In another episode of Republican “Do as I say, not as I do” comes this story of a nasty, nasty, NASTY divorce fight between right-wing sugar daddy Richard Mellon Scaife and his soon to be ex-wife Margaret “Ritchie” Scaife. Scaife is a crotchety old billionaire who has given millions of dollars to fund the Vast Right-Wing Conspiracy through groups like Heritage Foundation.
Oh, there was no prenuptial agreement and Ritchie wants major cash out of the deal. She is currently getting $725,000 a month in alimony. Yup. That’s more than 15 times the average American household income for a year and she gets that a month.
And the story gets better.
From the Washington Post:
With the legal fight still in the weigh-in phase, the story of Scaife v. Scaife already includes a dog-snatching, an assault, a night in jail and that divorce court perennial, allegations of adultery.
Can you smell the Dominick Dunne cover story for Vanity Fair?
As Mr. Scaife was providing massive amounts of cash to “pro-family” groups like Heritage which published Restoring a Culture of Marriage and other screeds telling people how to live their lives, he was also according to Mrs. Scaife having an affair with a woman whose criminal history includes an arrest for prostitution.
At some point in late 2005, Ritchie started having suspicions about her husband and hired a private investigator named Keith Scannell, a specialist in high-end surveillance for insurance companies. In December of that year, Scannell followed Richard Scaife to nearby North Huntingdon, home of Doug’s Motel, a place where the TVs are bolted to the furniture and rooms can be rented in three-hour increments, for $28. (It’s now under new management and renamed the Huntingdon Inn. Head east on Route 8, then east on Route 30.) There, according to Scannell, Scaife spent a few hours with Tammy Sue Vasco.
Why a billionaire would shack up at Doug’s Motel, of all places, is a mystery. Ditto his choice of companions. Vasco is a tall, blond 43-year-old mother who in 1993 was busted in a sting operation after showing up at a Sheraton hotel and offering to have sex with an undercover cop for $225, the Post-Gazette reported.
Social Register material she is not, but Vasco and Scaife seemed to have a relationship that went beyond the purely professional. The two usually met each other twice a week, for months, at the motel, says an employee of the motel. Scaife would show up in a chauffeured car, dressed in a suit, wearing cuff links, always bearing flowers. Vasco would be waiting in same room every time, Room 5 on the ground floor, facing the parking lot, said the employee. Mr. Dick, as he was known at the motel, would stay for two hours or so, then get back in the car, which had been waiting, and leave.
“Mr. Dick” Ha-ha-ha.
A few days after Scannell reported the Doug’s Motel rendezvous to Ritchie Scaife, she noticed Vasco’s Jeep in the driveway of his mansion at Westminster Place. Gaping through a window, according to court papers filed by her lawyers, she spotted Vasco. Then the trouble started.
Private investigator Scannell, commenting on what became a much-discussed local news story, put it this way: “Mrs. Scaife acted as any loving wife would upon finding out just days earlier that her husband had a confirmed meeting, for several hours, at a $40 motel with a woman previously arrested for prostitution.”
Police would later say that Ritchie Scaife began pounding on doors and windows and refused to leave, which is why she was promptly arrested for “defiant trespass.” She was handcuffed and driven downtown to the Allegheny County Jail — near the Liberty Bridge, at 950 Second Ave. — where a woman accustomed to traveling with a personal hairdresser spent the night in what her lawyers later called a “grim” holding cell.
After that things went from bad to worse: dog-napping.
The real fight, though, was not over the Shreve & Co. finger bowls. It was over the dog. Specifically, a yellow Labrador retriever named Beauregard, who Ritchie has told friends is a direct descendant of a pooch belonging to a king of England. Until March 2006, the animal was in Ritchie’s hands, living with her and the Pietragallos. Then one day, Beauregard was scooped out of the Pietragallos’ back yard and whisked around the corner, to Richard’s house on Westminster.
Then Ritchie got pissed. She allegedly attacked a housekeeper who was walking the dog pulling her to the ground punching and pulling hair in a catfight reminiscent of Alexis and Krystal from the 1980s tv show Dynasty.
Wow. Who knew that the moralistic right-wing nutcases who bash gays, espouse abstinence until marriage, bleat endlessly about protecting the “sanctity” of marriage were such adulterous, money-grubbing drama queens?
Oh, right, we did after the scandals of Mark Foley, Larry Craig, David Vitter, Rudy Guiliani, Newt Gingrich, Bob Allen, Glenn Murphy, John McCain…