PROVIDENCE, R.I. — Claus von Bulow says he offered to divorce his comatose wife and forfeit her millions if his stepchildren would drop their $56-million lawsuit against him, but his proposal was turned down.
The Danish-born financier, acquitted last year of twice trying to kill his heiress wife, Martha (Sunny) von Bulow, said Thursday that the offer included his renouncing of any claims on his estimated $14-million share of her $75-million gas and utilities fortune, her Newport mansion and their posh New York apartment.
He asked only that the couple's daughter, Cosima, share in the family inheritance.
"I agreed to any formula that would take me out of the picture and give Cosima her fair share, including divorce," Von Bulow said in a telephone interview from the Fifth Avenue apartment. "It was turned down categorically."
Alexander von Auersperg and his sister, Annie-Laurie (Ala) von Auersperg Kneissl, Martha von Bulow's children by a previous marriage, have fought Von Bulow's efforts to reinstate Cosima's claim to her share of the $50-million estate left by Martha von Bulow's mother, the late Annie Laurie Crawford Aitken.
They have also sought to void Von Bulow's interest in his wife's estate and force him to repay any money and return any property he has received from her estate since her first coma in 1979.
Martha von Bulow's mother disinherited Cosima because she stood by her father.