Judge to decide if Chris Latham can dip into retirement funds amid divorce
A judge will decide today whether former bank executive Chris Latham can dip into his retirement funds to pay for his expenses during the messy divorce with his wife, the intended target of an alleged murder-for-hire plot.
Latham is not criminally charged in that incident; his estranged wife, Nancy, has filed a suit against him accusing him of being involved in the alleged plot to kill her in April. The pair is currently battling it out in divorce court.
During today’s Family Court hearing in downtown Charleston, a judge will consider Chris Latham’s request to end his $8,500 monthly subsidy to his wife and allow him a $99,000 advance from his retirement funds so he can pay for his living expenses, attorney fees and other obligations. He stated that he is “happy to pay reasonable child support” for his daughters’ care, according to court filings.
In an affidavit submitted Friday in response to Chris Latham’s request, Nancy Latham called his position “unreasonable, illogical, inequitable and irrational.”
Nancy Latham points at her husband’s alleged affair with Wendy Moore, who is currently in jail on federal charges in connection with the conspiracy to kill Nancy Latham, according to the affidavit. Three other people were also charged in connection with the alleged plot.
Chris Latham has not been linked by authorities to the alleged scheme against his wife, who is a Mount Pleasant real estate agent and a state lottery official. He said the allegations derailed his career and left him with no immediate prospects for a new job.
Nancy Latham’s divorce lawyer, Tim Madden, declined to comment Friday. Chris Latham’s attorney, Robert Rosen, also declined to comment.
Chris Latham’s court filing includes copies of Bank of America emails indicating that he was given the choice in late May of resigning, retiring or facing immediate termination from the bank. He chose to retire May 30, the emails indicate.
Latham stated that his salary will end in July, and he has been forced to borrow money from relatives, max out his credit cards and raid his 401(k) plan just to fulfill his financial obligations to his wife.
“I am currently seeking opportunities within private banking but have been informed that I am unemployable until the federal court matters are resolved due to the negative publicity about my personal life and (my wife’s) objective and mission to destroy me in the community and in the banking industry,” he stated in his affidavit.
Nancy Latham argues that she never made false statements about her husband, and she called the situation “Chris-created drama,” the affidavit stated. Nancy Latham also called her husband’s statements evidence of “his delusional existence,” according to the document.
She stated that Chris Latham’s request for retirement money to pay his legal fees is unfair, considering her own mounting legal fees, the affidavit stated. She owes her attorneys more than $242,000 and will need another $50,000 to get through the divorce trial, she stated in the document.
Nancy Latham stated that her husband has paid his lawyers more than $102,000, while she’s paid less than half that amount to hers.
It remains unclear when the final divorce hearing will take place. In her affidavit, Nancy Latham stated that they are three months beyond the scheduled trial date and stuck in a “purgatory of lititgation.”
The Lathams have accused each other of adultery and other misbehavior, but their already contentious divorce reached a new level in April when the alleged murder-for-hire plot was exposed.
Charged were 38-year-old Samuel Yenawine of Louisville, Ky.; Yenawine’s ex-wife, 37-year-old Moore, identified as Chris Latham’s girlfriend and former assistant at the bank; Yenawine’s girlfriend, Rachel Palmer, 36, and Russell Wilkinson, 39, both of Louisville.
Yenawine killed himself June 25, when he hanged himself inside his cell at the Georgetown County jail. The other three remain in jail.
The alleged conspiracy came to light after Wilkinson was stopped by Charleston police while looking to buy heroin on the East Side. Police found a gun in his car, and he volunteered information about the scheme to kill Nancy Latham to officers, police said. Yenawine was back in Kentucky at that point and was arrested later.
Moore is accused of hiring Yenawine to do the job, and he, in turn, contracted Wilkinson’s services to “watch his back,” Senior Agent Joseph Boykin of the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives has testified.
The would-be killers bought disposable cellphones so their communications couldn’t be traced, then traveled to the Lowcountry, where they met with Moore to collect a $5,000 down payment and receive a “hit package” full of photographs, maps, schedules and other information on Nancy Latham and her family, Boykin said.
Reach Natalie Caula at 937-5594 or Twitter.com/ncaula.