A judge gave multimillionaire Peter Pulitzer custody of his twin sons Mack and Zack today and awarded Pulitzer's wife her sports car, her jewelry and a meager $48,000 settlement because she destroyed their marriage with "flagrant acts of adultery."
The blond, 31-year-old Roxanne Pulitzer -- accused by witnesses of making love with a handyman, a French baker, a Grand Prix race driver and another millionaire's wife -- was guilty of "gross marital conduct," ruled Circuit Judge Carl Harper.
"Where such transgressions are shown," his ruling said, "appropriate sanctions must be imposed . . . not to mention the deterrent effect on other spouses so inflicted."
According to court documents, Pulitzer, a 52-year-old publishing scion, had tried to avoid the publicity of a trial by offering his wife a midnight-black Porsche, $45,000 a year in alimony and child support, four years in their home and a $200,000 home after that.
She turned down the offer, instead fighting in court for a share of her husband's fortune.
Exactly how much money Roxanne Pulitzer had sought was never made public, but Harper said her "exorbitant demand shocks the conscience of this court, putting the court in mind of the hit record by country music singer Jerry Reed, which laments: 'She got the gold mine, I got the shaft.' "
The 18-page ruling concluded the lurid, 19-day jet-set trial in which the 51-year-old Pulitzer, grandson of publishing magnate Joseph Pulitzer, claimed his wife of 6 1/2 years introduced him to cocaine and marijuana -- nearly ruining his health -- spent his money like water and cuckolded him regularly.
Roxanne Pulitzer, on the other hand, claimed it was her husband who introduced drugs into the marriage, smuggled marijuana into the country aboard his luxury yacht and had sex with Liza Leidy, his daughter by a previous marriage.
Both Leidy and Pulitzer hotly denied the charges.
Pulitzer was at his ranch north of Lake Okeechobee with his sons and refused to discuss the settlement today, but Leidy said "he was so thrilled to hear the news." His lawyers said he would issue a statement tomorrow.
Roxanne Pulitzer, who has been staying at the family home in Palm Beach, could not be found and her lawyers refused comment.
Leidy, 26, said, "I am overjoyed about it. The whole family is, too. I had thought it would wind up this way anyway, but it is good to know that Judge Harper feels the same way about it, too. We couldn't be happier."
Asked about Roxanne Pulitzer, Leidy said, "I just hope she feels as terrible as she made all of us feel the past year. It has been a nightmare. She is getting paid back for what she has done. She has been a real wretch about it. I hope she has suffered as much as we have."
During the 19 days of testimony which concluded Nov. 9, Roxanne Pulitzer claimed her husband was worth $25 million. But his accountants said she had spent money so quickly his fortune had dwindled to $2.5 million.
"The wife entered this marriage with limited financial resources, a used automobile of unknown value and a $7,000 interest in a mobile home," Harper observed in his ruling today.
"Upon departing the marriage, which she destroyed, she takes with her a $20,000 Porsche automobile, purchased with the husband's funds, about $60,000 in jewelry, purchased in large measure with the husband's funds, $48,000 in rehabilitative alimony, $7,000 equity in the husband's boat, and $102,000 in attorneys' fees," he ruled.
"Primary physical residence of both children, MacLean Simpson Pulitzer and Zachary Simpson Pulitzer, shall be with the husband . . . subject to frequent, continuing and reasonable contact and visitation with the wife."
He ruled that Roxanne Pulitzer could not remove the children from Palm Beach County without written consent from Peter Pulitzer or the court.
Before the ruling, Pulitzer had been living on his 73-foot yacht and at his 8,000-acre Lake Okeechobee ranch.
The two youngsters have been at the ranch since Sunday, according to their nanny, Pierrette Barr. She said the episode hasn't fazed the kindergarteners.
"The children are marvelous. The children are beautiful children. There is no problem with the children, believe me," Barr said today. "They are very small. They don't understand, really.
"Flagrant acts of adultery and other gross marital conduct demeans the sanctity of the marriage and the family unit and will not be tolerated by an enduring society," the judge wrote. "It is improper to permit an errant spouse to destroy a marriage and then claim benefits equal to those which would have been enjoyed had the marriage remained intact."
Roxanne Pulitzer must "peacefully vacate the marital residence by Jan. 10th."
The judge appended a complicated schedule and list of rules for visiting the children.
During the sensational trial, a parade of witnesses told the judge intimate details of the couple's jet-set life style.
Witnesses called by Pulitzer's lawyers said his wife's lovers included Grand Prix racer Jackie Ickx of Belgium and Jacqueline Kimberly, the 32-year-old wife of Kleenex heir James Kimberly, 76.
Pulitzer said he once joined the two women in bed.
He claimed his wife often was put into trances during bedroom seances by her confidant, Janice "The Psychic" Nelson, while a trumpet wrapped in a black cape lay at her feet. Janice the Psychic testified for Pulitzer, claiming she had seen Roxanne Pulitzer making love to the handyman and warned her she was ruining her marriage.
The tall, slim Pulitzer claimed his wife exhausted him with her demands, forcing him to stay up till dawn dancing at discotheques, and he began snorting cocaine to keep going.
Pulitzer, known to his friends as "Herbert," has two daughters and a son by his first marriage to Lily Pulitzer, now a Palm Beach fashion designer.
He and Roxanne lived together for six months, spending much of their time building his 73-foot yacht, The Sea Hunter, and his Florida ranch before they were married in 1975.
"Our life was so great, the work on the boat, the work on the ranch," he said during his testimony in October. "She was happy. She appeared to love what we were doing."
But after their sons were born in 1977, Pulitzer said, his wife became restless.
Roxanne Ulrich Dixon was born in Cassadega, N.Y., and was divorced when she met Pulitzer.
Harper presided over a five-week hearing, concluding it Nov. 9 by predicting that nobody would be satisfied with his decision.
"Solomon couldn't do it," he said, "and I certainly can't."