A Houston federal judge will finish handing out punishment Thursday to the Brazilian grandparents sentenced last month in that controversial kidnapping case that’s made international headlines.
Judge Alfred Bennett gave Carlos and Jemima Guimaraes light prison sentences in December after they were convicted of aiding and abetting their daughter Marcelle when she fled the country to Brazil with her son during a contentious Houston divorce case.
Carlos Guimaraes will serve three months and Jemima Guimaraes will serve one month. They have also been ordered to pay a fine of $75,000 each. The next question: will they have to pay restitution to their former son-in-law Dr. Chris Brann for his travels to and from Brazil?
“This is really about holding people accountable who have done a horrific act,” Brann told reporters.
That’s not the only headline.
The county owned hospital district, Harris Health System, where Dr. Brann saw patients for years, is now trying to keep emails about the doctor a secret from the public.
Dolcefino Consulting has detailed evidence of physical violence and sex addiction in the divorce case, and a Texas Appeals Court Judge has now blasted the divorce case that led Marcelle Guimaraes to flee. First Court of Appeals Justice Evelyn Keyes issued a dissenting opinion saying:
“To reach its conclusions and its holding, the panel ignores voluminous evidence of domestic abuse, physical violence (including breaking furniture and smashing in a wall), and psychological abuse directed at Guimaraes by Brann, sometimes in N.S.B.’s presence, admitted to by Brann and substantiated by expert witness reports—all included in the record of this case. It also ignores Brann’s pathological addiction to pornography, likewise admitted to by Brann, which had resulted in several unsuccessful attempts at rehabilitation…”
First Court of Appeals Justice Evelyn Keyes
After emails surfaced showing Dr. Brann wrote he was sexually triggered by female patients at Ben Taub, Dolcefino Consulting sought records to see what the hospital knew and when they knew it.
We did get some of the emails we requested, including one sent by the Director of Corporate Communications of Harris Health which says, “Hasn’t seen a patient at Ben Taub since Nov. 2017. And his primary practice is at Baylor CHI St. Luke’s. Thank goodness.”
Dolcefino Consulting has now asked for all internal investigations of all doctors working at the county hospital.
“Harris Health is owned by the taxpayers,” says Wayne Dolcefino, President of Dolcefino Consulting, “Taxpayers and patients have a fundamental right to know if the doctors there are potentially dangerous. The fact Harris Health is trying to hide emails should frighten everyone.”
The Guimaraes hearing is set for 10:00 a.m. Thursday, January 17th, 2019 in Courtroom 8C at the Bob Casey Federal Courthouse in downtown Houston.
Happy New Year.
While most people are working hard on their New Year’s resolutions to better themselves, infamous Woodlands divorce lawyer Mary Van Orman is up to her same old tricks.
In the high dollar Harris County divorce case between Sherry and Marek Menger, Van Orman pulled a fast one to get a last-minute court order that involves lots of money.
Right before Christmas, Van Orman filed an emergency motion to get a big pay day for Marek Menger, but the judge in the case was Lisa Millard and she wasn’t there to sign it.
So, who helped with the Mary’s last-minute Christmas gift?
Judge John Schmude did, just days before he left the bench.
Schmude had never heard a single argument in the nearly three-year-old divorce and didn’t know the history or that the divorce judgment was on appeal. It was one of his last acts as a sitting judge, and that’s why it’s raising eyebrows.
We looked. Schmude has received $2,000 in campaign donations from Mary Van Orman & Associates, half of that in his most recent failed bid to stay on the bench.
Newly elected Judge Sonya Heath has only been presiding over this case for a short while, so she may not know what we do about all the crazy things that have happened in the Van Orman saga.
The divorce should have been a done deal nearly a year ago when the final divorce decree was signed. Except Van Orman kept trying to get a new trial, claiming her client was cheated because she wasn’t in court the day the deal was signed.
Remember she claimed she was stuck at a hearing in Judge Gilbert’s court in Montgomery County. Except she wasn’t.
Dolcefino Consulting checked with Judge Gilbert’s court and confirmed there was no hearing in Gilbert’s court that day.
What’s the punishment for using one court to con another?
And how many judges signed last minute orders on their way out the door that new judges will have to clean up?
“These cases in family court shouldn’t go on forever. Judge Heath should take a real serious look at what happened over the Christmas holidays in the Menger case. It smells,” says Wayne Dolcefino, President of Dolcefino Consulting. “We get hired all the time to investigate family injustice, and it’s hard to avoid running into stories about Ms. Van Orman’s courtroom conduct.”
She barely avoided jail in 2018 for her unprofessional conduct against another divorce lawyer.
Stay tuned. The Mary show promises more hits in 2019.
Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner now wants to hide the use of payments to the biggest disaster contractors in the wake of Hurricane Harvey.
The City of Houston Legal Department is asking the Texas Attorney General to withhold details of how money has been spent by contractors Tetra Tech and DRC, including who is on their payroll.
“This Mayor is officially a serial abuser of the public right to know,” says Wayne Dolcefino, President of Dolcefino Consulting. “He hides phone records, he hides emails and now he seems to think taxpayers and hurricane victims don’t have a right to make sure this disaster money is properly spent.”
So far, the City of Houston has spent $139 million. More than half, $75 million, has gone to outside contractors. Two of the biggest recipients are Tetra Tech and DRC. Dolcefino Consulting requested documents detailing the use of the money and who was paid with the money.
“This request is based on documented history of political funny business in hurricane money. After Hurricane Ike, relatives of both the Liberty and Chambers County Judge benefited from disaster money,” says Dolcefino. “We already know Mayor Turner’s long-time law partner will be paid millions from money to help Hurricane victims. This process must be transparent now that more than a billion more dollars are being delivered to this Mayor.”
Investigations by Dolcefino Consulting already show Mayor Turner gave contracts to hurricane vendors who gave campaign money before the storm, and he is still accepting contributions from contractors benefiting from disaster funds.
The Mayor has accepted more than $100,000 from vendors benefiting from Hurricane Harvey contracts, even though only a tenth of the money has been allocated.
New campaign reports are due out this week.
“Obviously City of Houston contractors will get much of this money, and that’s the way it should be,” says Dolcefino. “Taxpayers have a right to account for every dime of it.”
Dolcefino Consulting has filed a new criminal complaint late Monday afternoon against Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner, and once again it is about public records the Mayor is hiding from you.
“There is a disturbing pattern with this Mayor. We cannot allow public officials to ignore state law. It is time for the Harris County District Attorney to act,” says Wayne Dolcefino, President of Dolcefino Consulting.
On November 1st, 2018, the Houston-based Investigative Media Firm sought cell phone records of the Mayor. The Mayor’s office released records from a city issued phone which shows virtually no use by the Mayor. The Mayor’s office claimed they were working on getting records on the Mayor’s personal cell phone that relate to city business, but the records were never provided.
Last year Dolcefino Consulting raised questions about the Mayor’s use of his old law firm email address to conduct city business. The City fought attempts to review those communications.
This is not the first criminal complaint the company has filed against the Mayor since he took office in 2016. The Harris County District Attorney asked the Galveston County DA’s office to investigate other allegations the Mayor was withholding email communications with Maya Ford. Emails we do have show Ford was complaining about alleged corruption in the City garbage department.
“The Texas Public Information Act is useless if the District Attorney doesn’t take transparency seriously, regardless of who the public official is,” says Dolcefino. “The Mayor’s use of personal phones and emails to try and shield public business is unacceptable. My company is forced to file this complaint to initiate a real investigation.”
Prime Social is donating games and toys Tuesday, December 18th in Galveston for a Christmas party helping orphaned children.
On Sunday, they heard the story that thieves had stolen games ordered for the party so that volunteers could play with the kids.
On Tuesday morning, Prime Social will deliver toys to the party to make up for what was lost. For the past few weeks, Prime Social has held a toy drive at their location on Westheimer, collecting toys from members who want to give back to the community.
The Children’s Center is an orphanage in Galveston that helps hundreds of kids in need.
“We thought the timing was perfect during our toy drive to help lend a hand to a group that was going through an unfortunate situation right before their big event,” said Prime Social Founder Dean Maddox. “Our members have been generous, and we are happy to help out.”
The Children’s Center is also accepting donations tomorrow from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Sea Star Base, located at 7509 Broadway St in Galveston. They are accepting toiletry items and children’s clothes.
Outgoing Colorado Securities Commissioner Gerald Rome will be in a Denver courtroom Monday, December 17th, facing a lawsuit by the Houston-based investigative media firm Dolcefino Consulting.
Dolcefino Consulting filed the lawsuit after Rome and Colorado government lawyers refused to release records detailing the dismal effort to collect money for fraud victims, until we told them who we were asking on behalf of. We refused because the law protects requests under the Colorado Open Records Act.
Our investigation involved no active cases, just old ones, but it would eventually prove Rome’s office misled Colorado taxpayers on the success of the Securities Division’s efforts.
Rome had bragged about successful efforts to collect money for fraud victims, but the records we fought for more than a year to get confirmed less than three percent of defrauded money was ever returned.
“The conduct of Gerald Rome and his protectors at the Colorado Attorney General’s office has been arrogant and deceptive, and what happens in court is extremely important to Coloradans’ right to know,” says Wayne Dolcefino, President of Dolcefino Consulting.
The show cause hearing will be held in the District courtroom of Judge Martin Egelhoff.
“We hope to prove in court that records are destroyed, and that in some cases Rome and his AG friends denied records existed when they didn’t even bother to look for them. Most importantly we will ask the judge to send a message that the public right to know cannot be tampered with,” says Dolcefino.
Following the court hearing, Wayne Dolcefino and his attorneys will be available to reporters. Dolcefino Consulting is represented by Dallas attorneys Michael Hurst and Julie Pettit.
San Angelo’s City Council caved to Republic Waste in the new recycling deal.
Sure, Republic was threatening to charge higher fees because they can’t get anyone to buy a lot of the recycled stuff anymore. But wait a minute, wasn’t the recycling contract part of the deal Republic cut to get control of the lucrative landfill contract from the city? They also get to pick up trash from commercial customers.
It was a deal worth about $250 million. Republic said they were losing $55,000 a month picking up recycling, without having to provide proof.
Who cares? They made the deal. Why is it government that feels they need to cater to a private company?
The surrender by San Angelo City Council comes in the same week the 3rd Court of Appeals rules a lawsuit over the last time Republic got caught cheating San Angelo business owners can’t be a class action suit.
Republic overcharged commercial customers by at least 6.5 million dollars. Who knows how much because a draft audit of the rip-off that was never finished said it was too much to calculate.
Republic later claimed, again without any proof, that all but about $250,000 of the money was paid back. Republic refused to disclose the names of those San Angelo business owners they claim they couldn’t find, and San Angelo City Council never forced them to share the names. Guess in trash world, a quarter of a million bucks is chump change.
Dolcefino Consulting has repeatedly offered to try to help find the folks Republic and their crack lawyers claim they can’t find, and we will do it for free for taxpayers.
Crickets from San Angelo and Republic.
So, here’s another idea.
Rather than let Republic keep earning interest on money they ripped off from San Angelo business owners in the first place, why don’t they write a check to the City of San Angelo to help defray the costs of garbage pickup, to help pay the salary of the City Garbage official who obviously doesn’t care about getting the money back.
By now that pot of money has grown for sure somewhere in Republic’s bank accounts.
Republic should do that today. Mayor Gunter should tell them. She should also demand a list of the customers they couldn’t find and send it to me.
“I will never understand why the City of San Angelo wanted to keep doing business with a company in the first place that got busted for ripping off San Angelo taxpayers,” says Wayne Dolcefino, President of the Houston-based Dolcefino Consulting. “I would have reminded Republic of their little rip-off when they came whining about recycling costs.”
Dolcefino Consulting exposed the leftover money from the overcharging in 2017, and since then we’ve been waiting for San Angelo City Council to demand the names.
Instead, it appears the politicians are too busy worrying about how much profit Republic is making.
Lawyers for Brazilian grandparents Carlos and Jemima Guimaraes are asking a Houston federal judge to keep them out of prison.
In court documents filed in a Houston federal court, defense attorney Rusty Hardin says the couple was only protecting their daughter from an admitted perpetrator of domestic violence
when she fled Houston in the middle of her divorce case.
The Guimaraes couple was convicted in Houston federal court of aiding and abetting the kidnapping after the fact, but the jury only saw some of the evidence against their former son-
in-law, Houston doctor Chris Brann.
The couple will be sentenced by Judge Alfred Bennett next Wednesday, December 12, 2018. The legal documents include a report from Barbett Brashear, MSW, the Executive Director of
the Harris County Domestic Violence Coordinating Council.
“In my professional opinion, based on documents provided and reviewed, Ms. Guimaraes is a victim of domestic violence,” wrote Brashear. A danger assessment done by Brashear says
Guimaraes was in severe danger of being killed.
In 2015, a final decision in the Brazilian court allowed Guimaraes to stay in Brazil indefinitely with her son Nico, ruling Brann’s continued violence against her posed a danger to their child.
Four months later, Dr. Brann initiated the federal prosecution of his ex-wife and her parents. Brann has been waging a public relations campaign against the Guimaraes family for years.
“They are not guilty for anything, I am the one that made the decision to stay in Brazil, I am the one that decided to come here,” Marcelle told Dolcefino Consulting from Brazil. “I am the
one that decided to save my life and my son’s life.”
In recent weeks, Dolcefino Consulting has helped expose the documented violence and sexual disorder that led Marcelle Guimaraes to flee to Brazil. Our investigation also exposed ethical
issues involving the judge in her divorce case, James Lombardino. Brann’s lawyer was Bobby Newman. Newman’s firm and family were Lombardino’s biggest campaign contributors.
Records show Newman also provided free legal help to the Lombardino’s son in his divorce case.
The U.S. State Department records about 1,100 international parental kidnappings a year, but since 1994 only 53 cases have been prosecuted under the statute. Carlos and Jemima
Guimaraes are the first grandparents ever convicted of aiding and abetting an international kidnapping.
“This divorce case was poisoned by conflicts of interest,” says Wayne Dolcefino, President of Dolcefino Consulting, the Houston based Investigative Media firm helping Marcelle Guimaraes.
“It is the root of the injustice that permeates the grandparents’ case. Marcelle Guimaraes sought help from the Harris County family courts and she was ignored,” Dolcefino says. “Her
parents are only guilty of protecting their daughter and their grandson. Wouldn’t you have done the same thing if it was your daughter?”
The 7th Court of Appeals in Amarillo will not punish Texas Tech for the games the university has played in the effort to cover up the truth in the Mike Leach case.
Yes, I said cover up.
“The opinion from Justice Judy Parker is a blow to the public right to know and an invitation to state universities to continue to play an arrogant game of duck and weave,” says Wayne Dolcefino, President of Dolcefino Consulting. “It only prolongs the fight to get to the truth, but we will get there. Red Raider donors, parents, students and taxpayers deserve it.”
Now the legal battle heads back to Judge Bill Sowder’s court in Lubbock.
The Appeals Court ruling said we couldn’t prove Tech lied when it claimed it had no “completed investigation” in the Leach case. The court also bought Tech’s claim it had no financial ledger detailing the money spent by the university football team.
“We had argued Tech completed the Leach investigation when they stopped working on it nearly a decade ago and had to release the documents they created. Tech argued it never completed an investigation, but how do they claim there are no records when we know there are.
Dolcefino Consulting has already proven Texas Tech lied to its donors and fans when they promised a full investigation when they fired the winningest coach in school history. We now know the university destroyed at least some of the records, and we know they are still hiding more. Emails we do have show Tech officials insulted angry fans at the time.
“We will soon ask Judge Sowder to let us take the sworn depositions of Tech Counsel Ronny Wall and Charlotte Bingham, whose records the school continues to hide,” says Dolcefino. “Wall’s conduct is atrocious, he refuses to even tell us what he’s done to preserve the records in this fight.”
Tech isn’t just hiding records in the Leach case. They are fighting to keep secret football financial records, evidence of sexual assault and harassment on the campus in Lubbock, and even documents detailing how much school money was lost in the Bernie Madoff scandal.
“The only real losers in this ongoing public records fight are the donors, the parents, the students and the fans of Red Raider football,” says Dolcefino. “This is also unfair to Matt Wells, the new football coach. Instead of telling the whole truth and paying Mike Leach what the school owes him, Texas Tech officials would rather force yet another coach to try to win with the curse of the pirate over his head.”
His long-time legal partner Barry Barnes stands to make millions on the contract as a disadvantaged business.
When City Council voted for the contract on November 7th, Barnes’s law firm’s share had swollen to 6.7 million dollars. Just two months earlier it was only 2.7 million.
The big question from taxpayers should be why? After months of reviewing how much it would cost to help hurricane victims, why did the numbers change so much?
And to add to the confusion, the contract posted on the City of Houston Affirmative Action database currently shows Barry Barnes & Associates making only 3.5 million dollars.
The city needs to get their numbers straight. The Mayor needs to stop the secrecy games.
It’s just the latest in the Mayor’s wholesale efforts to hide controversial city hall deals.
The City of Houston has ignored a judge’s order to produce records on the smelly recycling contract. Records obtained by Dolcefino Consulting show Turner is using his personal cell phone to conduct city business, not the one provided by taxpayers. We have already busted Sly for using his old law firm email to conduct city business to hide the details from the public.
And now it’s the housing deal.
Dolcefino Consulting sent a formal request for all the city staff’s emails relating to the contract, including the sudden increase in Barry Barnes’s cut.
The City of Houston wants to keep the documents secret. Surprise, surprise.
Why is the city afraid to let everyone see how their money is being spent?