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Wednesday, December 19, 2018

Minnesota Court System Continues Harassing Sandra Grazzini-Rucki

The Minnesota judicial system appears to be railroading Sandra Grazzini-Rucki again.
On December 14, 2018, the Chief Judge of the Minnesota Court of Appeals, Edward Cleary, signed what appears to be a mundane order
Order - Deny (3) by on Scribd

in it, he rejects an appeal filed by Sandra Grazzini-Rucki.
                                                              (Photo of Judge Edward Cleary)


It is the reason for the rejection which should raise eyebrows.
He does not argue any legal grounds but instead rejects it as deficient and demands that a new appeal be filed with certain documentation.

“Appellant must prepare an addendum and file it with the opening brief. Minn. R. Civ. App. P. 130.02(a). The addendum must include a table of contents identifying each document included in the addendum, including the document index number from the register of actions, if available, and a copy of any order, judgment, findings, or trial court memoranda in the action directly relating to or affecting the is.sues on appeal.” Cleary says at one point. 
At one other, he says, “We decline to accept appellant's brief with the nonconforming addendum.” Stating later, “The failure to timely file a brief is a technical, nonjurisdictional matter.”

Furthermore, Grazzini-Rucki's appeal was filed on December 13, Cleary issued the order on December 14, 2018, but then only gave  Grazzini-Rucki until December 26, to complete numerous tasks.

Here's his three page order again

In most courts this would be an administrative function. Court clerks would kick out defective filings with instructions on how to do it right. 

That's what happened in my lawsuit in Massachusetts, at least. 

Beyond that, the deadline appears arbitrary.

This all seemed lawless and biased, designed simply to make sure Sandra Grazzini-Rucki failed.

I asked numerous individuals for an explanation. 

First, I emailed the judge, Edward Cleary.

I also emailed Beau Berentsen, Alyssa Roberson-Siems, Lissa Finne, and Kyle Christopherson, of the Minnesota judicial branch media relations department.

I also emailed Jeff Shorba, the Minnesota Court Administrator.

I also left a voicemail for one of his staff members, Kristina Ford.
The Propagandists:

I also asked media which have covered the case: 20/20 producers Sean Dooley and Beth Mullen, Minneapolis Star Tribune reporters Brandon Stahl and Paul Walsh, and Allison Mann, who doubles as David Rucki’s attorney’s clerk but who has also written articles and a book on the case. 

These media folks have perpetuated the propaganda that David Rucki is not abusive and that there is no evidence he is. 

Child Protective Services (CPS) reports, including one made by Nico Rucki in which he claimed his father held a gun to his head.

Here are ninety pages of police reports, affidavits, and photos of evidence of David Rucki's violence; here are twenty-five pages of Child Protective Services reports

I asked Rucki’s attorney, Lisa Elliott, for good measure as well.

Indeed, what I argued is that this is the latest in a series of actions which amount to a conspiracy to illegally jail Ms. Grazzini-Rucki for back due child support and these actions go back to April 2018.
Finally, An Answer:

Finally, after making dozens of phone calls and emails, I received this email from Alyssa Siems-Roberson.

I believe you were in contact with Ms. AnnMarie O’Neill, Mr. Jeff Shorba, Ms. Kristina Ford, Ms. Lissa Finne, and Mr. Kyle Christopherson yesterday with similar messages as the one below and the other email you distributed yesterday. Staff are limited in what we are permitted to comment on, which you can view here—please see What CIO Cannot Do tab for a full explanation. I have done my best to respond to the process questions I believe were contained in the two emails you sent yesterday.

 In regards to your questions about the issuing of an order from Chief Judge Cleary: The record in this case indicates that the Appellant filed a motion regarding an informal brief and addendum. Motions are referred to judges for written rulings. Chief Judge Cleary issued an order because it is the role of a judge to respond to motions. A judge’s response to a motion comes in the form of an order. Each month the Court of Appeals issues approximately 150 orders.

The order you sent does not contain a requirement for the Appellant to provide copies of transcripts. Transcripts related to appeals come to the Court of Appeals with the rest of the record, not as a part of a party’s addendum.

The order you attached directs the Appellant as follows:

1.       Appellant's motion to accept the existing informal brief and nonconforming addendum is denied.

2.       On or before December 26, 2018, appellant shall serve and file a brief with an addendum in compliance with Minn. R. Civ. App. P. 130.02. Appellant's brief and addendum shall be accompanied by proof of service on respondent's counsel.

3.       Appellant may file an informal brief and addendum, in compliance with Minn. R. Civ. App. P. 128.01, subd. 1.

4.       Respondent's brief shall be filed within 30 days after service of appellant's brief with a conforming addendum, in accordance with Minn. R. Civ. App. P. 131.01, subd. 2.

It is the sort of mind-numbing bureaucrat speak that is common from Minnesota officials in response to my questions on this case. I don’t believe that judges generally would see a defective brief however one lawyer I spoke with said it does happen. 
In my own lawsuit, (which is in Massachusetts) that is true. When my filings were defective the court simply sent them back and did not file them.

Sandra Grazzini-Rucki has been representing herself most of 2018 after her then divorce attorney, Michelle MacDonald, was forced off the case.

As such, it seems draconian and peculiar that the appeal would be filed on December 13, the judge would issue a denial the next day for technical reasons, and only give six business days for a pro se litigant to complete the order. 

It's noteworthy that Cleary gave the other side thirty-days to respond after Grazzini-Rucki's appeal is in; thirty-days is the standard amount of time; I hope judges don't have so much power they are allowed to set arbitrary deadlines, after rejecting a pro se filing for technical violations, which generally one would only expect a trained attorney to understand. 
An Appeals judge who respects due process would not issue such a ruling to a pro se litigant.

In my opinion, Judge Cleary has no respect for Sandra Grazzini-Rucki’s due process, no Minnesota judge does.

The Set-up

In April 2018, under then Magistrate Judge Maria Pastoor- a magistrate is a junior judge- of the First Judicial District of Minnesota, the case was restarted.

Child support had been suspended while Grazzini-Rucki made her way through the criminal justice system.

David Rucki owns a multi-million-dollar business, four homes, nine classic cars, and received not only 100% of the marital assets from corrupt Dakota judge, David Knutson, but Knutson also ordered Sandra Grazzini-Rucki to pay child support and alimony.

Pastoor even held a hearing on May 3, 2018, while Grazzini-Rucki was incarcerated without even informing her of the hearing, even acting during the hearing like Grazzini-Rucki willfully missed it.

“It is now 1:55 and Sandra Grazzini-Rucki is not here. I understand that she is currently incarcerated. She could have requested to appear by telephone,” Pastoor said, Grazzini-Rucki insists she was never served with notice of the hearing while she was incarcerated.

Then, after Grazzini-Rucki left prison she filed a motion to modify custody; in July 2018, Lisa Elliott then asked for a hearing on this motion.

By this point, Minnesota 1st District Magistrate Judge Jan Davidson took over the case.

Davidson’s Orwellian Hearing and Decision

On July 18, 2018, Davidson ordered David Rucki to provide income documents, "Yep, then we need 1099s and W2's and last three paystubs," Davidson said to Elliott during this hearing.

But Rucki refused, here is the affidavit Rucki filed in support of his refusal to provide these documents.

“Michael Volpe, an investigative reporter, who lives in Chicago and is working with the petitioner.” Rucki says at one point in the affidavit.

Remarkably, here is another affidavit in which Lisa Elliott, David Rucki's attorney, cited the site which Mann operates with Brodkorb

On the one hand, David Rucki argues that media favorable to his ex-wife persecutes him, while citing as evidence media coverage favorable to him. 

I asked Elliott and Mann about all this but received no response.

A hearing was held on August 7, 2018. Here is the transcript from that hearing

At the hearing were Lisa Elliott, David Rucki, Assistant Dakota County Attorney James Donehower, and Child Support Officer Susan Loftus.

It's not clear why so many people were necessary for the hearing.

Grazzini-Rucki participated by phone; it started approximately forty-five minutes late and Grazzini-Rucki was given no explanation for the delay.

The hearing lasted less than twenty minutes; there was some confusion, they even talked about me, and the only person to testify was David Rucki and that was only to argue against having to provide documents. 

The hearing ended abruptly before any arguments for or against modifying custody were made. 
David Rucki has still not provided the income documents to the court. 

From that hearing, Davidson inexplicably issued an order on August 21, 2018, in which Grazzini-Rucki was to pay $215 per month.

Davidson calculated Grazzini-Rucki’s income at $1,449 per month; this is referred to as imputing income, which allows judge to assign income to people regardless of what they actually make

Davidson also assigned David Rucki an income without verification; she assigned him an income of $10,000 per month, a figure that is likely much less than reality. 
I am again mentioned in this order, “The Obligee (David Rucki) attached numerous pages to his August 2, 2018, ‘Declaration of David Rucki’, some of which reference Michael Volpe. The court informed all parties that Michael Volpe had been sending emails to the court and that the emails were not read through but had been forwarded to the supervisor.”

I was sending emails, including this one from July 14, 2018, to Davidson and others; in this email I attach this document, and ask: "Why is David Rucki claiming that his ex-wife abducted their two oldest daughters. His daughters left voluntarily. Also, where is this evidence that Sandra Grazzini-Rucki is sitting on $1.8 million. How is someone with six felonies on their record supposed to get a job? Also, didn't Lisa Elliott's constant harassment of American Airline cause Sandra Grazzini-Rucki her job? Why is this motion even being heard? How far are all of willing to go for David Rucki?" 

$215 per month or any amount is ludicrous since Grazzini-Rucki does not work; she does not even ever have any stable residence; she has six felonies on her record and agents of David Rucki are always harassing anyone she associates with.

Michael Brodkorb and Allison Mann are always on the lookout for her. When she was spotted in a beach front apartment unit, Brodkorb called relentlessly until Grazzini-Rucki’s friend, who lived there, was evicted.
The amount was, I believe, nothing more than a set-up to jail her.

Grazzini-Rucki made it clear in the hearing she had no income or prospects for getting one.

The Conspiracy Continues

In November, Grazzini-Rucki received a notice from Dakota County Child Support and Collections.
"Notice of Driver’s License Suspension for Non-Compliance with Payment Agreement.” Grazzini-Rucki received from the Dakota County Child Support Division. 

(The letter from Dakota County)

Steps taken to collect child support are not supposed to be punitive but coercive, how taking away someone’s driver’s license is supposed to help them pay child support is beyond me.

But Grazzini-Rucki told me she has never received any payment agreement, nor did she agree to any payment agreement as she makes nothing and can’t pay anything. 

Furthermore, it's not clear if it will only take payment of several hundred dollars to catch up. At one point, before the case was suspended in 2016, child support had Grazzini-Rucki more than $10,000 in arrears.  
When I contacted, Katie Bauer, the public information officer for the Minnesota Department of Health, which oversees the program, Melissa Froehle, a staff attorney with the Child Support Division of the Minnesota Department of Health, provided this response. 

Your request for information regarding the child support case of Sandra Grazzini-Rucki was forwarded to me at the Child Support Division for response,

Whether or not there is a payment agreement in place on a IV-D child support case is private welfare data on individuals that the Child Support Division cannot disclosure pursuant to Minnesota Statutes, Section § 13.46, subdivision 2(a).

There is general information about the process for driver’s license suspension available at the public website:

With regard to fraud, there is a fraud reporting hotline and information available

The State of Minnesota does offer a child support formal dispute and case review complaint mechanism that an affected child support case participant can follow. It is outlined here:

I have since been told that the file was even sealed at David Rucki's request. He worried that private information would leak.

This is the same David Rucki who just had a book published written by Mann and Brodkorb, two people effectively on his payroll.  

Ms. Froehle said, "We cannot provide you with private case data," when I asked her to confirm if the file had been sealed at David Rucki's request.

"That's not what I asked you. Has this file been sealed by David Rucki?" I responded, somewhat garbling my meaning. 

Ms. Froehle had no further comment. 
Grazzini-Rucki’s license was suspended on December 6, and, Brodkorb has also posted something, with a peculiar note to fifty-one days, which some have interpreted to mean the date Grazzini-Rucki would be jailed. 

That is what I expect to happen next after the appeals court makes sure to improperly throw out her appeal.

Finally, prior to publication, I sent a copy of the article to Ms. Siems-Roberson, asking if there are any mistakes. She did not respond.  

For full transparency, find our entire back and forth between Siems-Roberson and I here


After the article was published, I emailed Judge Cleary and received this remarkable response, "I am unavailable at this time. I will be back in chambers on Thursday, December 27."

In other words, after setting a dubious deadline of December 26 for Sandra Grazzini-Rucki, it turns out he won't even be in chambers until the 27th any way. 

Talk about an ivory tower; I asked Ms. Siems-Roberson about this, but that led to an argument rather than an answer and she hung up on me. 


Ellison Maine said...

RE: "Davidson calculated Grazzini-Rucki’s income at $1,449 per month..."

"Davidson also assigned David Rucki an income without verification; she assigned him an income of $10,000 per month..."

This is beyond irrational that homeless, unemployed Sandra is being court ordered to pay child support to ex David, whose income is imputed at $10k per month and owns millions of dollars worth of assets.

WHY is David not providing any proof of income to the court? Btw settlements ARE counted as income, so maybe he does not want to disclose the result of his recent lawsuits against the Dahlens and their church resulting from the disappearance of the daughters??

Is there a reason why David is on public assistance? If he is that "poor" he should just sell a house or car to take care of the children. Or get a better paying job.

WHY doesn't David's employer, sister Tammy Love, provide health insurance or pay standard industry wages? If working conditions are so bad that her own brother has to go on welfare to survive, the company should be investigated for unfair labor practices and other possible violations.

The Child Support Magistrate, Child Support Officer and County Attorney should ALL be asking these questions, and investigating.

Also if the court imputed David's income at $10k per month he would NOT qualify for public assistance. See here income guidelines:

If David is not eligible for public assistance, the case should not be handled by a Magistrate. The Magistrate ONLY handles Title IV-D welfare cases.

I hope the Appellate Court is taking a serious a look at this child support case, because if this injustice is not challenged, we will all be facing the loss of a fair court process and with it, our freedoms.

Anonymous said...

My case was like this one starting in 2006, same county. This injustice had been going on for some time. I still chalk it up to the Incentivized Fatherhood Initiative mandating and incentivizing father's custody, and going from there, on mother having to pay. This case is also shameful, fraudulent, unequal, and very mundane with their "services" to families.

mike volpe said...

More on the fatherhood funding here,

Anonymous said...

Alyssa Roberson-Riems ran circles around you with bullshit. Diversion from truth, she completely lead the conversation in her own direction, never answering directly, with the truth. Was there really an answer from her here? I say no and call bullshit on her. One must understand that these happenings are not exclusive to this case. It is widespread practice in this country! I am acting as Pro Se on a closed case at this point and am being denied case file records! The judge herself disregards and completely ignores my requests for the entirety of the case file, not to mention being ran to and fro from court personnel and even my ex monster attorney! The judge, her assistant, court records and clerks office have denied me information such as supervised visitation, mental health evaluations, parenting classes, the first protection order, ALL GONE! No one will even tell me if this case is active! I cannot receive a clear answer. I am with Sam on this, I too suffer these criminals oppression and have been jailed many, many times! Wide spread practice of the justice system. We are not rare or special; we are many protective parents (mostly mothers) suffering our governments oppression! Jessica Given Thomas