What months ago was characterized as a nearly resolved divorce settlement between golf great Greg Norman and his wife, Laura, has now turned into the most contentious aspect of their split to date - one that has Laura Norman accusing Greg of changing the locks to the couple's Jupiter Island home and cutting off her credit cards.
According to paperwork filed by Laura's attorneys Monday, the tactics are all part of an attempt to "coerce" their client into signing a marital settlement agreement both parties referenced before Judge Lawrence Mirman in June.
Back then, they announced that they had settled all but one issue - a potential IRS tax liability from Greg's jet - in their yearlong divorce battle.
The couple's attorneys have since failed to get both Greg and Laura's signatures on several drafts of settlement terms, and Greg has cut off her access to credit cards which were Laura's only way to pay daily living expenses.
"She now has no means of support," her attorneys wrote.
Greg Norman's attorneys last week filed paperwork asking a judge to compel Laura Norman to sign the latest of these "term sheets," but Laura's attorneys in their motion Monday said the only reason Laura hasn't signed the papers is because Greg has altered and expanded the terms.
Laura says Greg, who in the golf world in nicknamed "The Great White Shark," has also refused to pay her attorneys' fees and "is attempting to starve (her) out so she has no choice but to surrender to his positions," Laura's attorneys Jack Scarola and Russell J. Ferraro wrote.
Greg's lawyers, in a letter to Scarola, said he has already paid them about $725,000 to fund the litigation, including a half-million dollar payout in April. The money, according to Laura's lawyers, has been used to pay attorneys' fees and hire a number of expert witnesses who pored over the couple's finances to come up with the settlement.
Attempts by Laura's lawyers to get more money was met earlier this month with a refusal from New York attorney Howard Sharfstein, part of Greg's legal team. In addition, according to Laura's lawyers, Greg fired the couple's housekeeper and changed the locks on their $21 million Jupiter Island estate.
Laura's attorneys said she never previously asked for alimony because she had been using credit cards from Great White Shark Enterprises, one of Greg's companies, but she is now asking Mirman to force Greg to pay until the divorce is final.
Greg's attorney Martin L. Haines last month said that he was eager to give Laura a huge payout that is a part of the settlement, but refused to do so until she signed the papers.
Sharfstein offered only one way out in a letter dated Aug. 6: "An expedited execution of the marital agreement will put into your client's hands more than sufficient funds to meet all of her obligations," Sharfstein wrote.
Attorneys for the Normans could not be reached for comment Monday.
Greg Norman, whose net worth has been estimated at half a billion dollars, filed for divorce in the summer of last year to end the couple's 25-year marriage, citing irreconcilable differences.
A golfer may or may not have what is termed the ‘architectonic sense’ very highly developed so far as the courses he plays on are concerned. He may be partially blind to the strategic influences that threaten him and have a stronger inclination to specialize in the technicalities that claim his greater interest. But there may be others who prefer to receive impressions as they come with irrelevant swiftness, who delight more in the spirit than in the precise letter of the game. TOM SIMPSON