Aftermath: The Perils of Partnerships1
In the sixties and seventies, few wives of investment executives worked for a living. And though most were college-educated, few would be able to earn much money if they needed to. Consequently, wives feared any loss or decline in family income as intensely -- or even more -- than did their husbands.
For some wives whose husbands had been partners in Francis I. dupont or F. I. dupont, Glore Forgan, those fears were renewed and lasted for years after those firms and dupont Walston, Inc. no longer existed.
Bill Smith's wife, Barbara, was one.
Her terror began with an unexpected ring of the doorbell one sunny Summer day shortly after dupont Walston was liquidated. She went to the door, holding her one-year-old, diapered son in her arms. Her threeyear-old daughter trailed behind.
When she opened the door, a man uniformed like a policeman apologetically handed her a bulky envelope and left. Over his shoulder, she saw a car emblazoned with the word, "Sheriff."
Barbara opened the envelope and read that her husband, along with several other men, was being sued for $31/2 million -- a sum equivalent to many times that amount today. She envisioned losing her home, her car, and more -- of being forced to live miserably while she and Bill tried to repay the money.
Meanwhile, the sheriff was driving to another Short Hills home. There he handed a similar notice to Richard McDonald's wife, Pat.
Bill Smith and Richard McDonald, along with Jim Lynch and several