is in reply to the recent Metroland article on Hudson
Family Court [“Courting Disaster,” March 20]. There is a popular
movie Gangs of New York; George Ihlenburg’s situation
reminds me that we could have a sequel titled Family Court
Judges of New York.
To provide an update in this sad saga, George Ihlenburg has
just been assessed additional thousands of dollars in legal
fees by the new judge, Christian Hummel, to pay a lawyer that
he never hired, Bethene Lindstedt-Simmons. If he fails to
pay Simmons’ bill he will go to jail again. Something is wrong
here in the Empire State, because he dared to speak out about
his plight and asserted his First Amendment right of “free
speech.” His penalty is a six-month suspended sentence and
additional “fees on fees” for the ex’s attorney.
George Ihlenburg, a modest plumber by trade, has to pay his
own skyrocketing legal fees, pay the legal fees (in the many
thousands) to his ex-wife’s attorney, pay child support, and
continue to support himself, and he still cannot see his kids
after more than four and a half years of this legal charade.
Meanwhile, the lawyers go on vacations and buy land and second
homes; the judges get paid their 10-year, $1,000,000 contracts
and build their pensions. The children are deprived of their
father, who is quickly going into the poorhouse at the behest
of a singularly corrupt, continuing anti-father New York state
The New York state court administration has recently “reached
into its bullpen” (the new judge’s words—not mine), seemingly
for more of the same mistreatment of this father. It just
plain sucks, and we are fighting an operation in Iraq for
their freedom. Why don’t we spend some critical energy and
look at our own systemic deprivation of our fundamental liberty,
freedom and dignity on the New York home turf? Based on our
continuing firsthand recorded experience, we need to replace
much of the current autocratic family-court system with a
meritocracy and to hold very accountable those complicit in
the mass destruction being created by our third and most powerful
branch of government.
Fathers’ Rights Association, Capital District Chapter
a Tip for You
Nilsson’s article about tipping [Food, April 24] was both
enlightening and interesting. I’m still curious, though, about
his reaction to the outspoken server who ran after his companion
demanding a “goddamn tip.” If the tone of her question were
to suggest that the diner overlooked the gratuity, there is,
in my opinion, a better chance that the customer would visit
again. If it were me, I would have serious reservations about
revisiting an establishment where tips are demanded post-visit.
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