Kent Swig and Elizabeth Macklowe are the offspring of the San Franciscan Swig real estate clan and the New York Macklowe real estate giant, respectively. So, when Kent Swig came to New York and found gainful employment under Harry Macklowe, Elizabeth’s father was keen to introduce the young upstart to his daughter.
A date was set up, but cancelled by both parties for differing reasons. But as chance, or perhaps fate, would have it, Kent and Liz met that very same night anyway and only 15 days later their engagement was announced. The wedding took place only seven weeks after that.
The whirlwind romance lasted and became a hugely successful marriage as Kent’s career took off. He made a name for himself in the New York real estate world, brokering deals left, right and centre and had arrived at an estimated net worth of $3 billion by the end of 2007.
Kent and Liz lived the high life. In 2002 they had bought a duplex in famous 740 Park Ave, which came with a staggering 16 rooms. It’s an address for the 1 percent and as exclusive as they come.
The couple also had a house in the Hamptons and they lived as lavishly as they could, collecting art and jewellery and rich friends along the way.
But, as so many others, Kent overreached and when the collapse came in 2008, Kent was hit hard. Due to heavy borrowing in the years prior to the collapse, Kent owed a lot of people a lot of money and they all came calling at once. In many cases he was able to come to agreements, but at some point he was forced to borrow $200,000 from his father-in-law and that particular transaction seems to have cost him his marriage.
When Harry Macklowe agreed to the loan, he apparently forced Kent to sign a post-nuptial agreement with Liz. The post-nup detailed that Liz would get both the couple’s homes, $11 million worth of furnishings, $12 million in artwork and $1.8 million in jewellery. That was in September 2009.
Barely six months later Kent filed for divorce.
Apparently Macklowe’s loan had come with a clause that would prevent any attempt to push Kent into involuntary bankruptcy. By some miracle Kent had avoided to declare bankruptcy throughout the ordeal and it seems he feared his father-in-law might push him over the edge.
At some point Kent contended that Macklowe had been beginning to break his promise, which may well have prompted Kent to file for divorce.
The whole situation had become so messed up that it’s hard to pinpoint when or why exactly the marriage broke apart. Liz reportedly blamed their ruin on Kent and that likely would have left her deeply unhappy.
Making Kent sign the post-nup seems to have been a calculated, almost callous move and it seems unsurprising that the marriage unravelled soon after.
Whether despite or because of the post-nup, the couple battled the financial settlement of their divorce out in court. At some point everyone seemed to have sued everyone else over money or assets. It took a whole five years for Kent and Liz Swig to come to an agreement, which was apparently lengthy and mostly sealed.
It’s almost ironic, however, that Liz was granted everything that was detailed in the post-nup. The agreement was made in November 2015 and the presiding judge asked Liz if she was satisfied with the deal. Only after the judge added “as well as you can be?” to the question, did Liz answer with “yes”.
The judge warned the couple that she hoped not to see them for their scheduled court appearance in early December, only a few weeks later. They had been set to keep battling, but after the settlement was reached, lawyers for both parties expressed their satisfaction. It was also noted that, once signed, the divorce would be made final 60 days later, which would put the finalization into January 2016.
It’s not hard to understand that Liz Swig was hardly truly satisfied with the divorce settlement given how much she and Kent had lost. But it stands to reason that there was nothing more to be had either. Friends and associates believe that Kent will rebound from his losses and continue moving on, but it’s unlikely that he’ll reach the same heights again from which he fell.
But it does seem as if he found love again, because there is a wedding registry under his name and that of a woman he’s been seen out and about with. The wedding date is set for August next year.