Sandra Grazzini-Rucki Child Support Case Reaches Appellate Court

Our child support system was not intended to allow wealthy parents to go after poor parents or to allow the County to facilitate such a action. Also the System requires no showing that the children are not being supported with a home, the basic necessities of life, education, health care… what our System does basically is deprive children of the love and companionship of parents which is vital support for children” Attorney Michelle MacDonald, Oral Arguements: Sandra Grazzini-Rucki Child Court Case before the Court of Appeals

(5/24/2017, Minnesota) Oral Arguements in the Child Support Appeal of Sandra Grazzini-Rucki reveal the cruelty and vindictiveness of ex-husband, David Rucki (via attorney Lisa Elliott) and Dakota County (via James Donehower), who demand nearly $1,000 a month in payment from Sandra, who is lives in unimaginable poverty and does not even have the resources needed to secure her own survival.

According to Minnesota law Statute 518A.42 (2016) Subd1a.,”It is a rebuttable presumption that a child support order should not exceed the obligor’s ability to pay….

And Subd2.,”If the court finds the obligor receives no income and completely lacks the ability to earn income, the minimum basic support amount under this subdivision does not apply.” In cases where a parent lacks ability to pay child support is put on “reserve” and no amount is due until there is a change of circumstance. Minn. Stat. 518A.42 ABILITY TO PAY; SELF-SUPPORT ADJUSTMENT

Though Sandra is currently homeless and destitute, and currently unemployed, which is well documented, she has been court ordered by Magistrate Maria K. Pastoor to pay $975 per month in child support to ex-husband, David Rucki. The amount of child support ordered is based on an imputed amount, meaning Dakota County has made up a figure they feel Sandra should pay.

The facts of the case clearly show that Sandra is struggling to survive and cannot afford to pay child support, while Rucki enjoys a luxury lifestyle and is more than able to pay for the care of the children without child support or any government aid.

Rucki’s Lakeville property (Zillow.com)

Magistrate Pastoor has taken great efforts to be placed onto the Grazzini-Rucki child support case. By “coincidence” Magistrate Pastoor shares a previous professional relationship with Judge David Knutson, who previously presided over the Grazzini-Rucki child support and divorce.

Sandra became homeless after Dakota County Judge Knutson issued an order on September 7, 2012 that forced her to vacate her home of 15 years. She was denied any due process when forced to leave all of her possessions, and forcibly separated from her five children as well. Judge Knutson told Sandra that she would be arrested and jailed if she refused to follow his orders. Judge Knutson then issued a succession of court orders that seized Sandra’s income, assets, savings and even retirement fund and handed them over to Rucki – which she has never been able to recover.

Sandra has also had to witness continued physical and mental abuse inflicted on her children by David Rucki. The children were further traumatized by a family court system that has enabled the abuse to continue and punished Sandra for trying to keep them safe. In April 2013, two of Sandra’s daughters were forced to go on the run to protect their own lives. Sandra has since been charged, and convicted, with 6 felony counts of parental deprivation for her role in assisting her daughters. The circumstances surrounding Sandra’s trial and conviction involved a multitude of illegal and unethical actions from Dakota County, and Judge Karen Asphaug. Critics have called the proceedings a “rigged trial”. It is unlikely that Sandra will be allowed to return to work as a flight attendant with 6 felony convictions on her record. She has not been working for almost two years and is considered unemployable. A spotless, 30+ year career as a flight attendant is now in ruins and with it, Sandra has been grounded with no relief in sight.

For a few months in 2016, after being released from jail and anticipating a lengthy probation, the State of Minnesota offered Sandra food support and a small amount of general assistance. Assistance was then abruptly terminated, leaving Sandra without the ability to obtain food or the ability secure the basics: soap, toothbrush, shampoo now are all “luxuries” beyond reach.

Sandra also lacks medical and dental care. She continues to suffer from the effects of a broken nose and fractured skull that happened in an incident while she was held as a prisoner at the Ramsey County Workhouse in November 2015. Sandra cannot remember what happened to her because the severity of the injury resulted in her becoming unconscious. Sandra woke up lying on the floor in a pool of blood, moaning for help. The incident has never been investigated, nor explained by the jail or by Ramsey County, it has become another of the many abuses inflicted on her. And still Sandra is breathing, and with every breath, fighting back.

This child support case is also ridiculous considering David Rucki, ex-husband, claims poverty even though he is a multi-millionaire who owns 3 houses (one home Rucki claims is a rental property so it generates income), owns several vehicles, retains all of the marital property, is the beneficiary of the Rucki family trust and was enriched after a court awarded all of his ex-wife’s financial assets to him, which he has never paid taxes on. Court records also indicate that Rucki is paying attorney’s fees in an estimated amount of $800 per hour…how can he afford this lifestyle if he is truly impoverished?

David Rucki’s property in Farmington, MN

Rucki has more than enough money and resources to care for the children on his own and does not need child support or welfare. And yet that is not enough for Rucki.. as long as Sandra is alive he will continue to retaliate against her… though he can not beat Sandra with his fists, he uses the legal system to wield a blow.

(Video published 5/28/2017 by Tim Kinley, host and producer of “Speechless Minnesota”)

 

For More Information:

Sandra Grazzini-Rucki ordered to pay $1K monthly child support 

Radio: Sandra Grazzini-Rucki and the Child Support Hustle with Guests Michael Volpe and Sandra Grazzini-Rucki (Marcus Echols). 5/9/2017.

 

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Judge Karen Asphaug Issues Nationwide Warrant for Sandra Grazzini-Rucki While Still Held in Jail – Homeless Sandra Told to Give Court an Address

Judge Karen Asphaug (Twitter)

Judge Karen Asphaug (Twitter)

Furthermore, the court accepts Ms. MacDonald’s representation that Petitioner (SGR) is homeless. A person who is homeless, by definition has no residence.” ~ Judge John R. McBride, dismissing OFP petition Grazzini-Rucki v. Brodkorb, 9/22/2016

Dakota County, MN: Judge Karen Asphaug issued a nationwide arrest warrant for Sandra Grazzini-Rucki, citing a probation violation for not disclosing her address to the court. Sandra is currently homeless, and not a resident of the state of Minnesota. The arrest warrant comes even though Sandra is already being held in jail, and no bail hearing has ever been conducted. Judge Asphaug insists that Sandra must complete her sentence with 6 years of probation and conditions, forcing her to live in Minnesota for the duration of probation. Judge Asphaug refuses to allow Sandra to finish her sentence in prison. Judge Asphaug is wasting valuable time and resources of the courts, correctional department and costing the tax payers of Dakota County when this case could be quickly, and efficiently resolved by having Sandra complete her sentence in prison.

Source: Dakota County Jail Inmate Search November 2016

Source: Dakota County Jail Inmate Search November 2016

On Monday, November 21, 2016, at 9 am, Sandra Grazzini-Rucki will face Judge Karen Asphaug for a hearing concerning the alleged probation violation. According to records, Sandra Grazzini-Rucki was taken into custody on November 3, 2016, and is currently in custody at the Ramsey County Workhouse. The violation concerns Sandra’s alleged “refusal” to provide the courts with an address to where she lives. Why has an arrest warrant been issued against someone who is already being held in jail? Sandra has not even had a bail hearing. Usually the court places a hold on a prisoner NOT issue a nationwide warrant. Homeless Sandra Grazzini-Rucki has made so many appearances in the Dakota County Judicial Center, that indeed, it could be listed as her address.

Dakota Co. Courthouse

For Judge Asphaug to demand that Sandra disclose an address is ridiculous – Sandra is considered long-term homeless, meaning she does not have a permanent address. Sandra also is not a resident of the state of Minnesota. Sandra was arrested by US Marshals on October 18, 2015 in Florida for felony deprivation of parental rights and subsequently brought to Minnesota, and booked into jail on November 5th. Since November 5, 2015, Sandra has been homeless – she has been held in jail for much of that time, and alternately, reported to be “couch hopping”.

 

Sandra is considered “long term homeless” meaning she has been lacking a permanent place to live for a year or more, or has been homeless at least 4 times in the past 3 years (both requirements for long-term homeless apply to Sandra). Many homeless individuals resort to “Couch hopping”; which is a term for temporary shelter (i.e. sleeping on the couch). Couch Hopping does not offer permanent shelter, so even if an individual is temporarily staying in one location, it is not considered a permanent address. In Sandra’s situation, she has only been able to obtain temporary shelter, she is homeless and without an address.

Factors to becoming long-term homeless include: being previously homeless for long periods of time, faced with a situation or set of circumstances likely to cause the individual to become homeless in the near future, discharged from a correctional facility, lack of sufficient resources and unable to pay for a place to live. ALL of these factors apply to Sandra. Minnesota Housing Finance Agency: Long-Term Homeless Definitions

Further, Findings of Fact (#6) and testimony from the September HRO hearing validate that indeed Sandra is homeless, and without a permanent address, “Petitioner’s lawyer, Ms. MacDonald, informed the Court that her client is “homeless.” (Ms. MacDonald used the word homeless.) Ms. MacDonald further indicated that her client had been homeless since the year 2012. Ms. MacDonald stated that she had permitted Petitioner to stay in her office, and that her client was staying there at the time of filing the instant petition. Ms. MacDonald did not indicate how long her client had been staying in her office.“ Defendant Michael Brodkorb also argued the HRO be dismissed on grounds of “improper venue” meaning Sandra had not proven her address to be permanently residing in Washington County. Judge McBride later accepted that Sandra is homeless, and has no permanent residence; his ruling to dismiss the HRO is based on Sandra’s inability to prove residency in Washington County.

Judge McBride determined in his ruling that, “3. Minn. Stat. § 609.748 does not supply a definition of the term residence. Elsewhere in the law, however, residence is defined as “the place where a party has established a permanent home from which the party has no present intention of moving.” Minn. Stat. § 518.003, subd. 9. It is doubtful that Petitioner ever established a “permanent home” in her lawyer’s office. 4. Furthermore, the Court accepts Ms. MacDonald’s representation that Petitioner is homeless. A person who is homeless, by definition, has no residence. It follows that Petitioner does not have a residence in Washington County.

Public Domain: http://absfreepic.com

Public Domain: http://absfreepic.com

Second, Judge Asphaug is basically demanding that a resident (who?!?!) in Minnesota offer to give Sandra shelter, at their own financial expense, and endure the invasions of legal involvement on their own personal lives just so Sandra can comply with probation…for the next 7 years.

Those who have offered temporary shelter or shown support of Sandra have faced retaliation from David Rucki and his sister, Tammy Love, and/or been subjected to intrusive, and unwanted, legal and police action. Some examples – police seeking information about Sandra sought a warrant to search the home of a friend, the home was ransacked and personal property unrelated to the case, and not subject of the warrant, went missing (never to be recovered).

In another incident, The Carver County Corruption blog and The Red Herring Alert blog both published news and information about the Grazzini-Rucki case and were later threatened with legal action, and possible criminal charges, from David Rucki who was represented by a high-buck attorney, Marshall H. Tanick. The administrator of the Carver County blog was so terrified that she shut down her blog completely, and one administrator from Red Herring Alert has also removed herself from the blog, and attempted to erase the articles she had written out of fear.

In another incident, Sandra temporarily stayed at a residential apartment held belonging to her family law attorney, Michelle MacDonald (the apartment is used for business purposes including hosting clients). The address of the apartment was blasted all over news media and the internet, interfering in the privacy of not only MacDonald but the neighbors as well. Michael Brodkorb hired a private investigator to do surveillance, and take photos and video of the apartment. Brodkorb continues to make active efforts to discover where Sandra is staying, and with whom.  It is no wonder that Sandra can not find a temporary place to live in Minnesota… which would involve not just a few days but a full 7 years of her probation! Anyone who offered Sandra shelter would be subjected to terms of probation that would include having their home randomly searched. Not to mention the threat of legal action by David Rucki. Who would sign up for that? What Judge Asphaug is asking is outrageous – there is a simple, and efficient solution and that is to have Sandra serve the remainder of her sentence in prison.

It is wrong for Judge Asphaug to seek criminal charges against Sandra for an alleged “probation violation” for a crisis that Judge Asphaug alone is responsible for. Sandra has complied with the terms of probation, she does not pose a risk to the public. The challenges Sandra is facing directly relate to her being homeless, and also relate to the ongoing retaliation and legal abuse perpetrated on her by David Rucki and by extension his attorney, Lisa Elliot, and corrupt agents the Dakota County court and legal system.

 

Items of Concern:

  1. Judge Asphaug’s mishandling of the criminal case of Sandra Grazzini-Rucki do not serve the best interest of justice.
  2. Sandra has requested to execute her sentence, and shown a willingness to complete her sentence in prison. Judge Asphaug has refused to allow Sandra to execute, and has recently requested that Sandra be placed on a GPS/Ankle Bracelet. Judge Asphaug is going against the recommendation of the probation officer, who has requested to the court that Sandra’s probation be revoked, and that she be sent back to jail.
  3. Sandra does not have the ability to pay for the costs associated with the GPS/Ankle Bracelet. She is currently not working, and her only source of income is a minimal amount public assistance. She is struggling to survive and not able to meet the basic costs of living let alone to afford massive court fines, and exorbitant child support payments (that is based on imputed income and not actual evidence).
  4. Sandra was afforded a public defender. Judge Asphaug has revoked the public defender. Meaning Sandra is now going to court without legal representation, and lacking the proper knowledge needed to defend herself.
  5. Sandra’s situation meets the criteria for long-term homeless; she should not be punished because she does not have a permanent address. Additionally, Sandra had been living out of state when she was brought to Minnesota to face criminal charges – she has not resided in Minnesota for several years. The nature of how and why Sandra was brought to Minnesota, demonstrates that she would not have a permanent address here.
  6. When an individual is considered long-term homeless, they may seek temporary shelter known as “couch hopping”. Temporary shelter does not count as permanent or stable housing. That Sandra does not reveal an address is not a probation violation, it is an expression of her being homeless – she does not know where she will be staying, or how long she will be allowed to stay there.
  7. Sandra does not pose a danger to herself, to the community, or to anyone else. She has complied with her probation, and conditions of release. The challenges Sandra is facing is directly related to the experience of being homeless. Due to the conditions of her probation she is unable to work in her profession as a flight attendant because she cannot leave the state. Sandra lacks the resources to maintain housing. For Judge Asphaug to refuse to allow Sandra to complete the rest of her sentence in prison is cruel and unusual punishment because Judge Asphaug is condemning Sandra to stay in Minnesota for 7 years in a situation where she would be homeless, unable to support herself, and at risk of emotional and physical harm while she is struggling to survive.
  8. Minnesota Law allows for revocation of probation, which is what should be done in Sandra’s case. Judge Asphaug is wasting the valuable time and resources of the courts, law enforcement and the correctional facility pursuing this reckless course of action against Sandra. In addition, tax payer dollars are being wasted. – It is unjust for the Grazzini-Rucki case to cost the citizens of Dakota County, and the state, so much when this case can be quickly resolved by revoking probation, and allowing Sandra to complete the rest of her sentence in prison.