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FamilyInjustice

Woodlands attorney Mary Van Orman has been making waves lately, asking judges to punish lawyers for not following the rules. In the last few weeks Van Orman has asked for sanctions against Conroe attorney, Kate Bihm.

Next Monday, she’ll be in court asking Judge Lisa Millard to sanction attorneys Michael Bynane and Carlos Ryerson.

Oops.

It looks like Van Orman has an issue following the rules herself.
Back in February, Van Orman was charged with Assault Family Violence by Montgomery County Sherriff’s deputies when an argument between Van Orman and her niece turned violent.

The incident report states that Van Orman shoved her niece into a headboard, put her hands on her niece’s neck, grabbed her niece’s hair, and pushed her out of the bedroom while yelling in her face. The incident report alleges that Van Orman’s 16-year-old son had to restrain Van Orman at one point and was the one who called police.

This incident wasn’t Van Orman’s first brush with law enforcement.

In 2016, while Montgomery County Sherriff’s deputies were investigating a hit and run accident, they talked to Van Orman and another individual outside of the Cru Wine Bar in Market Street in The Woodlands. The incident report states the driver was taken into custody for driving under the influence after telling police that he and Van Orman were coming back from Houston after celebrating a court victory.

According to the report, Van Orman, at one point barefoot and slurring her speech, took the opportunity to lecture officers about what an important lawyer she was.

According to the report, Van Orman “claimed she was getting irritated and was ready to call the District Attorney of Montgomery County, Brett Ligon, who she claimed was a close personal friend of hers.” Van Orman also “stated several times she was a high-profile attorney in family law.”

Yikes.

It appears that Van Orman has no problem asking a judge to punish those she thinks have done something wrong. Unfortunately, it looks like when Mary Van Orman does something wrong, she seems to think she’s above the law.

Woodland’s Attorney Mary Van Orman has an apology to make and a check to write.
Montgomery County District Judge Tracy Gilbert has spent the last few days looking at videotapes of Van Orman’s bizarre conduct in action, including outbursts in a Conroe restaurant in a room full of patrons.

Guess he saw enough.

Van Orman has now been ordered to apologize to Conroe Attorney Kate Bihm for her recent conduct, and then deliver a check for $1,500.00 to Bihm’s office by the end of the month.

Bihm had filed a motion accusing Van Orman of “cruel, boorish, and bizarre behavior.”

“During a day-long hearing last week Van Orman certainly proved up the bizarre part,” says Wayne Dolcefino, President of Dolcefino Consulting, “She took turns crying and smiling all day long. I am sorry I couldn’t videotape it to share.”

As part of her punishment, Van Orman has been ordered to complete a legal education course online. It is entitled “The Power of Professionalism as a Strategy for Effective Advocacy,” and then she has to send the Judge proof she took the class.

I think we all get the point.

In court, Van Orman seemed fixated on reporting by Dolcefino Consulting on her conduct in another divorce case. She may soon have to explain to another Judge if she told the truth in her court.

Van Orman had told Houston Judge Lisa Millard that she would be unable to attend the final hearing in the high dollar Menger divorce case because she was in trial in Judge Gilbert’s court in Montgomery County. According to Montgomery County records, no hearing was held on February 27, 2018 in the other case.

We will be in Judge Millard’s court the next time Mary Van Orman shows up in the Menger case, and please let us bring a camera. Some things deserve to be recorded for future law students.

Mary Van Orman Sanction

There’s more trouble brewing for Woodlands attorney Mary Van Orman.

Van Orman now faces sanctions hearing in the 418 th District Court in Montgomery County.

Conroe attorney Kate Bihm filed a motion for sanctions against Van Orman, accusing her in an eleven-page motion of “cruel, boorish, and bizarre behavior.”

The motion details how Van Orman showed in court two hours late, without shoes on her feet. It further goes on to states that Van Orman has repeatedly been late to hearings and
on March 20, 2018, failed to appear at a hearing entirely.

What was Mary Van Orman doing on March 20, 2018? Why couldn’t she attend the
scheduled hearing?

Here’s what the motion says:

“Moreover, on March 19, 2018, the date on which Ms. Van Orman insists that she needed to be at her son’s bedside due to his medical condition, Ms. Van Orman posted on social
media that her son was flying by himself on United Airlines, belying her allegedly sworn motion for continuance that Ms. Van Orman could not travel.”

Did Mary Van Orman fib to a judge? Where have we heard that before?

Dolcefino Consulting has reported Van Orman told Houston Judge Lisa Millard that she would be unable to attend the final hearing in the Menger divorce case on February 27, 2018 because she was in trial in Judge Gilbert’s court in Montgomery County. According to Montgomery County records, no hearing was held on February 27, 2018 in the other case.

Bihm’s motion goes on to detail a phone call between Bihm and Van Orman where Van Orman asked Bihm to agree to a continuance in the child custody case. Bihm declined to agree to the continuance and according to Bihm’s motion, Van Orman responded by saying “God bless you, Kate, that’s why you’ll never be a mother, because you’re a f—–ng bitch.”

Van Orman apparently then hung up the phone.

According to Bihm this is not the first time Van Orman has used offensive language toward her. Bihm claims Van Orman called her an “a–hole” for objecting to rescheduling a hearing.

Bihm states in her motion that she was told by more than one attorney that Van Orman could be heard in the Red Brick Tavern “making statements to the effect that she would have Bihm’s “head on a plate.”

Bihm further alleges that Van Orman has called her vulgar names and claimed that Bihm is a liar and unethical. Bihm is asking Judge Gilbert, the very judge Van Orman got to sign an order to use to try and get out of the Menger hearing.

This is getting bizarre.

Family Injustice. What Judges will do the right thing and restore justice?

Mary Van Orman Sanction

There is no big secret where Dr. Steve Hotze stands politically.

He preaches family values a lot.

His political action committee, The Conservative Republicans of Texas, is feared in Republican circles for the influence it has on Republican political races in Texas.

In a video posted on the Hotze Health & Wellness Center’s website in April of 2014, Hotze is quoted as saying “My faith in Christ directs my personal and business life.”

What most folks don’t know is that Steve Hotze isn’t practicing what his website preaches.

In a Houston courtroom, Hotze is accused of trying to cheat his very own brothers out of their share of the Hotze family business, Compressor Engineering Corporation (CECO), a business his father started and gave to the five sons to share.

It is an ugly family fight that doesn’t seem to jive with the love your kinfolk routine.

Lawsuits make strange bedfellows.

You might think Hotze has Republican lawyers to hire if he really wants to drag the family business out in court.

Instead he hired John Zavitsanos of the law firm of Ahmad, Zavitsanos, Anaipakos, Alavi & Mensing P.C. Zavitsanos is a Democrat who has given money to the Democratic National Committee.

Wonder how that will go over at the Texas GOP Convention this week in San Antonio?

You see, the judge in the Hotze family feud is Fredericka Phillips of the 61st District Court here in Harris County. She is a Democrat too. In fact, Phillips is the Vice-Chairwoman of the Texas Democratic Party.

A funny thing happens when you look at Judge Phillips campaign reports.In the the 2016 political campaign Judge Phillips held her share of campaign fundraisers.

Judge Phillips is clearly a John Zavitsanos favorite.

In April 2016, the lawyers of his law firm donated $8,765.00 to Phillips’ campaign. His law firm threw in $5,000, and lawyers in the firm kicked in the rest.

On October 4, 2016, Phillips threw another fundraiser. There were 20 contributions made the event.Guess how many came from the Mr. Zavitsanos, his law firm and its lawyers?

Twenty.

The firm again donated $5,000 and kicked in for the food and drink. The event raised $8,025 with more than 90% of the donations coming from the AZA law firm or its employees.

After Judge Phillips got elected, she held yet another fundraiser a few months later.

The AZA law firm helped pay for the food and drink at that one too, and they kicked in another $5,000 for Phillips campaign funds, even though she had already been elected and wouldn’t have to run again for years.

Mr. Zavitsanos and his law firm were the top donors to Fredericka Phillips’ campaign in 2016, donating a whopping $20,790 to the campaign. Zavitsanos and company were also the top donors in 2017.

Hotze hired Zavitsanos in March of 2019. We asked the lawyer about his financial ties to the Judge.

“I was hired to try this case because I am a trial lawyer who goes to trial often, something that happens with great frequency with cases in many different courts,” says Zavitsanos.

That’s nice, but a lot of lawyers handle lots of cases, and last time I checked, there are plenty of Republican lawyers too.

Maybe you can argue Steve Hotze thought it was more important to hire a lawyer whose law firm gives a heck of a lot of money to the Judge then worry about party loyalty.

Steve Hotze told Dolcefino Consulting he doesn’t worry about how it looks for a guy who screams about family values to sue his own brothers over money.

Maybe beating his brothers in court and taking their money for himself trumps draining the swamp.

Woodlands based attorney Mary Van Orman will likely face some tough questions from two Texas District Judges in two different courthouses. She clearly has some ‘splainin’ to do.

Van Orman has asked for a new divorce trial for her Houston client Marek Menger, claiming another judge in Montgomery County prevented her from appearing at Menger’s final divorce hearing.

When lawyers have a conflict in their schedule they can request a protective order from a judge. Van Orman had a signed protective order from Judge Tracy Gilbert in Conroe for a child custody case being held in Montgomery County. When Judge Millard held the hearing in Houston anyway, Van Orman had to call in by phone instead. We’ve seen the transcript.

“I’m in the middle of a trial, but I just stepped out. We don’t stop at noon up here in Montgomery County,” Van Orman says. “I’ll take a picture if somebody wants to see a picture. Montgomery County Courthouse.”

Lawyers call on the phone into hearings all the time, so we don’t know why that should require a new trial, but Van Orman now has a bigger problem. Her credibility with the court.

The final judgement in the Menger divorce in Houston had been on the calendar for almost two weeks and was scheduled for February 27, 2018. Van Orman had agreed to the date. She also knew for five months the child custody case was scheduled to start February 26, 2018 in Conroe.

Here’s where it could be real sticky for Ms. Van Orman.

Judge Gilbert’s court tells us they have no records there was even a hearing in the child custody case on February 27, the date of the Menger hearing. Ms. Van Orman called in to the Houston court trying to convince Judge Millard she had done everything she could to try to convince Judge Gilbert to let her off the hook, but she was forced to be at the hearing in Conroe.

“I have tried everything to accommodate,” Van Orman told Judge Millard. She even quoted Judge Gilbert, ‘You are in trial with me.’”

Can’t wait to see how Ms. Van Orman explains this, but it also highlights questions about the practice of not getting your dates straight. Court hearings cost moms and dads money. Maybe it is time for lawyers to start remembering that.

Harris County Family Injustice investigation

02-27-2018 HEARING TRANSCRIPT

The “dog ate my homework” sometimes works for kids in school, but high-priced lawyers in the Harris County Family Courthouse certainly can’t use that as a reason for not showing up for an important
court date.

So, let’s ask Woodland’s attorney Mary Van Orman what she does.

Van Orman now wants a redo for her client Marek Menger, even though his wife got her divorce granted in February. Four months ago. Finally, an ugly, expensive fight that had lasted two years.

Now Van Orman wants a new trial, in part because she claims she couldn’t show up in Judge Millard’s court in Houston on February 27 th , because she was in a trial in Conroe in Judge Gilbert’s court. She even produced a signed protective order from the Judge in Montgomery County.

What is a lawyer to do?

But here is the problem. The final judgement in the Menger divorce had long been scheduled for that very day in February. You know what time the Judge in Conroe gave Mary Van Orman her get out of
court free card? 10:30 in the morning, on the very same day.

Mary Van Orman had only notified the Houston judge in the Menger case of a possible conflict at the very last minute, even though she had agreed to the court date to end the Menger divorce earlier that month. A court transcript shows Van Orman tried to convince the Judge that these things just happen, saying “I have tried everything to accommodate.”

Really? Except admitting to Judge Millard in Houston that she knew about the court date in Conroe for a very long time.

We have court records from that other case in Conroe showing Mary Van Orman knew about the trial date since October 2017, five months earlier.

Oops.

Guess who was on the phone during the Menger hearing, asking Judge Millard to let her off the hook because she had a protective order and just can’t get out of it? If you guessed Mary Van Orman, you may win a prize in our continuing Family Injustice Investigation.

Judge Millard said too bad. Good for her.

But Mary Van Orman was still allowed to say anything she wanted to. She was on the phone during the
entire hearing.

So, don’t you think it’s a stretch to now claim you would have said different stuff if you had been there in person, instead of on the phone?

Is that really a reason to start a long nasty divorce case all over again?

We know it means more money for lawyers, like Mary Van Orman.

Is that what Family Court should really be all about?

dolcefino.com/family/

It is time to clean up the Harris County Family Courthouse.

Every year, tens of thousands of Houstonians get caught up in Family Injustice, dragged through expensive divorces and child custody cases.

Dolcefino Consulting is showing you the money trail – the financial contributions from divorce lawyers who fund the campaigns of the judges who have the power to take away your kids.

Over the last five years, the family law judges have received millions of dollars in campaign money:

Julia Maldonado
$58,405.63

Judy Warne
$61,605.10

David Farr
$230,101.40

John Schmude
$236,441.34

Lisa Millard
$338,850.00

Roy L. Moore
$346,500.00

James Lombardino
$396,936.79

Sherill Dean
$438,247.42

Charley Prine
$461,725.88

Alicia Franklin York
$498,261.83

The total amount of contributions for these judges in the past five years is $3,067,075.39.

“We shouldn’t elect family judges based on political party,” says Dolcefino Consulting President Wayne Dolcefino, “We have created a system that doesn’t pass the smell test. Big contributions from lawyers to judges and big paydays for the lawyers. You do the math.”

You should look at this website before you hire a lawyer, or step in some of the more controversial family law courtrooms.

http://www.dolcefino.com/family/

This is the introduction to our Family Injustice Roadmap on Dolcefino.com

Now you can see where these judges’ money is coming from…

Embattled Harris County Family Judge, James Lombardino is setting up a potential ethics showdown over his relationship with big divorce lawyer Bobby Newman.

Lombardino has now denied a motion seeking his disqualification in the hotly contested child custody fight between James Rooney and Kora Leach.

Houston lawyer John LaGrappe had sought the constitutional disqualification and a voiding of the Judge’s court orders in the case.

The motion details a “systematic and continuous” financial relationship between Newman and Judge Lombardino and a personal relationship between the two. Newman has been representing Judge Lombardino’s son, David, in his own divorce since June of 2017. There are allegations he’s done it for free.

Judge Lombardino chose not to get out of the case, and that sets up an interesting showdown. First, the newly appointed administrative judge, Susan Brown, has to decide if she will force Lombardino off the case or not. There is the potential for a public court hearing, where LaGrappe could subpoena Newman and court workers from the 308th District Court.

The Lombardino-Newman connections have been the focus of part of a Dolcefino Consulting Investigation into Family Injustice in the Harris County Family Courts.

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