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Dishonor Thy Father

To the Editor:

This 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 family-court system.

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.

George Courtney III
Fathers’ Rights Association, Capital District Chapter

Here’s a Tip for You

To the Editor:

B.A. 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.

David Wilkinson

Metroland welcomes typed, double-spaced letters (computer printouts OK), addressed to the editor. Or you may e-mail them to: Metroland reserves the right to edit letters for length; 300 words is the preferred maximum. You must include your name, address and day and evening telephone numbers. We will not publish letters that cannot be verified, nor those that are illegible, irresponsible or factually inaccurate.

Send to:
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4th Floor, Albany, NY 12210
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