After publishing the story CT Stay-at-Home Mother, Cobie Jane, Lost Her Kids to Wealthy Dentist Father, people who knew the couple, dentist Neal Graber and his wife Cobie Jane, have contacted me.
Everyone said that Cobie Jane was a good mother and what happened to her in CT Family Court was a grave miscarriage of justice. But unfortunately, as they often do in CT Family Court, they terminate the parental rights of the stay-at-home mother when the wealthy dad insists.
One call I was surprised to receive was from the father of Neal Graber, the wealthy dentist who snatched two sons away from Cobie.
Dr. Stuart Graber called me to explain what happened between his son, and Cobie, his former daughter-in-law, from his perspective.
Here is my interview with Dr. Stuart Graber.
Parlato: May I get you on the record?
Dr. Graber: Absolutely. You’ve only touched the surface of the injustice in your last story. I’ll put it in writing. Then, I’ll go to court. What was done to Cobie by the Connecticut Family Court is abominable. Cobie is probably the most excellent, caring, nurturing mother I have ever met.
Neal’s mother destroyed our son. He’s a monster. Neal has an extreme personality disorder.
And the CT Family Court gave the two boys to this monster. He has ruined them.
The last contact I had with my son was about four years ago. Neal’s oldest son, Harrison, is like his father, with a huge personality disorder.
Parlato: So what happened? How did this mother, Cobie, wind up being homeless and the boys being just with Neal?
Dr. Graber: They bought a house in New Canaan, Connecticut, a very affluent, beautiful area. Cobie found a home for a good deal, and they used her inheritance from her grandmother for the downpayment. Neal absconded with it because he had sharp and cunning lawyers, and he had the money to pay and pay. He bullied her. He had the money
And the fact that he’s gone through umpteen lawyers is a clear indication they probably don’t want to deal with him after they make a deal to do what they have to do.
At one point, I lost contact with Neal when he was in college at Emory. But we went to the 96 Olympics together in Atlanta. He then went on to dental school in Alabama, and we lost contact because he refused to have contact when he was with his mother. His mother forbids it.
Parlato: The mother alienated you from your son?.
Dr. Graber: One hundred percent. So, after Neal married Cobie, I got a call from Neal. He said, “You know, my wife wants to meet you.”
We met at a restaurant in Stamford. I was immediately impressed with his woman. I remember coming home and telling my wife that Cobie’s a wonderful person. She’s bright, and she’s beautiful, she’s intelligent, she’s well-spoken. She’s accomplished. Amazing.
I was shocked because Neal demonstrated severe personality disorders from the very beginning of his youth. Typically, his mother would not let him play on the street because those were street kids. And we lived in a decent neighborhood in Stamford in a private community. It was beautiful, but she would not let Neal play with street kids because ‘you’re above that.’ So this is the mentality she created.
Insecure and conceited, she has illusions of grandeur. This is what she created for this poor boy. He is antisocial.
At one point, I invited him to my dental practice. He met my partner, and my partner said, “there’s something wrong with him. He could never come into our practice.”
How he practices dentistry is beyond me because he has no friends. No male friends. He belittles women. And the only reason that kids are with him is that he bought them skis and things. Cobie was what I call ‘Mother Earth.’ And he is just spoiling these kids just to alienate and buy them.
Any judge, anyone in a room speaking to her and then speaking to him within five minutes will realize the problem. The judges missed it. Totally.
Parlato: Why do you suppose that is? Why have the judges ruled against Cobie as if she’s the evil one? She’s the crazy one?
Dr. Graber: Is there one instance they’re saying that she’s crazy or evil? One example? What? Give me one thing? Nothing.
There’s nothing. There is no evidence. There is no incident of her ever being crazy, incompetent. or not a good mother. Just the opposite.
Parlato: Let me retract that and say that she’s the one that’s lost the children, alienated against her, and then no one would be willing to enforce her legal right to see her children when your son refused to permit it.
Dr. Graber: Right. And I have no idea why. She had one of these Guardians. Am I correct in saying that?
Parlato: The guardian ad litem, Jill Plancher.
Dr. Graber: The guardian ad litem said to Cobie, “the kids are afraid to see you because the father would not punish them but alienate them, and they would be upset. And this is what happened. So I mean, first of all, these kids are now ruined.
From what I understand, the older one is now following in his father’s footsteps at Emory. The last contact with him sounded like his words were like his father’s. Very dangerous. Very improper, very wrong. I mean, I can’t express this any greater.
Neal’s my son. Talking to you like this about my son is only because of what he’s done, and what the Connecticut Family Court system has done to Cobie is a total injustice.
And what they’re doing to my grandchildren. They’re destroying my two grandchildren.
I will never be able… they’ll never be able to connect with me. Not with a father like that. They’ll be damaged goods. I cannot express it more.
Parlato: I see.
Dr. Graber: Neal has been a problem. The only thing I find fault with Cobie is, why would you have married him? Because he was no different from when she met him to now.
There was a period of time I guess he behaved. In their courtship and they had two kids, obviously. But when I met them, he introduced me to Cobie as ‘this is my beautiful wife. I love her. She’s great.’
And why this turned into hatred, I don’t know. I can’t give you one instance in which Cobie was wrong from my observation. She kept a beautiful home. She kept nutritious organic food, healthy foods, television, and community. She had very nice friends, social friends in the community, and was an activist to get schools better, libraries, so forth and so on.
And Neal has no friends and never did.
Parlato: So, how does this system work? What’s wrong with this system? That a mother like her winds up with no relationship with her own two sons?
Dr. Graber: I don’t know how the legal system allowed this to happen. I don’t. This is poor investigative research by the courts by the legal attorney. Absolutely poor.
Parlato: Is it possible that money influenced the results here?
Dr. Graber: Absolutely. Neal made a good living. He has good hands. He said, ‘I got that from you, Dad.’ But he can’t establish a relationship with me. I’ll give you a very poignant story of when I was divorced from his mother back in 1980. I sued for more visitation rights with my sons because she made it very difficult. She made it difficult for me to attend ball games, very difficult for them to continue their religious training, which was minimal, but every week they were sick, or they couldn’t go or whatever. So every week I couldn’t go. I tried to take them skiing. No, they’re sick. The stories abound, so I finally sued for more visitation rights in Stamford courts. A guardian ad litem attorney was appointed.
So I was now living in Bedford on four acres with a stable and paddocks, and we had four horses. And this is the most shocking story I’ve ever told. I’ve said it over and over many times.
The guardian ad litem attorney came over to me because I represented myself in court. After all, I thought it was a slam dunk type thing. And I had a very liberal divorce agreement that I was gonna pay for college and health and everything else because I was a dentist, and I was doing well.
So the attorney comes to my house. I can’t breathe when I think of this. She comes to talk dining room. I was remarried, and she said, “Oh my God.” She said, “Can I sit down?” So I said, “What’s the matter? Is something wrong?”
She says, “my husband is down the end of your driveway. I was so frightened to come here because the stories I heard from your kids were so bizarre that I thought I was going to the monster’s house.” She said, “Oh my God. Your house is what my husband and I would die for. You have horses and paddocks and a beautiful home. You have no idea what this woman is having these kids tell me.” She says to me, “I have to tell you that you could never tell this to anybody else because I could lose my license. Get yourself an attorney because this woman is a witch.”
Parlato: Was the guardian ad litem that said this?
Dr. Graber: Yes. She said, “do not repeat what I said. I will lose my license because I’m not allowed to give you this kind of advice. So you’re dealing with a witch. And she has done this to these kids.” I am very close to my oldest son, Marc. I speak to him every single day in my life, and I’m close to his wife and his two kids. Marc doesn’t talk to his mother and Neal.
My ex-wife’s mother, Ita, was from Italy. She was a doll. I was at parties with her and she would say, “I don’t know what happened to my daughter.” Her sister told me, “Stuart, how could you not see what she was like? Why would you have married her?”
You know, I was 25. She was pretty. We were having fun. I was stationed in Germany for three years in the Army as a dentist. My life was good. But she was very insecure. And antisocial. She liked to call herself a contessa. So she created this attitude in Neal, who evidently absorbed it and became a very, very disturbed young man.
How he practices I have no idea. Other than the fact he may have very good hands and he is bright.
Parlato: I see. Was Neal known to be violent with his wife, Cobie? Do you know?
Dr. Graber: Well, she called me at some point. Neal would come home from stress in the office, drink too much vodka, and become somewhat violent. I didn’t follow any of that.
I don’t think she ever really accused him of any violence, but he was vulgar to her and her friends. And these are wealthy people from New Canaan. I mean, she had lovely friends, not him. Not a one. Not a male friend has he ever had. And he’s a very strange perception of women.
Parlato: In what way?
Dr. Graber: Somewhat sexually. Somewhat belittling. He can’t be friends with a woman. He doesn’t view them as an equal. I think one of the problems may have been that Cobie was accomplished. She was marketing for UPS if I’m not mistaken. She basically put him through dental school.
I think he was challenged by her. And when she and his mother had disagreements, that was all that he needed to alienate him. So he now lives with his mother.
Parlato: Has Neal remarried? Or does he have a new girlfriend?
Dr. Graber: Supposedly. The last time I had any contact was when my partner was thinking of bringing him in as a third partner back in the 90s when Neal was going to school and expressing an interest.
My partner met him at a meeting in Fairfield, about three months ago, and he came over to me and said, “Neal’s no different. He’s the same weird person”. I mean, he’s not socially correct in any way whatsoever. I mean, anyone would recognize this in five minutes.
But I’m sure he stood behind the aprons of his attorneys. And these attorneys did what he asked them to do.
And what he did is he destroyed two boys. There’s no reason why Cobie shouldn’t be seeing these kids. None whatsoever. if they want to get divorced, it’s fine, but there is no reason he alienated these kids against her. Zero.
Parlato: Would he be the type of man to punish these kids if they tried to show affection or a wish to be with their mother?
Dr. Graber: Absolutely. Absolutely. He brainwashed these kids. And then like I said, the last time I had contact, which was maybe five, six years ago with Harrison, the older one. The words he spoke when he referred to his mother. He said, “oh, you don’t understand.” “Understand what, Harrison?” He couldn’t come up with an answer. Bizarre. It was bizarre words coming from now a bizarre 14- 15 year old.
Parlato: Was she a stay-at-home mother initially?
Dr. Graber: Yes, very much so. They always make very decent income. Cobie made all suggestions regarding buying the practice that he eventually bought, setting it up and developing the marketing scheme, and getting everything going. Cobie did it. Neal was not swift enough. Cobie has business acumen. He didn’t.
Parlato: So she put him through dental school, found the house that they lived in, and made a deal.
Dr. Graber: Absolutely.
Parlato And then, she raised the children and supported and guided his business.
Dr. Graber: Absolutely.
Parlato: And then, when did they divorce? Do you know how old the children were?
Dr. Graber: I think when they were like 12 and eight, so you’re talking about six or seven years ago.
Parlato: So she raised them during the hardest, early years.
Dr. Graber: Absolutely. I mean, this is an injustice that is beyond belief.
Parlato: What could be done now if anything?
Dr. Graber: I don’t know, that’s why I called you.
I had dinner with Cobie about eight weeks ago when she happened to be in from Ghana. She’s trying to pay her bills and make money doing some exporting, which she doesn’t deserve to be. But it was a job that she found, and she was out of the market for ten years of her life.
Not only was Cobie beautiful, but intelligent, well-spoken, accomplished. And when she bought that house, a good deal on the house, and Neal would agree to that, it was her grandmother’s inheritance.
Parlato: Oh, so she made the down payment on the house?
Dr. Graber: Yes, yes,
Parlato: Did she get that money back?
Dr. Graber: I don’t think so. I wasn’t privy to it. I tried to only develop a relationship with Neal, trying to help because he called he said, Could you help? We’re headed towards divorce. So when he asked for my help, I jumped at the opportunity absolutely because I had nothing.
Within those couple of weeks and months, or maybe a year or so, I had numerous contact with him, more so than with Cobie, but my opinion of Cobie never changed from the first time I met her. A delightful young woman.
Neal ruined Cobie’s life.
And he’s destroying these two boys. I can’t imagine these two boys having a normal social life. So I’ve lost contact with them. And I hope one day they’d reach out to me. I always left that as a possibility. But they haven’t.
Parlato: How old are they now?
Dr. Graber: Harrison is in his first year of college at Emory, so that would be 18. And the other one is about three-four years younger.
Parlato: I see, so they’re closing in on being adults.
Dr. Graber: They are, and I still hold out hope to Cobie. I said, “hopefully, they’ll have friends in college, and they’ll have some questions like you had some questions of me when you met Neal.”
Neal had lied to Cobie about me. But he was manipulated. Cobie heard about me from Neal, but when she met me, she told Neal “that’s just not true.”
Parlato: Right. Right. How many children did you have with Randy?
Dr. Graber: Two, Marc and Neal. We were living in Germany when Marc was born. I was a dentist in Germany. I was a captain and became a major. We came home with a child and then Neal was born in Stamford.
Parlato: You have a good relationship with your older son?
Dr. Graber: Excellent. Every day we talk. We’re in business together on a ski house in Vermont with two other friends. My son Marc is the most personable people person you could imagine. He is in the hospitality business. Marc has a wife and two delightful kids. We are as close as could be.
Parlato: Do Marc and Neal talk?
Dr. Graber: No.
Parlato: So I assume then that Marc doesn’t have a relationship with his nephews?
Dr. Graber: Zero. I don’t know if he’s met them.
Parlato: And Marc has children too, right?
Dr. Graber: Yes, he has two. This coming September, the 18-year-old is going off to the University of Indiana business school. And young Emily, who’s now 14 years old.
Parlato: Does Randy have a relationship with Marc’s children?
Dr. Graber: Zero.
Parlato: So it’s a truly divided family right down the middle.
Dr. Graber: Truly divided. But not only do Randy and Neal not have a relationship with Marc, they did not have one with Randy’s own mother for the last five or seven years of their relationship. She does not have a relationship with her younger sister Sondra, which I do.
Randy is not unlike Neal. I don’t want to go there because I’m not a psychiatrist, but I believe most of this is through Randy’s manipulation. And brainwashing. Neal is a product of his mother, and he can’t overcome it.
Parlato: Would you be open to your grandchildren contacting you?
Dr. Graber: One hundred percent. Let them know that in the end, I’m here.
Parlato: Dr. Graber, you said you were a dentist for many years?
Dr. Graber: I retired at 72. I sold my practice. I’m 76, and I’m now working two days a week at Montefiore Hospital with 12 of the 60 residents under my instruction. And it’s become very successful. I started about nine months ago.
Parlato: Congratulations on that. And how is Neal’s practice? Do you think he’s running a successful, profitable dental practice?
Dr. Graber: I think he is.
Parlato: His claim to Cobie, according to Cobie, was that his business was down, and he, at least at one point, barely had any money, yet she said he bought a new house and drove an expensive car.
Dr. Graber: Neal’s bright and has good hands, so he probably is a very decent dentist. However, how he relates to his patients, I have no idea.
But he probably has an extensive insurance practice in a very blue-collar neighborhood. The demographics are very blue-collar, with a lot of insurance. And he’s probably fast. And he probably does pretty well. I saw something in your article where he claims his income is down because he has some health issues or back issues. I doubt that.
Parlato: I see.
Dr. Graber: I’m not sure he’s making $600,000, which he may have done in his good years. But he’s undoubtedly making $400,000.
Dr. Graber: Net. Oh, yeah. No, I’m talking gross would be a million, a million two.
Parlato: I see. So he had the money. Cobie did not. I think you said he could spoil the kids with trips and finer things.
Dr. Graber: Skiing and trips. I took Neal to ski when he was a kid. I taught him how to ski. I had a ski house up in Okemo in Vermont. Right now we have another one that I bought with my son.
Parlato: Would you trust Cobie with your kids?
Dr. Graber: In a second.
Parlato: Does anything about her seem dangerous, or is there a valid reason to keep her from her children?
Dr. Graber: Nothing. I have never, ever seen any problem. I use to call her “mother earth” to the kids. And we kept in contact all these years. Occasionally, she’d write to me, or I’d write or call her.
Parlato: Did you get the feeling, or do you feel that if it had been up to her, she would have worked to keep the relationships?
Dr. Graber: Absolutely. Yes, she would have. She would never give up on those kids. Never.
Parlato: And how about keeping a relationship with you and trying to promote one with you and your son?
Dr. Graber: That’s what she tried to do. She contacted me to back a relationship with Neal being my son.
I guess maybe it made it worse when she challenged him. She said “your dad’s nothing like you told me. He did not marry someone in his office. He is not an evil person. Your mother is telling you this, but that’s not your father.”
Cobie and I have a nice relationship now. I would have loved her to be my daughter-in-law. And I miss her terribly.
I would welcome any help you could give us. That’s why I’m reaching out to you to help. It pains me as a father to admit that my son is damaged goods.
Parlato: Is there any hope for him that maybe he may mellow out? Or calm down or realize that the mother overly influences his behavior towards you and his brother?
Dr. Graber: Well, I think it would take intensive therapy. I think too many years have gone by. He’s been poisoned so intensely for so many years that I don’t see it happening. He would need intensive therapy with psychiatry. And I’d be more than willing to go with him as often as required. I would pay for it.
Parlato: Is there anything else you’d like me to know?
Dr. Graber: It’s just that what you did is you touched the tip of the iceberg. The injustice is beyond belief.
Parlato: Well, we have to keep chipping away.
Dr. Graber: Do you think you could help in any way whatsoever? I mean, I will testify. I will do- I will give supporting information and do anything.
Parlato: Well, one of the ways that’s worked in other cases I’ve written about is sometimes children reunite. The children read the stories, and then they recognize that there’s a narrative that’s different than what their father has told them.
Dr. Graber: Well, if that would help, fine. An excellent result is that my grandchildren, his two sons, reunite with their mother. So that would be my hope, minimally.
I have no vindictive feelings towards my son. I feel bad for him. I feel bad that he must be suffering. Because nobody, nobody could function and feel comfortable with his life the way he is. He cut out their mother. He’s without friends.
No male friends, no female friends. No family. This is bizarre. I mean, attached to his mother is nuts. He didn’t have a close relationship with his brother or his aunt or nobody, and pretty much everybody will tell you exactly what I just told you.
And the courts did this. They missed it; they missed it greatly.
Parlato: I wonder if they were incentivized. The guardian’s desire for money and the lawyers. Knowing that Cobie couldn’t match Neal dollar for dollar, they leaned towards Neal, giving him the upper hand.
Dr. Graber: Absolutely. I mean, when she left, I think that she got back some of the money from her inheritance, but it wasn’t a significant sum.
Parlato: Lawyers would take that in no time at all.
Dr. Graber: She couldn’t pay a lawyer’s bills. We knew that.
Parlato: Dr. Graber, you’ve added a dimension that I think is important.
Dr. Graber: You could research my professional and personal contacts. I’m open to anything.
Parlato: Okay, Dr. Graber, I appreciate that.
Dr. Graber: I’m open to any verification. You could contact my colleagues and even my past partner in the practice we sold. He’s now chairman of the dental department in Montefiore, probably the largest, if not the second-largest program in the country.
And anything you need, I’ll give you any backup information. We just need help, justice.
Parlato: These are strange, Godless animals at CT Family Court. Time after time I see the stay-at-home mother robbed of her children. Always it is the guardian ad litem who takes control and squeezes the money out of the father and the mother is left homeless and without contact with her child. Godless creatures. Damnable, execrable. Someday there has to be justice for Cobie Jane and a grandfather who never got to know his grandchildren. Cobie would have tried for him.