Let’s continue along where we left off and piece together a tale of corruption, murder and organized crime.
II: Michelle Brizendine
It is true that I ran into Michelle on two subsequent occasions, once in 1995 at a tanning salon and once in 1996 at a bar, the Looney Tunes Saloon. On the first of these occasions, at the salon, Michelle was visibly pregnant and when I commented on this, she hastened to inform me that the child she was carrying was conceived by her with a man she was planning to marry, that the child was not mine, and that I should give it no further thought. On the second occasion, at the Looney Tunes Saloon, Michelle had given birth to her child. She said that she and the child were living with the child’s father, that she intended to marry him, and that she was moving to Indiana
I now know that Madison Brizendene was born to Michelle Brizendine on April 24, 1996. I do not know who Madison’s birth certificate names as her father. I do now know that, sometime in 1996, Michelle Brizendine gave my name as the child’s father in order to get a medical card.
The Civil Summons which would not be served to me until April 26, 2007 was signed on November 11, 1997. In November 1997 I was living in Lexington on Snow Road. I was not difficult to find. However, as I now know, Michelle Brizendine and her daughter Madison had left the state: on October 31, 2007 Michelle told my mother and my brother that she lived in Indiana “from the end of 1997 until the end of 2001”. I now know that, after Michelle and her then husband (whoever he was) divorced, Michelle, Madison, and Michelle’s younger daughter returned to Lexington. By that time, however, by December 2001, I had left Kentucky. I did not move back to Lexington until November 2004 when my mother’s circumstances and a desire to help her in caring for my brother Brandon brought me back to share her home. I did not know in 1997, in 2001, or in 2004, in fact, I did not know until April 26, 2007 that it was claimed by anyone that I was a father. Only today, November 6, 2007, have I been able to extract from the County Attorney the date that is written on his scrap of paper; it is now claimed, with no evidence whatsoever on the document itself, that an attempt was made to serve me with the Civil Summons 17 July 2000 (see below p.11 ). Finally, my mother will swear that no one at any time prior to April 26, 2007 made any attempt to contact me through her concerning either Michelle or Madison Brizendine.
III: The DNA Tests
The DNA tests were done on June 28, 2007. The report was stamped by the lab on July 6, 2007. Presumably Byron Ockerman received them shortly thereafter. However, he did not forward them to my attorney until October 1, 2007, and it was at this late date, with this short notice that he informed her of his intention to seek the Summary Judgement which Ms. Scott rightly called “devastating”.
If these DNA tests are accepted, then I am the father of Madison Brizendine. However, if I am the father of Madison Brizendine, then I have every right to be furious that I was not informed of that fact prior to or at the time of her birth. Not only would I have had an opportunity to spend some time with her and be of some influence on her in her most formative years, but also I would have been afforded the chance to put the child on my insurance, hence eliminating the need for a medical card in the first place.
In 1995 and again in 1996 Michelle Brizendine told me that another man was the father of her child, and by the end of 1997 she had left the Commonwealth of Kentucky, and moved with her man and her daughter to Indiana where she raised the child as his.
On June 28, 2007, in the presence of the DNA nurse Michelle told me that she had never asked for and had never received child support for Madison, that, even now she was not asking for it. Michelle said that she had been surprised when she received a copy of the summons to me dated November 11, 2007. She couldn’t understand why she was even being asked to take a DNA test. She had never requested any of this. She wanted to raise Madison on her own.
When I told Michelle what I believed the County Attorney was intent on achieving, she told me not to worry because they couldn’t ask for what they hadn’t paid her..
On October 2, 2007 Jenny Scott wrote a letter to Michelle Brizendine requesting a meeting about how the city is acting in this case. By the end of the month Scott told me that she had heard nothing from Michelle in answer to her request.. On October 30, 2007 my mother, Jane Hignite, and my brother, Cory Hignite, went to see Michelle where she, Madison and a younger daughter now live, with her parents here in Lexington. They were greeted cordially. Michelle was not at home, but her father encouraged my mother to speak with her on the phone and a meeting between them was arranged for the evening of the following day, October 31, 2007. .
At that meeting, the meeting of October 31, 2007, Michelle Brizendine made several quite significant statements.
First, in answer to my mother’s query about Michelle’s (non-) response to Jenny Scott’s letter to her, Michelle stated: “I didn’t even get anything today. I had my dad open my mail yesterday after I got off the phone with you. I don’t have anything in the mail.”
Second, with regard to the summons and to the forthcoming court hearing, Michelle reiterated to mother and to my brother some of what she had told me in person on June 28. “You know, every time through the years, they send, they’ve sent me papers, like, every year. They always ask me if I know anything about him, his whereabouts or anything else and I always put, I don’t know. Cuz, I don’t know.” Michelle had run into my brother Cory earlier this summer, once at Gatti-town, once, in July, at the Southland swimming pool. “Did I ever ask you?” she said. Cory said “No”. Michelle continued: “Did I ever one time ask you? Did I say, because if I knew, I would feel like I had to tell them, does that make sense? So, I never asked. I’ve never one time asked him. Well, where is he livin’ or where is he workin’. I’ve never asked anything because I knew if I asked I’d feel like when they sent that paper again, I’d have to put it on there.
Third, when my mother apprised Michelle of the conditions which Byron Ockerman was asking the Judge to enforce, Michelle expressed shock: “Did he [Chris] piss somebody off? If he’s pissed somebody off down there, then, there ain’t nuthin’ I can do. There ain’t nuthin’ nobody can do.” Considering the matter yet again, Michelle concluded as follows; “Well, it sounds like this really doesn’t have anything to do with me or Madison … is what it sounds like. It sounds like they found something they could screw him on and they’re gonna try to do it.”
Fourth, Michelle Brizendine divulged to my mother and to my brother that she herself felt threatened by the authorities. During the preceding week she had been called by the County Attorney’s Office and told by her case worker that some discrepancies had been found in the day-care payments that were being made, not for Madison Brizendine, but for Michelle’s “little one,” her younger daughter. This child attends a day-care in Lexington on some days of the week and a different day-care in Morehead, KY on other days of the week; the Cabinet for Families and Children had been paying each day-care for a full week’s services; they now wanted their money back; and, Michelle said, they did not intend to seek it from the day-cares, but were demanding it from Michelle herself. Michelle’s case worker set up a meeting with her, a meeting that was to take place the very next day, the same day that Byron Ockerman would seek a Summary judgement against me. Michelle said: to my mother “I owe them $2600, so tomorrow I’m going to pick up the papers from my work and I’m gonna sit down with the supervisor and I’ve called Frankfort, I mean I’ve called everywhere. If I’m lucky, I can get it cut in half. If I’m lucky.”
IV: Purged Summons
On May 1, 2007, when my mother and I first visited with Jenny Scott and when we hired her to represent me, I had already explained to her that my case might not be routine. I believed the County Attorney’s office had been harassing me and filing false claims for years in order to destroy my credibility and break my will. She told me that Michelle Brizendine was not pursuing the matter. She told me that, to the best of her knowledge all summons and warrants this old had been purged. She did grant, however, that “it’s really strange that a ten year old case, not being pursued by the mother, would just appear on someone’s desk one day”.
Ms. Scott called down to juvenile court. The lady there agreed that the serving of a 10 year old summons was strange; she suggested that perhaps there had been some mistake; she felt that most likely we had nothing to worry about. However, she also felt we should contact Byron Ockerman, We did just that. Ms Scott called Byron Ockerman and put him on speaker phone so that my mother and I could hear what he had to say. Ockerman told Scott that he knew the file she was talking about. Oh, said my attorney, well, this man is disabled and only works on and off. Additionally, the mother has made no attempt to pursue this matter. Shouldn’t we just set this aside? This could destroy this man’s life. Byron replied “No, I don’t think I will. Now that it has been served I think I’ll have some fun with this”. My attorney told him that I had no means to pay what Ockerman was demanding and that it would be “devastating” to me. Ockerman laughed. “I know “, he said, “See you in court”
V: Margaret Kannensohn and Byron Ockerman
In 1996 and again in 1997 Michelle Brizendine did not want me to know that she thought I was the father of her child. In fact, she explicitly denied to me that paternity. And in so doing, she denied to me the right to be a father. Michelle Brizendine had no hand, she says, in filing a complaint (by Kannensohn, Ockerman et al.) and no knowledge of any warrant issued against me.
Why then was a complaint filed? Why was a warrant issued at all? Why is there on the document itself, even today, no proof whatsoever, either that any attempt was ever made to serve it or that it was (after ten years) served at all? Why is it that the original of my copy of the warrant was at some time, by some one dated by hand in the upper right hand corner ‘07-17-06’, only a month before Margaret Kannensohn surprised the Lexington Herald-Leader by announcing that she was retiring as County Attorney five months before the expiration of her term of office. And why has Byron Ockerman, Margaret Kassensohn’s assistant in 1997, pursued with such vigor a file that, like its fellows, should have seen the trash after 3 years. (Rhodes, Mary, “Kentucky Automated Support and Enforcement System Guidelines, p.7.)
The answers to these questions can be found in the (abridged) history that follows in part 3