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The Provocateur

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Wednesday, July 17, 2024

Wednesday, July 3, 2024

Dr. Backs Email

 Dear Dr.  Backs, 


I hope this letter finds you well. I've copied my father on this email so he understands how I feel to avoid any misinformation. In my previous letter dated December 5, 2023, I expressed concerns that during the sessions, you and my father repeatedly put me in the middle of grown up problems, discuss past and ongoing legal stuff, use court orders to intimidate me, sharing information that isn’t true or twisting the law to put pressure on me.  Regrettably, these concerns persist, prompting me to write this letter.


During our December 6, 2023 session, you gave me a printout about the “Goals of Reunification Therapy” which also included “What does not happen in reunification therapy”.   It was the first time I saw this list.  One of the main goals was to “repair” issues related to “resistance and refusal” between me and my father.  Some of those issues include:  trust, emotional and psychological abuse, coercive control, constant chaos, pitting family members against each other, and putting me or siblings in the middle.

Trust is a crucial element in any therapeutic relationship.  There is a clear lack of trust between us on both sides.  Recent incidents have further eroded the foundation of trust necessary for effective therapy.   During our sessions, I have experienced distress and anxiety stemming from what I perceive as manipulative and emotionally abusive behavior by you as the reunification therapist.  I continue to follow court orders and attend the reunification sessions but my participation is not voluntary.  I want to bring specific instances to your attention:


Misrepresentation of Feelings: On December 6th, 2023 I attended reunification therapy with you and my father.   In response to the email/letter I sent you the day before expressing the distress and anxiety that stemmed from the sessions and that I felt unsafe in these sessions due to you and my father’s behaviors, you attempted to twist my words and create confusion by responding in two ways.  First, you deflected my concerns about emotional/therapeutic abuse by focusing on an issue I did not bring up and stating you did not feel my physical safety was an issue during the sessions.  Second, my feelings about your specific behaviors were dismissed as normal reactions to individuals participating in reunification therapy.  This response deflected from addressing the specific behaviors of your actions and how you were implementing the process that was causing my distress.  You essentially blamed me for the distress that you caused by not following your own rules and engaging in behaviors that do not follow the rules and guidelines mandated by Texas counselors.


Intimidation Tactics: Instances where I felt coerced, such as the suggestion that my mother could be held in contempt or the misinformation about HIPAA, created an atmosphere of intimidation.


The Coercive Involvement of Family Members in Therapy Sessions: I feel the involvement of my sister being put in the middle and used in a way that seemed coercive to get me to do things I would not otherwise do is inappropriate and counterproductive.  The session ended in disaster with my sister crying and then punished for her behavior that had a negative impact on our relationship.


During a session on December 7th, 2023 you suggested including my 9 year old sister, Cecilia, in therapy.  I expressed I was uncomfortable with putting her in the middle of this. I conveyed that involving her was neither a good idea nor in her best interest. Despite telling you I would not participate in sessions that unnecessarily put Cecilia in the middle, you insisted she would come to the office to participate in a session.  On December 13th, 2023 my sister came for the session and I remained in the waiting room.   Cecilia repeatedly left your room to be with me and expressed wanting to stay with me, leading to you asking me to leave the waiting room and to wait outside by the building’s front door.  Cecilia continued seeking my company, and I could hear her crying and getting upset shortly after you came out to let me know I could leave to go home. When I asked to say goodbye to Cecilia, you denied the request, displaying a disregard for my feelings and concerns about involving her.  I feel this incident underscores a lack of consideration for my and my little sister’s well being, introducing my 9 year old sister into the complexities of my relationship with my father at a stage where civil conversation between us are unattainable.  Additionally, bringing my sister to a session was irrelevant to your stated goal of repairing issues related to “resistance and refusal” between my father and me.


Attempted Manipulation and Bias Toward my Mom:   I feel you tried to turn me against my mom and family by googling them during our sessions and only talking about negative stuff as if it’s true.   This act modeled that I should see the worst in my family versus focusing on anything positive.


Breaking the Rules / Violations of Trust:


·  Your attempts to turn me against my mother, using online searches during sessions, contradict your written goal of not addressing individual issues about a parent.

·  Reading negative information, as if fact, found on Google aloud to me resulted in the formation of "faulty beliefs" and "negative narratives" about my mom and family. This directly contradicts your stated goal of addressing and resolving such beliefs and narratives.  It appears that you contributed to the very issues you were allegedly aiming to treat.

·  Video Recording Session, Violating Your Own Rule of No Recording:


In a prior session, I feel you were intimidating me when you led me to believe in clear and direct language that if I recorded our sessions, I would be in violation of HIPPA.  Yet, on January 10, 2024 session, you decided to use your cell phone to video the session between you, me and my father in violation of your own contract and according to you, in violation of HIPPA.  You stated that you were recording me for your own safety.  I don’t trust you and have serious concerns about my safety.  You clearly don’t trust me and have concerns about your safety.  There is no way the therapeutic relationship can continue when there is no trust and concern of safety on both sides.  I expressed my discomfort being video taped and having a video camera on my face.  I left the session and sat in the waiting room until 8pm.  This was another session that did nothing to facilitate trust in our therapeutic relationship.  The session did nothing to work toward repairing my specific issues of trust with my father related to “resistance and refusal”.  Licensed counselors have a duty to protect clients from harm in group settings.   I feel that using techniques such as videotaping me were meant to intimidate, harass, and shame me

Reunification Therapy


Friday, November 19, 2021

New Livestream

 Topics include Sandra Grazzini-Rucki, Dr. James Gilbertson, Randy Rand, Brittney Spears, Family Bridges, parental alienation, JUdge Tamara Hall, and Marika Taylor.

Wednesday, November 10, 2021


 Topics include Marc Abrams, Westchester County, Judge Fritz Mercer, Wendy Smith (Hudson), Sandra Grazzini-Rucki, Dr. Jim Gilbertson, Brandon Stahl, 20/20, Judge Angela Dalton, and Shannon Moreau

Tuesday, November 9, 2021

Litigants Describe Their Frustrations Dealing With Divorce/Custody Attorneys


Two litigants I previously featured say part of their divorce and custody matters stemmed from their own lawyers. 

Bill Sardi, featured here, and Molly Green, featured here, both had similar thoughts about the lawyers they paid to represent them. 

Find the full interview with Sardi here. 

 Find the full interview with Green here.
Sardi believes that his lawyers were colluding with the other side to move money from him, as he was the breadwinner, to his ex-wife, who had far less money. 

By doing this, both attorneys could get paid for years. 

Sardi said numerous violations of court orders by his ex-wife were ignored, "no action was taken against her because she is considered the non-income party. 

He said his attorneys would note her transgressions in declarations, but never file for sanctions. 

"My ex-wife seemed to know she was teflon don; she seemed to know there was going to be no action against her."

Meanwhile, sanctions were filed against him thirty time, he said. 

His attorney also recommended a private judge, a process he was told would speed things up, but instead, after four years in the private judge, the case still had not moved forward much. 

"You keep spinning time and money, and time and money," Sardi said of the process, "You get to a point like when we separated our assets, they frustrate you so that you will give in, give up."

Green said that not only did attorneys give her bad advice, they failed to communicate with her, and they made all sorts of bold promises which never materialized. 

She said her attorneys then quickly withdrew from her case. Another attorney, Green said, withdrew after Green insisted on continuing to speak about the sexual molestation her children had disclosed, ignoring the advice of one attorney. 

In December 2016, her attorneys advised her that she should accept an agreement which would give her ex-husband temporary custody because the judge would otherwise rule that she would lose custody entirely and her kids would wind up in foster care. 

She accepted this deal because her attorneys assured her that this order could be appealed. 

Green was shocked to learn that the judge said the order couldn't be appealed. 

Furthermore, her attorneys told her that within three months she would get custody back, almost five years later she still doesn't have access to her children. 

Sardi further noted that his attorneys never advised him of California laws, his home state, which benefited his situation. 

Working on his own, he learned that once his son turned fourteen, his son could testify in court as to what he wanted. 

"I filed it by myself without any lawyers," Sardi said, referring to provision 3042, "If I had an attorney at the time, none of them would have said there is such a provision which allows this."

Green said that another issue was her attorneys total lack of communication. 

"They're saying we'll fight for you," She said, "Then, your attorney who you trust is either not corresponding with you, is not fighting the fight that they told you they were going to do."

Green said multiple attorneys told her that her child support was way too high, but it remains in place. 

In fact, she said that communication has been so poor that she's not sure if they did not file anything or what they filed has been rejected. 

A recent attorney filed with the Ohio Supreme Court, where her case is, and did not tell her for over a year that they petition had been denied. 

Green suggests that people get in writing exactly what an attorney promises to do. 

This is advice that Malinda Sherwyn also said litigants should follow, 

Hi. Lawyers recuse themselves from cases when the retainer runs out or…. if the verbal promises they have made fall by the way side and they are called out on their failure to fight for their client! Suggestion: Attys. are most hungry at the beginning of the case, that is when you have your attorney put in writing their strategy to win your case. When does any person retain services from a professional without a full understanding of what they plan to do for you? Get it in writing before you pay the first retainer and when they come back for more money…Mr. and Ms. Family Law Atty put your plan/strategy to represent me in your retainer or you don’t get my money. 
Post Script

Find the fundraiser for Orange County, where Sardi's case is from, here. 

Monday, November 8, 2021

A Reader Responds to Bill Sardi's Article

                           (California Judge Tamara Hall, who presided over part of Bill Sardi's case)

Late in October, I wrote an article about Bill Sardi, a California small business owner who is going on his eighth year in family court. 

He described a frustrating, time consuming process, which caused him to be separated from his son for months at a time. He faced several judges and had to hire ten lawyers, none of them were satisfactory. 

The initial interview with Sardi is below. 

 I then did a follow up interview with Sardi specifically about his experience with his lawyers.  
 Following the second interview, I received a comment by email from Kathy Stevens, who felt my interviews were one sided. Her comment is below. 

You recently published two YouTube audio only interviews with Bill Sardi.  It is unfortunate that you do not choose to investigate the credibility of your subjects prior to these airings.  Had you bothered to do even a cursory check of the claims made by this man, you would have quickly distanced yourself.  
As a journalist, you should know that all you have is your reputation.  You are apparently comfortable hiding behind a “he’s entitled to his opinion” posture.  However, what Sardi failed to mention is that the delays and monies spent during this  contentious divorce we’re primarily because of his conduct and refusal to follow court orders - not any wrong doing by any other party.  Get the transcripts.  Your need for ratings should not outweigh the need to make sure your interviews are honest and fair.  If not, you’re not a journalist.   There are many things that could be improved with the Los Angeles Court system in general. I agree with you on that 100%. And shining a light on this need could be an honorable pursuit.   However, allowing people who have an ax to grind to continue to repeat their lies over and over is a poor representation of journalism.  
I would imagine you deal with a lot of sociopaths in your line of work. Perhaps if you think back over the years and the people you have allowed to, really, do no more than bitch about a bad deal they think they got, you will develop an eye for spotting sociopaths and people like Bill Sardi who think if they tell a story often enough it becomes the truth.  
I admit I have not looked at very much of your material. I fundamentally disagree with a lot of what you have to say. 
Or at least with the way you’ve chosen to say it.    Providing a forum for people who just like to hear themselves talk, and think everything has to be about them takes away the good you can do by shining a light where it’s needed. 
I am not the important one in the story, I have a lot of first-hand information, but it’s not about me or how I feel. It’s about a boy who has spent the last eight years lied to and confused.
I have no intention of taking this any further or carrying on this conversation in any manner. Just check your facts and be very sure that you are not just providing airtime to someone whose only relationships are with sycophants.  And watch out for the sociopaths if you ever find one. They will cut your heart out if you cross them.  And eventually, you will.

I noted to Stevens that I reached out to Sardi's ex-wife's lawyers with no response, to which she replied, "You recently published two YouTube audio only interviews with Bill Sardi.  It is unfortunate that you do not choose to investigate the credibility of your subjects prior to these airings.  Had you bothered to do even a cursory check of the claims made by this man, you would have quickly distanced yourself. 

What Stevens did not say is that she is Sardi's ex-wife's "divorce director". His response is below. 

Kathy Stevens is a former assistant district attorney (now physically disabled) and friend of the family who took it upon herself to coach my ex-wife how to navigate divorce and play tricks on the Petitioner (father), Stevens having been coached herself by a former divorce attorney to Hollywood stars she knew closely. 

Kathy Stevens is my ex-wife’s “divorce director” and is no impartial party to the matters of public interest at hand.  Stevens falsely alleged in a prior declaration that I as father of our son "went into tirade about me not being welcome in his home.”  That was not a tirade and because she was openly calling me a liar in front of my then 10-year old son.  I asked her to leave our property if she was going to continue slandering me in front of our son.  She refused to leave.  There was no “spitting food on her” as she alleges.  

Ms. Stevens did interfere with our son’s math tutoring when she had no call or authority to do so, arguing over the methods our son’s math tutor was using to teach arithmetic, which was none of her business.  The math tutor was the only tutor who had been able to get our dyslexic son to learn arithmetic.  The Respondent (mother) argued over the selection of the math tutor because he was selected by the father.  The Respondent (mother) sought to make all the tutors people she had selected. During that confrontation between Ms. Stevens and the math tutor, she misrepresented herself as our son’s “auntie.”  

The struggle over a laptop computer was simply that I had mistaken the laptop she was using as mine.  Stevens called the police over that event, claiming she was assaulted. Officers dismissed her claims.

Ms. Stevens, a spinster, says she had a “special bond” with our son and was caught kissing our son on the lips and cuddling up with him with total body contact on the couch while watching a movie in a dark living room as if she and my son were lovers.  I had to lay the law down and tell her she needed to find her own boyfriend.  She was doing this to intentionally provoke me to anger.  

Ms. Stevens makes no mention that our son’s mother had physically abused our son, twice running her fingernails down our son’s face, once beating him up when I was out of town on business, and finally twisting the nipple on his chest when he failed to follow her orders.  That is what provoked the divorce, and she was unrepentant.  Later in the divorce, Ms. Sardi put a black and blue mark on our son’s arm in a fit of anger, which a child counselor described as a “bad parenting moment.”  Had I done any of these abusive things, I’m sure I would have been arrested and behind bars.  

There is a difference between having an “ax to grind” and airing an issue that many parties face in family court that parties entering divorce should be made aware of.  

Alluding to me as a “psychopath” when the definition of psychopath is “a person suffering from chronic mental disorder with abnormal or violent social behavior”, “mentally unstable, being egocentric and antisocial, with a lack of remorse for one’s actions” is not something anyone other than Ms. Stevens has ever alleged.  I am a responsible, caring and judicious father of our son.  I am a semi-public figure, consumer advocate and was generous enough to come to the aid of Ms. Stevens when she was in a crisis of her own.  That is not something psychopaths do.

Ms. Stevens has been a troublemaker during the divorce, using cuss words and uttering unsavory terms to describe me to our son.   I consider Kathy Stevens comments slanderous. 

Stevens made allegations against me as father of our child in a declaration submitted to the court.

Find that declaration here.  

Post Script: Find the fundraiser for this series here.