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Sunday, June 30, 2019

Appeals Court Rules in Rucki case.

On June 17, 2019; the Minnesota Court of Appeals affirmed a ruling  Child Support Magistrate (CSM) Jan Davidson first made on August 22, 2018; that ruling ordered the homeless and jobless Grazzini-Rucki to still pay $215 per month.

The three judges who rendered the June 2019 decision are: John P. Smith, Michelle A. Larkin, and Tracy M. Smith.

The Appeals Court made this decision while acknowledging that Grazzini-Rucki had no job, not knowing her living expenses, nor knowing her ex-husband’s income and living expenses.

“It is undisputed that Grazzini-Rucki is unemployed,” the Appeals court stated in its June ruling.
The further note the Child Support Magistrate, Jan Davidson, in her August order stated Grazzini-Rucki’s, “monthly living expenses are unknown.”

Finally, Davidson also stated that David Rucki failed to provide income documents, making his income unknown as well.

“The Obligee (David Rucki) is self-employed and refuses to provide income information. He also informed the court that he was a W2 employee when in fact he was not.

“There is insufficient information to determine actual income or estimate the earning ability of the Obligee.”

The Appeals Court addressed this issue, kind of: “He clearly represented to the CSM that he was not going to submit his current financial information due to Grazzini-Rucki’s past practice of wrongfully disseminating his financial information. He then faced the adverse inference that his income was double what it had been in 2016.”

While his income was doubled, it was doubled from $5,000 per month to $10,000 per month but David Rucki lives in a luxurious home and owns several more. His actual income is likely exponentially higher than $10,000 per month. Below is the interior of one of his homes. 

Furthermore, there is no evidence that Grazzini-Rucki or anyone ever wrongfully disseminated his financial information. That was merely what he claimed during a short hearing, on August 7, 2018. 

“There is nothing on the internet because he has never provided any documents once over seven years,” Grazzini-Rucki rebutted during that hearing. 

The Appeals Court and Davidson relied on something called imputation of income to give Grazzini-Rucki a child support payment despite being certain she is unemployed. 

When a court determines someone is "voluntarily unemployed or underemployed" they can impute income, or set child support based on a figure the court determines the party should be making. 

"The CSM found that Grazzini-Rucki was voluntarily unemployed because Grazzini-Rucki failed to provide any verification of the reasons why she was unemployed."

Grazzini-Rucki is in her fifties; she is a six time felon and she cannot be a flight attendant, her profession for over thirty years. It's not clear what else the court would need. 


On May 3, 2018, while Grazzini-Rucki was still finishing a prison term, CSM Maria Pastoor held a hearing to determine if her child support should be restarted. 

"It is now 1:55PM and Sandra Grazzini-Rucki is not here. I understand that she is incarcerated. She could have requested to appear by phone. That request probably would have been granted, but she has not made that request."

Grazzini-Rucki tells me little of that is true; she was never informed of the hearing which was scheduled while she was incarcerated in 2018. Furthermore, Pastoor claims to have contacted her attorney even though she no longer had an attorney by this point. 

With Grazzini-Rucki still incarcerated, Pastoor issued an order on May 9, 2018.

"The support terms of the October 13, 2016, Order are hereby reinstated, effective June 1, 2018."

Ironically, Pastoor issued the original order, on October 13, 2016, when Grazzini-Rucki was also incarcerated for the same crime, which she's had to serve chunks at a time starting in 2015 and completing in 2018; she was only made to serve a total of eight months in prison during that time. 

That October 13, 2016, Order called for her to pay $975 per month. 

Grazzini-Rucki was released from prison on May 15, 2018. She quickly filed a motion pro se. 

Pastoor is a magistrate, or junior judge, specifically a child support magistrate (CSM).

Judge Jan Davidson

Judge Jan Davidson replaced Pastoor at about the time Grazzini-Rucki begam filing motions. 

Davidson first held a hearing in July at which she told David Rucki's attorney, Lisa Elliott, "Yep, then we need 1099s and W2s and last three pay stubs."

This amounted to a verbal order for David Rucki to provide income documents. 

At the next hearing, on August 7, 2018, David Rucki refused to provide documents. 

He stated, "I'm tired of being persecuted," claiming that his documents wind up on-line. 

Little was done at this hearing. After spending five minutes on adminstrative items, the two parties were sworn in, then they spoke about me for a minute before David Rucki took the stand to argue why he should not be forced to provide his income documents. 

Grazzini-Rucki was never given a chance to present her case before Davidson abruptly ended the hearing and said, "I'll issue my order by mail."

Full transcript of the hearing below. 

On August 22, 2018, she did just that giving Grazzini-Rucki $215 per month while not touching the arrears, which maybe in the tens of thousands. 

Judge Davidson is also a CSM. 

Judge Kathleen Gearin

Things got complex from there. Grazzini-Rucki then filed a motion because her license was about to be suspended and later on filed an appeal with the appeal's court. 

Because neither court ruled for months, Judge Gearin held a hearing on February 12, 2019, on the motion which was moot since her license was already suspended. 

She issued a ruling on March 11, 2019, reiterating the ruling of Davidson. 

Judge Gearin is a retired judge. 

Appeals Court

Though Grazzini-Rucki initially filed her appeal on October 22, 2018, non-oral arguments weren't heard until March 27, 2019. 

Though this case was supposed to be expedited hearing, the decision wasn't reached until June 17, 2019.

Dakota County considered this child support matter to be such high priority that James Donehower, the Assistant Dakota County Attorney, filed motions and briefs and made appearances in David Rucki's support. 

See the full Appeal's Court ruling below. 

I also discussed this child support decision more on Northwest Liberty News. That You Tube is below.

We did a comprehensive view of the Rucki case on Northwest Liberty News as well.

I reached out to the four Minnesota Court public affairs officers- Beau Berentson, Kyle Christopherson, Lissa Finne, and Alyssa Siems-Roberson as well as David Rucki's attorney, Lisa Elliott, but did not receive a response back.

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