Grazzini-Rucki Child Support Hearing Raises Concerns of Fraud, Abuse of Discretion
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)