Finkelstein comments: In a potentially deal-changing development, Dr Baldeo has decided to retain counsel in order to file a motion contesting the stipulation (final agreement). It will be argued that he signed the stipulation under extreme duress and therefore it should be declared null and void. The duress entailed two distinct if overlapping dimensions: immediate and long-term. The excerpt below will appear in my forthcoming article, the publication of which has been deferred until the new litigation plays out.
Dr Baldeo entered Mineola Family Court on Friday, 4 August 2017 resolved not to sign the stipulation until he read it in full.
“I won’t sign it until I’ve read it,” he kept intoning as if in a trance when we met, “I won’t sign, I won’t sign, I won’t sign.”
The stipulation was drawn up by Michael Chetkof and Allyson Burger.
Dr Baldeo already knew not to trust them further than he could throw them. In an earlier draft, Chetkof and Burger had sunk so low as to insert a clause barring Dr Baldeo’s children from staying overnight with him on weekends.
The stipulation was handed to Dr Baldeo at 2:00 p.m. He had come to Court that day straight from a grueling 12-hour night shift in the hospital Emergency Room. The stipulation ran to fully 100 pages of dense legalese. He was allotted all of one hour to scrutinize it.
Dr Baldeo, his Father, his two lawyers and I sat down in a conference room to read the document line by line.
But we hit up against a calculated trap at page 16. Dr Baldeo, who has a keen eye and memory for numbers, noticed that the very first key figure in the document was off by fully $50,000.
These cheating lawyers were playing their usual smarmy games. (Whenever Burger inserted “approximately” in front of a figure, it was a telltale sign the figure was fake.)
Dr Baldeo had to contact the bank in order to verify his recollection. It took nearly a half hour of wrangling over the phone before the bank released the critical information that Dr Baldeo needed.
But that was only half the challenge. It then took another half hour before Chetkof and Burger finally conceded that they had faked the number. Still, they refused to fully compensate Dr Baldeo, as they offered him instead a small “credit.”
These vile hucksters were carrying on as if this were a Middle East bazaar not a Court of Law.
Excusing himself, Dr Baldeo walked out to “negotiate” with them.
Meanwhile I sat in the Conference room expecting that he would return shortly with the news that they redacted the stipulation with the correct figure.
What happened next left me in shock. Recalling the scene in my mind’s eye, even now I tremble, tremble, tremble.
An hour after leaving the conference room Dr Baldeo returned with a crushed expression on his face.
He had signed the stipulation.
The lawyers and Court officials had trounced on him like vultures swooping in on a wounded bird of prey.
“Sign! Sign! Sign!” they commanded.
“It’s 4:30 p.m. It’s the weekend. We want to go home.”
“The Judge is putting on her robe, the Court reporter is ready.”
“Sign! Sign! Sign!”
Depleted and defenseless, taunted and terrorized, Dr Baldeo put his initial to three hundred pages in five minutes. (He had to sign each page of the stipulation in triplicate.)
Although he had resolved that morning not to sign the stipulation until he read it in full, Dr Baldeo had gotten through just 16 pages before a battery of artillery was pointed at his head.
The agreement incorporated clauses that bound Dr Baldeo for the next 12 years. When he finally got around to reading it from first page to last, he broke done in hysterical sobbing.
“I lost everything,” Dr Baldeo barely squeezed out the next night between tears. He was calling me from his car on his way home from the hospital.
“My life’s been destroyed.”
”They didn’t even let me read the stipulation before I signed it.”
It would be a category error, however, if the extreme duress suffered by Dr Baldeo were reduced to that last godforsaken day in Court.
If he capitulated on that day, it was because of the extreme duress—nay, unspeakable violence—inflicted on Dr Baldeo during the precedent 16 months, that was premeditatedly designed to erode his will to resist the shakedown.
Projecting her own sadomasochistic fantasies, born of a perverted, pornographic, hitherto repressed id, rookie torturer Allyson Burger besmirched Dr Baldeo in Court paper after Court paper, and then programmed his ex-wife to recapitulate these crude fantasies in sworn Court testimony.
Psychologically battered and emotionally mutilated, Dr Baldeo reacted in mortification as Burger staged before an already predisposed public—wasn’t Dr Baldeo a dark-hued immigrant Muslim?—her diabolical playbook.
Indeed, Act 1, Scene 1 was already a damnable fiction, as Burger counseled her client to take out an Order of Protection on the palpably, provably spurious ground that Dr Baldeo had “threatened” her.
After having devoted the whole of his adult life to securing hearth and home for his family, Dr Baldeo was left in an instant stroke homeless, thrown to the dogs, as a result of Burger’s dastardly plot.
Once Burger had softened up Dr Baldeo, virtuoso torturer Michael Chetkof moved in for the kill.
Plunging the clammy palms and gnarled fingers of his pudgy hands deep into his bag of dirty tricks, this Fagin-esque ghoul scrounged for some dirt so as to blackmail Dr Baldeo into submission.
Although Chetkof could barely dig up a smudge, Dr Baldeo—unfamiliar with a court of law, its protocols, and the rodents scurrying in the penumbra of its chambers—panicked as the dire prospect of losing his precious medical license and even jail appeared to hang over his head.
Framed by Burger and blackmailed by Chetkof, Dr Baldeo couldn’t eat or sleep.
Day after day, Dr Baldeo was gripped by sheer terror.
Night after night, Dr Baldeo had to muster the inner fortitude to perform at peak in the hospital Emergency Room while simultaneously waging a life-and-death battle against these satanic Forces of Evil.
Haunted by these 16 months of unspeakable violence, Dr Baldeo entered the Courthouse on 4 August already a broken man, a carcass to be devoured.