Developer Marty Paris jailed, granted release in divorce debt fight

President of Sedgwick Development has to produce $300K in cash and agree to home monitoring to get out of Cook County Jail

Sedgwick Properties' Marty Paris (Multifamilyforum, Getty)
Sedgwick Properties' Marty Paris (Multifamilyforum, Getty)

A Chicago-area developer whose recent projects have hit roadblocks was jailed this month after being held in contempt of court for not fulfilling a judge’s orders to pay an ex-wife in a messy divorce proceeding.

Cook County Circuit Judge Abbey Romanek allowed Frank “Marty” Paris, president of Chicago-based Sedgwick Development, to be released from jail for the holidays, so long as he comes up with $300,000 in cash and agrees to electronic home monitoring, Cook County Record reported.

But it was unclear whether Paris secured his release ahead of the holiday weekend, because as of Tuesday morning he was still listed as an inmate in the Cook County Jail’s online search system.

He would have needed to further produce an additional $200,000 to meet Romanek’s previous orders, which aim to address $1.6 million in legal bills amassed during a drawn-out divorce with his ex-wife, Kerry Paris.

The developer’s recent arrest on Dec. 8 marked the second time Paris faced incarceration during the tumultuous divorce proceedings that began in 2016.

The couple, parents to seven children, had been entangled in a legal battle in which Paris argued against claims of his net worth exceeding $20 million. He contended that much of the reported revenue represented “phantom income,” essentially financial figures that didn’t translate to liquid assets in his possession, due to debts secured by real estate he owned.

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While Paris filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Chicago federal court, seeking protection from the mounting family court debts, Judge Romanek remained unconvinced. She previously ordered Paris to pay a $500,000 cash bond, transfer significant properties to his ex-wife and procure a $2.5 million life insurance policy for her benefit. The bankruptcy court is set to reconvene on Jan. 3, with the fate of Paris’s release pending further deliberation.

Several legal representatives have weighed in on the matter. Attorneys from various firms, including Lake Toback DiDomenico and Hurst Robin Kay & Allen, have supported Paris’s incarceration. Among the contentious figures involved is attorney Sean Crotty, who is believed to have had a romantic involvement with Kerry Paris during the divorce proceedings.

As the end of the year approaches, the legal drama underscores the personal and financial toll of the divorce, with Paris’s lawyer, Scott Clar, fervently contesting his client’s continued imprisonment. For now, however, Judge Romanek’s stipulations remain, leaving Paris and his legal team to strategize their next move in the ongoing saga.

His firm Sedgwick is also on the verge of losing a long-delayed high-end condos project in River Forest, where it planned to build on Lake and Lathrop streets downtown. The village recently revoked its construction approval due to the years of minimal progress on the property. And in Chicago’s River North neighborhood, Paris’ firm is working to turn around the slow uptake of more high-end condos he built at LaSalle and Erie streets, most recently by transitioning to a rental plan with leases running for $10,000 a month on average and up to $22,000 in some units.

— Quinn Donoghue 

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