Thursday, August 13, 2009
San Diego CityBeat
In July 2008, hotelier and developer Doug Manchester donated $125,000 to help gather signatures for a proposition that would ban same-sex marriage in California. The early money was crucial to getting the initiative—which ultimately passed—on the ballot. At the time, he told The New York Times that he made the donation because of "my Catholic faith and longtime affiliation with the Catholic Church," which preferred that marriage remain between a man and a woman. Indeed, the Catholic Church has vehemently opposed gay marriage. Then again, it's also not too keen on divorce.
On Oct. 9, 2008, Manchester ended 43 years, eight months and nine days of marriage to Elizabeth Manchester by moving out of their La Jolla abode. The couple spent the next several months trying to reach a quiet settlement on how best to distribute millions of dollars in cash and other assets. In July, those talks totally broke down, and Doug started playing financial hardball with Elizabeth, allegedly draining the couple's shared accounts and stealing her mail. On Aug. 6, Elizabeth filed a petition for redress in family court. All of the information in this story comes from those petitions. CityBeat contacted attorneys for both parties, but neither returned calls by press time.
The court records say Doug pushed very hard for a speedy divorce agreement after he moved out, but Elizabeth would have none of it. She insisted on hiring lawyers and forensic accountants to fully assess Doug's assets. Doug controls the Grand Del Mar Resort, the Manchester Hyatt, the Torrey Executive Center and the Manchester Financial Building. He also has $56.9 million divided among nine bank accounts, though the papers make clear that her accountants believe there's far more holdings to be assessed. Elizabeth's petition alleges that Doug has withheld some of the documents needed to make a full accounting. As negotiations dragged on, Doug apparently became impatient....(Remainder.)