For many years, William C. Allred had seemed the most docile of husbands, a quiet, patient man who lived in the shadow of his famous wife. To hear him tell it, he proudly helped make Gloria Allred the woman she is today, loyally supporting her climb to fame, fortune and influence as a firebrand feminist attorney.
But now that he’s out of prison, and now that the matter of Allred vs. Allred is in federal bankruptcy court, Bill Allred isn’t so docile anymore.
Appealing a divorce judgment that left him owing $4 million to his former wife, Bill Allred is issuing press releases and giving interviews that essentially portray his ex-wife as the villainess in the country-Western song who’s taken the gold mine and left him with the shaft.
Bill and Gloria Allred, who were married for 19 years, exchanged little more than glances Tuesday at a U.S. Bankruptcy Court hearing in Los Angeles that resolved only the most arcane of issues. Each came with their lawyers and Bill brought along his wife of three years, Judith.
“It’s the height of hypocrisy for her to do this,” Bill Allred said in an interview. “I put her through law school and now she’s going to take everything I ever earned. . . . I don’t think feminists would approve of that. Feminists believe in equal rights for men and women.”
Gloria Allred says she’s only seeking what a Superior Court judge has already ruled to be a fair financial resolution.
“How is a person a gold digger for trying to collect their share of community property?” she said in an interview. “I’m entitled to collect my fair share of community property without being called names.”
In a separate prepared statement she said: “I consider his statements about me defamatory and I am saddened that he has chosen to publicly attack me instead of paying the judgment.”
The courtroom reunion reflected the tense relations that have existed since Bill Allred’s October, 1987, conviction on charges of conspiring to defraud the government by selling counterfeit aircraft parts through his company, Donallco Inc. Allred still contends he was innocent of criminal wrongdoing.
Their divorce was finalized a short time later.
Bill Allred says he is airing his side of the messy divorce drama now only because he was in prison during a six-month community property proceeding. He said he is convinced the judgment might have been different if he had been present at the proceedings.
“She asked for everything and basically she got everything,” he said. “I can’t believe a higher court will allow it. . . . But people might say, he’s a convicted felon. He might deserve it.”
Even if he liquidated his assets, he still would not be able to pay the entire judgment, he said.
When Bill and Gloria Allred met in the early 1960s, he was operating Donallco, the company he founded in 1953, and she was a high school teacher in South-Central Los Angeles. Both had been married once before and both had children from their previous marriages. Bill Allred said he not only paid Gloria’s way through Loyola Law School, but also put her daughter--whom he adopted--through Yale Law School.
The version of events that Bill Allred tells today is considerably different from the news accounts of his legal troubles that had described him as Gloria Allred’s estranged husband.
Allred says he agreed to a sham separation in January, 1986, at his wife’s request only to protect her public image after investigators launched the inquiry into his aircraft firm.
They continued to live as man and wife, he says, and he was stunned when she informed him that she wanted to go through with divorce on the day of his conviction.
Moreover, he contends that the courts failed to consider that the couple had already divided their real estate holdings to protect their personal wealth against the criminal investigation. Gloria Allred took title to their 4,000-square-foot Pacific Palisades condominium and two commercial properties, while Bill Allred took title to a warehouse in North Hollywood.
He says he also agreed to his wife’s request to face trial in Texas, instead of California, to minimize adverse publicity.
“This is one of the worst husband-bashing cases I’ve ever seen,” said Arnold L Kupetz, a bankruptcy attorney for Bill Allred.
None of Bill Allred’s contentions are new, Gloria Allred said, but she declined to address specific charges that she had manipulated him during their marriage and separation.
“For the most part Mr. Allred’s allegations were already extensively litigated in the divorce case and are a rehash of what his attorneys argued for him during that trial,” she said in a statement.
Gloria Allred said she considered that court’s judgment fair. She denied his contentions that she had agreed to a settlement but reneged on the deal.
Bill Allred said he wants his fair share as well.
“I always considered myself a feminist,” he added. “Feminists believe in equality. Equality means sharing, it means splitting . . .
“I don’t begrudge her her share at all. I believe in community property. I don’t care if I earned 95% of it. I should get half and she should get half.”