Eco-Tycoon Fighting Off Ex-Wife Who Wants A Slice of His Millions 23 YEARS After Divorce

Eco-Tycoon Fighting Off Ex-Wife Who Wants A Slice of His Millions 23 YEARS After Divorce

In what might be the most absolutely preposterous example of gold-digging in recent history, Dale Vince, owner of Ecotricity – a green energy firm – is now being sued for a portion of his earnings by a woman who divorced him in 1992. She now claims that he was abusive to her in the mid-nineties (claiming this, of course, after she found out that there was no remaining paperwork to prove a divorce settlement.)

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From The Daily Mail:

When Princess Diana’s swanky divorce lawyers Mishcon de Reya first wrote to Britain’s wealthiest green-energy entrepreneur Dale Vince, saying they were representing his ex-wife Kathleen Wyatt, he binned the letter. ‘I thought it was a hoax,’ he says.

Dale, 53, had separated from the mother of his grown-up son Dane more than three decades earlier when he was a penniless new-age traveller. They divorced in 1992 and he hadn’t seen hide nor hair of her for 15 years. Well, he hadn’t until those letters kept ‘coming and coming’.

Then it dawned on him that, yes, his very-much ex-wife was actually suing him for a £1.9 million chunk of the fortune he had made from his green energy firm Ecotricity more than two decades after the ink had dried on their decree absolute.

‘That first letter came soon after I appeared on the Sunday Times Rich List in 2011,’ says Dale, who received an OBE from the Queen in 2004 for his commitment to green issues.

The paper had listed him as Britain’s 804th wealthiest person with a fortune estimated at £90 million (four years later, that figure has now risen to £104 million).

‘The letter said did I have any paperwork from the divorce because their client couldn’t recall whether there was a settlement or not. I ignored it, but the letters kept coming and coming.

‘Within a few months their position had changed when they discovered I didn’t have the paperwork and there were no longer any court records.

‘Her recollection became that there wasn’t a settlement and I couldn’t prove otherwise. Who keeps records for more than 20 years? It just seemed crazy. I couldn’t believe it.’

Nor could many people when, last month, the Supreme Court set a legal precedent ruling that, despite the passage of decades, Kathleen, 55, has the right to have her case heard. The next hearing is scheduled for October.

Although the Supreme Court Justices warned that her claim was ‘unwisely’ steep, their decision opens the door for hundreds of thousands of divorcees to pursue their wealthy exes right into their retirement home — without having to fork out a brass farthing.

For such is — to borrow Dale’s word — the ‘craziness’ of the law, that he must also foot his ex-wife’s costs. The legal bill for the case, which has over the past four years been dragged through just about every court in the country, has already left him £500,000 lighter of pocket.

‘Twenty years after the divorce I’m paying for her to have these lawyers of Princess Diana chase me into court,’ he says. ‘They are absolutely motivated not to make it as cheap as possible because the more it costs, the more I am under pressure to settle.’

Dale says his anger has ‘probably passed’, but watching him talk I swear his measured, white-lipped fury could power an industrial-sized cold storage unit.

‘They have said to my lawyers, “how much are you going to give us to go away?” and made us aware of their potential costs,’ he says.

Surely, though, when you’ve got £104 million stashed away, fighting over £1.9million is not worth the aggro, particularly when you’re about the busiest eco-warrior on the planet?

Dale Vince is a hero to some — and a villain to others — after playing a leading role in spreading wind turbines across the country. But he insists he’s not the fabulously wealthy tycoon his ex-wife seems to imagine.

‘I’ve never had £100 million. I’ve only ever had Ecotricity, which I would never sell,’ he says. ‘On paper you can’t argue with them, but it’s like saying someone is a millionaire if they live in a house worth £1 million. You can’t realise that unless you sell it, and Ecotricity is the equivalent of the house I live in.

‘We’re a non-dividend company. We put our profits back into our business which is how we got to where we are today — from one windmill 20 years ago to about 60-odd. I have an income of £120,000 a year. Savings? None. Share portfolios? None. Pensions? None. Investments? None. Second homes? None. Yachts? None. I’ve borrowed from my company to pay for the legal costs.’

Now I obviously don’t know anything more than what the Daily Mail as reported, but it seems to me, based on what I’ve read, that this woman is just after his money. I hope that the courts can see right through her, and don’t grant her a dime of his money.

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