Toronto Sun

August 11, 2001

Pay up, daddy

T.O. millionaire to pay $11Gs a month in child support

By GRETCHEN DRUMMIE -- Courts Bureau
Toronto Sun

A millionaire Toronto businessman will pay $11,173-a-month in child support for his four-year-old son and a $500,000 lump sum amount to his ex-wife after an 18-month union, a judge has ordered in a ruling released yesterday.

It's the latest instalment of a lengthy legal battle between wealthy Forest Hill-ites Jeffrey Tauber and his ex-wife, Michelle, over their son Sam's support.

During the trial, court heard he's a boy who eats sushi, octopus and lobster; his dad rarely drives his $275,000 Ferrari and scoffs canned tuna for dinner; his mom spent $34,000 on clothes last year.

Tauber, 47, whose net worth was in 1996 estimated at $19 million, last year successfully appealed a prior $17,000-a-month support order for Sam-- then a record amount -- based on his then-income of $2.5 million a year.

At the time, even the trial judge thought it was too much for a toddler, but he was bound by federal guidelines.

But between the first trial and the appeal, the Supreme Court ruled that judges have discretion to reduce the table amount if it is excessive. The Court of Appeal found that it was excessive and ordered a new trial, which was heard by Justice Ruth Mesber.

NOT EXCESSIVE

In her judgment released yesterday, Mesber said Tauber's current income is less now -- just $1.62-million -- therefore, the child support amount on the table is $11,173 and that's not excessive for "this family."

She declined to reduce the sum, noting if his parents had stayed together, it's likely Sam's monthly costs wouldn't have been much different. "Mr. Tauber has the means to provide a luxurious lifestyle for his son. He himself enjoys such a life ... Sam is entitled to no less," Mesber said.

Tauber, a printer, has a $2.8 million, 8,000-square-foot Forest Hill home filled with $90,000 in furniture and $2.5 million in art.

Mesber noted that when the couple married in May 1996, they enjoyed dining out, socializing, and driving luxury cars. When Sam was born in August 1997, "things should have been wonderful for this new family." In December 1997, after a heated exchange, they agreed to divorce. Tauber wanted Michelle to move out immediately, even though she was nursing and unemployed.

Michelle, a prop stylist, is working, but not at the level prior to her marriage, Mesber said. The judge noted since her marriage, her lifestyle has changed.

Copyright © 2001, Canoe Limited Partnership.