Finkelstein comments: Fateful days lie ahead. Dr Baldeo must appear in Court on Wednesday, October 4, 2017. Vulture-lawyers Michael Chetkof and Allyson Burger have filed an Order of Contempt against him. Remember Dr Baldeo in your prayers, and don’t forget to sign the petition:
Michael Chetkof, Allyson Burger —
DAY OF RECKONING, DAY OF ATONEMENT
“All I heard was sign, sign, sign, the Judge is in her robe, and the reporter is ready, I need a signed copy. Hurry, I need a signed copy. Within 5 minutes I had to sign and initial 300 pages.”
–Dr Rudolph Baldeo, Minutes of Court Proceeding, 24 August 2017
I had put off reading the dreaded fine points of the stipulation (final agreement) drafted by attorneys Michael Chetkof and Allyson Burger.
But in recent days Dr Baldeo has begun canvassing for a lawyer to nullify it.
Brushing up for the next battle and bracing for the worst, I relegated several hours to peruse the document.
However, it took me not several hours but several days.
The troubles started already in the first few pages. When I read Article V (Personal Property and Household Effects), my heart sank. I sat in on those negotiations. Dr Baldeo hadn’t agreed to this text; he explicitly rejected it.
I got up and paced the apartment to catch my breath.
I then alit on Article VI (Equitable Distribution and Division of Assets). The fake numbers Dr Baldeo had spotted during the lunch break weren’t corrected.
My head throbbing, I swallowed two Advils hoping to sleep it off.
Then Article X (Custody and Parenting Time). Dr. Baldeo never agreed to these terms.
I thrust the document away in disgust and resolved to set it aside for several hours. But I couldn’t shake it; it was as if I were in the grip of a dybbuk.*
Then Article XIV (Debts), Article XVI (Income Tax Returns). Dr. Baldeo never agreed to these terms either.
I shouted out loud. I banged my desk.
Then Article XIX (Disclosure and Legal Representation). Chetkof had reinserted his plucked-from-thin-air attorneys fees.
I cursed the lawyers, the court, the world.
How, in the Almighty’s name, could this have happened?
But it wasn’t just the terms of the stipulation that rankled. The depiction of its execution mangled Truth as it mocked Justice.
Dr Baldeo was battered into signing a document that, almost as if designed to taunt and torment him, repeatedly stated he had read it in full and under no time constraints, and had signed it of his own volition:
WHEREAS, the parties are entering into this Stipulation of Settlement (“Stipulation”) of their own free will and without force, coercion or duress of whatever nature . . .
WHEREAS, each party fully understands the terms, covenants, and conditions of this Stipulation and is of the belief that it is fair, just, adequate, and reasonable . . . , and after due consideration, freely and voluntarily accepts and agrees to said terms, conditions, and provisions without any duress or coercion being put . . .
ARTICLE XX. The parties acknowledge that they are entering into this Stipulation freely and voluntarily; that they have ascertained and weighed, to their complete satisfaction, all of the facts and circumstances likely to influence their judgment . . . ; and that they have been duly apprized of their respective legal rights and each has had the provisions hereof fully explained to them . . .
ARTICLE XXII. Each party represents that they have had ample time to consider the legal and practical implications of this Stipulation and have weighed all the facts and circumstances likely to influence their judgment herein . . . . [B]oth parties acknowledge that it is a fair agreement and is not the result of any fraud, duress, or undue influence exercised by either party upon the other or by any other person or persons upon either party. Each party warrants and acknowledges that this Stipulation is not entered into under the influence of any emotional stress . . .
RUDOLPH LAURENCE BALDEO, being first duly sworn, . . . makes this Affidavit . . . . 1. That he has read the Stipulation, word for word, paragraph by paragraph. 2. That he understands its contents . . . . 4. That this Stipulation completely and perfectly expresses his understanding of the terms of the settlement . . . . 6. That his assent to this Stipulation was reached after mature deliberation and after consultation with counsel. 7. That his execution of this Stipulation is his own free act and deed . . . . 9. That neither the property settlement arrived at . . . , nor his signing and acknowledging of the foregoing Stipulation was occasioned, brought about or influenced by the use of any duress, coercion or undue influence practiced, brought or exercised upon him in any manner by any person whomsoever.
Were the signature Dr Baldeo affixed on this document the last scene of the last act, such an affront to the Rule of Law and Dignity of Man would surely be cause for despair.
But a Power greater than all earthly beings plotted a different denouement.
The stipulation was signed on 4 August 2017. On 24 August 2017, Court proceedings resumed to implement its terms. A new batch of complex documents were of a sudden shoved rapid fire in Dr Baldeo’s face as he was imposed upon to sign away his life’s earnings and belongings.
But the wheels of injustice just as suddenly ground to a dead halt. Dr Baldeo requested the right to speak. What then ensued was as if a poet had stepped in to dramatize the most poignant moment ever enacted in the court’s hallowed halls.
“Please, your honor. This is the first time I address you,” Dr Baldeo gently, humbly began.
I pleaded, I begged them to give me ample time to sign all these documents, to review all these documents, to read them when I’m in a stable frame of mind. Today is the first time I’m presented with all these documents to sign. One second ago is the first time I’m hearing about this.
I was instructed to sign over my car. But the form they wanted me to sign was blank, without any information what I’m signing for.
And if I may say this, it’s exactly what happened with the stipulation.
Coming into court after a long night in the Emergency Room at the hospital, all I heard was sign, sign, sign, the Judge is in her robe, and the reporter is ready, I need a signed copy. Hurry, I need a signed copy.
Within 5 minutes I had to sign and initial 300 pages.
I did not get a chance to look at the stipulation and read it. I did not understand why.
The courtroom erupted in a deafening silence as Dr Baldeo’s chastening words wafted through the air above, while the sublimity of his soul resonated in the air below.
No one—not the lawyers, not the court officials—contested or contradicted, disputed or denied, a single utterance of his soliloquy.
The purity of Dr Baldeo’s cadences dispelled in a stroke the cloud of venomous lies seeded by Chetkof and Burger that, for 17 months, had hung over the Court’s chamber.
The Sun’s beams had pierced its polluted space.
Truth, if only for an ephemeral moment, had bested its Nemesis.
The last word, however, was left to Honorable Stacy D. Bennett.
As if to underscore the pathos and profundity of what just transpired, Judge Bennett reminded those seated in the courtroom that Dr Baldeo’s words had been “stated under oath.”
Dr Baldeo is now seeking to right the wrong, undo the injustice.
His Fate hangs in the balance. It will be for Judge Bennett to decide.
I compose these words on the eve of Yom Kippur, the Jewish Day of Atonement.
It is said that the Jewish god will forgive any sin, however iniquitous, so long as the sinner repents.
Still, even if Michael Chetkof and Allyson Burger did suffer pangs of conscience, it must be that the pleas of these criminally depraved minds will go unanswered.
“He who says, ‘I will sin, and repent: I will sin and repent’; he will never achieve repentance. ‘I will sin and the Day of Atonement will atone’; the Day of Atonement does not atone. Transgressions between man and God—the Day of Atonement atones. Transgressions between man and his neighbor—the Day of Atonement does not atone, until he appeases his neighbor.” (Mishnah, Yoma 8.9.)
With my own two eyes, I stared it in the face: Evil Unredeemable.
“The difference between you and me,” Dr Baldeo once told Chetkof and Burger, “is that I save lives, you ruin them.”
The Hebrew Bible does not conceive a Hell, but if it did, they would surely burn there.
* In Jewish tradition, a malevolent wandering spirit that enters and possesses the body of a living person until exorcized.