BOWLING GREEN - A man whose former wife is involved in the Marty Frankel insurance scandal has lost his battle to have his child custody case returned to the Wood County for hearings.
The 6th District Court of Appeals, Toledo, yesterday ruled that the case involving John Schulte and his former wife, Sonia Howe, should remain in Mecklenburg County, North Carolina, where it was transferred in 1999.
In the appeal, judges affirmed a lower court's decision to transfer the case based on testimony that Schulte's two daughters, now 14 and 16, have lived in North Carolina with their mother since July, 1996, and do not have regular contact with the Toledo community.
Schulte, 45, of Stony Ridge, has supervised visitation rights. Ms. Howe, 41, had accused her husband of sexually abusing the daughters when they were young, but a grand jury in November, 1992, refused to indict him on felony sex charges.
The appellate decision affects another appeal Schulte had made to the court in February.
Schulte had asked the appeals court for an emergency hearing to give him custody of his daughters because Ms. Howe was charged Jan. 31 with federal crimes of money laundering and racketeering in the Frankel case.
She will stand trial in September with Frankel and three other associates.
Authorities said Frankel “systematically drained” $200 million from insurers through a web of companies, offshore charities, and Swiss bank accounts.
Ms. Howe is accused of sending bogus monthly statements to the insurance companies.
When they were married, Schulte and Ms. Howe ran a brokerage firm. At one time, Frankel worked for their company.
Mr. Hickman said the decision makes it unlikely that the court will consider Schulte's request for a local hearing on the custody of his teenagers.
Schulte said he planned to address the matter in his request for reconsideration. If necessary, he said he would file his emergency request for custody in North Carolina.