We could not have made this up. Texas Judge and the KoonsFuller Family Law Firm present their best work yet. Of note, not covered by any news organization. As of now [8/17/2023] Google/Bing news results have no reference to this video. Greatest hits compilation includes a parody of Creep, WAP, and additional jaw-dropping twerking lawyers. Now you can bribe them on the stage, not just the back room!
[This article from 2010 highlights the futility of money when it comes to high profile cases where bribery via campaign contributions is more difficult.]
What do you call it when you fake paternity test results, lie in court, then use the justice system to defraud a 93 year old man (albeit a billionaire) out of millions? Right, fraud. Perjury. Felony theft. But not in family court. Here we call that: The best interests of the child!
While we may have little pity for billionaires who sit on the sidelines and let the family law racket operate with impunity, fraud is fraud and should be punished accordingly, not rewarded. In this case:
Billionaire Kirk Kerkorian agreed Friday to pay more than $10 million in back child support plus $100,000 a month for a child his ex-wife has admitted is not his biological daughter.
Lisa Bonder Kerkorian, who was married briefly to the casino mogul after a long relationship, acknowledged during a child support battle that she had faked a DNA paternity test by using saliva she obtained from Kerkorian’s adult daughter. She said the biological father actually was Hollywood movie producer Stephen Bing.
The settlement, which provides $100,000 a month until Kira turns 19 or until she graduates from high school, no longer is a full-time student or no longer is living with her mother full-time. After that, the settlement says, the child support will be reduced to $50,000 a month.
The agreement also provides for Kerkorian to pay expenses including school costs, equestrian expense, clothing, housing, travel, hobbies, automobile, food, beauty treatments, tutoring, entertainment, parties and pets.
Now this case gets even stranger. Not only did she not go to jail, but the private investigators who uncovered the fraud (utilizing illegal [for them] wiretapping) ended up in jail for wiretapping. Despite having uncovered a crime. Why were the police not doing this? In addition, Lisa Kerkorian was already collecting child support from the actual father since 2002.
What we see time and time again is that celebrities such as Brad Pitt, Alec Baldwin, and countless others are not immune to the racketeering that is happening throughout the country. In certain jurisdictions no amount of money will buy your way out. In this case, the 100,000 plus all expenses in the above paragraph will likely end up going through the state’s Child Support Collection Agency–which will then see 66% matching from the federal government (AKA your tax dollars) on the award ($10.25 million). That means they are likely going to get $6,600,000 million just for allowing this case to go forward. How is the state supposed to be impartial when they have the same to gain as the guilty party?
Incentive is everything. We cannot expect the direction to change while the carrot of Title IV-D continues to direct the courts.
Who was Thomas Doheny? Like many victims of family law, he was a divorced father. Incarcerated for failure to keep up with a support payment of over $19,000 monthly after taxes, he chose to end his life, seeing no way out from the corruption in the court room. Thomas wrote letters to his family and children before committing suicide in 2017, 3 years after the initiation of a divorce while he was a relatively high earner. But we don’t know much else, because of the scant amount of media coverage surrounding yet another murder by family courts. Here’s what we do know thanks to court records:
Tom, from Illinois, had a relatively high paying job ($300k/annual) in the family business that ended several years prior to his incarceration.
He was made to appear at over 260 court hearings in a course of two years to fight an impossible $19,000 a month (after taxes) imputed obligation.
The business he worked for was forced to battle the constant flood of subpoenas.
Jailed for an “indeterminate” amount of time at the discretion of Judge Michael Coppedge. That’s right, an indeterminate amount of time for civil contempt, while Tom was unemployed.
While criminal penalties are are scrutinized (though there are many problems there as well) in civil cases you are often denied due process. This is because the framework of the US legal system is set in a way that civil cases should have never been given enough teeth to deprive you of your basic civil rights, thus lack many protections. By assigning a incarceration penalty to “contempt of court” (an arbitrary civil charge with no standards) a judge has the power to bypass civil liberties and order such draconian orders such as incarceration for an “indeterminate” amount of time where no crime was committed. Just imagine, a single person (who indirectly profits from child support/alimony payments via Title IV-D) has the ability to sentence you to jail for as long as they wish simply for disobeying them, regardless of whether you have the ability to obey their order or not.
What is peculiarly ironic in this case is that the wife, who had all the power to stop the proceedings and simply come to a reasonable agreement, is the one then playing the victim in the IL superior court. She filed (and using the children’s names as well) suit against the jail, alleging wrongful death in their hands. Which not unexpectedly failed to go her way. Now doubly disappointed that she could not fleece the tax payers as she did her husband (for a time). Perhaps she should have filed suit against the judge who issued the ruling that directly caused his suicide. Or perhaps herself, the person who easily could have stopped everything, but for whatever motives, continued to push the father of her children to a point where death was the better option.
No doubt some might rush in and say “but what about the sewage family business.” While technically illegal for someone to be fired for family status, an employer with an employee who is this engrossed in litigation would be foolish to not fire them. In most states if an employer is not withholding an amount set by law, they can actually be liable for daily penalties that have no caps. Though most payroll companies are pretty good about taking care of the liabilities accurately, a simple mistake can ruin the business and bankrupt the owners. Small business also cannot afford the litigation that is often associated with it, and are too keen on the corrupt nature of the family law industry and know that they too will be guilty until proven innocent. At the end of the day even on a $300,000 annual salary, $19,000 monthly is over 100% of the take home income. There is no excuse for Tom’s death. No one to blame–except those who pushed him there. But that did not stop his wife, she was not done with the legal system. Now she wants the public to pay her for his death, despite driving him there. In 2017 she sued the prison.
How is it that such a glaring injustice operates in the light, yet nobody is seemingly able to do anything about it? I frequently hear other fathers (and sometimes mothers) discuss all of the motions and filings in court, claiming to have the right legal argument to win their case. This is not just locally, but the superior, supreme, and federal court included. But I almost never hear of any one of these gallant efforts carrying any measure of success. Why? As I sat down with an who-shall-remain-unnamed activist, we discussed some of these issues. The below diagram is an outline of funding and what shapes the narrative and public perception.
While this may look complicated, it is much simpler than it sounds. In any conflict one has to identify the players involved and their motivations. For anyone not familiar with the systems in the US (and most other countries,) the flow of money is the most critical determinant of an outcome.
Follow the Money
In this case have two sources of funds: Parents in conflict, and federal Title IV-D incentives. If you follow this flow you will see that that nearly all roads end with attorneys being paid, and the state collecting the rest while the children, families, and social security payers lose. This last part is important. Welfare reform was an important subject for the well off–they did not want to have to pay for it. With Title IV-D, the funds come out of the Social Security coffer. These funds are collected only on the first $143,000 of income thus the majority of the burden is actually on the middle and lower classes.
Now going back to our flow of money, bear in mind that GALs are attorneys even though they have no child psychology nor social work training (in most areas). These GALs are hand picked by judges. Judges are attorneys who profit heavily when working as “retired” judges. That means they are hired after retirement to collect exorbitant per-diem rates from the county/state while collecting a hefty retirement. For this you need a heavy caseload, and many of these judges hear family law cases as a result. Referees/Masters are usually junior attorneys who are thinking of going into government/judge tracks. These attorneys may not be doing as well in private practice and/or are seeking a political career, they are also hand picked through connections in the Bar.
The point we are trying to drive home is that everything about this system is intentional, and to profit from it requires a connection and motivation to continue the status quo. A GAL who acts against a single winning parent model will not be asked back. A therapist who outs the abusive parent that is legally abusing the other will not be referred any more conflicted spouses. A custody master who awards shared parenting and thus minimizing child support collections will not be hearing any more cases. This is the reality of our system. The laws are broken because they are written, enforced, and maintained by those who profit from this system–attorneys.
“But What About Our Free Press?”
Now the next point, why the media silence. When I took my story to the media I was met with–silence. No replies. My emails were read, my voicemails received, my appointment requests unanswered. Why? The answer was right there in front of me, on the TV, in the pages of the newspapers/websites.
“Do you have someone you know with Mesothelioma?”
“Contact the law firm of Wescrewem and Robb! We make sure you get the award you deserve!”
“Has your elderly loved one been abused?”
Sounds familiar? This is a major part of the problem. Follow the money. Print, online, and broadcast media receive a massive amount of funding from attorneys. During daytime TV you cannot go a single ad break without an attorney advertisement. Do you think they will print your editorial when their sponsors will pull a multi-million dollar contract as a result?
This is not the matrix, this is the reality. Our system is hijacked, it is broken, and people are dying as a result. It sounds like a conspiracy theory, until you are so deep in it that there may not be a way out. Innocent fathers crowd cold jail cells with criminals, children are turning to substances to cope, failing at school, suffering emotional trauma, for what? Profit?
Things Must Change
The final point in this is a positive one, and that is about change. It can be done. Despite this massive financial hurdle, public awareness today can reach beyond this paywall. People can communicate through social media, community groups, churches, and other means beyond the private media. Take your story, share it. Come out of the closet. Tell those you know, your colleagues, your community members. Seek out speaking opportunities, do not be ashamed of having been robbed of being a parent. Get the word out. You will be amazed at how many other people have lived through this, but were also too afraid to share, fearful of the public perception and possibly retribution from a defensive judge.
Perspective is everything, and to not understand the human condition is to be ignorant of how the world works. Any company (including non-for-profits) have a mission, and they have a duty of self preservation. Non-for-profits (NFPs) are not excluded from this. An NFP is run by a CEO, a CEO who has employees, who has commitments, and is likely making a handsome income. The psychology of a standard company is that of an individual, but free of any moral or ethical obligations. An NFP should be above this, operating on a charter of doing public good within the mission it sets out to do. But there are many groups (in this community included, we left them out on our links page) who seek to continue the status quo. Without this conflict they cease to exist, and the mission in those cases becomes secondary to the fiduciary responsibility. This is no more true than in the case of Domestic Violence groups. I abhor domestic violence having been a victim. But to watch these DV groups argue that shared parenting leads to increased domestic violence citing the rare anecdotal case while ignoring the overall statistics is–disheartening. Shared parenting reduces domestic violence. Remove the conflict, remove the violence. But instead we have the DV groups actively pushing the narrative that somehow shared parenting will somehow turn men violent.
Another consideration is one of the law makers themselves. Politics is a dirty game. You do not get elected on simply charm and good intentions. To get on the ballot means having the resources to get the signatures, which costs–money. Advertise with–money. You get the money through donations, the party, and political favors. Those come through connections, connections that expect you to pay those favors back through contracts and shifting government resources to their interests. This is nothing new, it is corruption as old as human history. But why do we let it go on? Politicians will take a stand on shared parenting, we have seen this in KY and other states. We just need the public will to push them to sign the bills.
The final piece to this is the formation of the bills and the committee assignments in state houses. The judiciary should be excluded. The fact that the attorneys / Bar are the benefactors of conflict and divorce, they absolutely must be recused from taking part in this debate. Children are not a resource to be pilfered for profit. Children need parents, and their psychological well being is certainly not the domain of attorneys. Even the agriculture committee would stand a better chance at forming legislation in their interest.
Children do not need perfect parents. They just need parents.