Two today – to highlight both sides of the ultimate in marital discord.
First we have Lita Sullivan. She was murdered on January 16, 1987 at the age of 36. This was the day that the judge in her divorce case was to hand down the judgment on the $5 million Palm Beach estate. A flower delivery at the door proved to hold more than flowers as the delivery man pulled a 9mm gun from the posies and shot several time. She fell to the foyer floor, still alive. Lita died in the hospital and everyone knew that James Sullivan had ordered this when he ordered the flowers (the gift that stops the giving), but it turned out to be difficult to prove. Rather like believing in God. Jim had 4 children from a prior marriage that Lita learned about the night before their wedding, yet she still walked down the aisle. Lita was a lovely person who tried very hard to make her marriage work (because all the money was just so nice), but Jimmy was a player. He loved his side girls and was not about to give them up. Apparently he was also not about to give up any of his money either. Between the societal disapproval of their interracial marriage in the high society they loved so and Jim’s girl hobby, the marriage did not work out. Jim had a different idea of divorce proceedings however, and Lita ended up dead.
Lita would be 59 today. Had she survived the divorce, she would be a Palm Beach socialite after wisely investing her half of the awarded estate. She attends all the city’s charity functions and chairs many committees. She has not remarried, but has a long time boyfriend, who is also a wealthy resident. Her biggest achievement was spearheading the new hospital wing for a trauma center.
And next we have Dan Broderick, who died at age 45. He was shot by his ex-wife, Betty, while sleeping in his bed on November 5, 1989 . She also shot and killed Dan’s new wife, Linda Kolkena, who was 28. Betty and Dan met in college. Betty worked to help put her husband through medical school and then quit to raise their five children. Dan changed horses after getting his medical degree and went after a law degree, so Betty went back to work to support his law studies. Dan hit the big time as a medical malpractice attorney and the Brodericks hit the high life in La Jolla, California. Dan hired former stewardess Linda Kolkena to manage his office and the job turned out to have after hours duties as well, such as taking dictation in the sheets. Dan left Betty for Linda. Turns out Betty had a borderline personality disorder with a dose of narcissism on the side, who knew? And she became angrier and angrier and obsessed. She left obscene messages on Dan’s answering machine and trash talked he and Linda to the kids. She even drove her car through the front door of their new house. Then Dan had his lawyer send a letter with legal threats and Betty went and bought a gun. Because gun beats paper in Gun/Paper/Scissors. She walked into Dan and Linda’s house while they were sleeping, took the phone from the side of the bed so he couldn’t call for help, then shot them while they slept. Betty swore she didn’t mean to shoot them and claimed she just wanted him to listen to her. Apparently the gun was just a device to wake him up.
Dan would be 66 today and Linda would be 49. They would still be married because Linda wasn’t crazy. They’d have 3 kids of their own: one in college and two in high school. Dan’s retired now after a stellar career where he helped hundreds of clients. Most notably he helped a young girl, crippled by a bad spinal surgery, receive enough funds to go to college and major in political science and become an honor student. She will eventually become the first handicapped president.
It seems to me that there are not many of us who are able to have money well. Generally speaking, we don’t like to share, we’re mad that we have to and if forced, take entitlement into our own hands. We just do, generally speaking. Then again, more than half of us nowdays are not able to be married well either.
Fortunately I can outrun Fenwick while carrying two oversized handbags full of cash.