Ex sues former wife over hidden Twitter stock

Ex sues former wife over hidden Twitter stock

So you're at home in New York City watching the twins while your wife is visiting her brother in San Francisco. Six months later, you get divorced.

You're making $43,000 a year when you split, and part of that goes to child support.

A few years later, you're poking around the internet when you hop on your now ex-wife's LinkedIn page and, to your surprise, it says she's a first-round investor in Twitter, which made millionaires out of a lot of people when it went public on November 7.

Huh? When did she invest in Twitter?

Ahhh, San Francisco.

Meet Stuart Strumwasser. According to the New York Post, he's suing his ex-wife, Jennifer Johnson, claiming she secretly invested between $10,000 and $50,000 in the social media giant, an investment that's now worth millions.

From The Post:
Johnson secretly went to San Francisco to meet with her first ex-husband, Strumwasser’s Manhattan Supreme Court suit alleges.

She also met with one or more of the founders of Twitter," according to court papers.

Johnson's first husband, Gregg Kidd, was a former colleague of Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey.

Meanwhile, Strumwasser, who lives in Carroll Gardens, "was home watching their children, and the parties were acting as a 'marital team' so Johnson could make the trip.

Unbeknownst to Strumwasser, Johnson was holding business meetings with one or more of the creators of Twitter.''

The alleged investment was never mentioned during their divorce settlement in 2007, which is about when Twitter began to gain traction. In the suit, Strumwasser, 47, claims the omission constitutes fraud, according to The Post, because the investment money should have been considered as part of their marital assets.

He claims his ex-wife's investment is now worth between $10 million and $50 million. He's suing for the repayment of $120,000 in child support and 30 percent of the Twitter shares.

Does Strumwasser have a case?

It depends on what kind of funds Johnson used to make the alleged purchase.

"The presumption is that any property acquired in the name of either party during the marriage and prior to the commencement of any proceeding to end the marriage is marital property subject to [equal] division and distribution," New York City divorce attorney Paul Rudder told Yahoo News.

"However, if in the case cited the wife purchased the stock in her own name and utilised funds in her separate account and which funds were hers from before the marriage then her argument that the stock is her separate property has merit. A party claiming that an asset obtained during the marriage is separate property bears the burden of proof."

Michelle Rozen, a divorce mediator in New York City, explained that it is the responsibility of both parties to disclose to each other, as well as the court, what they have and what they owe. If Johnson failed to disclose the investment in Twitter made during her marriage to Strumwasser, she's opened herself up to potential litigation, says Rozen.

"Not declaring an asset that was accrued at the time of the marriage, leaves the owner of the asset exposed to law suits in the future," Rozen explained. "It is a very dangerous thing to do."

When contacted by The Post, Johnson reportedly said Strumwasser is "out of his mind” and called the allegations "utterly ridiculous."

"That's exactly the kind of personal attack I suffered over and over during our divorce," Strumwasser said.

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