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When Nancy Graham and her husband, Kevin Lawler, began divorce proceedings late in 2006, they worked to deliberately keep their finances secret. That goal eventually led them to file for divorce in three counties, both in Florida and California. It helped them conceal how they’d divided their interests in the business they jointly owned — a business that had partnered with Lennar Corp. and The Related Group on a luxury condominium project in Florida.

Graham’s relationship with those two companies has led to investigations by the City Attorney’s Office and Graham’s former employer, the Centre City Development Corp.

The Palm Beach Post talked to Lawler (he hasn’t returned our calls) and had this explanation in a Sunday story:

Their request for financial disclosure waivers came at a time when two other former politicians were on their way to prison because of financial information contained in divorce filings. … Florida judges rarely waive the financial affidavit requirement. Veteran divorce lawyers said the filings are intended to protect divorcing parties from fraud and they questioned why Duval County Circuit Judge E. McRae Mathis allowed the waiver. …

Graham’s ex-husband and business partner, J. Kevin Lawler of West Palm Beach, said the couple simply was trying to avoid publicity.

“Nancy didn’t want to file in Palm Beach County because of the press,” Lawler said. “She deserved to have a private life and so did I. We got held up by a rural judge in Hendry County who said he didn’t care what the law was, that he wanted to see our finances. So we had the case dismissed and we re-filed in Jacksonville.”

The Post also spoke to Graham’s sister last week, who said she didn’t know where Graham was. When she resigned July 24, Graham said she was in Tennessee, caring for her elderly mother. The Post’s Page Two column said:

Her 83-year-old mom, Virginia Roskan, has Parkinson’s. But when Page Two called Roskan’s home Thursday, Graham’s sister said she had no idea where Graham was.

“She’s not here right now, and I have no idea where Nancy is,” Kay Smith said from Lebanon, Tenn. “She’s been traveling a lot. I haven’t seen her in a while. She’s got a lot of things to take care of.

“Our mom is fairly well, thank you.”

ROB DAVIS

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