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.

 

2013 Complaint Against Judge David L. Knutson Alleges Misconduct, Malice

Judge David L Knutson

Judge David L Knutson

“The rule of law was not adhered to and the entire trial was simulated litigation… ALL Judge Knutson’s orders are not merely voidable, these orders are already VOID.” ~ K.B. Complaint Against Judge Knutson

Shame on you for allowing this family to be torn apart by your orders. Shame on you for forcing children into a relationship with a father they are terrified of. Shame on you for forcing these children to make the drastic decision to go on the run in order to protect themselves…In cases like this I have to wonder how our system got to the point that destroying families in today’s society is ok.” ~ L.M. letter to Judge David Knutson

(Hastings, Minn) A complaint filed against Judge David L. Knutson on September 4, 2013, outlines his mishandling of the Grazzini-Rucki case. The complaint also describes how Judge Knutson’s reckless actions contributed to ongoing chaos in the lives of the Rucki children, and deprived Sandra Grazzini-Rucki of her rights. The complaint concludes that Judge Knutson acted with malice, that there is no other reasonable explanation for his conduct.

According to the complaint, “The record on case no. 19AV-FA-11-1273 shows a disturbing pattern where throughout, Judge Knutson has engaged in multiple acts of misconduct and actual bias, has repeatedly violated parties rights, and consistently fails to follow the law…

Judge Knutson has repeatedly denied the mother (Sandra Grazzini-Rucki) any and all contact with her children without any findings of endangerment, abuse or parental unfitness. In addition, throughout this case, Judge Knutson has made absurd statements in an attempt to somehow justify abuses of discretion.

The complaint accuses Judge Knutson of a “pervasive pattern of misconduct and impropriety” that includes:

-Bias, “acts for improper purpose to deny one party’s fundamental rights

-Making false statements of material facts

-Failure to follow the law

-Failure to follow the children’s “Best Interest”

-That Judge Knutson ordered Sandra to use specific providers he hand selected under the guise of therapy; yet these providers do not provide therapy. Rather, they provide forensic evidence for use against the mother.

-Judge Knutson abused his authority by forcing Sandra, under the threat of arrest, to disclose her location and phone number to a known abuser (whom she received a protective order against). This directly contradicts  a Minnesota law requiring judges to protect victims of stalking and abuse, and to prevent such disclosures of information to the abuser.

-Acting with malice

Read complaint in its entirety: Complaint Against Dakota County Judge David Knutson (Red Herring Alert)

On September 11, 2013, attorney Michelle MacDonald filed a Federal Civil Rights Action against Judge Knutson on behalf on Sandra Grazzini-Rucki.

The Grazzini-Rucki custody trial commenced one week after this complaint was filed, on September 12, 2013. Which means that Judge Knutson was under investigation while presiding over a case that he was accused of misconduct on. Judge Knutson was also presiding over a case while a Federal Civil Rights Action against him was pending.

At the beginning of trial, MacDonald asked Judge Knutson to recuse himself, which he refused to do stating, “With respect to you notifying me that I’ve been made party to some Federal lawsuit for civil rights violations, I’m not aware of that. I have no information about that. I’m not concerned about that. We’re going to proceed…” MacDonald presses on, reminding Judge Knutson that she wrote him a letter to inform him about the lawsuit. Judge Knutson’s initial response is evasive then he admits he did receive notice of the lawsuit, and recounts some details. Which means Judge Knutson is caught lying in court. Judge Knutson refuses to recuse himself, and moves forward with trial stating “I‘m not going to hold that against your client or prejudice your client for something you do” and states a Federal Civil Rights Action is “irrelevant“.


The Board of Judicial Standards responded on November 12, 2013, and determined, despite overwhelming evidence of each of these claims, that the complaint “
required no further action“. The Board further determined that the allegations did not sway them to take disciplinary action because the merits were not proven with a “clear and convincing standard“. It is unclear if the Board was aware of Judge Knutson’s conduct during the custody trial.

The Civil Rights Action faced a similar fate, excusing Judge Knutson’s actions under the guide of judicial immunity.

On November 25, 2013, David Rucki is granted sole custody of all 5 children. At the time of the order he was on probation for a guilty plea involving an OFP violation (Case No. 19AV-CR-11-14682, discharged from probation 10/17/2014. Judge Karen Asphaug conducted pre-trial on that case). 

On February 11, 2014, Judge Knutson filed a complaint against attorney Michelle MacDonald with the Lawyer’s Board. MacDonald said about the complaint, “Judge Knutson’s complaint came after I complained about to him to the Board of Judicial Standards about this: On September 12, 2013, Judge Knutson had me participate as an attorney in a client’s child custody trial in handcuffs, a wheelchair, with no shoes, no glasses, no paper, no pen, no files,missing children – and no client. This was the day after I had filed a federal civil rights action against him, on behalf of that client…MNBar.org Michelle MacDonald Candidate Information A hearing was recently held concerning the complaint against MacDonald, a ruling has not been issued at the time of this blog post.

Judge Knutson now sits as a member on the Board of Judicial Standards. No one in the family court system has been held accountable for the disastrous results of the Grazzini-Rucki case despite numerous complaints being filed.

When abuse allegations, and concerns for the safety of the Rucki children, were raised in this case the Court’s focus was not on the welfare of the children but instead pursued a dangerous agenda. Instead of protecting the children from harm, Judge Knutson and the various professionals involved, inflicted of trauma on children to force reunification with the parent they feared by taking an “assertive stance..to expose them to the object of their fear” and to “desensitize them“. (Dr. Gilbertson Letter).  The Court sought to silence by any means, the parent, Sandra, who sought to protect the children and thereby, stood in the way. The events that led up to the Rucki girls running away is a direct result of the court’s own failings. 

Had Judge Knutson, the professionals, appropriately responded to abuse allegations raised by the Rucki children and worked to protect them, there might have been a different outcome than a family completely destroyed; and children who may never recover from the abuses inflicted on them.

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For More Information:

Complaint by K.B. Against Judge Knutson

Chaos, Horror After Courts Step in for Rucki Family by Michael Volpe

Pressured, Threatened S. Rucki Bravely Speaks Out Against “Horrendous” Family Court

Potential State Witness Wrote Letter to Judge Knutson – Criticizing Court’s Failure to Protect Rucki Children from Abuse

Judge Karen Asphaug “Encouraged Lawlessness” Sandra Grazzini-Rucki Turns Herself in After Warrant Issued

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November 2, 2016, Washington County, Minnesota:

Dakota County issued an arrest warrant against Sandra Grazzini-Rucki, in connection with an alleged probation violation for failing to maintain contact with the probation officer. Sandra voluntarily turned herself in tonight after discovering a warrant had been issued, and is now in custody.

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These sad events happened on the birthday of Sandra’s daughter, a subject of this criminal case who ran away in April 2013 from an unsafe home. The daughter has been unable to see or contact her mother in any way. – A mother who once was her primary caregiver, and whom she wanted to live with before the Courts condemned her to live with an abuser. The daughter wrote a letter stating the reason why she ran away, that included, “We fought back, begging them not to put us in the care of Tammy that we were afraid for our lives, and told them that Tammy and my father had abused us. But they didn’t care.” Another of the Rucki children also reported that Tammy abused her to the Lakeville police, who failed to make a mandatory report. Judge Karen Asphaug, and ADA Kathryn Keena are now claiming Tammy Love and David Rucki are “victims” to the detriment of the children – who are the REAL victims in this case.

The outrageous legal antics of Judge Karen Asphaug instigated these recent developments, in what can only be described as a circus – a waste of precious law enforcement resources, at tremendous expense to the tax payers of Dakota County. Many in the judicial system outside of Dakota County have expressed shock at how the Grazzini-Rucki case has been mishandled, and expressed concern over the amount of power a judge can exert over people’s lives, and how easily that power can be abused.

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Dakota County Circus

Under Minnesota law, the maximum time allowed under sentencing guidelines for felony deprivation of parental rights is up to 1 year and 1 day in prison. Sandra stepped forward, asked to finish her sentence in prison, and complete her sentence so she can then return to her home, out of state. All avenues kids to see or maintain contact with her children have been blocked, so that is not an option for Sandra.

Supporters of David Rucki demanded that Sandra be sent to prison, multiple comments posted online demanded prison. However, during sentencing, Judge Karen Asphaug issued an unusual sentence that involves a lengthy probation period of 6 years with yearly stints in jail, in addition a yearly requirement of sentence to serve, excessive monetary fines, compliance with all 3,400 family court orders issued by Judge David L Knutson and additional conditions that are impossible to afford financially or not humanly possible to comply with.  Judge Asphaug implemented this unusual sentencing after ADA Kathryn Keena asked for an aggravated sentence but was not allowed to inflict a harsher sentence, than the law allowed, because the nature of the crime did not meet guidelines. Sandra immediately asked to execute her sentence, as this was the only feasible option, and later was given a hearing.

Assistant Dakota County Attorney, Kathryn Keena

Assistant Dakota County Attorney, Kathryn Keena

The cost to tax payers to for the cost to jail Sandra, and enforce a lengthy probation is astronomical. According to a recent study, “...The average annual income of every Minnesota resident is roughly equal to the average annual cost per inmate in our prison system.”  Average Annual Cost of Minnesota Prisons: $41,364 Per Inmate in 2010 by Jay Carey

The expenses incurred on Sandra alone could easily double that figure, and would be better spent elsewhere in the criminal justice system. Sandra Grazzini-Rucki poses no danger to society, and is willing to do her time in prison and complete her sentence. The only obstacle to a resolution in this case is Judge Asphaug, who insists on a punishment that is both cruel and unusual.

If Sandra were to be jailed in the Ramsey County Workhouse, the cost is paid for by the tax payers of Dakota County. The cost to house an inmate in the Workhouse is an estimated $70 per day, already Sandra has served 170 days there – so far Dakota County spent close to $12,000 to incarcerate her. If Judge Karen Asphaug sends Sandra back to the Workhouse she could waste up to $17,000+ of Dakota County tax payer’s money. However, if Sandra were allowed to execute,and were sent to prison the cost wound be reimbursed through federal funding, and the case would be quickly resolved. All of these extraordinary measures are directed toward a non-violent offender who poses no risk to the community. Sandra’s only “crime” is protecting her children from abuse after multiple levels of the system (family court, police, court ordered therapy, CPS, juvenile court/CHIPS petition etc.) ignored the Rucki children’s cries for help.

The family court system, led by Judge Knutson, used force and intimidation to order the Rucki children into the custody of the abusive father, who they feared.  The abuse that happened is effectively being covered up. 

freakydoor

Sandra’s former criminal attorney, Stephen Grigsby, previously argued for an executed sentence during the September 21st hearing– meaning Sandra would serve her entire sentence in jail. Grigsby stated to the court, that refusing her this right would “encourage lawlessness” and “dare” Sandra to violate probation.

The defendant in the above-entitled matter hereby moves the Court to execute her sentence.

ARGUMENT

Not withstanding the provisions of 609.135, subd. 7, which purports to deny the defendant the right to execute a sentence, the right inheres in the basic ability of a defendant to demand, either by a formal demand or a deliberate violation of probation.

The latter (violation of probation) encourages lawlessness and wastes time and resources.

Eventually a probationer can assure the execution of a sentence by refusing to comply with probation and it therefore makes no sense to dare her to do so when there is a desire to refuse to comply with probation and serve her executed sentence.”

Attorney Stephen Grigsby, Motion to Execute (Sandra Grazzini-Rucki), 9/21/2016

During the hearing, Judge Asphaug waltzed into court, waving a paper to show that she had found a case that would justify her reasons to refuse prison. She promptly imposed probation on Sandra.The case cited did not match any of the circumstances in the Grazzini-Rucki criminal trial. Judge Asphaug then denied the motion to execute her sentence. Grigsby responded, “This was really an irrational act by the court.”

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Judge Karen Asphaug

If Sandra had been allowed to execute her sentence, she would serve up to 8 months in prison, and then be released having completed her sentence. Isn’t that the purpose of the criminal justice system? Have a defendant serve their time, and return to society as a law abiding citizen? What Judge Asphaug is doing is NOT promoting justice.

After sentencing, Sandra was immediately taken into custody, and served an additional 34 days in the Workhouse then was released into probation on October 24th. Allegations of a probation violation followed soon after.

Sandra’s criminal conviction resulted after Sandra courageously fought to protect her children from abuse. When the courts, CPS, and police failed to protect them, two of the oldest Rucki girls ran away. Sandra’s role in assisting her teen daughters is not an act of a criminal – but is the actions of a mother who “reasonably believed the action taken was necessary to protect the person taking the action from physical or sexual assault” and raised this affirmative defense during her criminal trial. Minn. Statute 609.26 – Includes Affirmative Defense Judge Asphaug suppressed 75% of defense evidence, blocking Sandra from presenting the affirmative defense to the jury, that would prove abuse did occur.

Sandra Grazzini-Rucki is not a hardened criminal, not a danger to society or to anyone else. Just the opposite – Sandra is a loving mother of 5 children, was an active volunteer at school events and PTA, was an enthusiastic community volunteer (working on projects throughout the state of Minnesota) who was always willing to help others with a generous and sincere heart, former Mrs. Lakeville and a respected flight attendant of 30+ years with a spotless record.

Sandra’s life has been completely destroyed after seeking a divorce from a wealthy, well-connected abuser, David Rucki, who has misused the court system to further abuse her, and exact revenge. Everything Sandra loved, everything that was important to her life, has been brutally taken from her – her children, her extended family, her home, all of her belongings (even her clothing and toiletries taken by court order), her financial stability, her career – and now her freedom. This all started with a divorce, in which a victim of domestic violence asked for protection for herself and her children but instead was re-abused by the system that favored, and enabled the perpetrator, who continues to abuse through the legal system. 

Sandra, is well-loved and respected in the community, she does not deserve the harsh punishment meted out by Judge Asphaug and Dakota County. Sandra is not a criminal. She an abuse survivor who was pushed into making a heart-breaking decision after the court system and legal system failed to protect her children…the system continues to fail the Grazzini-Rucki family today.

 

Also Read:

Sandra Grazzini-Rucki is sentenced in domestic case by Michael Volpe

Sandra Grazzini-Rucki Sentenced After Judge Asphaug Disallows Nearly All of Defense Evidence

Minnesota mom chooses prison for hiding 2 teen daughters

Keena Drops Aggravated Sentence Against Sandra Grazzini-Rucki

 

 

David Rucki “Paper Divorce” Scam

Dakota County, Minn, August 2016: Trucking contractor, David Rucki’s false statements and refusal to provide information about his finances in legal proceedings suggest an ongoing pattern of  fraud and financial abuse.

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David Rucki (Fox 9)

False statements include: Rucki lied during the criminal trial of ex-wife Sandra Grazzini-Rucki when making claims that he was duped into signing a divorce settlement in 2011, claiming that he had no knowledge of what was happening. In truth, Rucki signed over a dozen documents, in front of numerous witnesses, and willingly entered into the original divorce settlement.

Rucki lied when stating that Sandra masterminded a “paper divorce” scam that stripped him of everything he owned. What did Rucki lose? He retained a multi-million dollar company and its assets, retained numerous vehicles and property and eventually won sole custody of all five children. The truth is that Sandra was forcibly separated from her children, left homeless and destitute, and stripped of her portion of the family trust (a non-marital asset) as a result of an unjust family court order. The entire proceeds of Sandra’s portion of the trust were turned over to Rucki. Rucki is also the beneficiary of his own, separate family trust; which has remained intact.

Assistant Dakota County Attorney, Kathryn Keena

Assistant Dakota County Attorney, Kathryn Keena

During the criminal trial, Rucki’s lies about the financial aspects of the divorce were repeated by Prosecuting Attorney, Kathryn M. Keena. Keena had possession of the Grazzini-Rucki family court file, and either ignored or suppressed evidence to endorse Rucki’s sob story. Rucki’s lies about the “paper divorce” were used by Keena to discredit Sandra during the criminal trial. Keena portrayed Sandra as a vindictive ex-wife who would do anything to destroy poor Rucki, including financially wipe him out. Rucki is now claiming he suffered extreme emotional distress, and that Sandra should be given the harshest penalty possible. Keena attempted to impose an aggravated sentence against Sandra but was unsuccessful because the case does not meet the legal standard for aggravating circumstances. Keena Drops Aggravated Sentence Against Sandra Grazzini-Rucki/

Claims of Rucki’s victimization are not supported by fact. Court documents, and testimony from Rucki himself, reveal a much different story that what he has recently portrayed to the jury, and to the public about the “paper divorce”. Unmasked, Rucki’s claims are that of an abuser projecting his own heinous deeds onto a victim. David Rucki is a man who is willing to destroy his own family, and put his children through the pain of divorce, in order to benefit financially from a scam he alone concocted. Rucki calls this scam the “paper divorce”.

Rucki’s Sob Story: Fact or Fiction?

Prevailing themes in the Grazzini-Rucki divorce and custody dispute, and its aftermath, involve allegations of domestic violence, and financial fraud. What is lost in the court, and following media controversy is that abuse has impacted the Grazzini-Rucki family at every level, even financially.

David Rucki’s divorce sob story, and alleged financial ruin, was prominently featured in an article published by Laura Adelmann, reporter with the Sun This Week at the end of July 2016: Revealing testimony highlights Grazzini-Rucki trial  Adelmann offered “revealing testimony” from Sandra’s criminal trial, including testimony from Rucki who claimed he was victimized in divorce proceedings.

Testifying in the criminal trial, Rucki accuses Sandra of pushing for an “on paper only” divorce. However, in family court, Rucki admits the “on paper only” divorce was his idea. Rucki stated during a deposition on August 8, 2011 that a “paper divorce” was needed “to get the business going” and he “didn’t think it would be the end of his marriage (abuse involves the exploitation of the victim). Findings from Judge Knutson (Re-Opening of the Judgement and Decree) also state that Sandra did not know about the “on paper” divorce and there was “no meeting of the minds”. In other words, Rucki conned Sandra during divorce proceedings.

Rucki lied during the criminal trial when testifying about the “paper only divorce” and assigned blame to Sandra. Rucki’s comments are significant because these false statements were used to paint Sandra as a vindictive ex-wife, which contributed to her being charged with 6 felonies. Prosecuting Attorney Keena had the Grazzini-Rucki family court file available to her, and referred to it during trial. Instead of presenting facts, Keena chose to present a lie in order to build her case and secure a win.

The Paper Divorce Scam

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The “Paper Divorce” began with a mutually agreed upon divorce settlement and resulted in Rucki successfully contesting the divorce, claiming he did not read or see the documents and was tricked into signing by Sandra. At the same time as he claiming to be a victim, Rucki admits divorce had financial advantages for him, that it would benefit his business.

According to court documents, “Respondent (Rucki) alleged that the parties agreed to a ‘paper divorce’, which would allow Petitioner (Sandra) to access some funds from a trust while parties continued living as husband and wife.” Sandra’s portion of the family trust is a non-marital asset, Rucki is not entitled to it – there is not any stipulation in the trust documents that would allow Rucki to access funds as he described. Rucki not only felt entitled to the trust, but ruthlessly pursued it.

Is it plausible that David had no idea what was going on with the divorce, as he claims? Laura Adelmann reports: “Rucki also testified that he arrived home one day in 2011 to discover he was divorced, and Grazzini-Rucki called police who removed him from their Lakeville home. I never went to a court proceeding or saw anything,’ David Rucki said. ‘I couldn’t figure it out.’ Adelmann also reports: “David Rucki testified he returned later that night and took photos of the divorce decree that awarded sole custody of their children to Grazzini-Rucki and severed his rights to the house, property and everything they owned.”  Rucki, a successful businessman and trucking contractor, has signed countless contracts and other legal documents throughout his career, and now is unable to understand his own divorce settlement? 

Source: Movato.com – David Rucki retained ownership of this home after the original divorce settlement. He has claimed the divorce left him with nothing – yet retained ownership of a business, and other assets.

A paper trail of court documents, and other evidence, indicate that Rucki was aware, and actively participating in the divorce proceedings that he now claims he knew nothing about. Rucki met with Sandra to discuss the terms of the divorce, he signed multiple documents and agreed to settlement on April 19, 2011. Rucki also signed a waiver of counsel and declined his right to legal representation. Dissolution was granted on May 12, 2011, Judge Wermager approved of the settlement.

Further, Rucki admits in court proceedings that he wanted the divorce to provide additional revenue for his business: “Respondent (Rucki) testified that Petitioner and Respondent had discussed getting a divorce ‘in paper only’ for financial purposes…” 

While Rucki’s story has changed numerous times about the “paper divorce”, Sandra’s has remained the same, “Petitioner (Sandra) testified that she did not know what Respondent was talking about when he referred to an ‘in paper only’ divorce.”(Findings of Fact, Order Dated 9/21/2011, Judge Knutson). Adelmann reports the same, “In court, Grazzini-Rucki denied she suggested getting a divorce on paper so she could access the trust funds.

The only person who benefited from the “paper divorce” is Rucki. When it was no longer beneficial to be associated with this scam, he shifted the blame onto the victim, Sandra.

Adelmann reports: “The order also required David Rucki to pay $3,673 per month in child support and $10,000 per month in spousal maintenance, according to court documents.It left me with zero,’ Rucki said. He said Grazzini-Rucki had earlier proposed they divorce ‘on paper only’  so she could access $1.5 million from a family trust.” Question – how does Rucki go from not knowing anything about the divorce, to reciting specific details that indicate he is aware of the terms of settlement? Once again, Rucki cannot keep his story straight!

Also notice that Rucki’s focus during his testimony about the “paper divorce”is on himself, and completely ignores the impact this would have on the children. In another example, taken from the August 8, 2011 deposition, Rucki says the fair way to handle the property division after the divorce is to “sell it all”. When asked where the children would live (if the house were sold), Rucki replies, “That is something we will have to figure out when the courts figure it out.” Rucki is totally unconcerned that his actions could cause the children to become homeless, and yet he portrays himself as the victim.

Rucki bankrolled his business on Sandra’s misfortune. Rucki’s own words, recorded in a transcript from August 8, 2011  “In order for me to get working again and to get a credit line back, right, was to get rid of the existing credit line that was there two hundred some – I don’t remember what the exact number is – hundred dollars, I don’t know what… She (Sandra) told me she can get the money, and I kept asking where; she never told me, and that she would pay off the credit line. Now that allows me to work and go after re-establishing getting a new credit line okay?

The kicker to this story was, she didn’t tell me that she was going to take the house (Ireland Place) that we used as collateral against the loan; so on May 12 that whole thing unraveled for me. Now she pays off, she is my godsend and paying off this terrible loan, and all of a sudden, she pulls the carpet from under me and takes the house; now I have nothing to back the loan, okay? That’s one of the problems I have with the bank right now, I have no collateralization.”. Rucki states later in the same transcript that Rucki Trucking “is almost defunct”.  Adelmann reports, He also stated Grazzini-Rucki told him the trust has a provision that if she or other siblings were divorced and struggling financially, they could access some of its money and get some financial relief.” There is no provision in the trust documents that states what Rucki claims. Rucki was scrambling to establish another credit line, and preyed upon Sandra to do it. The same house, Ireland Place, is also connected to allegations of mortgage fraud.

Judge David L Knutson

Judge David L Knutson

Also concerning, is the response of the court. In the Re-Opening of the Judgement and Decree Judge Knutson found that: “Even if Respondent (Rucki) did have the opportunity to review the Judgement and Decree, Respondent (Rucki) testified that he thought parties were agreeing to a ‘paper divorce’. The mismatch between the parties’ intentions provides sufficient evidence of mistake to vacate the Judgement and Decree on these grounds alone. clearly, there was no meeting of the minds with respect to the Stipulated Judgement and Decree.” In his own words, and in front of Judge Knutson, Rucki admits he devised the “paper divorce” scam and used the courts to swindle Sandra out of her portion of the family trust. Rucki’s “intention” clearly involved fraud, and manipulaton. Judge Knutson ignores that a criminal act is taking place right under his nose, and then extends preferential treatment towards Rucki. The result has been disastrous for Sandra, the children, and now even the public is at risk. The term “the Rucki Divorce” is now being used to describe the legal precedent this case has created. 

Aftermath

Rucki is expected to make a victim impact statement at Sandra’s sentencing on September 21st – his words will weigh heavily on the sentence imposed against Sandra. Prosecuting Attorney Keena has already attempted to give Sandra an aggravated sentence, imposing a harsh penalty because, she claims, Rucki has suffered so much. Will society be safer with Sandra in prison? Or does the true danger exist in a court system that is willing to put an abuse victim, who sought to protect her children, in jail in order to protect a dangerous abuser?

TearsDakotaCounty

Reader Comment: “The System is Hurting the Children…and Should Be Held Accountable”

systemhurtchildren

This comment was left on our blog by a mother named Jessica who is involved in family court  proceedings in Florida.

Jessica read our blog, and felt a similar injustice as to what Sandra Grazzini-Rucki has experienced dealing with the family court system, and felt a similar pain, from being estranged from children as a result of an unjust court order. 

Family Court failures (bias, failure to recognize abuse, lack of training, corruption, malicious prosecution, violations of state and constitutional laws etc) are happening in every state of the U.S., and internationally – this is a pandemic crisis. As a result, the Court’s actions and rulings often endanger children, and punish parents who raise concerns about abuse or other safety concerns. Generations of children have been traumatized, abused, and hurt in the worst possible way. Children are being wrongfully taken from fit, loving parents – and robbed of the love and care that parent could provide, as well as being robbed of their cultural, religious and familial heritage. How is this in the “best interest” of children? 

We are posting the comment, and this picture quote, to raise awareness about the devastating consequences of systemic failures in family court, and to give voice to parents whose children have been unjustly taken from them.

Jessica says: The system does not care. I’m going through the same thing in Florida.

I have never been in trouble and have raised my children alone, because the father was not around for 5 years. I worked full time to provide for my family. He did not pay child support and owes $80,000 in arrears.  The children have never been abused in my care and wanted for nothing.

Yet their father with a history of violence, criminal history (including spending 2 years in jail), Baker Acts (involuntary commitment for mental health emergencies) and injunctions is handed the children and I’m left with barely seeing them.

The judge refuses to hear or see any evidence from our side.

The system is hurting the children just as much as the abuser.

And they should be held accountable.