Millions in Marital Assets at Heart of Jail Term

ByABC News
April 28, 2005, 6:06 PM

April 28, 2005 -- -- Beatty Chadwick is only months away from the dubious distinction of the longest time served ever for contempt of court.

On April 5, 1995, he went behind bars. But he could walk out of jail anytime he wants, according to the Pennsylvania court that put him there.

All he has to do is tell the court where to find the millions of dollars the judge says he has hidden away. He has spent nearly 10 years in jail to prevent his ex-wife from getting her share of the wealth.

Bobbie Chadwick says she had no reason to see her ex-husband remain in jail. She says she has wished "he would come to his senses and realize, 'OK, life is short, this is crazy.' "

But Beatty Chadwick, who worked as the top lawyer for an international corporation in Philadelphia, told "Primetime Live" correspondent Jim Avila that he is not keeping anything from his wife.

"I don't control the cash," he said. "They haven't been able to establish that, despite the fact that they have run up a large bill in the process."

How did a divorce get this ugly? Bobbie was Chadwick's second wife -- 18 years his junior. She says theirs was once a lifestyle of luxurious homes, manicured lawns, 5 o'clock cocktail hours, full-course dinners by candlelight and classical music.

But Bobbie said her ex-husband was also powerfully controlling. Despite all their wealth, she says she was given a relatively small household budget of $600 a month.

She was expected to clean out the mansion's elegant pool, mow the 3 ½ acres of lawn and cook those elaborate candlelit dinners -- alone, with no household help.

"I ended up making all my clothing. I lived what looked like an opulent life, but I did it on a very tiny little budget," she said.

Bobbie says sex was even on a strict schedule: Tuesday and Thursday mornings at 7:30, no variations.

She says the final straw was the day Beatty demanded she ration her use of toilet paper -- just six sheets per bathroom visit.

Beatty said "the divorce was her idea and was a complete shock to me."