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CT Gov Ned Lamont's ‘Cash for Kids’ Controversy
Pivotal Ambrose v. Riordan Ruling Eviscerates Jennifers' Law, Shakes Family Court
By Richard Luthmann
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“Our court system works best when it reflects the diversity, experience, and understanding of the people it serves,” Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont said in a press release announcing Day Pitney LLP Partner Thomas J. O’Neill’s appointment to the judiciary in March.
Judge O’Neill is a Ned Lamont “diversity hire.” The new jurist has little experience with or understanding of family law, at least based on one of his first significant rulings.
According to Judge O’Neill, special education teacher Karen Riordan is a domestic violence perpetrator.
The 110-pound Riordan abused her three children under Jennifer’s Law by forcing them [coercive control] to make “false claims” against their father, Christopher Ambrose.
The outlandish activities of the children: reporting abuse by speaking to school counselors and social workers, CT DCF personnel, police officers, and others.
The children had the further audacity, Judge O’Neill said, to petition Connecticut governmental officials and the Superior Court: Juvenile Division.
In seeking safety and asking for help from judges and police officers, the children have rendered their mother a violent domestic abuser, so said Judge O’Neill, legally on par with a parent who physically, emotionally, and sexually abuses their children.
The petition, welcomed by Judge O’Neill, was brought by “psychopath” father, Christopher Ambrose, a Connecticut elite, former DNC lawyer, and disgraced Hollywood plagiarist.
Ambrose is represented by former Connecticut State Bar Association Family Law Chair, Attorney Alexander J. Cuda, of the Needle Cuda law firm.
The last judge who had the case, Judge Gladys Idelis Nieves, refused to find Riordan harmed her children. The judge before that, Judge Eddie Rodriguez, also declined to find Riordan abused her children.
Both are Hispanic, the children are Hispanic, and both judges have decades of experience in family law.
But the third judge was a charm for the husband Ambrose, who brought three petitions on behalf of each of his teenage children. Mia, 16, Matthew, 16, and Sawyer, 13, all ran away from him to live with their mother.
Former Commercial Litigation Attorney Turned Judge Sets “Twisted” Precedent
Judge O’Neill’s decision was based on a law meant to protect women and children. Jennifers’ Law is named after Jennifer Dulos and Jennifer Mangano, both victims of murder by their husbands during long, contentious, high-conflict divorce and custody cases – Connecticut style. Both husbands committed suicide.
Basing his ruling to restrain the mother from seeing the teenagers who want to live with her and using Jennifers’ Law to do it, Judge O’Neill sent the message that 110-pound Riordan is a dangerous and violent abuser to her husband Ambrose and her children.
Domestic Violence Advocacy groups, including Connecticut Protective Moms, have already raised the alarm that this most recent “twisting” of the law will only enable abusers and questioned how any attorney could sign off on Ambrose’s petitions in good conscience, particularly one who advertises his achievements in helping victims of domestic violence.
Are the Voices of the Children Being Silenced in Court?
Judge O’Neill’s removal of the mother from the teens’ life via restraining order is a precedent. The teens wanted their father restrained, but O’Neill restrained the mother without permitting the teenagers to tell their side – making them homeless.
None of the teens wants to return their father. They independently fled to Rhode Island, seeking safe haven from their father, who has only become emboldened by Judge O’Neill’s ruling.
The Troubling Exclusion of Testimony
Judge O’Neill also chose to ignore the mother’s testimony, excluding evidence she tried to present to the court of her husband’s purported abuse. O’Neill was adamant about not letting psychiatrist Bandy X. Lee, an expert in child abuse and psychopathy, testify or provide a written opinion.
Dr. Lee refers to Ambrose as the children’s abuser and claims there is evidence that he appears to present as a psychopath.
Why wasn’t this evidence allowed on the record?
Judge Nieves or Judge Rodriguez likely would have allowed it, respecting the due process right for each party to have an opportunity to be heard.
Who is Protected?
The office of the Chief Court Administrator Elizabeth A. Bozzuto apparently decided to remove this critical and legally complex “first impression” case on Jennifer’s Law from a seasoned family court jurist – Nieves, with decades of family law experience, and hand it to a “greenhorn” on the bench – O’Neill – a man who is inexperienced in family law.
I previously posited that Judge O’Neill’s outrageous decision was explainable in two ways.
One possibility for his indifference to the happiness or welfare of the teenagers and disregard for their wishes is that O’Neill truly is a “rookie” and does not recognize the fundamental difference between cases about money and true justice. In his high-stakes corporate litigation background, the concern is never the “best interests” of any litigant, only the bottom line.
I also posited that “green” might have been the motivating factor.
It was the price for moving O’Neill down the hall to hearing “big dollar” commercial cases where his former law partners at Day Pitney LLP and other “insiders” could wet their beaks in immense feeding troughs of legal fees.
After reviewing some evidence in this case, another possibility occurred to me.
Judge O’Neill was “hand-selected” by Connecticut Court Administrator O’Neill, understanding he would not make a complete record, or so it appears.
Incomplete Record Benefits the “Corrupt Enterprise”
If the full factual record in the Ambrose v. Riordan case were to come to light, the “cash cow” and “dark underbelly” of the Connecticut Family Court system’s cash-for-kids enterprise would have become fully exposed. We would find in Connecticut what smacks of the racketeering conspiracy described by Frank Parlato.
I posit that the Connecticut Family Court “machine” had previously “sold” the Ambrose children to Christopher Ambrose.
Luthmann on Ambrose v. Riordan:
“Governor Lamont was sure right about diversity. After two Hispanic judges refused to sell the three Hispanic teenage children of Riordan and Ambrose, they brought in their diversity hire — a white man – a long-time commercial litigation attorney turned family court judge.”
Judge Nieves was pushed aside, Judge Rodriguez refused, and Judge O’Neill was appointed to the case because Connecticut administrators of justice could not afford the mother, Karen Riordan, to prevail.
More specifically, the CT Family Court “system” could not tolerate any assault whatsoever on the “bill of sale” previously delivered to Ambrose bearing the names Mia, Matthew, and Sawyer. The children were purchased - fair and square.
Too many parties cannot allow the truth to come out - that the Ambrose v. Riordan case has been a “contract” and “cover-up” since the beginning. And herein lies the ongoing scandal wherein a judge would upend domestic violence protections for a higher legal principle: the sanctity and enforceability of contracts for the sale of goods.
Enter Judge Thomas J. O’Neill, with a commercial litigation background and a strong desire to sit down the hall in the Civil Division and interpret cases under Connecticut’s Uniform Commercial Code.
For the Family Court administrators, Judge O’Neill was a God-send. He knows the “higher law”:
(1) “Goods” means all things, including specially manufactured goods, which are movable at the time of identification to the contract for sale other than the money in which the price is to be paid…“Goods” also includes the unborn young of animals…
“These pesky Ambrose teenagers!” the good judge must have thought. “Even farm animals know when they have been bought and sold. Ambrose has produced his Bill of Sale.”
“Cash For Kids” Theories in CT Family Court Are Nothing New
Frank Parlato has been writing about the sale of the Ambrose children for some time.
Parlato published the following about the Ambrose v. Riordan case almost a year and a half ago:
“This is CT, and this is a family court under the shadow of Richard Gardner, who invented a way for well-to-do abusers and pedophiles to prevail – “parental alienation” – and it is used as a weapon to take money from the rich and give the children in return.
Parental alienation and its drastic remedy – once it is determined by any quack or con artist GAL or custody evaluator – is to take the children from the parent they love and order no contact with her – and hand them over to the abuser with money.
For those who say some mothers alienate their children from the father, which is true, I say children can be alienated from a father because he is a cruel ass, a cunning man, that the children see through him and want no part of him.
It does not have to be the other parent who alienates children from the parent. It can be the abuser himself.
But alienated the children, Mia, Matthew, and Sawayer, because the father had the money and because he had CT family court – he could buy the children like you might buy a dozen eggs at the market.
That market is CT Family Court, and it is, arguably, as vicious and sinister a place as the world has known.
Damning evidence has been repeatedly presented to public officials, judges, attorneys, the police, and the Connecticut Department of Children and Families (DCF).
Why do they ignore credible allegations of sexual abuse?
Because selling children to the highest bidder is good for business, it is a “cash cow.”
HELP THE AMBROSE CHILDREN
NOTE: A Go Fund Me Page has been established to help Karen Riordan, a special education teacher, and her three children, Mia, Matthew, and Sawyer, reunite and achieve justice in her unequal fight against her well-funded ex-husband and a total psychopath, Christopher Ambrose. If it is within your means, please help this family.
Feeding the Sharks?
Are the ‘Cash For Kids’ practices of the Connecticut Family Court nothing more than what is necessary to ‘Feed the Sharks’? After all, “bogus” abuse of process happens all the time in CT Family Court, right?
If the system wasn’t the way it was, Family law attorneys like Edward Nusbaum, Melissa Needle, and Alexander Cuda, all with offices in Westport, Connecticut, charge some clients $750 per hour and upwards.
Some describe Attorney Nusbaum as utterly zoomorphic: an apex-predator, bottom-feeding animal. He is reportedly unapologetically aggressive with others, including vulnerable women and children who won’t accede to his outlandish billing.
They claim Nusbaum has created his own “Legal Fees Panel” populated by his brethren and sistren - “Fairfield County Family Lawyers” - as judge, jury, and executioner. Filed court papers claim Nusbaum’s “STAR CHAMBER” has no rules. He doesn’t even have to provide discovery or billing records during fee disputes with former clients.
Some also believe he has an anger management problem because he has tried to intimidate others based on his physical prowess as a “New England Wrestling Champion.”
Attorney Nusbaum further insinuates his violent deeds back in the “old days” on the mean streets of Orange, New Jersey, where, coincidentally, one of his heroes and the star of Stephen Speilberg’s JAWS hails from.
But Nusbaum is “bush league” compared to Fairfield County’s “Queen of Mean,” Attorney Nancy Aldrich. If you don’t pay her fees, she’ll send a widely used local collections hack into court and get the judge to sign over your house. You might not know about it until the Sheriff shows up at your door to evict you.
Nusbaum and Aldrich might be the most visible, but Fairfield County, Connecticut, appears to have its fair share of slop-suckers. Court-appointed GALs can rack up fees more quickly than pigs can clear out the trough.
The GAL in the Ambrose case, Jocelyn Hurwitz, billed $200,000 to make the children miserable, recommending they be removed from their mother and handed to their abuser-father.
It is no coincidence that the father, Ambrose, had the money to pay GAL Hurwitz, and Riordan did not.
There are experts, investigators, doctors, and professionals paid. Their legal fees secure the ultimate result for the party with the resources.
Family Court “lifers” like Judges Jane Kupson Grossman and Gerard I. Adelman know the game. They don’t get in the way. They guard this corrupt machine. They are its “Zoo-Keepers.”
In reality, we are dealing with highly-trained animals. They know how to respond using the Fairfield County, Connecticut Family Court’s Zoo-Keepers’ magic words: “Pay me my fucking money.”
One can only wonder where they send the envelopes.
Uphold the Bargain
By excluding evidence and making outlandish rulings, they keep the dark underbelly from becoming exposed.
All the paid participants remain fat and happy while the system churns. Broken families and damaged children are “acceptable losses” like “breakage” in a retail establishment factored into the cost of doing business.
The most important role is the judge, who is the guardian of the “cash for kids” deal. If a “client” pays and doesn’t get their product – kids – it threatens the entire marketplace.
And that explains Judge O’Neill’s decision. There is one dirty secret that, if made public, would threaten the “cash for kids” scheme. It would decimate entire cottage industries and the bottom line of family law attorneys.
CT Kids Are Commodities
Connecticut Family Court’s dirty secret is kids can be sold to anyone, even pedophiles if the buyer has the money.
Kids of any color or creed, buyers of any shape or size, or sexual predilection – are auctioned and sold.
Governor Lamont was sure right about diversity. After two Hispanic judges refused to sell the three Hispanic teenage children of Riordan and Ambrose, they brought in their diversity hire — a white man – a long-time commercial litigation attorney turned family court judge.
Thomas O’Neill had experience in bargaining and sales, in contract litigation, brought in to uphold the deal – the sale of three kids to Christopher Ambrose.
Yeah, diversity is an excellent thing in Connecticut — for business.
Stay tuned for continuing coverage.
Richard Luthmann is a writer, commentator, satirist, and investigative journalist with degrees from Columbia University and the University of Miami. A transplanted New Yorker, Luthmann is a member of the National Writers Union now living in Southwest Florida.
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Contact Richard Luthmann at 239-631-5957 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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