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Peter Orszag and ex-wife in contentious court fight over child support

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The child support trial involving former OMB director Peter Orszag and his ex-wife, Cameron Kennedy, got off to a contentious and revealing start this week.

In Wednesday’s opening arguments in D.C. Superior Court, lawyers for the dueling ex-spouses previewed what’s to come over the next three days.

“Mr. Orszag is using money as a weapon against his ex-wife,”  claimed Kennedy’s attorney, Gregory Nugent.

“We’re here today on account of greed,” contended Orszag’s lawyer, Darryl Feldman.

New court filings show that the former Obama administration official pulled down $3.1 million in “taxable income” last year at Citigroup. Orszag expects to make nearly $4 million this year, he said in the filing. (Orszag has been trying mightily to keep these figures out of the public records.)

At issue is whether the couple must re-negotiate the arrangement they made after their 2006 divorce, in which Orszag funded a $400,000 trust for their two children’s tuition and major expenses and the couple agreed to split other costs. Kennedy, who makes $350,000 a year as a consultant for McKinsey, now wants $22,000 a month in direct payments, which Orszag’s lawyer called “backdoor alimony cloaked as child support.”

Orszag is offering to re-fund the now depleted trust and pay tuition bills directly, but Nugent rejected the move as an attempt by Orszag to “control” the kids’ education.

The arguments and the related filings paint a picture of a particular strain of Washington-meets-Wall-Street wealth: tuition bills at the tony Georgetown Day School, trips on private jets,  nannies, and private coaching for the kids’ sports.

Kennedy’s team is stressing the difference between her own household — where she has only part-time domestic help — with the more posh world she says the kids see at their father’s Manhattan apartment and Washington home. “She has a more stressful life and lifestyle,” Nugent said of his client.

Orszag’s personal life has been complicated. In addition to his two children with Kennedy, he has a daughter with an ex-girlfriend, N.Y.C.-based venture capitalist Claire Milonas. That child was born just a few weeks before he got engaged to his now-wife, ABC correspondent Bianna Golodryga, with whom he has an infant son.

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