BUT SHE COULD NOT INSIST
The Alternative Was to Go into Court in a Battle for Alimony and Try the Whole Case Publicly
While neither the lawyers for John Jacob Astor nor for Mrs. Ava Willing Astor will discuss the financial settlement upon which Mrs. Astor has decided to ask in the White Plains Court to-morrow that her interlocutory decree of divorce be made permanent, it is known that this phase of the question has become of much concern to Mrs. Astor's intimate friends.
While those not in a position to know the exact truth have thought that Col. Astor's lawyers were trying to put the cash settlement figure at $100,000 a year, and while Mrs. Astors lawyers were asking for $400,000, or the income on $10,000,000, more intimate friends now state that the actual figure finally acceded to by Mrs. Astor is only $50,000 a year.
This remarkably low figure occasioned much surprise wherever it was mentioned. It is said that Col. Astor's lawyers held out positively against naming any higher sum, and that this left Mrs. Astor the alternative of accepting it or letting her interlocutory decree automatically lapse and going into court on a straight Fight for alimony, a proceeding which would have reopened the entire case.
When Justice Mills grants Mrs. Astor the special hearing on Friday merely routine matters connected with granting the formal decree will be heard. The financial settlement does not appear in any of the legal papers, as that was a matter left to stipulation between the attorneys for the plaintiff and defendant.
When Mrs. Astor was seen to be holding back her petition for a final decree toward the end of the thirty-day period after which the interlocutory decree would lapse it was rumored at first that there were prospects of a reconciliation. It soon became known, however, that financial matters were the cause for the long delay, and that the lawyers for Col. Astor would not grant anything like the sum requested by those for Mrs. Astor.
The legal firms engaged in the settlement dispute were Strong & Cadwalader of 40 Wall Street, representing Mrs. Astor, and Lewis Case Ledyard of 60 Wall Street, representing Col. Astor. At both of these law offices an efford [sic] was made yesterday to obtain an official statement of the amount of money agreed upon as Mrs. Astors settlement. At the offices of Strong & Caldwalader it was said that the member of the firm having charge of the Astor matters was out of town, and that no one else would wish to discuss the matter. Attorney Ledyard of counsel for Mrs. Astor sent word that he made a positive rule never to discuss any feature of the case.
There is some resentment among those who have known the Astors at what is styled the meagreness of the settlement. It is smaller than even the smallest minimum discussed among the possible figures. It was thought that the settlement would possibly exceed $200,000 and would certainly not be under $100,000. Mrs. Astor's reluctance to reopen the case and make a direct fight for alimony is given as the reason for her acquiescence in the small figure finally arrived at.
The income on $10,000,000, which was one o[ the proposals under consideration, would have amounted to about $400,000, the sum named as the extreme amount requested by Mrs. Astor. Many meetings between counsel are said to have preceded the agreement upon $50,000 a year, several of them stormy.