An August 11th 2016 child support hearing in Dakota County regarding David Rucki and Sandra Grazzini-Rucki, played out with the antics of a circus side show, freakishly contorting law and issuing orders that defy justice.
The hearing was presided by Magistrate Maria K. Pastoor (a magistrate is appointed in cases where the obligee is receiving public assistance). Magistrate Pastoor issued a temporary order for child support and continued the case to hold an evidentiary hearing, just 5 days before Sandra’s sentencing on criminal charges, to determine child support. How can you issue a child support order days before a person may be sentenced to prison? According to Minnesota law, if the court determines that a person has no income and completely lacks the ability to earn income, then the minimum support does not apply and child support may not be ordered. Also, minimum support orders do not apply to an obligor who is incarcerated, unless they have income and assets to pay support. Sandra has neither income or assets. It is unprecedented that Magistrate Pastoor would issue a child support order under these circumstances. The amount of money and resources Dakota County has expended on pursuing Sandra for child support, has far exceeded any benefit it can hope to gain.
Another bizarre aspect of this child support case is the restrictions Magistrate Pastoor put on attorney, Michelle MacDonald, severely limiting her ability to access and review financial information about David Rucki. Ms. MacDonald has filed several discovery requests, and contempt motions against Rucki. Rucki continues to obstruct child support proceedings by refusing to comply with court orders and provide financial information. Another ploy Rucki uses is filing frivolous motions against Sandra, and waging false accusations without evidence to back up his outlandish claims. Dakota County refuses to hold him accountable, contempt orders are always dismissed.
Millionaire David Rucki now claims to be living in the lowest levels of poverty, and is receiving public assistance without ever proving a need for it.
One Sided Evidentiary Hearing
In order to establish child support the Court has to determine the income of BOTH parents. Under Minnesota law, both parents must file a financial affidavit, and disclose all sources of gross income for purposes of child support. Sandra has complied. David Rucki is refusing to cooperate and is actively hiding income and assets. Rucki is also refusing to comply with discovery requests. Dakota County is well aware that he has refused to provide information, but has done nothing to hold him accountable.
Now, Magistrate Pastoor has issued an order severely limiting the ability of Sandra’s attorney, Michelle MacDonald, to review and access financial information about Rucki. Pastoor’s bizarre order states that Ms. MacDonald may view Rucki’s recent filing and tax return only under the watch of a sheriff’s deputy at the Dakota County Service Center. Ms. MacDonald can not have any electronics in her possession when viewing the information (is she going to be searched? patted down?). Ms. MacDonald is not allowed to have copies of the actual documents but can take handwritten notes (how does that comply with evidentiary standards?). She may only view the information at a time “acceptable to court administration”. There are ways to protect the confidentiality of parties but what Magistrate Pastoor is imposing is oppressive, and goes above and beyond standard court confidentiality policies.
A fair and impartial evidentiary hearing can not be one sided – each party should be treated the same by the Court, and each held to the same set of rules and practices. Let’s be clear – this is a child support case, NOT a national security issue. The order does not indicate any justification for such drastic measures. This is clearly an abuse of discretion.
Rucki: From Riches to Rags
Without providing any proof of income or assets. millionaire David Rucki now claims he is desperately poor, that the children are starving and struggling, and he requires public assistance in order to survive. According to court records, “The Father (Rucki) receives child support services from Dakota County for the joint children pursuant to Title IV-D of the Social Security Act.” Rucki has also received assistance from the Wetterling Foundation in obtaining “reunification” therapy in California for his runaway teenage daughters, with a Disney vacation thrown in.
However, the court record also contains evidence that Rucki had substantial income, had ownership in several Minnesota businesses, owns or has possession of, multiple vehicles and has at least 3 real estate properties (two that have recently been remodeled). Even if Rucki refuses to comply with discovery, and even if Rucki refuses to provide the Court with documentation, his income could be imputed for child support purposes. When a Court, and for that matter Dakota County should also be considering this information for eligibility purposes, estimates a party’s income, it can consider a broad range of information – including lifestyle, ability to maintain current expenses, cash flow and other concrete resources (including vehicles). Also, a support order does not have to be based on income alone but can also consider resources, property and business interests.
According to public records, “impoverished” Rucki owns two separate homes in Minnesota, and an additional Disney vacation property in Florida. Rucki owns multiple vehicles, including classic cars. Rucki owns assets, trucks, and equipment related to his trucking business. In addition, Rucki is able to afford expensive legal counsel, and has retained at least two separate law firms to represent his interests.
A prior real estate listing boasts about Rucki’s home in Farmington – recently updated, cherry cabinets, tiled floors, 5 bedrooms and 3 baths, and a two car garage. The property also includes an impressive 65 x 45 heated “shed” that towers over the home. The “shed” includes heat, hot and cold water plumbing, and has an expensive trailer parked out in front. According to public tax statement records, the value of the property is listed at $222,000 with property taxes of $3,315 a year.
Rucki also owns a home in an upscale neighborhood in Lakeville – this home includes 5 bedrooms, 4 baths, recent updates, hickory floors and stainless appliances. Total lot size is 22,477 square feet. A recent photo of the home, taken by a satellite map, shows 3 vehicles parked in garage. According to property tax records, the current value of the home is $479,000 with $6,492 in propety taxes.
A previous article on Red Herring Alert offers information and documentation alleging that Rucki was involved in mortgage fraud and title washing in a scheme involving the Lakeville home: MORTGAGE FRAUD? Ireland Place (Red Herring Alert)
In addition, Rucki has been enriched by court orders, issued by Judge David Knutson, that seized Sandra’s portion of her father’s life insurance, and seized all the assets in a family company that belonged to Sandra, and placed millions of dollars right into Rucki’s pocket. Sandra received zero funds from proceeds that rightfully belonged to her. What Rucki did with the proceeds is unclear; the funds have been excluded from child support calculations due to the order of Judge Knutson. Why wouldn’t this be considered income when determining child support? Because Judge Knutson said so!
Dakota County, and its collusive network of courts and agencies, operates like a hall of mirrors in a circus side show, distorting facts, and twisting law until the truth is barely recognizable.
Keep on Truckin’
David Rucki made millions working in the trucking industry. He is the sole owner of Rucki Enterprises and Rucki Trucking, and also is a partner in local companies Kang Contracting Corp. (uses Rucki’s Farmington address) and K&K Contracting.
Dave Koehnen, Rucki’s partner in K&K Contracting, has an interesting past. In 2007, Koehnen, was the owner of a trucking company, that was under federal investigation for fraud, underpaying drivers and falsifying records on road projects. “According to the warrants, investigators sought evidence of conspiracy to defraud the federal government, making false statements in connection with federally funded highway projects and mail fraud.” http://www.twincities.com/2007/08/01/dakota-county-3-trucking-firms-accused-of-fraud/ Koehnen attempted to file bankruptcy on this business but the filing was dismissed after a Court determined that he failed to pay back taxes in the amount of $235,000 with the IRS and $98,000 with the Minnesota Department of Revenue. Koehnen also has a history of traffic violations, including charges related to violating trucking regulations.
This is not to say that Rucki is responsible for Koehnen’s actions. However, Rucki’s business partnership in K&K Contracting, in combination with failure to disclose income, failure to disclose tax returns, and now reporting that he lives at the poverty level without providing any evidence to support those claims should raise concerns because of the pattern that is emerging.
As for Kang Contracting Corp, one of the addresses it uses is Rucki’s house in Farmington. Kang Contracting Corp received a special contract with Metropolitan Council to help build the “green line” transit train, qualifying as a Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (51% minority owned business, must be a small business with income guidelines to qualify). The Green Line is an expansive transit project underway in the Twin Cities, with $626 million dollars issued in total contract values. Rucki is a partner in one of 135 DBEs at work on the Green Line, a golden opportunity. How could he be losing money to the point he is impoverished and needing public assistance to survive when awarded such a valuable contract? Metro Council 2014 – Central Corridor Green Line Workforce Story
Recently, sister Tammy Jo Love, owner of Deephaven Chiropractic, has joined the trucking business, establishing TL Rucki Trucking. TL Rucki Trucking is registered to a home in Eden Prairie, which Tammy uses as a vacation rental. If you look carefully at the logo for TL Rucki Trucking you will see it is the exact same logo used for Rucki Trucking with just a “TL” added to it. TL Rucki Trucking has entered a similar program as Kang Contracting Corp, qualifying for assistance with the City of St. Paul Vender Outreach Program aimed at helping woman-owned, minority-owned, and small businesses. Eligible businesses are certified and then allowed to bid on city funded projects, which are set aside for these specially qualified businesses, allowing exclusive access to bids and projects. How can Rucki be losing money to the point he is living in poverty when his own sister, who has no experience working in the trucking industry, started her own business using the family name, and is now a successful business woman? Or, if Rucki is so destitute that he needs public assistance in order to support his family, why doesn’t he just ask his sister for a job at TL Rucki Trucking?
Yet no one in the Dakota County family court or child support proceedings is asking questions, just the opposite, efforts to raise concerns and present information are being suppressed not only in the court system but also within the County Attorney’s office as well.
James Donehower Admits: Dakota County Gave Public Assistance to Rucki Without Asking for Income Verification
County Attorney James Donehower has now admitted that Dakota County has NO financial records of any kind for David Rucki, they simply extended him public assistance. How is this possible? Nobody knows! It’s a slight of handle trick fit for a circus.
Public assistance fraud happens when a recipient takes benefits they are not entitled to. The biggest red flag for public assistance fraud is failure to report income. Another form of fraud is under reporting income to meet eligibility requirements. Fraud also includes: failure to report property or assets, lying about where you live, and falsifying information on an application.
Donehower is basically saying that Rucki bypassed federal and state laws, and was just given public assistance with no questions asked, and no documentation required. When applying for public assistance, enrollees must provide verification of income (current paystubs, tax returns, verification of employment, etc), provide verification of assets (value of vehicles, bank accounts, property, stocks/bonds etc) and to complete an interview with a caseworker. Recipients are also required to get a job or comply with an employment plan. Failure to do so may result in sanctions or loss of benefits. According to Donehower, NONE of that is happening with David Rucki.
The special treatment Rucki is being afforded by Dakota County is unheard of. Common sense would question why a man with 3 homes, owns multiple vehicles, has a previous earning potential of millions of dollars would suddenly, and without any proof of need, require public assistance. Yet Dakota County is not asking any questions, they are simply opening their pocketbooks. If Rucki can not demonstrate a need for public assistance, and comply with the rules of eligibility, he should not be receiving benefits.
In the Grazzini-Rucki case, the courts of Dakota County have operated like a 3 ring circus involving criminal, family and child support proceedings – all have allowed abuse and chaos to continue in the lives of Sandra and the children. The facts, evidence, and information being suppressed and ignored by Dakota County is the information that we should be looking into because the vast injustices happening in this case undermine the legal system for everyone, and create a very real risk of harm for any family who may encounter the system.