Cast of Characters
Whistleblower in Paris offers far more than a crash course on judicial corruption. It takes a stressful subject and transforms it into a highly intriguing read based on a true story. In the early chapters you will meet prominent crusaders of reform such as Dr. Joseph Sorge, founder of Divorce Corp. He contributed millions of dollars to a documentary featured in theatres around the country. He also published a mini-documentary regarding this author and his mission to repeal federal grants that incentivized court conflict.
You will also meet a civil rights leader involved in the movement for racial justice during the sixties. You will meet a cleric who sidelines as a power broker with presidents and dignitaries. You will get to know a St. Johns University professor who spent millions in fees in a 15-year divorce. Armed with a PhD from Yale University and another degree from MIT, his crusade is to end judicial immunity from lawsuits brought by divorce and family court victims.
However, upon being oriented to a silent epidemic, you will enter the mainstay of our story in Chapter 5 entitled, Judge Paris Calls Paris. This is where the author begins his journey as a whistleblower fugitive in Paris, a magnificent tourist mecca where the reader will be treated to a guided tour. In the next chapter, Linda arrives, a similarly persecuted divorce victim also on the run from an arrest warrant in the states. Even if you struggle through all the early legalese, the transformation here will read like a John Grisham novel. Here are two excerpts:
During another dinner stop here, I was treated to real entertainment after a wholesome meal. The singers, fiddles and jigs were straight out of Ireland, only a short flight across the English Channel. It was also on this day that I met a single mom who was in the heat of a custody battle in the states. I was at it again when a group of parents were exchanging multi-nation divorce scandals with me at the bar. This mom managed to whittle it all down to an exclusive conversation.
Her name was Linda, and she wore a brown, plaid skirt with white blouse, smiling in a manner that drew you seductively into her world. Slender with long, jet-black hair curled around one of her shoulders, she could not have been much taller than five feet. Seated on a stool to my right, she was overtly nervous, eyes wandering at times, her legs crossed and switching them regularly.
After the introductions and small talk, the author takes you deeper into an unplanned romance:
Over the years, I had been dealing with victims electronically for the most part. As fate would have it, this would prepare me for a pandemic that would soon make its devastating impact. Deeper into our conversation, I learned that Linda was a crusader like me who had taken on more than her parenting rival. She had taken aim at corruption in the California divorce system, generating reports to various commissions, monitoring court proceedings and organizing rallies against domestic violence. In the end, she came up with essentially the same conclusions I did.
She related an ordeal that could be considered my maternal counterpart even with some puzzle pieces missing. Occasionally melancholy, she betrayed great wit and broke out laughing at her own jokes. She was a verbal gladiator, caretaker, intellectual, airhead, control freak and hopeless romantic all rolled up into one. She may have lit up the DSM-5 manual, and all the more sexy for it, bringing reminders of actress Debra Messing, a/k/a Kat in the acclaimed film, Wedding Date.
Yes, you could say that chance had brought another eclectic personality into my ever changing world, one that I desperately needed right now, a jump start of sorts even if it did add to my risks. That much was accentuated whenever our discourse returned to child custody. A familiar dark side would show up in her, a veritable Jeckle-Hyde figment in the flesh. A deep-seated hatred for this corrupted system had locked onto our meeting.
As our discourse continued to grow more trusting into the night, band music faded, loud patrons along with it. I could sense that something special was developing between us. In a matter of hours, total strangers had been transformed into kindred spirits, fate-driven partners on a mission to save our offspring from common enemies thousands of miles apart.
After becoming more intimate, I invited Linda out for a stroll. I’d seen enough romantic couples arm-in-arm on these streets during my nightly returns to the hotel. Anxious to get a taste, it was a chance I took. To my delight, Linda eagerly accepted. After satisfying a bar tab which could rival a lease payment, we exited Corcoran’s to join the evening glitz and a lover’s side to Paris.
We headed back toward Place de la Bastille which was teeming with activity, from late diners seated outside various cafes to diverse tourists engaged in dialogue of many languages. You couldn’t help wondering how all that meshed in one place without conflict or collision. We took photos of one another, then together at the urging of an elderly couple on an anniversary honeymoon. With their well wishes, we were suddenly on an impromptu honeymoon of our own.
One street off the northeast side of the plaza was quite inviting. We sauntered aimlessly along Rue de la Roquette, pausing from time to time to investigate the boutiques which caught Linda’s eye. Then we turned right onto Rue de Lappe as the passages narrowed. Here we found clubs galore and a hoard of night-goers which might intimidate many older tourists. To us it was an unexpected adventure, a trip back in time, a foray into our long-lost youth.
For no particular reason except its peculiar name, we boldly entered a night club known as Yellow Mad Monkey. Lots of energy inside, and there were even large plants suspended from the ceiling to give this place a sort of jungle décor. Tarzan himself might swing down for a beer. There were several chairs at a long table that seemed available, maybe the only ones in this crowded venue, but the two couples already seated there appeared to have claimed title to them.
We must have looked out of place because, sensing our predicament, one of the guys motioned us over. His name was Pierre from Quebec City, Canada, and after we seated ourselves, he politely introduced us to his wife, Charlene, and acquaintances, Hank and Sheila. The latter couple hailed from West Virginia and the foursome had met at the Louvre earlier in the week. None of us being locals, it was easy to join their conversation over tourist sites.
Days later, at Linda’s urging, the two head for a villa on the French Riviera to avoid potential detection by interpole agents. Here dialogue might be familiar, even educational for victims:
The smell of eggs, bacon and home fries was permeating the bedroom even with the door shut and the window cracked open. I wasn’t sure whether it was that or the seagulls that woke me from a deep sleep. I was a poor cook and relied on diners to keep me alive back home. So this was a welcome break from that routine as was my new alarm clock.
“All rise, counsellor, this ain’t a food court I got going. If you wanna eat, get your butt down here.”
Linda would’ve made a great judge. Unfortunately, politicians have the inside track on those jobs. After visiting the bathroom, I joined Linda in her kitchen. She was gradually indoctrinating me to her legal matters, and we routinely discussed our ordeals over breakfast. I didn’t mind despite that scare the night before. We had become lovers joined by fate. I wanted to help her where I could and she seemed mutual about it. Today she felt comfortable enough to introduce me to her son.
“Hey Lee, take a look at these photos from last year back in California.” She beamed with love and pride as she placed them next to my plate. They featured a cute little boy in a pre-school setting. Linda carefully described the background behind each one. I hadn’t seen this side of her since I got here. Her eyes were glowing with a sincere smile beyond the trademark version.
“Wow! He’s so cute. I like the one with the football jersey.” I moved that photo closer for a better inspection. “What’s his name?”
“Gerry,” she replied still passing me more photos. I envied her condition. It was so much more humane than mine, all those days wondering where my daughters were, how they might have been doing at school, whether they were even safe. In most other respects, we were kindred spirits, victims of wolves in black robes and suits.
“When I look at photos like these,” she continued, “with all of what we’ve been talking about, it motivates me more to challenge this custody system. We shouldn’t be fighting over a prize like this. What kind of life is it for me and my boy?”
“That’s what I’ve been trying to tell you all along. Where is he now?”
“That’s what I’ve been wanting to tell you all along. It’s why I need your help.”
“Gerry is with a friend in Paris.”
“That place where you had our cab drop you off?”
“Yeah, there. I’m concealing his whereabouts from my ex-husband until I can get protection here in France along with a stay-away order against him.”
“But I thought you said it was all tied up in the courts of California.”
“It is. My ex-husband is not the real father, and we weren’t married at the time Gerry was born. The real father walked away from his responsibilities. Actually, he wanted an abortion which I could never do. It goes against all my beliefs.”
“We agreed to leave him off the birth certificate,” she explained further. “Then when I got married two years later, my husband became his dad. At least that’s the way we treated it. Everything was good until the physical abuse started. I did not want my son raised in that environment.”
“So you brought him overseas because I’m guessing a California judge is granting access rights.”
“Exactly, but it gets more complicated because now the lawyers want to know all about the real father and why he was kept off the birth certificate. They’re calling what we did a fraud. If the real dad is brought in, he might try to assert his rights now that he’s matured with a good job. It’s a real mess that’s got me very stressed and worried.”
“You should be. I think your bigger problem is going to be criminal kidnapping across borders.”
“Not if I can get a French court to grant my petition. Gerry’s not been here that long, and I got several lawyers working on it. So far, it’s been tangled up in jurisdiction issues.”
“Wow, that is a real mess. Why didn’t you tell me this sooner?”
“We’ve only been together less than two weeks. How could I? Still, you could be a life saver here.”
“I don’t know, Lynn, I’d like to help but my daughters were effectively kidnapped due to corruption within the justice system. It’s hard for me to sympathize with you on this.”
“Even if my ex is abusive and the real father an absentee?”
“No, I get that, but it’s a slippery slope. These are also highly abused custody tactics. You sure you’re not crying domestic violence just because you don’t like what he’s saying, maybe an argument that got out of hand, your ear drums the only real contact he made? I should know about this game. First, they force you out of a child’s life, then they label you an abuser or absentee.”
“And I get that too, especially with all of what you told me. But I can show you the proof.”
“Save that for the people you really need to convince. In my case, it was not about justice or the best interests of my daughters. It was about a gold-digging mom and a millionaire boyfriend she wanted to replace me with.”
“I may never get my true daughters back,” I lamented. “They’ve been cloned to be their mother contrary to the laws of nature. Plus, I can’t do this court thing anymore. They’ve made their sick point in a killer way. My health is now at stake. I’m no good to my girls dead by any court.”
I reached for a sip of coffee and continued. “I’m not doing the world any good either with a crusade so divided among the victims it’ll never see daylight. So I gotta try something new, something extraordinary to get overdue reform. One case at a time like you’re asking me here is not going to make a dent in this crusade. Other victims are pushed to their limits with violence and even murder-suicide. But that’s not me. Contrary to this honey badger reputation, I abhor violence.”
Linda sunk her head in disappointment, but I pressed on with my emotions rising.
“And somewhere along the way of this crusade, I expect to be compensated for my heavy losses, like anyone who loses a child to a criminal or drunk driver. That’s how they got it all backward. Instead, the wrongdoers are rewarded with revenues and support entitlements under that federal funding law. I lost precious time to where I don’t even recognize my girls anymore. I’m…”
“Well, hey, you…”
“No, hear me out Lynn.