Step into the dazzling Barrington Hills home of Marta Raykhshtat and Andrew Stoltmann and the electricity is palpable. This is a couple and a family in motion, on the go, and savoring every moment of their life together.
A native of Kazan, Russia, Raykhshtat is the picture of classic elegance in a thin pencil skirt and crisp white shirt, eager to share news about the new nonprofit foundation she’s about to launch, a fun diamond-and-fur “From Russia With Love” winter party they are about to host, and upcoming plans for their combined four children in this newly blended family.
Sitting opposite his fiancé, Wisconsin-born Stoltmann is all smiles. He’s been at his firm’s Barrington office all morning, where in addition to managing the usual portfolio of high profile law cases, he’s still sifting through the much-publicized estate of the late rock icon, Prince. Stoltmann (with John F. Wasik) also just published a book, Waging War on Wall Street: My Battles Suing Banks and Brokerage Firms—and How You Can Win, Too, from which he is donating the proceeds to the people of hurricane-ravaged Puerto Rico.
She motions to a spread of fruit and cheese and crackers that he has dutifully picked up on his way for you, their guest this afternoon. More smiles are exchanged as they relax and begin to tell their love story, one that is as unorthodox and modern as it is old-fashioned.
“Our meeting was very serendipitous,” she says, smiling at her betrothed.
Flash back to 2014. A divorced single mom, Raykhshtat was working on a second nursing degree and seeking a part-time job. As fate would have it, the same day she accepted a position working in an insurance firm, a job at Stoltmann’s office caught her attention. The commute was much shorter, and having worked at a law firm in the past, she was enticed by the possibility—to the point of rescinding the first job offer and taking one that had her working for Stoltmann, who also happened to be newly divorced.
“We met for an interview and I was hired shortly after. It wasn’t until many months later that our relationship starting gaining a romantic undertone,” she says, blushing. “Our first real date was at the lobby of The Peninsula Hotel in Chicago. It remains one of our favorite places in downtown Chicago.”
By 2015, the romance developed into love and the couple decided to merge their families as one. It’s not quite Brady Bunch but close enough by 2018 standards. Her 9-year-old daughter Adriana adds a welcome balance to his 4-year-old daughter Samantha and twin 6-year-old boys, Jack and A.J.
“It’s always been a dream of mine to have a big family and Andrew has made it come true,” says Raykhshtat, explaining that after graduating from nursing school in December 2015, she stepped down from her position at Stoltmann’s firm to pursue a new career and devote her time to raising the couple’s children. “I am very grateful to Andrew and feel very blessed that I can dedicate my time to what I’m truly passionate about.”
The couple is planning a wedding in early 2019 at the Episcopal Church of Bethesda-by-the-Sea in Palm Beach, a church which happens to be where President Donald Trump married Melania in 2005.
“Andy and I like to vacation at The Breakers. We drove past this beautiful church and I knew that’s where I wanted the wedding to be,” says Raykhshtat. “It just so happens to be where the president got married and baptized their son Barron. We had no idea when we first saw it.”
As planning commences, daily life continues. The couple and their children are involved members of the St. Anne Catholic community in Barrington. The oldest of the girls, Adriana, is an avid equestrian. And Stoltmann continues to work on his most famous case yet—disseminating the assets of one of America’s most prolific pop icons.
“It’s amazing that Prince didn’t have a will,” says Stoltmann, who started his career as a stockbroker at Merrill Lynch shortly after the stock market crash but later decided he’d rather go to law school “to sue all the guys” he used to work for. “I got a tour of Paisley Park before it opened to the public. We’re talking about a 55,000-square foot mansion with a purple motif. My favorite room is a 20,000-square foot amphitheater where he used to play for his friends. You can almost feel his presence. Some of the music sheets were still lying on the floor. Downstairs in the vault, there are hundreds, if not thousands, of unreleased songs. They will be released over time but it could literally take a decade. It’s a Herculean project.”
Meanwhile, Raykhshtat finds herself busy with a different sort of vocation—organizing parties for causes that she and Stoltmann both care about. An avid pianist, she is also in the process of founding a nonprofit organization to help disabled children develop their talents, inspired by the story of Russian teenager Alexey Romanov.
“He is a brilliant pianist that was born with no fingers,” she explains. “Had this boy had not been introduced to music and the possibility of being able to play, we would not have his gifts.”
One of the many things that binds this couple together are their shared values of family, community, and philanthropy. While they may have been raised in completely different parts of the world, they both look to their parents and hometowns as inspirations for a well-lived life.
In Kazan, a city known for its rich history and booming oil and gas business, Raykhshtat was the daughter of a math teacher mother and a father who was founder and CEO of a manufacturing company. “To date, they’ve been married for 38 years and truly serve as an example of a successful marriage and parenthood. My only brother still lives in Russia and has a family of his own. We both have the best memories of our childhood, filled with travel and family gatherings. My family is very close knit and we are very close with my parents.”
In Mequon, Wisconsin, Stoltmann was the son of a bank executive, who died from cancer in 1999. He is still close with his mother and stepfather, who live in Palm Springs where the couple vacations regularly.
“Andrew and I feel very blessed to have our families and to have found what we have together. We don’t take it for granted,” she says. “We are constantly seeking out ways to help others who are less fortunate.”
In some ways, it’s become their life model.
The donation of the proceeds of Stoltmann’s book, for example, is a testament to the affection they have for the people of Puerto Rico from all the time they have spent vacationing there. They also give back locally in the community and host political fundraisers at their spacious and beautifully appointed home.
“As Marta says, we are blessed in many ways,” Stoltmann says. “We are happy people who feel a responsibility to pay it forward.”
As such, Barrington Hills has been the perfect place for them to continue life’s next chapter together. In addition to their involvement at St. Anne, they are also members at Wynstone Golf Club, where the children play golf and tennis, and swim. The couple has also made many friends in the area who share their values of family and philanthropy.
“To us, Barrington Hills offers the best of both worlds,” says Raykhshtat. “We have relative proximity to the city, and the space and comfort that only country living can provide. Between the serenity and peacefulness of being surrounded by nature, bumping into friends at restaurants, and the great feeling of community, there really is no place we’d rather be.”