On the second day of the divorce trial of Health and Human Services Secretary Margaret Heckler and businessman John Heckler, attorneys for Margaret Heckler attempted to establish the extent of her husband's assets.
John Heckler's financial investment company, Boston Institutional Services Inc., made about $9 million in sales last year, according to vice president Arthur Grannis. Grannis said he could "not recall" Heckler's salary, but said his own was $180,000. Speaking to a reporter, John Heckler said he had not filed for divorce until recently -- despite his claim that the relationship was a marriage in name only for 20 years -- because of the couple's children.
"We waited until they were all grown up," he said. "Then John, he's the baby, graduated college, June 1983. That's when I brought it up. I offered not to file until after the '84 campaign, but she wouldn't answer any of my offers."
Margaret Heckler said during a recess, "You know I'm not making any comment on this. We have three children -- this is excruciating to them."
She added: "I was working very hard to make that marriage work all that time. I never believed the marriage was over. I came from a background -- the family was very important to me."
John Heckler originally filed for divorce in Virginia, claiming that his wife "physically abandoned the marital relationship" 20 years earlier, and citing the date of this alleged abandonment -- "on or about October 30, 1963." Margaret Heckler later filed for divorce in Massachusetts, citing "cruel and abusive treatment."
John Heckler has said that for the past several months they've been doing most of their talking through lawyers.
And there are many. He sat in the small wood-paneled courtroom and cast an amused eye upon the five at the front of the courtroom, associates scattered about.
"Look at the amount of money going to attorneys," he said.
"I haven't even asked how much . I'm afraid of what they're going to say. I'm sure over $100,000 for both him and his wife . Look around . . . you know who's going to pay. I've been paying for 30 years."
The trial is expected to continue into next week.