On the same day that Minnesota Public Radio's Gary Eichten is being lauded for for being the consummate professional during his long career as a broadcaster, Fox 9 anchor Jeff Passolt's personal business is all out in the street.
The Minnesota Court of Appeals ruled in Passolt's favor regarding his divorce, finding that he was right to expect that his wife could soon have another career. Passolt had appealed a prior court ruling that granted his wife $16,700 per month in alimony, which the Fox 9 man thought was too much.
Passolt's appeal challenged that amount, saying his ex-wife Lisa, who was trained in education but had for years worked only as a part-time fitness trainer, could be making a lot more money than she did at the time of the divorce.
Passolt was also correct, the court ruled, in the value he'd placed on the couples' country club membership in Florida.
The Passolts' 30-year marriage was ended in May 2010. At the time, both Passolts were 52, but one of them made a lot more money than the other: According to the court's decision, Lisa Passolt made around $3,000 a year as a part-time fitness instructor, while Jeff makes about $525,000 on TV and radio.
Well, you ought to get paid like that if you're going to ask the hard-hitting questions like, to Native American Clyde Bellecourt, "How about progressing through the centuries?"
Lisa Passolt taught special education when the couple first married, but, after their first child was born in 1985, she took only part-time jobs like "coaching dance line and tennis at the high-school level," according to the court ruling.
In court, Jeff's attorneys argued that Lisa Passolt could be ready to teach special education again after a minimal amount of training, and could expect to receive about $37,000 in annual salary. For this reason, Jeff Passolt didn't want to be tied down to $17,000-plus per month in alimony, saying the court should factor in Lisa's potential future earning capability.
Lisa Passolt had become accustomed to a certain comfort during the marriage, as she testified:
"Wife testified that the parties enjoyed a lifestyle that included time at a Wisconsin cabin and a Florida property, with frequent restaurant meals. She testified that she did not have a budget during the marriage."
Lisa Passolt claimed that her membership to a Florida country club was worth $38,000, saying that there is a long waiting list to get into the exclusive group. Jeff argued, and both courts upheld, that the country club membership was worth around $17,000.
The monthly alimony total will now be sent back to the lower court to reconsider.
If you learn anything from today's opinion about Jeff Passolt, man of the people, it should be this: "[W]hen he is in Florida he frequently plays golf."
Read the Court of Appeal's decision: