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Brier Dudley's blog

Brier Dudley offers a critical look at technology and business issues affecting the Northwest.

November 28, 2006 at 2:23 PM

Former Seattle tech standout failed to pay child support

Craig McCallum, a former venture capitalist and executive at Seattle area Internet companies, plead guilty on Monday to shorting his children and ex-wife of more than $129,000 in child and spousal support.

He’ll be sentenced in February by a federal judge in St. Louis, where he was recently working for network security company VistaWiz, according to his personal Web page.

In 1995 McCallum was one of several “instant millionaires” in a Seattle Times story about the sale Spry, a local Internet company sold to CompuServe for $40 million cash and $60 million in stock.

McCallum was Spry’s chief financial officer. A year later he was promoted from vice president to general manager of CompuServe’s Internet business division. He also worked at Starwave and as managing director of Encompass Ventures.

By late 2004, he was making $23,333 a month and was ordered to pay $2,435 a month in child support plus health care costs, half of college costs and $5,500 in monthly maintenance, according to a St. Louis Post Dispatch story on his case.

“McCallum stopped paying, and Missouri started garnisheeing his wages,” the story said. “He owed $129,961.31 in June, and his debt was growing at a rate of $7,385 per month, documents show. But what the state could retrieve fell to as little as $32 per month because McCallum was working for much lower pay as a part-time golf club bartender in Taos, N.M.”

McCallum, a former Ernst & Young accountant, moved money to avoid paying his ex, according to the Post-Dispatch story:

In 2005, a St. Louis County Circuit Court found that McCallum was denying his former wife money by liquidating or concealing assets, including taking thousands of dollars from his children’s bank accounts, court documents show.

A relative bought McCallum a Harley-Davidson motorcycle and a Jeep and placed them in his father’s name, documents say. McCallum admitted forging his eldest child’s name on a health insurance check and depositing it in his girlfriend’s account, documents show.

McCallum, 48, agreed Monday to pay the full amount he owes. He also agreed to get and keep a job “at a level commensurate with his education and experience.

Joel Schwartz, the lawyer representing McCallum, said his client suffered from effects of a computer industry downturn and had trouble getting a job paying as much as he once made.

Schwartz told me that McCallum, who now lives in Everett, faces a maximum sentence of six months in prison.

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