By Richard Luthmann
Last week, Frank Parlato reported on a lawsuit filed in Connecticut federal court by Theodora Antar, a law school student and mother. The case was filed with the best intentions, “to stand up for my little girl,” Antar said.
We have had a chance to read and digest the 98-page filed court document, a true testament to modern word processing programs.
Admittedly, the complaint, which rings in fraud, civil conspiracy, and RICO violations, is grandiose but still incomplete.
“I am going to add everything else with the amended complaint, and it will be much more detailed and “well-pleaded” just trying to do what I can as a pro se desperate mom who has not seen her daughter in 2 months and has not been able to talk to her in 5 days.😞”
Antar is in her second year of law school at the University of Connecticut School of Law. No one is more litigious than a 2L, and her pleadings drip with the good, the bad, and the ugly.
You don’t have to pay for law school to know that you “Sue Everybody.” The crank-call comedians, the Jerky Boys, reminded us about this a generation ago. Antar takes it to a new level.
The first nine pages of her document are spent naming defendants – people she wants to sue. She’s sued everyone and their uncle, literally.
One named defendant is Connecticut resident Abdelghany Antar, Theodora’s biological father. She says the Connecticut system is corrupt because she watched her father bilk it for “millions of dollars through a series of intricate RICO schemes that he orchestrated.” In 2011, Abdelghany Antar was sentenced to 37 months in federal prison for a mortgage scam scheme.
Another named defendant is Diamanto Antonellis, Theodora’s mother, who “lost custody of plaintiff when plaintiff was fourteen years old, forcing her to then live under the care and custody of [her father], who then proceeded to neglect plaintiff for the four years,” according to the papers.
Antar’s story gets more convoluted as she discusses her own experiences as a minor. “Plaintiff was not only abandoned by Defendant Antonellis and then by Defendant Antar, but ultimately it was the Department of Children and Families who abandoned plaintiff and failed to protect her from the ongoing harm.”
She has an ax to grind against DCF, which she alleges “receives billions of dollars in grants from the federal government that is supposed to go toward the protection of children, however every single day children like plaintiff and plaintiff’s minor daughter A.L. continue to be victimized, and then re-victimized by the system.”
But Antar fails to reconcile how DCF and her parents were all bad actors AND parties to a larger conspiracy to steal federal money earmarked for “the protection of children” at the same time.
Antar names and blames over twenty Connecticut judges for corruption as if they were a huddle of penguins on the march. The emperor, in Antar’s eyes, is Judge Jane Grossman.
The law student says the Presiding New Haven Family Court Judge for post-judgment matters “abused her authority and conspired with other defendants and orchestrated an intricate scheme involving obstruction of justice, tampering with witnesses, intrinsic fraud upon the court, and other acts in violation of state and federal laws, including but not limited to bribery, racketeering, and trafficking of children into homes where they were more likely to experience sexual abuse in an alarming pattern and trend.”
Judge Grossman is familiar to FR readers. Her name has repeatedly been related to family court cases involving Christopher Ambrose and his teenagers, Luigi DiRubba, Paul Boyne, and others.
Other judges are notably mentioned, including “timid” Judge James Kenefick, who folded like a cheap tent when Attorney Marianne Charles stormed into his chambers. “I Want My Fucking Bill Paid!” Charles screeched, and Judge Kenefick acquiesced.
Antar does not allege what Judge Kenefick said or did that makes him corrupt beyond being a poor, old, inept soul bullied by his brethren and sistren on the bench and bar. Nowhere in the 98 pages and over 200 paragraphs does she detail with any specificity what Kenefick, Grossman, or any of these other judges did that was corrupt.
Corruption is actionable. Ignorance and arrogance are not. And Antar’s papers do not detail the judges’ corruption in any way. No specifics of who, what, when, where, why, and how are produced or alleged.
Not For Profit Organizations
Antar also inexplicably includes several not-for-profit charities and their directors as defendants. These charities include Connecticut Protective Moms, BHcare Inc., BHcare Foundation Inc., Center for Children’s Advocacy Inc., Connecticut Alliance to End Sexual Violence Inc., Connecticut Coalition Against Domestic Violence, and Access Health International Inc.. She says these organizations are caught up in the fraudulent enterprise but admits her complaint doesn’t explain how.
“The same people are on the executive boards for all these nonprofits getting billions, the same state actors who are corrupt are stealing money and laundering cash and stealing from poor women and children and men who are not able to fight back,” Antar said.
The law student may have problems proving that “none” of these organizations “actually help.” Many in Connecticut believe these groups are helpful, and there will be no shortage of witnesses to tell their stories.
RICO and Overt Acts
FR previously asked whether the Connecticut Courts operate like a crime syndicate.
The opinion advanced in that article is that certain members of the CT Family Court “enterprise” appear to work together to achieve common objectives and pursue the enterprise’s mission. In legal parlance, these are called “overt acts” and are necessary predicates to a RICO conspiracy.
Frank Report identified several categories of potential overt acts:
- Manipulating family court decisions for financial gain
- Suppressing the voices and rights of children and parents, especially those of financial or legal disadvantage.
- Advancing their financial and personal interests by corrupt and illegal means
- Using the label “parental alienation” as a weapon against less influential parents contrary to evidence and expert opinions.
- Facilitating and endorsing the financial manipulations of more affluent parents.
- Systematically dismissing evidence, neglecting abuse histories, and rejecting expert advice that did not align with their desired outcomes.
- Coercing parents under threats of stripping visitation rights without a genuine cause.
Antar’s pleadings claim RICO liability but do not even contain the words “overt act.” Nor do they allege that any specific individuals engaged in any of these activities in concert or in furtherance of the enterprise goals.
Federal Court pleadings require specificity of factual claims when a plaintiff alleges fraud. Antar’s papers do not meet that burden as they stand.
Amended Pleadings and Storytelling
The Federal Rules of Civil Procedure allow for a liberal amendment of pleadings. Antar would be well advised to use this process to focus on her claims, the defendants involved, and the story she wants to tell. She says this is her intention.
“I will be amending this initial complaint and including the required supplemental filing to establish further details. I have substantial proof to back up all that I am saying, clearly shows that the state of Connecticut is misusing federal funds in the sum of BILLIONS OF DOLLARS in nonprofit tax-exempt organizations that are supposed to help poor people like me get a lawyer, but none of them actually help,” she said.
One of the abilities that great lawyers understand is central to the lawyer’s craft is storytelling. Abraham Lincoln knew it and perfected the art of spinning even the most mundane points into memorable tales.
The American Bar Association Section of Litigation has publications on this very point. “At every stage of litigation, the art of the advocate is crafting a good story and telling it effectively so that the listener prefers your client’s story over that of your opponent.”
2L Theodora Antar has produced 98 pages and over 200 paragraphs. But she has yet to tell a compelling story. She says there is smoke but fails to describe what brought about even the smallest embers.
Until she amends her papers and tells a story that we can all relate to, her case is little more than a mother with some legal training’s frustration with the Connecticut system, which manifests in a ream of papers that the federal court will unquestionably ignore.
I hope she does amend and has the facts to support her claims. To make these allegations against the Connecticut Family Court establishment, to bring this kind of smoke also requires real fire. The fear is that Theodora Andar, who has aspirations of becoming a lawyer, may have her career suffocated before it begins for failure to provide plausible proof of her claims.
Richard Luthmann is a writer, editor, and investigative journalist.