clinton’s Arkansas past in the hope of securing the then president’s impeachment during the Monica Lewinsky scandal", says this story in the Sunday Times today. Now he is himself embroiled in a highly public and, no doubt, highly embarrassing, sex scandal of his own.
It started when his wife discovered that the 75 year old Scaife was having an affair with a 43-year-old former prostitute. She issued divorce proceedings, and it was then that things started really getting out of hand. After an apparent clerical error by a member of the court staff, the divorce papers were posted on a court website and were gleefully picked up by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, a rival of Scaife's own publication, the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. Scaife's lawyers filed court papers demanding that the Post-Gazette return the documents, but the Post-Gazette, responded by posting the documents on its website (with some personal, financial and third-party information removed), arguing that no court has the right to force a newspaper to surrender documents lawfully in its possession. With everything out in the open, the whole affair has enthralled Washington, providing "a jaw-dropping glimpse of sex among the super-rich", in the words of the Sunday Telegraph.
So what of the Beauregard the labrador? Well, he is naturally the subject of a custody battle - back in 2006 a fight apparently occurred between Scaife's wife and three of his servants when Mrs Scaife tried to seize the animal. After this, Scaife placed a sign on his lawn: “Wife and dog missing - reward for dog.”