Tale of Two Breakups: Duncan Hunter’s Divorce Is Known, Darrell Issa’s Finally Told

Darrell and Kathy Issa (left) have been married for over 40 years and have one son. Duncan and Margaret Hunter have been married for 24 years and have three children. Photomontage from Times of San Diego

July 24, 2018 may seem routine Rep. Darrell Issa. In the final year of his tenure in the 49th District, he tweeted Congratulations to a new VA Secretary. He elected four times in the house.

Selected Court Records on Darrell-Kathy Issa Divorce. (PDF)

But 2,700 miles away in a Vista courthouse, the nine-year-old Republican was involved in a more fateful act: He was filing for divorce from his 38-year-old wife. His petition spoke of “irreconcilable differences”.

It wasn’t until March 2021 that Katharine “Kathy” Issa and Darrell Edward Issa’s “uncontested” split became final — with details buried in a confidential prenup.

“Disclosure or dissemination of [certain private information] would cause irreparable damage to the parties or the assets awarded thereby,” their court filing reads.

When it was revealed in late 2020 that Margaret Hunter had sued former East County Congresswoman Duncan D. Hunter for divorce, it made global headlines. The Daily Mail of Britain suggestively remembered every detail of their corruption case.

“The prosecutors proposed the congressman [campaign] Spending money on extramarital affairs, spending huge sums of money on weekend getaways and outings involving at least five women – including three lobbyists, a staffer and a congressional aide,” the British newspaper said.

In startling contrast, the Issa divorce received no media attention.

Divorces in Congress have been news (and tabloid fodder) for decades — from the 1980 separation of future House Speaker Newt Gingrich and hospitalized wife Jackie Battley in December split in 2021 by Rep. Madison Cawthorn and Cristina Cawthorn, his wife of eight months.

One reason: the separating couples often talk about it.

The Issas and Hunters stay mom. They did not respond to requests for comment. But court records shed light on their different cases. (The Hunters’ divorce isn’t final — they face each other in court on June 23 with financial support issues still unresolved.)

Here’s what we know.

Kathy Issa’s money helped launch Fortune

in one 2011 New Yorker profile of President Obama’s nemesis Issa, writer Ryan Lizza recounted how Darrell courted Kathy.

“He met his second wife, Kathy Stanton, when she locked her keys in her apartment and Issa, who lived next door, gallantly climbed onto a balcony and broke into her house,” Lizza wrote. (Issa’s first wife, Marcia Enyart, was a college friend.)

Kathy recalls, “He was there in 30 seconds. After that I had to go out with him.”

The couple bought into a small electronics assembly company – Quantum Enterprises. A 1998 Issa advertisement said the investment was “our $7,000 in savings.”

Until 2011 the Center for Public Integrity calculated Issa’s average net worth was $448 million, thanks in part to Directed Electronics, his car security company known for its Viper alarm system. He later paid off.

But with big real estate and Wall Street holdings, Issa continued to be among the wealthiest members of Congress — House and Senate combined. His current net worth — or the extent of his wealth — won’t be known until he files his annual financial disclosure (this time for his 2021 tenure in the 50th District, succeeding Hunter).

He should have submitted his disclosure by May 15, but requested an extension in April. The new due date is August 13, 2022.

ISSA Request for Extension of Financial Disclosure Deadline. (PDF)

However, recent reports show that his net worth is on the decline – although various methods have been used to calculate his wealth.

OpenSecrets.org estimated net worth of Issa in 2017 — the year before the divorce filing — at $326 million. In March 2018 the This was announced by the Los Angeles Times Issa claimed a minimum net worth of at least $283.3 million.

Three weeks ago, moneywise.com thought Issa’s net worth is $115.8 million, adding, “He is said to have over $50 million in liabilities from a margin account.”

Issa owns a 3,500-square-foot condo in Washington’s Sheridan-Kalorama Historic District with an estimated 2019 value of $2.8 million. The Issas had lived in a 2,900-square-foot Vista Shadowridge home estimated, by Zillow, at $1.6 million.

Duncan Hunter once reported no fortune

Even with a $174,000 congressional salary, Duncan Duane Hunter — son of longtime Congressman Duncan Lee Hunter — was relatively poor.

I once reported how Hunter listed no reportable assets in about 20 categories in 2010, including real estate, bank accounts, IRAs or 401(k)s, and corporate securities — making him one of the poorest members of the House of Representatives.

Selected Duncan-Margaret Hunter Divorce Court Records (PDF)

Ten years later, Hunter was sentenced to 11 months in prison for “his admitted role in a year-long conspiracy to knowingly and intentionally steal $250,000 in campaign funds, which he and his wife used to sustain their lifestyles when their family was otherwise mired in debt.” ” said the Justice Department.

Hunter was later pardoned by President Trump – avoiding jail time.

A family court judge first ordered Hunter to pay Margaret (who now lives in La Mesa) a monthly child support fee of $1,743 and spousal support of $2,212. But these amounts were given for the summer of 2021. It was not clear if he was still paying.

Duncan submitted paperwork showing he worked for vsscenario of San Diego from July 1, 2020 to January 7, 2022, when he became unemployed.

(Marchhe said to KUSI that he had been in Poland – Margaret’s birthplace – before the Russian invasion on February 24th. He said he was helping with “cross-border transport” and Ukraine aid. A former naval artillery officer with deployments in Afghanistan and Iraq, Hunter said he works with UAPulse.org and former Polish military contacts over the “blockades” at the border. He said he would stay “as long as it lasts”.)

Back in Alpine, where the six-year-old GOP congressman lived with his parents, Hunter listed a string of debts — $425,000 to the IRS, $19,000 in medical bills from Rady Children’s Hospital and more than $10,000 in credit card debt and attorney fees. (He paid all the bills in installments.)

But Hunter also said he was paid $1,853 a month by the Department of Veterans Affairs for “one or more service-related disabilities.”

Margaret Hunter said in her own income and expense statement that as of April 2021 she had a $5,000 Mastercard debt and owed Jerome’s Furniture $2,824, $2,800 in medical expenses and a car repair of $1,000 had $1,555. She also owed her now-former attorney $13,741.10.

Darrell Issa has evaded testimony in the divorce case

In February 2018, Politico reports that Rep. Mike Turner tried to unseat Issa, a best man at Turner’s wedding to Majida Mourad in 2015. The Ohio Republican was in a divorce battle with Mourad, who was reportedly a longtime friend of Issa thanks to their shared Lebanese-American heritage.

(Mourad was also a Major Republican Donor$150,000 in funding for candidates and the GOP, including $5,750 to Issa between 2007 and 2013.)

Issa was never ordered to testify, but he denied any suggestion of an inappropriate relationship with Mourad, saying in a statement: “There is no truth whatsoever to these allegations.”

Hunters fight for spouses, child payments

There were no minor children involved in Darrell, 68, and Kathy, 76,’s divorce. Their only son William is 41 years old.

But the divorce of Margaret, 47, and Duncan, 45, affects a 15-year-old daughter. (Her other two children — a son and a daughter — are now over 18.)

The Hunters — married since July 1998 — separated on Aug. 10, 2019, according to court documents. They have agreed on joint legal and physical custody of daughter Sarah, though she spends most of her time with her mother.

Seven weeks ago – on April 12 – Duncan Hunter’s attorney, Leslie Abrigo of Chula Vista, filed documents showing that Margaret Hunter now earns $3,175 a month. It suggests he is asking for an injunction to reduce child and spousal support payments.

A family resolution conference is scheduled for June 23 at 9:00 am in El Cajon Superior Court Judge CJ Modya Bombay-born lawyer who received his law degree from the University of San Diego in 2002.

Margaret will represent herself.


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