January 03, 2006

Smoking Bans: More Collateral Damage

The problem with monomaniacal activists - the kind that give you things like smoking bans and .08 Blood Alcohol limits - is that they rarely if ever consider unintended side effects.

Mark "Marcus Aurelius" Wernimont is a good friend of mine, the Northern Alliance, and the MOB. He runs the Clean Air Quality blog - a blog primarily dedicated to getting the truth about smoking bans and the MPAAT's little racket out to you.

He ran smack-dab into one of those unintended consequences:

Soon after the American Lung, American Cancer Society, American Heart Association, American Non-Smoker's Rights, MPAAT etc. and their financial benefactor [the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation] bought their first smoking bans here in the Twin Cities area I informed the judge in my child support case that I was deeply concerned I would lose my job selling Smokeeters and subsequently my ability to make child support payments. The judge informed me that if I lost my job, I should promptly file a motion to temporarily reduce support until I was gainfully employed again; which I did........and which she promptly denied in court around July of 2005.
Years of observing the Family Law issue show that if I could have a nickle for every guy who was told this by a "Family Court" judge, we could float Mark's mortgage payment and child support bills.

Mark could have used those nickels; his business basically died in one fell swoop.

Now, it is interesting to note that although I haven't been able to make any mortgage payments since June '05.....the mortgage company hasn't had me thrown into jail.......nor the lending institutes for my vehicles......nor the utility companies. MN family court on the other hand is a different story.......Judge Tanya Manrique who advised me to file the motion to suspend child support while unemployed due to the smoking bans, and who then denied that same motion, was happy to sentence me to 90 days in the Hennepin County workhouse for failure to pay the child support.
Read the whole thing.

Mark served eight days in the workhouse until his girlfriend/partner Jordan - formerly of Jo's Attic, occasionally with the MAWB Squad - managed to come up with the money to get him out. Not "bail", mind you - the child support he owed for his time out of work; about $10,000.

Oh, the bad news (courtesy of the "family" court system) doesn't stop there:

No doubt the court will construe the payment for my release as proof that I am financially able to pay my bills, when in truth, all it does is to ensure that I will not be able to make future child support payments even after I find a job as I will be required to repay the loan.
Mark is asking for help:
I am not one to ask for help, as you can see by my being exceedingly behind in mortgage, support etc. And I do not like to be a burden to anyone, it's just the way I was raised. I have however, put a simple website together to help me pay back the benefactor who sprung me from jail, the link is here. Any help would be greatly appreciated.......I would much rather have 10,000 people contribute $1, instead of one person contribute $10,000.........Unless that person is Robert Wood Johnson IV and the non-profits who ARE directly responsible for my job loss.
Once again, here's the link. If can spare a buck - or whatever - think about helping Mark out. He's a good guy who's been backed into a really ugly corner by two huge, impersonal, mindless forces; Minnesota's moronic smoking prohibition movement, and its corrosively idiotic "Family" court system.

UPDATE: The link to the pay site isn't working as I write this. Keep trying.

Posted by Mitch at January 3, 2006 12:23 PM | TrackBack

I got it to work. I hate Paypal because they are also a communist/fascist organisation with monopolistic business practices, but in this case it is for a good cause. Minnesota is in the grips of a leftist empire with no signs showing that the people will come to their senses until our taxes are so high that businesses and families no are forced to either leave or stop sitting there and taking it.

fifty bucks to a great cause.

Posted by: Jim P at January 3, 2006 09:11 PM

So hasn't this guy heard of the want ads? He helped make the babies now he needs to support them. Sounds like his job of choice wasn't available so he chose nothing. Not appropriate when kids are in the equation. He apparently has enough dough to put up a website but not enough to feed his kids. Hopefully the jail time will make him take his responsibilities more seriously.

Posted by: phipho at January 3, 2006 10:39 PM

Phipho; you sound like some dim-fucking-bulb unionized state deadwood employee.

When you start a business, you don't just QUIT, assnozzle. You have existing clients to serve, you have obligations to meet, you don't just walk away and start working at WalMart.

And if you are up to a certain level in your career, you certainly TRY to stay there. Not that you would know, douchebag, you probably work at some code enforcement office where you get all tingly tormenting taxpaying citizens.

The child support system is a fucking fascist system that deserves to be shot down in the streets to the last man and woman. That fucking skag judge (who probably only got her job because she's a fucking immigrant) should be held accountable for her lying.

So fuck off, phipho, you cunt. Go sit in your state office with the other career deadwoods and collect your pension and look down on everyone who actually has balls and goes and starts a business.

Posted by: Andrew K at January 4, 2006 07:51 AM

Unfortunately, as of 8:30am today, the link still isn't working..

Posted by: Psycmeistr at January 4, 2006 08:30 AM

We have and individual here who is in dire straits, was up front about his situation, followed the courts advice, yet still get's the book thrown at him.

Then there is my EX, who is in arrears to the tune of $40,000 and after three years of avoiding the system finally get's dragged into court and only coughs up a couple thousand and she gets to play scot free. I suppose I'll wait another three years, putting her at over $55,000 in arearage and she'll get to spit out another pidence to pacify the gender biased system.

I'm just saying!

Good Luck, Mark!! No one deserves this kind of mess when there are enough REAL deadbeats out there . . . . ehem . . . like my Ex!


Posted by: Flash at January 4, 2006 09:34 AM

I think I found out what the problem was...

I was using Firefox, and it didn't work, but when I used Internet Explorer, it worked :)

Posted by: Psycmeistr at January 4, 2006 12:43 PM


You’re absolutely right. Any system that works to make sure that parents live up to their responsibilities is certainly a heinous institution. We should use every instrument at hand to bring it down. After all Judge Manrique is a scurrilous under qualified ne'er do well. Sure she graduated magna cum laude from Cornell and earned her JD from Georgetown but what does that mean. That job as legal counsel and deputy chief of staff to Gov. Arne Carlson was most likely a sham as well. Now a person of your remarkable skills on the other hand would no doubt do wonders in a position like this. Why with your command of the English language and your grasp of the subtleties of domestic law you would be a splendid mediator in cases like these. Undoubtedly Mark would be able to continue his job as a glorified air conditioner salesman and his children could all go hang. Unfortunately Mark did not have the benefit of brilliant counsel like yourself who could tell him that the difference between a judge letting him know what his legal options were and pre-approving such a motion. Mark owes child support, he should pay child support. That's the way it should be, for both men and women.


maybe you'll get lucky and your wife will be assigned to judge Manrique's court. It sounds like she takes care of business.

Posted by: phipho at January 4, 2006 07:46 PM

Hold the phone folks... Marcus has stated that he told the judge that he might lose his job...

Does he work for someone or does he own his own business as Andrew K so colorfully describes?

By the way Andrew, I'm a business owner. If I ever have an opening for a foul mouthed little underwear skidmark, I'll call you.

If Marcus is a business owner, sell the remaining inventory at a loss, write it off and FIND A DAMN JOB.

If Marcus was an employee who was laid off because the business wasn't there, he must be getting some form of unemployment.

Either way, blaming other for not being able to pay your mortgage and child support is complete crap. If it's important to you you find a way to do it. Pick up the damn want ads.

Mitch keeps telling us how great the economy is doing. It can't be that tough to find a freaking job in this "great" ecomony.

Posted by: Doug at January 4, 2006 09:57 PM

""maybe you'll get lucky and your wife will be assigned to judge Manrique's court. It sounds like she takes care of business.""

PhiPho: Unfortunately, it is now an interstate case. Once Ramsey County slapped an arrest warrant on her (with a $5,000 bond) for contempt of court and failure to appear (Read my post "My 9/11 story"

she has only stepped foot in this state once, to bury her mother. I simply didn't have a cold enough heart to nail her with this during that difficult time. (Interesting side bar. I actually wrote to Ann Landers when her mother was ill, to see if I was being to harsh in wanting to turn her in if she came back to MN. Not only did Ann Publish my letter, in the Sunday edition, but supported me in my desired actions. The link is a PDF, but I liked the headline: The Ex opted to move her Mother to the state she lived in instead of traveling here.

So now the collection matter is being handled by another states county court system, although Ramsey Cty retains jurisdiction. It took from 9/11/01 to 12/06/05 before I saw a $2000 payment, $400 of which was credited to the CURRENT Months payment and the balance on arrears. So after 4 years of NOTHING she technically can claim she is current since the December payments was credited.

No one can convince me if the genders were reversed that I would have been hounded like a dog and have already seen jail time, like Mark.

I guess until you live it and experience it first hand, you will never know.

Mitch was of GREAT support during this time and regardless of our clear and distinct political differences he will always being considered one of my best friends.

I know, hard to tell sometimes *laughing*


Posted by: flash at January 5, 2006 09:36 AM

Does Phipho think that the children of celebrities or multi-millionaires receive the same child support that the children of so-called working slobs get?

I think not.

Ergo - when Mark's income dropped, his child support should have dropped - even if only temporarily. (For those who think it should not have been lowered and that jail is an appropriate spot for him - do you think that ALL parents should go to jail if they have to cut back on what they spend on their kids due to income reduction?!?)

While I am a huge proponent of both parents being responsible for the children they bring into the world - I also believe that individuals can be cut some slack when they need assistance. Mrs. ex-Mark could do a bit more for a while... and, fingers crossed, Mark could be up and running at a new job soon.

You're right, though; Andrew is a master at using all the bad language I ever learned!

Posted by: Peg at January 5, 2006 03:47 PM

I'm pro kid actually. I'm also pro family court. I understand that you are out of work. I sincerely hope you will find work to your liking soon. I applaud your commitment to living up to your financial commitments. The posts on your website did not give me the same positive picture. I am glad to hear my perceptions were inaccurate.
I disagree with your diatribes against clean air advocates and legal institutions working to ensure that children whose parents are divorced are provided for. I like fresh air. The American Lung Association works for that and I think its a good thing. So does most everyone else who doesn't work for RJ Reynolds. Smoking sucks. It kills people. So does second hand smoke regardless of your denials.

As far as Family Court goes I have friends who are currently working very hard to keep households afloat because their spouses disregard their moral and legal obligations. Family court helps make sure that happens less often. Family Court is a good thing.
Your article on this incident is one-sided and self serving. Other than saying that Judge Marique turned down your motion you give little indication as to the rationale the judge gave for denying it. I have little inclination to help you repay a loan that mitch indicates is from your current girlfriend. Its your child support, she's your girlfriend, You pay her. others may be more generous, they are more then welcome to contribute to your girlfriends bank account. This is America. There are suckers born every minute.
As far as being down on your luck you have one thing many of us don't, friends who can afford to lend you $10,000. Count your blessings and keep interviewing.

Posted by: phipho at January 6, 2006 11:24 PM

You forgot to mention the jury of your peers that found you in contempt of court. In Hennepin County Minnesota you must have a full contempt trial with a jury of your peers. The sentence involved purge conditions which allowed you an opportunity to purge the contempt sentence and avoid going to jail.
Only a jury can send you to jail on this charge, not a family court judge.

Posted by: Mike at January 13, 2006 08:27 PM

Wish that were true Mike, there was no jury, just a tyrant in a robe.

Posted by: marcus aurelius at January 17, 2006 10:37 AM

Thanks!!! furniture Very nice site.I enjoy being here.

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