The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus


Vodicka’s wife seeks divorce, new counsel

Gary Vodicka’s wife has dismissed him as her attorney in the University Gardens case and is seeking new representation or will represent herself in court, she said in an exclusive interview with The Daily Campus.

Shannon Jacuzzi also revealed some of the figures being tossed back and forth in mediation between SMU and Vodicka in mediation for the UG case.

According to Jacuzzi, SMU offered Vodicka $450,000 in the first round of mediation.

Vodicka countered with $3.7 million.

SMU did not counter-offer.

The most recent round of mediation Vodicka was offered $1 million and refused the amount. Jacuzzi said he his now seeking between $10 and $20 million from the school.

“From a mediator’s point of view, this entire situation is senseless,” Jacuzzi said.

She also revealed that at one point during the case, Vodicka was able to obtain out-of-print Civil War history books from SMU legal counsel in exchange for court filings.

“Imagine that SMU and Gary went to mediation early on ” said Jacuzzi. “By now, with all the attorney fees SMU is paying… and with all the time spent, heartache and publicity for all, wouldn’t it have been better for the two sides to ‘compromise’ and settle?”

The next phase of the University Gardens case is Thursday, when the court will hear on the dismissal of Vodicka’s bankruptcy case.

There is another mediation session scheduled for Friday, but Jacuzzi said both sides have dug too deep to be open to mediation anymore.

Jacuzzi said Vodicka has not talked to her in the past 60 days and the only way she has been able to get a hold of him is by calling his phone from and different number so her call won’t get screened.

She added that Vodicka has not sent her any copies of the case documents.

“The only way I’ve been able to keep up with the case is by reading,” Jacuzzi said. “By not talking to me he’s violating his legal ethics codes by not zealously representing me.”

Vodicka disagreed, saying he has communicated with Jacuzzi multiple times – including three times in the past month with her divorce lawyer.

Jacuzzi said she first heard of Vodicka’s plans to file for bankruptcy in March.

She became concerned because Vodicka paid off her Little Rock home with $198,000 cash, and she didn’t want the house to become part of the legal proceedings.

She repaid him June 15 and also removed her name from the joint bank accounts the two had in both states.

Jacuzzi said she has tried to encourage mediation between the two sides in the case, but that nothing has come of her recommendations.

In a letter dated Oct. 9 to SMU legal counsel John McElhaney, Jacuzzi said she is willing to sign quitclaim deeds to end her involvement in the case.

“If anything else, I need some sort of contract with SMU to indemnify and hold me harmless for any attorney fees or costs,” she wrote.

Vodicka said that Jacuzzi is “running scared,” and that part of the divorce agreement has him representing her at no cost for the remainder of the case.

“She keeps flip-flopping… she seems emotionally distraught and unstable,” Vodicka said.

Jacuzzi and Vodicka are in the middle of divorce proceedings. The two have been married a little more than a year, but were unable to make the long-distance relationship work.

Jacuzzi lives in Little Rock, Ark., with her three children and Vodicka lives in his University Gardens condominium.

Jacuzzi has been a part of the University Gardens case since Jan. 31 when she was sued by SMU.

She said she remained out of the spotlight by choice, but felt she had to talk to the media after last week’s ruling in a federal bankruptcy court that assessed court and attorney fees to Vodicka.

Jacuzzi asked to be removed from the case in February but SMU lawyers have refused, citing Texas homestead laws where she has a stake to the property in contention.

She says her only goal in going public is to “get out of this case as fast as I can and not have to pay any attorneys fees.”

“I’ve got three kids. I’m the only one who will be legitimately bankrupt if this goes through,” Jacuzzi said.

Vodicka has been representing Jacuzzi in court proceedings, and she said she trusted him to make the correct choices for her.

But over the summer the relationship between the two deteriorated.

“We fell in love and thought it could work, but it didn’t turn out,” Vodicka said.

The two met through a mutual friend and shared similar interests in history.

She said the two dated and traveled for a little less than a year before getting married in a Highland Park United Methodist Church chapel July 30, 2005.

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