Slim Pickens

An angry wife does to T. Boone Pickens what his corporate victims could only dream of

Who will prevail remains an open question. Both sides are beginning to talk settlement and have agreed to go to mediation. They are both planning to postpone a scheduled May trial date, her lawyer says. But his lawyer says he will be ready to go to trial then if necessary.

In the meantime, Beatrice Pickens has managed to tie up her husband's business transactions in a way that his former corporate-takeover foes would have to admire. Employing litigation tactics reminiscent of those Pickens himself used in the heat of a hostile bid, his estranged wife's lawyers have successfully persuaded the judge to issue a temporary restraining order restricting her soon-to-be ex-husband's financial trading and even barring him from making political contributions without her agreement.

Pickens' lawyer says his client agreed to the restrictions--and even offered to pay $1 million to his wife--to move the two sides closer to a deal.

When Pickens' lawyers were questioning his wife in a deposition, they barely concealed their doubts about her allegations of abuse. At one point, they asked Beatrice Pickens, who had at one time carried running bills of more than $1,400 each at Nordstrom, Neiman Marcus, and Stanley Korshak: "Do you think your low self-esteem and your spending are related in any way?"

"I don't know," she told them. But then she added, "...I think my low self-esteem came from my husband, who would beat me down all the time.

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