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Showing posts with label CASES IN THE NEWS. Show all posts
Showing posts with label CASES IN THE NEWS. Show all posts

Saturday, January 13, 2018


By Valerie K. Lazarus,
B.A., race and gender studies, M.S., mass-media & education
BlogTalk personality, in propria persona U.S. family court custody litigant and researcher,
social networking engineer, former-mother, true sister and advocate

Come with me to the top of the stairs and listen! Mom and Dad are having a cocktail party and their friends from work are over; maybe we can learn some mysteries about their world. We can't see who's speaking, but if we're very quiet here in the shadow falling over the upstairs bannister, they won't see that we're up past bedtime.
This is how it feels to hear the audio of the Supreme Court argument on Obergefell v. Hodges, the case that legalized gay marriage.

Monday, January 16, 2017


Linda Wiegand and her son in happier times
The Linda Wiegand Case:  Part I

So What Happened?  The Linda Wiegand Case:  Part II

Linda Wiegand Case:  Part III He Said

Linda Wiegand:  Part IV She Said

Linda Wiegand, Part V:  The Judge Said

Linda Wiegand, Part VI:  Rambo Said

Part VII:  Linda Wiegand, A Pedophile Conspiracy

Part VIII:  Linda Wiegand, Conclusion


Gifts of Love and a Surprising Twist

Clayton R. Douglas of "The Free American" Comments on the Linda Wiegand Case

Charges Dropped Against Linda Wiegand

Friday, May 6, 2016


In 1991, Lee Barnett married a good friend she'd known for six years, who was also her stockbroker.  Things were fine until ten months into the marriage, when she realized she was pregnant.  At first, her husband told her to get an abortion, and when she refused to do so, he accused her of being violent, promiscuous and mentally ill.  Worse, he claimed that he was suffering from PTSD because of her abuse.  

At first the couple agreed to go to marriage counseling, but behind her back her husband spoke to the psychiatrist and told him that she was severely mentally ill.  Naturally, not knowing what was going on behind her back, Ms. Barnett became very puzzled when the doctor recommended that she take psychiatric medications such as Navane and Lithium.  It made no sense to her that a doctor would recommend that she take major medications when she was pregnant.  It took Lee a while to figure out what was going on.  As it turned out, the psychiatrist gave Lee Barnett a diagnosis that doesn't even exist in the DSM, and didn't exist in her day: irritable hyperthermic temperament.  

Eventually, after a lengthy custody trial, Lee lost custody of her baby daughter, Savanna, when the child was only 9 months old. Her ex husband was given sole custody of the little baby, and Lee was ordered to hand over the baby immediately, which meant that the baby had to be weaned immediately.  Also, as a result of the judge's avoidance tactics, Lee Barnett was unable to appeal the decision which she would have preferred to do.

Subsequently, Lee was only allowed to see her baby four nights a month.  During her first visitation with her child, accompanied by the GAL, her ex husband met her and handed over the child.  The little girl was in really bad shape.  She had a huge contusion on her forehead, and blood coming out of her nose.  Ms. Barnett asked her ex what happened, and the GAL said, "What's the big deal, the child had a little spill."  When Ms. Barnett then took the child to an emergency room, the pedestrian who was aligned with her ex-husband called in to the staff and informed them that she had a severe mental illness and so they stopped treatment and told Lee to take the child home.  Still, they told her to check to see that the baby was all right every two hours, which is exactly what you would do if there was a concussion.  The final straw was when her ex-husband stated that the diagnosis Lee had was genetic, and that as soon as their child began to have symptoms, he would be sure to put the child on medication.

Therefore, approximately two months after the custody decision, in 1994 Lee Barnett fled the country.

In order to obtain a passport which she could use to get out of the country, Lee Barnett needed a picture i.d. as well as a birth certificate for herself and Savanna using different names.  Therefore, she traveled to Texas where she borrowed a car from friends and got brown contacts and a dark wig.  To get a picture i.d., she was able to get an i.d. from the airlines through friends.  She then took the i.d. removed the lamination, put a different picture inside, and relaminated it.  She then traveled to California where she was able to obtain fake birth certificates.  With those false documents, she went to the passport office and obtained brand new passports.  Her name was now Alexia Canton and her daughter's new name was Samantha.   

She then returned to South Carolina, picked up the baby, and her brother drove her to Atlanta, GA where she took a flight to Germany.  She left everything behind--her family, her friends, her entire life.  In Germany she had a big scare.  Once she landed, the intercom went on and a voice announced that Alexia Canton and her baby should stay in their seat.  For a while, after the announcement, Ms. Barnett was fearful that the authorities had caught her well before she could make a clean escape.  However, as it turned out, what happened is that the flight crew was concerned that she had so much luggage and wanted to help her out.  So three airline employees took her luggage, bypassed the crew line, eliminated any passport check, went on and put her on the train to Paris.  From there, she bought an expensive flight to Malaysia.  

First, Ms. Barnett moved to Kuala Lumpor and worked there for 7 months.  Then she decided to go to South Africa.  Amazingly enough, she made friends right away and was eventually introduced to her second husband, a truly wonderful man.  Luckily, her second husband loved her daughter and got along well with the little girl.  They married and Lee was quickly expecting another child, a little boy, so there was only 2 years between the two children.  

The family lived in South Africa for a while and eventually moved to Botswana; from there they moved to New Zealand and eventually settled in Australia.  From then on, Lee Barnett lived a really normal life.  The kids were involved in sports and went to an International School so they could use their diplomas to go to school anywhere once they graduated.  Eventually when the kids were 12 and 14, she divorced but maintained a good relationship with her second husband despite the divorce.   She worked full time for a publishing company, and earned extra money by hosting international high school students.  This paid her mortgage.  She also cleaned houses on weekends.  

Overall, Lee spent 20 years on the lam until one day, on November 5, 2013, 12 police officers with guns appeared at her doorstep.  At that point, she had to call her daughter who was in College by then and explain the situation, as well as inform her son who was still in high school.  Her daughter's first reaction was to ask  the question, "Does that mean my daddy isn't my daddy."  I explained that "no" that wasn't true.  She later found out that friends of her second ex husband in Botswana had turned her in.  This was an extremely difficult situation because her 2nd husband had died 8 days before she was arrested, and the children were still in shock from that loss.

In the end, Lee Barnett was in prison for 10 1/2 months.  She tried to fight extradition with the help of her friends back in the U.S. who had kept her legal papers in case such a circumstance arose.  That fight failed and she was eventually returned to South Carolina in chains escorted by three federal marshals.  Upon her return, she was sentenced to 21 months mitigated by the time she served.  

Lee Barnett states that when this happened to her, it felt as though she was Alice in Wonderland caught in a situation beyond her control.  She thought that she was alone.  Now she has come to understand that this is happening to so many people.  Mothers are continuing to lose their children and often end up in jail.  Sometimes Lee feels guilty, for herself and for Samantha.  It is a form of survival guilt.  But she is also grateful for the way her story turned out.

For more details on this uplifting story, please click on the link below:

Tuesday, March 31, 2015


The Hartford Courant reports as follows:

"A divided state Supreme Court on Tuesday ordered a new trial in the controversial murder case against Richard Lapointe, concluding that the mentally disabled dishwasher was denied evidence supporting his innocence when he was tried and convicted a quarter century ago for the rape and murder of his then-wife's 88-year old grandmother.

The 4-2 decision, written for the majority by Justice Richard N. Palmer, is certain to renew calls for the now 69-year old Lapointe's release. He has been imprisoned continuously since his conviction for rape, capital murder and other crimes in 1992. He was sentenced to life without the possibility of parole.

Lapointe is accused of stabbing Bernice Martin 11 times and setting her Manchester apartment on fire to cover the crime. The case has become notorious because of the interrogations by the Manchester police of Lapointe and his now ex-wife, who also is disabled..."

For more information on the case, please click on the link below:

Monday, February 16, 2015


On December 12, 2014, David Owens of "The Hartford Courant" reported,
"Tiffany Stevens' murder-for-hire trial ended Friday with a mistrial after the three men and three women on the jury said they were hopelessly deadlocked.
The jurors sent out notes three times telling Superior Court Judge Edward J. Mullarkey that they could not reach a verdict on the charge of attempted murder. The first two times, Mullarkey sent the jurors back and asked them to keep deliberating.
About 4:30 p.m., jurors sent the third note. Mullarkey asked prosecutor Anthony Bochicchio and defense attorney Hubert Santos what they thought.
"I don't think there's any purpose in keeping them any further," Bochicchio responded..."
For those who are interested, it looks as though the $50 million trust fund that was alleged to go to the person who obtains custody of the child in this case apparently does not exist.  Go figure!
Anyway, for more information on this matter, please click on the link below:

Tuesday, December 23, 2014


So we have this case where the father, John A. Gil, is repeatedly taking his ex-wife Karyn back to court for trumped up charges of PAS (parental alienation syndrome), stating that she is interfering with his visitation. 
In fact, there was no evidence of any kind of interference. but as we all know, there is no need for the Court to have facts in order to draw  absurd conclusions. 
Furthermore, it was clear from the beginning that Mr. Gil had mental health issues and he was ordered to go to therapy to deal with them.  However, he refused to cooperate and follow those orders.  What is troubling is that instead of holding him in contempt for violating those orders, the Court saw fit to let the father continue to flout them.  In addition, at the time, the Gil's daughter whom I have called Jane, was also court ordered to have therapy, but John Gil refused to allow her to have any therapy at all--another violation of a court order.
Then, as I have stated, father kept this case going for a full fourteen years dragging his ex-wife and their daughter through the Courts trying to make them miserable.  
I'd also like to update you as to the situation in the present.  In a recent meeting with Karyn Gil and her daughter, they showed me a legal document that Mr. Gil sent to his daughter last week through an attorney making extensive demands of his daughter.  I'm like, this guy never stops.  And he did this just before Christmas to make his actions even more devastating than they have to be. 
This is the story of a man who has an unlimited capacity to abuse and the story of a family court system that appears to have an infinite willingness to allow him to do so.  We can see this in the many hundreds of cases where protective mothers endure legal abuse in the hands of Family Court here in Connecticut. 

For a major example of this capability, consider that during the trial in this case, the Judge had the bright idea to ask Mr. Gil why he continually brought his ex wife to Court.  His answer?  Mr. Gil stated that the reason he kept returning to Court was that he wanted to bankrupt his ex-wife, Karyn Gil. 
He also stated that he was doing it so that when his daughter turned 18, he intended to show her the transcripts of the Court proceedings so that she could see what a piece of trash her mother was. 
What is ironic here is that this was billed as a case of mother committing PAS.  In fact, the words coming out of this father's mouth are a straightforward indication of his clear cut intention to alienate the mother from the child by destroying the mother's reputation with the child.  In fact, father was the parent alienating the child, not the other way around.
You'd think that the Judge hearing this testimony would have immediately shut this case down and ruled in favor of the mother who was being legally abused in this case.  But no, there wouldn't be any such luck.  In Jane's own words, "The fact that in the State of Connecticut someone can get away with an answer like that is beyond comprehension."

Clearly, this was a case in which there was a dire need for an advocate for the child to act in her best interests and protect her from the harm and damage caused by father's legal abuse.  Despite the many failures of the Court in this case, it did take make an effort by appointing Attorney Campbell Barrett of Budlong and Barrett as Guardian Ad Litem in the case. 
Unfortunately, Budlong and Barrett is a notorious law firm that has  long been mixed up with numerous cases that have ended up as high conflict cases and is known for its vicious and bullying behavior.  As a case in point, this law firm sent me a threatening letter when I was working the Colleen Kerwick case stating it would sue me for my press coverage of the case.  Following up on that threat, Attorney Kukucka, a member of this law firm, took it upon himself to go the West Hartford police and filed a report in an attempt to get me arrested simply for writing blogs about family court on my website.  These are the extremes this attorney firm is willing to go to in order to silence anyone who exposes its wrongdoing to the public.

At first, Attorney Campbell Barrett appeared to be ready to do his job.  According to Jane, he met with her and told her that if there was ever a time she wanted to call him, she could do so, even if she just wanted to talk about Harry Potter.  According to Jane, he never asked her anything about her situation or her relationship with her mother and father.  Jane does remember telling him she was afraid of her father and didn't want to have any visits with him.

Despite this auspicious beginning, Attorney Campbell Barrett ended up simply ignoring Jane's needs.  In fact, at the most, he only ever met with her two times.  Also, when Jane eventually did come to a point where she wanted to speak to Attorney Barrett  she called and left messages asking him to return her phone calls, but he never did. 
Finally, Jane wrote Attorney Barrett a letter asking him to call as well, but he still failed to contact her in return. 
When the case returned to Court, Attorney Barrett accused the mother of making Jane write the letter and he also stated that while Jane had attempted to contact him numerous times "he had no intention of calling [Jane] back."  During cross examination, it became clear that Attorney Campbell Barrett pretty much knew nothing about his child client, not even simple kinds of information such as her age. 
Meanwhile, outside of court, the father, John Gil, was continuing to hit Jane and she was forced to comply with substantially increased visitation with him.   
Faced with this impossible situation, Jane spoke to her therapist who encouraged her to speak to the GAL and made sure she was able to connect with him.  When she did, Attorney Barrett told Jane that she had to continue visiting her father "or else her mother would get in trouble."  That is when Jane became suicidal. 
The therapist was then in a difficult position.  Even though she was a mandated reporter, the therapist was Court ordered to defer the decision as to whether to contact DCF to the GAL.  Since Attorney Campbell Barrett refused to contact DCF himself or allow the therapist to contact DCF, the therapist couldn't do anything to protect her child client. 

As a consequence, after considering her options, the therapist decided to write a letter to the judge explaining that there was an urgent concern and that these visits to the father needed to be stopped.  Thankfully, the judge finally listened to Jane and the visits were terminated.  This same judge later asked the therapist, "Do you believe there was parental alienation in this case?"  And the therapist answered, "Absolutely not."
Essentially, Attorney Campbell Barrett refused to advocate for his child client, obstructed any attempt to protect his child client from further abuse, and did whatever he could to promote the father's interests at the expense of the child.  Again, here is another case where quack theories of PAS have caused a mother and child major harm and damage.  When will this scourge end?


Gil v. Gil, Part IV:

Gil v. Gil, Part III:

Gil v. Gil, Part I:


Tuesday, December 16, 2014


As you can imagine, writing a blog like mine, I end up hearing many stories of tragedy and suffering that have played themselves out in family court.  One case that I have found particularly striking is that of Karyn Gil v. John A. Gil.  This is a divorce case that was filed in 1999, but continued to have activity up until 2013--in essence amounting to 14 years of litigation. 

This is the classic high conflict divorce that frequently plagues family court and provides the subject matter of my website. 

I first met Karyn and her daughter, who is now attending College, when the Task Force was meeting at the Legislative Office Building last year.   Both of them were interested in providing their testimony and telling the Task Force about the injustice they suffered. 

For the sake of privacy, I will call Karyn's daughter, Jane. 

Jane pretty much told me that she is extremely unhappy with her father and that she doesn't want to have anything to do with him.  She told me of a traumatizing incident where he showed up at her high school graduation uninvited.   She said she was absolutely outraged that he came to this event without her permission.  Her primary concern which she expressed to me was how she could obtain a protective order to prevent her father from doing the same thing at her College campus and showing up uninvited again. 

Listening to her speak, I wondered what could possibly have occurred to make this young lady so adamantly opposed to having any contact with her father. 

I'm sure many of you here would think this has to be PAS.  But, in fact, I don't think this is the case.  From what I heard, John Gil did not have a relationship with his daughter well before the divorce took place.  As he acknowledged in court, he had never bonded with the child, not even before both mother and child moved out of the marital home.

What actually happened here is that this young lady basically observed her father hound her disabled mother through the family court system for 14 years, drain her Mom dry financially, and pound her with legal motions as she tried to defend herself.  Then Jane saw her father continue on to get a completely unjustified contempt judgment of approximately  $30,000.00 against her mother. 

This is my point that I make frequently in my blogs.  When these high conflict divorces occur, do the abusive parties ever consider how it appears to their children.  I mean, seriously, do any of the women think twice when they come home and say, "Boys, girls, I put your Daddy in jail today!"  Or how about the men, "Boys, girls, today I made sure Mommy won't be bothering us ever again--you won't have to have anything more to do with her.  She's out on the street."  

What this young lady saw was that her mother who is disabled and who supports herself and her daughter on a limited disability pension now has to pay considerable legal fees to defend herself and, on top of that, has a $30,000.00 or so judgment that will leave her financially insolvent for the rest of her life. 

What kind of idiot judge would issue an order like that?  Oh, I see, Judge Herbert Gruendel.   

The basis for the judgment against Karyn Gil was that she had interfered in the father's relationship with the child by restricting visitation.  In other words, this was the typical scenario  where the father uses false claims of PAS as a means to take revenge on the mother.  In looking at the specific dates noted in the Motions for Contempt where the father claimed he was denied visitation, each of them were dates where he never showed up or where he stated he didn't want to see the child.  In other words, these charges were completely fabricated.

From what Jane told me, her father was physically and psychologically abusive towards her from a very young age, so I can imagine that visitation would have been problematic from the beginning.  This is confirmed in the Appellate Courts report of  the parenting agreement which stated that "the defendant [i.e. father] would not exercise overnight visitation until the child's psychologist deemed that it was appropriate."  If you already have the child seeing a psychologist at the age of four, and there are overnight restrictions on the father's visitation, clearly there are indications that father is a problem right from the start. 

Still, once the  parenting agreement was signed in 2000, Karyn Gil must have thought that everything was all set.  This is the problem with many people who are in a high conflict divorce.  They have no idea that the seeds of decades long dissension are often embedded in that initial parenting agreement. 

What is interesting to me now that I have been in the system myself long enough is that I can immediately recognize a Parenting Agreement that is a set up for extensive and long term litigation based upon PAS right from the start.  Such agreements usually involve a visitation schedule that is confusing and extremely difficult for the residential parent to follow, and the Gil parenting agreement was no exception to that rule. 

In the Gil Agreement of 1999, father was allowed visitation two days per week.  In the footnote it states, "Under the visitation scheme, the dates and times of the visitation were to be arranged three months in advance, as soon as the defendant received his work schedule.  This scheme was later modified by stipulation of the parties so that the visitation would be arranged thirty days in advance." 

A year later, the agreement was defined further to state that defendant would have the child from 9:00am to 5:00pm on weekends and from 4:00pm  to 7:00pm on weekdays.  The agreement was then modified further to state, "The defendant (father) would provide the plaintiff (mother) with his work schedule with requested days and times for visitation, and the plaintiff would respond with a list of changes based on the child's activities and other commitments." 

Say what? 

To be honest, I have never heard of a schedule like that.  So every month you have a different schedule?  Of course, this kind of visitation schedule inevitably leads to mixups and miscommunications, particularly since you have a couple that isn't getting along.  Then, sooner or later, you have mother hauled back onto the mat  in court because she is "restricting father's access to the child."  Surprise! Surprise! 

And this parenting schedule didn't have to be this way because father had a regular five days on, three days off schedule.  As he stated in court, "I know my schedule forever."  The only intent of a vague, inconsistent, hard to follow parenting schedule is to trap the protective mother and drag her back to court with false charges of PAS. 

I can guarantee you absolutely that in the vast majority of cases where there are eventual accusations of PAS, at the same time you have visitation schedules that are PAS ready in terms of being vague, inconsistent, ambiguous, easily misinterpreted and misunderstood. 

John Gil accused his ex wife of "shorten[ing his] hours of visitation and, on numerous occasions, den[ying] visitation."  Well, that is very easily done when the times change from week to week and month to month and you have a child that occasionally gets tired and doesn't want to go or else has other kid's activities to participate in that, say, run overschedule.  In particular, most children under ten prefer a regular routine and find being randomly passed back and forth from one parent to the other in these changing circumstances very stressful.  Then the kids start to act out during the exchange from one parent to another so then you have the residential parent saying, "let's do this at another time." And since the schedule is open enough for that parent to hang herself, you then have trouble and conflict.

With a vindictive father who is hell bent on litigation, this is a scenario that easily translates into long term litigation within the court system. 

What I don't get is why pick on a disabled Mom with no money to pound away at--you'd think the Court would pick on someone their own size. 

From my perspective, having spent considerable time in court in my day, my ex-husband was repeatedly in contempt for failing to adhere to agreements regarding the children, failure to pay child support, failure to respond to discovery requests--you name it, he did it.  But I was never able to get a judge to rule on a contempt motion against my ex, and I certainly was never able to get him punished or have him pay the multiple thousands of dollars it cost me in legal fees to pursue my divorce.  I'd say the vast majority of high conflict divorce cases are like this -- multiple motions for contempt, but maybe .0005% ever end up with a ruling of any kind, let alone a fine.

Yet this John Gil was able to get a contempt ruling of up to $30,000.00 against his ex wife based upon her violation of a parenting plan that is probably the most difficult to follow in the history of CT Family Court?  Seriously, how did that happen, because I would really like to replicate what he did so I could get some of my money back.


Gil v. Gil, Part IV:

Gil v. Gil, Part III:

Gil v. Gil, Part II:

Wednesday, November 26, 2014


During the hearings in regard to family court reform, we heard members of the judicial branch state that no litigants are threatened with jail in family court.  Here we have another example to the contrary as Mr. Peter Szymonik is threatened with jail if he fails to pay fraudulent attorney's fees to Rhonda Morra, one of the most corrupt GALs practicing in Connecticut today.  For the full story, please go to the Corruptct website at the following link:

Saturday, October 25, 2014


NEWSTIMES reports as follows:
"RIDGEFIED -- Following an acrimonious divorce, Rosemary Alfredo and her ex-husband couldn't agree whether their then 23-year-old daughter, Collette, who has Down syndrome, should move with her to Boston.

Alfredo felt her daughter, who holds a job and graduated from a special college for students with intellectual disabilities, could live independently there, with help from more comprehensive Massachusetts social services.                                                               

Her father disagreed, arguing Collette should be placed in a group home in Ridgefield.                                                               

So the couple went to Probate Court, where Judge Joseph Egan eventually appointed a guardian ad litem, Danbury attorney Sharon Dornfeld, to represent Collette's interests and make recommendations to the judge about the move.

Alfredo at first welcomed the appointment.                                                                 

"I thought it was better than dealing with my ex-husband," she said.                                                                
In May, Alfredo found a place in Boston, hoping to move there permanently with Collette. In July, the court allowed Collette to stay there temporarily, with a final decision pending an assessment by state-appointed experts.

But on Oct. 10, the judge gave Alfredo 10 days to return Collette to Connecticut to live with her father, Daniel DiVitto, in Ridgefield.                                                                
"The court is trying to take my daughter away against her will and put her somewhere where she doesn't want to be," Alfredo said."

For more information on this case, please click on the link below:

Tuesday, April 8, 2014


I have long taken an interest in Dr. Rudolph Bee because he was one of the first to protest the corruption of Family Court here in Connecticut. His divorce broke out in the late 1990s just around the time when cases like this began to appear. 
I came to know him through his website featuring the documents in his divorce which contained evidence of what happened in his case. Also, he wrote a letter to the Attorney General regarding the wrong doing and posted that online. Indeed, he was the first person to validate my own experiences of corruption in Family Court.
I always intended to write a story about Dr. Bee, but he passed away a few years ago and his family took down his website.  Still, I did locate a copy of Dr. Bee's appeal to the Appellate Court in 2003, five years after his divorce case started and I thought that might be good to use as the basis for a discussion regarding his case. 
To begin with, I'm a woman so it kind of goes without saying that I support child support, I support alimony.  I think that it is only reasonable for a divorced father to provide health care for his underage children, and to maintain life insurance with your children as beneficiaries while they are underage, that is a no-brainer for me.  
Dr. Rudolph Bee appealed decisions that required him to provide all these things, and personally, I have no patience for his complaint.  He was always the primary wage earner and his wife worked for him, so what else did he expect, really.  You have three young children and a wife who always depended on you.  Then you get a divorce--you need to be paying for the family that always depended on you, and give us all a break about the complaining. 
What bothers me when I read this Appellate document for Dr. Bee's case A.C. 21741 is the way these attorneys took this guy for a ride and took all his money.  Who were these attorneys?  It looks as though Attorney Eliot Nerenberg was for the Plaintiff, Mrs. Johanna Bee and Attorney Steve Dembo was Dr. Rudolf Bee's attorney. 
Judge Caruso was the trial judge.  I know a little about Judge Caruso--wasn't he the judge who was fired for feeling up female judicial employees? 
Be that as it may, Dr. Bee filed an appeal that he wanted all the financial orders in his case revoked.  The reason why Dr. Bee requested this was because at trial both attorneys failed to submit to the Trial Court Judge, Judge Caruso, copies of the child support guidelines worksheet which were required by then Practice Book Sec. 25-30 (e).  This is the worksheet that determines what is the appropriate amount of child support an individual should pay based upon their income.
I was pulling my hair out when I saw that.  Are you kidding me?  BOTH attorneys forgot to file copies of the child support guidelines worksheet that is required by The Practice Book? 
How could they possibly do this? 
Please tell me how that can ever happen? 
If you were talking to me about attorneys who are idiots of the year, I'd say, yeah, well, you know how dumb some of these attorneys can be.  But how could two of the top Family Law attorneys in the state of Connecticut, one of them a Connecticut Bar Association President (Attorney Eliot Nerenberg) possibly make a mistake like this? 
Ok, well, maybe Steve Dembo just showed up for the appellate part of this case, but still, I'll bet that Dr. Bee was as finicky about his original attorneys as he was about any later ones he had. 
The bottom line is that attorneys on this level do not just "forget" or "overlook" passing in one of the central documents you need to establish something as important as child support. 
What is more, the judge wouldn't overlook it either.  
Imagine you are the judge--you have maybe four really important documents that must be filled out in order for a couple to obtain a divorce.  One of those important documents is missing. 
What do you do?  Do you just shrug your shoulders, go what the heck, and continue on with guess work? 
No, you don't, not if you have any kind of common sense! 
You return to court and send out an Order requesting that both parties submit their Child Support Guidelines Worksheet and wait until you get them before issuing orders. 
How hard is that? 
It is called "How to Avoid Getting Your Judgments Appealed 101." 
This is what bothers me.  As a litigant, attorneys will tell you that you have to obey rules, follow court orders, act in accordance to the proper procedures and then you go into trial court and the judge and those very attorneys will immediately proceed to blow off the rules, the court orders, and the proper procedures. 
I was in trial court the other day waiting to have the judge sign off on an agreement between my ex and me.  I wanted to hurry up the process a bit so I went to the Caseflow Coordinator and asked if we could get in front of the judge as soon as possible. 
In response, the Caseflow Coordinator told me it is the rule that you must obey that before you see the judge you must go to family relations in advance.  I said, why should I do that?  In my case, in the last nine years, we haven't ever seen family relations.  Why should we start now?  And this is someone who knows our case and knows that what I'm saying is true.
This is the point. The rules are the rules until some attorneys or the judge pretty much blows them off.  The rules are only the rules when they serve the attorneys to manipulate a case and get the kinds of results they want.  Otherwise, forget the rules, the court orders, and the procedures.  They are all up for grabs. 
Bottom line in Dr. Rudolph Bee's case is that it looks as though Attorney Nerenberg, Attorney Dembo (if it was Dembo, as I have said) and Judge Caruso were all on the same page when it came to blowing off one of the most important financial documents in a divorce trial.  
That must have been the result of one of those lovely in-chambers meetings which us litigants are not allowed to participate in!  No wonder Dr. Bee wanted to appeal the decision.
If I had faced this situation, unlike Dr. Rudolph Bee, I wouldn't have bothered with Appellate court, I would have gone straight to Statewide Grievance or even Civil Court. 
Of course, I might not have had better results, but perhaps I wouldn't have spent as much money as Dr. Bee probably did on the appeal! 
So how did the Appellate Court rule in regard to this miserable failure of legal competence?  It stated, "We conclude that a party who has failed to submit a child support guidelines worksheet as required by Practice Book Sec. 25-30 (e) cannot complain of the court's alleged failure to comply with the guidelines." 
No?  Ok, then. I'm not sure why not.   
There were a few other things that interested me in this decision.  For instance, the Appellate Court described Dr. Bee as dissipating the family assets.  I thought for sure he had siphoned money off and put them in hidden accounts or headed off for a few Bermuda vacations during the pendente lite period.  Instead, it turns out that he used whatever money that was involved to pay around $70,000 in attorney's fees.  That was over and above the $35,000 in attorney's fees that he paid for his wife's attorney. 
Isn't that typical?  You do something you think is right like pay your attorney's fees and the court criticizes you for it and acts like you killed your grandmother or something!
It looks to me as though everyone, i.e. attorneys, was having a big party with Dr. Bee's money. 
You might wonder how the attorneys did that, i.e. sucking money out of Dr. Bee. 
I'll tell you how--by finding all sorts of reasons to expand further conflict! 
For instance, part VI of the ruling talks about how the parties' attorneys were asked to submit supplemental briefs on whether the court had the right to order the defendant to make his kids the beneficiaries of his life insurance. 
Can you imagine how much money it cost Dr. Bee for his attorney to do the research and whip up another brief on this particular legal point.  Plus, I am assuming he was forced to, again, pay for his wife's attorneys fees when the wife's attorney wrote up a brief as well.  So that means paying for two supplemental briefs. 
That is a considerable amount of money when it gets down to it.  And what was the conclusion of the appellate court? 
The Court determined what it already knew I'm sure even without extra briefs, which is that it is not allowed to order Dr. Rudolph Bee to give his children anything beyond the age of 18.  However, the court can order Dr. Bee to give money to his children as long as they are minors.  And since Judge Caruso when he ordered Dr. Bee to maintain his children as beneficiaries referred to those children as "minors" that was a perfectly acceptable order. 
I'm not sure if such an obvious conclusion required supplemental briefs and the thousands and thousands of dollars it took to create them, but there you have the story if you were wondering! 
If I had been Dr. Bee's attorney, before going to appeal on that point, which is considerably expensive, I would have explained that it was not winnable and saved him the money! 
But who am I to speak.  I'm just a writer, not an attorney. 
This is just the tip of the iceberg in regard to what happened with this terribly destructive case which caused harm and  damage not only to Dr. Rudolph Bee, but to his family as well.  I believe it caused Dr. Rudolph Bee untold emotional pain, the destruction of his faith in a just world and led to his early death.  But, as can be said with so many of these cases, the attorneys got their money--that's for sure.

Monday, October 28, 2013


It turns out that while we were all looking the other way, Fairfield County resident, MSNBC morning host Joe Scarborough, obtained a divorce leaving his $99,000 or so per week salary practically untouched, at least by his ex-wife.  I'm sure there is more to this story, and for some of that click the link below:

Friday, October 25, 2013


David Collins, AP Journalist, reports on a ten year old Connecticut Divorce Case with father embroiled in financial scandals.  The father, David Zilkha, hasn't seen his twin son and daughter aged 12 now for four years.  Mother, Karen Kaiser, states that Zilkha punched her in the face at one point and has also spread libelous information about her. 

The judge in the family court case is Judge Michael Shay.  Karen Kaiser is represented by Attorney Dori-Ellen Scheckner Feldman, while David Zilkha is represented by the firm of Lerner & Guarino, LLC.

The GAL for the children is Attorney Catharine Potter Whelan, and the Attorney for the Minor Child is Attorney Howard Ross Graber.  (I hope I have this information correctly, granting how many people are listed on the case detail--it is mind boggling just looking at it!) 

In the middle of this, David Zilkha is suing Attorney Norman Pattis for malpractice (some people will be very happy with that) and he is also suing Attorney Andrew Crumbie for malpractice. 

In her defamation suit, Karen Kaiser is represented by Attorney Mark Daniel Sherman, and David Zilkha is again represented by the firm of Lerner & Guarino, LLC in Westport.  Thus far, in the defamation case, numerous judges have ruled, so its a bit of musical judges.  For more information, see the links below:

Friday, September 20, 2013


Is any one surprised? 
It looks like we have another lawsuit in the making against O'Connell, Flaherty & Attmore, LLC, O'Connell, Attmore, and Morris, LLC, or what is it called--I'm getting all mixed up. 
Apparently, I am not the only one! 
It turns out, Cynthia J. Agostino became all mixed up too during her recent divorce!  Originally, Ms. Agostino first approached O'Connell, Flaherty, & Attmore, LLC in 2002 at which time she was told about all the wonderful staff attorneys that would be available should her divorce require additional support. 
Fast forward to 2011 when Ms. Agostino finally decided to move forward on her divorce.  By then Attorney James T. Flaherty and some of his gal pals Attorney Pam Magnano and Sandi Girolomo had separated from the original firm and formed a new company with a similar sounding name--O'Connell, Flaherty & Attmore -- West, LLC. 

It appeared to be a part of the original company since, according to Agostino, the names on the office door of the West Hartford office included, allegedly, the names Attorney O'Connell, Attorney Flaherty and Attorney Attmore.  So it was, indeed, easy to assume the two offices remained part of the same law firm, but with an additional branch.  In fact that wasn't the case.  Attorney Flaherty had actually established an entirely separate law firm. 
However, allegedly they didn't inform Cynthia Agostino of that fact. 
As a result, allegedly she was left with the impression that she was dealing with the same law firm she had been dealing with in 2002 and was deceived into believing that she was contracting with the same law firm with a depth of experience and qualified, experienced personnel, when instead she was only dealing with Attorney Flaherty and his harpies. 
Later on, allegedly Attorney Flaherty quietly started using the name Flaherty Legal Group on court documents submitted on Ms. Agostino's behalf, but they did so without informing her.
But this is not the worst of it.  As Cynthia Agostino's divorce continued, Attorney James Flaherty allegedly submitted a whole bunch of motions on behalf of Ms. Agostino and then abandoned them so they were never followed through on in court.  I can tell you something very similar happened to a friend of mine, so these particular allegations sound very credible.  
The few motions he did follow up on, Attorney Flaherty handled incompetently allegedly.  For instance, the Complaint states that "A motion for the husband to pay educational expenses resulted in an order for the payment of tuition only when Attorney Flaherty failed to alert the Court that participation in books, food and housing expenses for the Parties' child was also required." 
The next thing that Attorney James T. Flaherty did was allegedly that when Cynthia Agostino gave Flaherty her compliance with production requests, he then misplaced the production materials and never gave them to her ex husband's attorneys.  As a result, allegedly, Ms. Agostino was slammed with a bunch of contempt citations from her ex husband's attorney. 
Right in the middle of all that Attorney James T. Flaherty allegedly, in typical Flaherty style, decided to withdraw from the case.  Raise your hands, former clients of Jim Flaherty--Sound familiar????
And of course, we all know how it looks bad for the client when an attorney withdraws. 
The telling point that Ms. Cynthia Agostino makes is that the Representation Agreement which she and Attorney James T. Flaherty signed states the following: "It is further agreed and understood that O'CONNELL, FLAHERTY & ATTMORE -- WEST, LLC will use their best efforts in representing me [the Plaintiff] in connection with this matter." 
Well, clearly, the law firm allegedly failed to and refused to use its best efforts in representing the Plaintiff. 
And, as prior reports on this disgraceful law firm have shown, it pretty much did the same thing with dozens and dozens of other former clients. 
The Attorney General's Office has been informed of this.  The Office of the Disciplinary Counsel has been informed of this.  Statewide Grievance has been informed of this.  And what have they done to correct this situation?  Absolutely nothing!  So much for allowing the legal profession to regulate itself!
As a result of Attorney James T. Flaherty's alleged incompetence which I have described in this blog, Ms. Agostino was forced to hire another law firm and pay an exorbitant amount of approximately $30,000.00 to complete her divorce because Jim Flaherty had made so many mistakes and the subsequent law firm had to play catch up. 
Plus, I can imagine, even they figured they ought to cash in on a good opportunity.  Any litigant who has his or her attorney withdraw on them can be assured that their next attorney will charge them five times what they ordinarily receive in attorney fees. 
I know other Flaherty victims who have lost in the hundreds of thousands of dollars or even millions will not consider this such a bad situation.  However, my best bet is that Flaherty and his pals inflicted much more legal harm on Ms. Agostino--you don't want to be too wordy in a complaint.  Plus, there are the other subtle humiliations this attorney and his girlie crew inflict upon his clients--the unreturned phone calls, the padded bills, the sneering implication that there is something the matter with you, the subtle and not so subtle threats, then the motion to withdraw, often without any warning. 
Then they take you to collections.  I could go on. 
Usually, Flaherty leaves his victims financially and emotionally destroyed so they are unable to fight back or respond.  Here we have Cynthia Agostino who is standing up for herself, and the many others who are not able to.  I can only commend Ms. Agostino for her courage and willingness to speak out for all of us by filing this law suit.  I will continue to provide updates as the fight for truth and justice continues. 
We can only hope that sooner or later one of these lawsuits succeeds in holding Attorney James T. Flaherty to account for his alleged years and years of predatory law practice which has caused financial and emotional harm and damages to multiple victims with the complicity of an all too willing group of compliant judges and various government functionaries at his beck and call.