Traverse City Record-Eagle

November 29, 2012

Judge Stowe files lawsuit over money transfer

He says he hopes incident is 'misunderstanding'


TRAVERSE CITY — A local judge alleges his ex-wife took $46,000 of his money after he mistakenly put it into an account with her name on it.

Grand Traverse Probate Judge David Stowe filed a lawsuit in 13th Circuit Court on Tuesday. The suit alleges his ex-wife, Cynthia Stowe, transferred the money into her personal account after he accidentally put it in a joint account the couple used before their divorce was finalized in July.

David Stowe "for obvious reasons ... had no intention whatsoever to give defendant any of these monies nor to grant any control over or interest in such monies to defendant," the suit reads.

Cynthia Stowe later transferred $26,000 back into the account, but transferred it back out again, the suit alleges. She could not be reached for comment.

Stowe told a Record-Eagle reporter he hopes the entire incident is a "misunderstanding."

Prior to and since her divorce from David Stowe, Cynthia Stowe has had multiple run-ins with the law both here and in Florida, where she now resides.

She was on probation in Grand Traverse County this year for contempt of court and drunken driving. Local judges allowed her to move to Florida, but later issued bench warrants for her arrest after she failed to comply with probation terms.

Stowe assaulted her then-husband David Stowe in their Long Lake Township home in January. That case eventually was resolved in a plea deal that added one year of probation to her drunken driving arrest, though she violated bond and was charged with perjury after authorities said she lied in a bond violation hearing. The perjury charge was dismissed when she pleaded guilty to contempt of court.

While in Florida, she was arrested for an alleged assault on her son, though authorities didn't pursue charges.

David Stowe was elected to the probate judge post in 2000, and Cynthia Stowe — known as Cynthia Curry prior to her marriage to Stowe — is a former family court employee who worked under Stowe from 2002 to 2005.

The two began a personal relationship while they both worked in the court, and David oversaw child custody matters in Cynthia's divorce case. David Stowe subsequently fired the county's family court administrator for reporting the relationship to county officials. The county later paid a $69,000 settlement to the fired employee.

David Stowe won't run again after he completes his second six-year term in December.