ST. LOUIS (AP) — Former Anheuser-Busch CEO August Busch IV will pay $1.75 million to settle a wrongful death lawsuit filed over his ex-girlfriend's accidental drug overdose death under an agreement approved Tuesday.
The St. Louis Post-Dispatch (http://bit.ly/W35qLq) reported that the money will go to the relatives of Adrienne Martin, who was 27 in 2010 when she died at Busch's mansion near St. Louis. An autopsy concluded she overdosed on oxycodone and had a significant amount of cocaine in her system.
St. Louis County prosecutor McCulloch declined to file charges. He said Busch was largely uncooperative in the investigation, but there was no evidence the overdose was anything but an accident.
The next year, Martin's ex-husband, Dr. Kevin Martin, sued on behalf of his and Martin's young son, Blake. A $1.5 settlement was reached in April 2011, with Busch's attorney saying then it wasn't an admission of negligence. But the settlement offer was stalled as Adrienne Martin's divorced parents, Larry Eby and Christine Trampler, sought to join the lawsuit against Busch.
Blake will be paid $1.35 million, according to court documents in the case, which originally was filed in St. Louis County but moved to Cape Girardeau. Her parents both agreed to accept $200,000, and Eby will put his share into an annuity for his grandson.
Busch's attorney, St. Louis lawyer Maurice Graham, said in a statement that his client "cares deeply for Blake" and "is happy this long and at times bitter legal dispute is finally over." The statement said Busch's focus was making sure that Blake receive as much of the total settlement as possible.
"August hopes to remain an important part of Blake's life," the statement said.
Busch, 48, was the last of a long line of Busch family members to run the company. Against his wishes, the maker of Budweiser, Bud Light and other beers was sold to Belgian brewer InBev in 2008.
Busch's net worth isn't known, but he earned about $100 million from the sale, then $120,000 a month as a consultant to InBev.
At a hearing earlier this month, Circuit Judge William Syler appeared upset over various disputes among the plaintiffs and said he would settle the lawsuit during a Nov. 14 hearing no matter what. The ensuing agreement enabled the parties to avoid a contentious battle arguing over the division of money.
All sides have given up their appeal rights.
Information from: St. Louis Post-Dispatch, http://www.stltoday.com