A Boston filmmaker who directed a couple of Twin Peaks episodes recently settled acrimonious divorce proceedings with her real estate mogul husband, who discovered she was hiding the extent of her net worth when she bought more than half a million dollars in decoy ducks
Ernestine Rathborne, 72, and Philip Y. DeNormandie, 75, finalized their divorce on February 2 after 50 years of marriage, concluding a process that began amicably in 2017 but turned acrimonious when Rathborn discovered her husband had spent $532,964.50 worth of decoy ducks to add to his already expanding collection, but he did not include them in his financial statements.
The discovery led Rathborne, who goes by Tina, to suspect that DeNormandie was not being honest about the extent of his family’s finances and property, and the insults began soon after. DeNormandie called Rathborne lazy, disconnected, and spoiled, and accused her of forcing him to marry her by becoming pregnant. In turn, she said that she was afraid of his temper and her controlling nature.
Both denied the other’s allegations, but as proceedings progressed, it was revealed that DeNormandie’s $90 million estimate of his net worth was roughly $130 million short of a reality that included 139 properties, rather than the usual 18. which Tina thought they owned, and a whopping $3 million worth of decoy ducks.
Ultimately, the couple split their estate down the middle, with Rathborne walking away with his $7.5 million Cambridge home and 100 properties in Louisiana, while DeNormandie kept the properties, including his private island, the Isle of Maine, along with his collection of decoy ducks.
Ernestine Rathborne, 72, who calls herself Tina and directed a couple of Twin Peaks episodes
Philip Y. DeNormandie, 75, amassed a massive real estate empire and a collection of decoy ducks
The couple met when they were both students at Harvard University in the 1970s and married in 1973, shortly after graduation.
“We loved doing the same things,” Rathborne told the Boston Globe. ‘We loved hiking and sailing. He is a boy of nature. I loved walking through the woods with him.
After buying a house in Harvard Square, Rathborne moved to New York and then Los Angeles to pursue a film career, and their relationship suffered until their first divorce in 1987.
“We were standing in front of the judge sobbing,” he told the Globe, recalling how the judge asked if they were sure they wanted to end things, and DeNormandie replied, “It’s geography, your honor.” It’s geography.
Rathborne went on to direct a couple of Twin Peaks episodes in 1990, before the couple reconciled when she became pregnant.
After having a couple of children, Rathborne raised them as a homemaker, saying she had felt “fulfilled” in her career.
“I found the job I was born to do and I longed to have children,” she told the Globe. ‘I had the privilege of being a mother. I didn’t look back over my shoulder.
During those years, DeNormandie built a sprawling real estate profile of more than 100 buildings in New England and the South, including in Boston the historic Blackstone Block where the Union Oyster House resides, and the Lewis Wharf luxury real estate enclave on the Boston waterfront. boston harbour.
When things got messy after her second divorce, DeNormandie looked back on those years very differently than Rathborne did.
‘I made all the money. She was an incredibly capable person who did nothing,” she said. He had help seven days a week all the time.
She told the Globe that she had a personal cook, a secretary, a housekeeper and spent at least $80,000 per year on a dog walker who brushed her pets’ teeth.
One of many decoy ducks in the extensive collection of Philip Y. DeNormandie
One of Philip Y. DeNormandie’s decoy ducks, which he began collecting at the age of 10.
Rathborne said she began divorce proceedings in 2017 after years of estrangement, but after she began to suspect DeNormandie had been withholding information about her net worth, she said she was divorcing him out of fear of his aggression and controlling behavior. She recalled an incident in which he refused to let her use her bathroom during a four-hour car ride.
In response to DeNormandie’s accusations that she was a spendthrift, Rathborne sneered.
“I wasn’t spending my time in Newbury Street,” he told the Globe. “I was deeply upset when I read that characterization of me.”
His lawyer, Robert O’Regan, also found his claims ridiculous.
“Here’s a man who would spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on fine art and wildlife collectibles, and in some cases not unpack them from their shipping materials, and complain that Tina leads an extravagant lifestyle?” he told the Globe.
As for those ducks, DeNormandie said she started collecting them when she was 10 years old during a family vacation on Cape Cod.
“We’d go down the Cape in the summer and I’d ride my bike and go into antique shops,” he said. “The only thing I liked was duck decoys since I was about 10 years old. I built up quite a collection.”
The couple’s $7.5 million Cambridge home, which Rathborne won in the divorce settlement
The couple owned the Lewis Wharf luxury real estate enclave on the Boston Harbor waterfront.
Sixty-five years later, those wooden ducks cost DeNormandie tens of millions after Rathborne was warned he was undervaluing his net worth.
After she discovered the purchase of the duck for half a million dollars and the divorce went wrong, the couple hired a special teacher, Anthony Doniger, to mediate the dispute. They both agreed to accept Dongier’s decision, but he said getting DeNormandie to provide the financial documents was like “pulling his teeth out.”
When the full net worth ($221 million) was finally revealed, DeNormandie said the ruling was “totally biased,” according to the Globe, while his lawyer insisted the property’s value had simply been assessed differently than principle.
“It hurt mainly because I had no idea,” she told the Globe, recalling that she was “astonished” to hear the full amount.
They both agreed to split their worth in half at $110,379,691 each, with DeNormandie agreeing to pay $600,000 in Rathborne’s legal fees for prolonging the divorce by not disclosing his full finances.
And while Rathborne left with his Cambridge home, he kept his $2.6 million home in Antigua.