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Ex-N.J. governor’s ex-wife drops fraud claim

The ex-wife of former New Jersey Gov. Jim McGreevey said Wednesday she has decided to drop a fraud claim against him, bringing finality to a very public divorce that began when he said he was gay.
/ Source: The Associated Press

The ex-wife of former New Jersey Gov. Jim McGreevey said Wednesday she has decided to drop a fraud claim against him, bringing finality to a protracted, bitter and very public parting set in motion four years ago when McGreevey announced he is gay.

Dina Matos' claim — which alleged that McGreevey duped her into marriage to advance his political career — had been all that remained of the couple's court battle after their divorce was finalized last month.

Matos issued a statement Wednesday saying she needs to bring the case to an end for the good of their 6-year-old daughter, Jacqueline.

"My former husband's most recent efforts to keep this case in the press by releasing a letter including information about our daughter in violation of Judge (Karen) Cassidy's order of March 18, 2008, has further underscored for me the need to bring this matter to a conclusion," Matos said.

She was referring to an offer by McGreevey's boyfriend to pay for Jacqueline to attend private school, which was mentioned in a letter about the case released to the media.

Matos faced a Wednesday deadline to tell the judge whether she planned to pursue the fraud claim or drop it. McGreevey's lawyer, Stephen Haller, said both sides filed papers with the court Wednesday afternoon requesting the dismissal.

"The claim was false and merely an instrument to attempt to secure more money from Jim," Haller said. "It failed."

Tell-all memoir
Matos alleged that McGreevey married her in 2000 even though he knew he was a closeted gay man. She later said in a tell-all memoir that she missed some obvious signs that he was gay.

McGreevey claimed his ex-wife had to have known his sexual orientation before they wed. To bolster his account, a former campaign aide came forward with a claim that he had participated in regular three-way sexual encounters with the McGreeveys for about two years before McGreevey became governor.

Matos denied that the threesomes happened.

Had the fraud claim gone forward, lawyers for both sides agree that intimate details of the couple's sex lives would have come out. The ex-aide, Teddy Pedersen, would have been called as one of the first witnesses.

When they were divorced, the judge awarded Matos $1,075 per month in child support but no alimony. She also ruled that McGreevey owes his ex about $109,000, representing half their joint assets, and that Matos is not entitled to damages for the 13 months she would have lived in the governor's mansion had McGreevey not resigned.

Matos offered to drop her civil claim last week, but only if McGreevey wrote her a check for the entire $109,000 and agreed not to appeal the divorce settlement. Neither of those things happened.

The couple share custody of their only child, a first-grader.