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Ex-wife's demands excessive

Ex-wife's demands excessive

James McGreevey says that he cannot afford the perks he and his estranged wife enjoyed while he was governor of New Jersey and that she is not entitled to continue to live the lifestyle of a first lady at his expense.

McGreevey, who disclosed he was gay while in office, filed court papers Friday responding to Dina Matos McGreevey's demand this week for a bigger monthly support check--$4,000 a month, nearly four times what she now receives.

In her filing in Union County superior court in New Jersey, Matos McGreevey says she is entitled to live a lifestyle closer to that of first lady than she is now able to afford. She and the couple's 5-year-old daughter live in a modest three-bedroom house, while her husband and his partner live in a mansion with gardens, she says.

McGreevey does not deny living in a nice house but says he does not own it and stays there with his partner, Australian money manager Mark O'Donnell.

In his filing the former governor says he and Dina mostly lived in apartments while they were married. Even while in the governor's mansion they used only a small area as their private quarters, he says.

''The title does not obligate the first lady to be chauffeured or have bodyguards or any of the security attendant to the title,'' says McGreevey, noting that his wife chose to receive those perks, paid for by taxpayers.

Matos McGreevey, who earns $82,000 at Columbus Hospital in Newark, says she needs $11,162 per month to meet her expenses. She calls McGreevey's current monthly support payment of $1,129 per month inadequate, ''given his income and lifestyle.''

In the papers released Friday, McGreevey's lawyer offers to increase the support payments to $1,691 a month.

McGreevey's income has fluctuated since he left office but has averaged about $155,000 a year for the past five years. He says he has not been able to pull in the kind of money ex-governors can usually expect because of the circumstances under which he left office.

He announced in August 2004 that he was ''a gay American'' and would resign. He said he had been the target of a blackmail threat from a former lover.

Superior court judge Karen M. Cassidy, who is presiding over the couple's contentious divorce, will hear arguments on support and other matters September 21.

When the McGreeveys last appeared in court together in July, Cassidy urged them to settle their case rather than bring it to trial, telling the pair they had neither the financial means or emotional fortitude to endure a long divorce trial.

The McGreeveys officially split up when they moved out of the governor's mansion in November 2004. (Angela Delli Santi, AP)

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