Anyone who grew up reading fairy tales and watching Disney films knows the handsome prince always sweeps in and saves the damsel in distress. Dennis F. Hightower created his own version of those tales, starring himself as the prince. But he forgot one thing — the prince is supposed to follow through with a happily-ever-after. He’s not supposed to decide one day to walk away, leaving the devastation of broken promises and lies behind.
Divorce attorney Dori Bye was definitely not looking to be swept off her feet, but that’s exactly what happened when she met Dennis F. Hightower. He appeared to be charming, gentlemanly, powerful and extremely generous. Their courtship included lavish gifts, travel to Europe and the promise of a lifetime of respect, happiness and true love. The romance was like a fairy tale, and the sky seemed to be the limit for the perfect power couple.
During the four-month relationship prior to marriage, Dennis became the Deputy Secretary of Commerce in the Obama Administration. The couple purchased a dream mansion in Connecticut. Then everything began to fall apart. Smiling blindly, Dori realized she was being groomed to be nothing more than a “Washington wife,” continuously pushed into the background as Dennis used his Black Elite status to gain yet more power.
Then, almost as quickly as the power couple became entwined in their relationship, it started to unravel. Dennis resigned his position to return to private industry and board positions, or so Dori thought. Suddenly the big money started disappearing, or appeared never to have been there in the first place. Their dream home was lost to foreclosure. Exposed with the layers of lies, Dennis lost his charm and charisma, along with his power.
This is a true story of romance, white-collar crime and a short-lived marriage, followed by a pattern of deception culminating in lawsuit upon lawsuit, including bankruptcy, foreclosure and one of the longest divorces on record in Connecticut.
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Author, Dori B. Hightower is a solo practitioner in Stamford, Connecticut. Her most recent concentration has been in complex and contentious matrimonial cases. She is a frequent contributor of articles to the Connecticut Law Tribune. She is working on her next book—a collaboration with her daughter.