Tuesday, June 10, 2008
As a very fit 6'5' 325 pound defensive tackle, some 10 years straight as a member of the Muscle and Fitness Magazines All-NFL Strength Team in a court room where no one knew me and the people worked with and thought they were familiar with Cindy and her family I was an easy ambush.
Cindy had gone so far as to have taken the children to a therapist who amounted to an "expert" for Cindy's case. This person had been seeing the children for, as I recall some six months and had really developed a pack of just utter Bullshit about the relationship I had with my children. Things like the kids were "afraid of me." What a crock Anyone who knows me knows no child has ever feared me and certainly not my own angels. It was sickening.
This was the beginning of the allegations of abuse. They continue to this date and have become all the more exaggerated and ridiculous.
I ask people to see there is no evidence of abuse other than Cindy's statements. No police reports, no independent testimony, nothing. I also ask people to remember that during the kids' childhood, we had live-in-nannies and other employees with free access to the house, and Cindy's brother and parents were also frequent visitors. During the divorce proceedings, Cindy could present no one to substantiate her allegations regarding the children or herself. In addition, think about how quickly any allegations of domestic violence about NFL Players reaches the news and the league and how quickly and seriously teams and the League act in those circumstance; however, In 17 years of marriage NOTHING!
Keep in mind, Cindy was and is not a kind of helpless person who was so afraid that she could not reach out. She was two months shy of her 28th birthday when we married and I was a 21-year- old fresh out of the Oregon woods. She had a college degree and had been acting professionally in Los Angeles for years. She attended law school during the marriage, as you know if you have read other parts of this blog, and had access to all assets of the marriage. Cindy's parents have three Ph.Ds between them.
Thursday, May 22, 2008
Ashley and I enjoyed a very close relationship until during the divorce proceedings in the years 2001 and 2002 when she began to be used as a tool by Cindy and her attorneys.
Ashley was put on Cindy's list of witness. The thought of a young teenager being used as a witness in a divorce between her parents is sickening to me. When I was told Ashley could be called to testify by Cindy, my instructions to my attorney were clear: Ashley is not to be cross examined. I told my attorney to simply stand up and state "Ashley your father loves you very much and has directed me to do everything possible to minimize the damage that is being done to you; therefore, I will not be asking you any questions or attacking your testimony in anyway."
The court in Florida endorsed the use of a family counselor and I attended several meetings with him and also sessions that included not only him and me, but also Cindy. When he asked Cindy to bring Ashley to sessions so that he could facilitate communication between Ashley and me, Cindy refused.
Ashley was seeing a counselor at the high school she was attending in Vero Beach. I met numerous times with the counselor. When Cindy found out the counselor and I were communicating, Ashley did not go see the counselor again. It was heart-wrenching but the counselor assured me that at some point Ashley would be asking her mother why she had made her turn against her father. I am still wondering when that day will come.
In December of 2001, the children traveled to Oregon for my younger sister's wedding. Ashley was along and seemed to be spending a great deal of time on her cell phone. Upon the return of the children to Florida, I was served with yet another motion by Cindy and her counsel alleging contempt of court and other things. In the document it was plain that Ashley had been used as a kind of guide for private investigators hired by Cindy to follow me and my children while we were in Oregon for the wedding. The investigators went so far as to plant investigators at my sister's wedding and reception, and in fact, videotaped with a hidden camera the entire post- ceremony wedding brunch held the morning following the ceremony at a local Portland Restaurant. I guess they didn't notice me and the children were not at the brunch. I think my sister would still like to have a copy of the video.
I continued to ask Ashley to attend the weekly visitations with me, and she did so until a visitation in April of 2002 when she and my elder sister were discussing Cindy's allegations that I was schizophrenic and insane and on drugs and whatever other lie Cindy could drum up; I saw it on Ashley's face that facing the unfounded statements of her mother had finally become too much for her. She quit coming to visitation after that.
I had the habit of sending all the children, including Ashley, gifts periodically, for birthdays and Christmas. Then for Ashley's birthday of September 2002, I had asked my sister Linda if she would help me shop for some cosmetics and fragrances for Ashley as I felt Ashley had reached the age when those kinds of gifts were appropriate. I purchased a kind of prearranged gift basket and mailed it, among other things, to Ashley. I had to appear shortly thereafter in court in Florida, and when I was leaving the courthouse, Cindy came running toward me with something in her hands yelling something about "How dare you send this to Ashley; do you think she needs this?" and threw the cosmetics at me. As I look back, it is kind of comical, thinking of me running and taking cover behind my pickup, while my screaming ex-wife chases me and throws cosmetics at me. Sometimes a person just has to find a way to laugh.
Christmas of 2002, I traveled to New York to see the children, and Ashley and her friend came out of the house. I asked her if she would have dinner or spend time with me and she agreed. I asked her when and she was unsure, but I believe we agreed on the evening of January 2 , 2003 as I recall. I stayed three extra days in New York waiting and purchased a number of gifts for her. I knew she wanted a Louis-Vuitton backpack like her hero Gwen Stefani so I thought it would be a nice gesture. Ashley called and left me a message that she would not be able to make the dinner.
The next Birthday in September of 2003, I am not even sure Ashley is aware of it but I sent her a check for $400, and I received it back with a "no thanks."
In April of 2004, I left a message for the parent coordinator at Ashley's high school explaining the situation and asking for her help. I explained I wanted to travel to Ashley's graduation. I received a response that the parent coordinator had been informed I was not welcome, and if I attended the ceremony, I would likely be asked to leave. I have no idea if Ashley even knew this was going on, but I am fairly sure Cindy told the parent coordinator some fiction about me or my relationship with Ashley. Rather than involve Ashley in an embarrassing situation in front of her friends at graduation, I chose not to attend. This was an example of the choices I was presented with when trying to maintain a relationship with Ashley. Choices, in which any that I made would be twisted, distorted, and simply used to drive more of a wedge between us.
During my football career, I was able to save money for the children's education. Each year I would put $20,000 into accounts at Charles Schwab Brokerage. Over the years the money grew and accumulated.
When I filed for divorce, the total funds for the children's education had reached the amount of around $800,000. Cindy was listed as the custodian, but I, in fact, did all the transactions and deposits. Within some thirty days of the divorce filing, Cindy transferred, without my knowledge or the courts approval, all the funds from the children's account to Uniform Transfer to Minor Accounts under the laws of the state of New York (again she is preparing for the move to New York without my knowledge or consultation) accounts at Lincoln Financial Advisers. At the same time she emptied out as joint account that she and I had to the tune of some 1.5 million( I don't know the exact amount as the funds are unaccounted for to this day).
In the final divorce decree, the judge ordered Cindy to put the children's savings in accounts under the dual control of both Cindy and I. Cindy refused and continues to do so. Nonetheless, I had my counsel send the order to Lincoln Financial, and they responded by acknowledging the order. I was hoping the requirement of dual control would be what would finally lead my daughter Ashley to contact me. I can only imagine how much she has gone through, and I hoped to leave her alone, kind of keep her out of Cindy's crosshairs, as a way to get to me. This was not a full success.
In a legal proceeding in the Florida courts in which I brought a contempt action for Cindy's refusal to transfer the funds into accounts under dual control, Ashley testified that after her Eighteenth birthday she went into Lincoln financial and withdrew the entire amount of some $277,000.00 that was in her account. There were no documents produced to substantiate this, even though we requested them. THE SAD REALITY IS THAT THE LAWS OF UNIFORM TRANSFER TO MINOR ACTS ACCOUNTS FOR THE STATES OF NEW YORK, PENNSYLVANIA, MISSOURI AND KANSAS, THE RELEVANT JURISDICTIONS TO THE ACCOUNTS, REQUIRE THE MINOR TO REACH THE AGE OF 21 NOT 18 AND REQUIRES THE CUSTODIAN TO TRANSFER THE FUNDS TO THE MINOR. Tragically, it appears Ashley is continuing to be manipulated. I sat there and watched Ashley testify and stick to her mother's story. I was acting as my own counsel and didn't have the heart to impeach Ashley's testimony. Cindy asserts that Ashley has control of the money, yet college tuition checks are written by Cindy, indicating that she, not Ashley, controls the funds. I am glad to see a portion of Ashley's account go toward her education, yet I have no way of knowing if all funds are being used appropriately and in Ashley's best interest.
I hope if Ashley ever reads this she will know how I have tried to protect her from being part of what was occurring but there was only so much I could do. I waited three years to even bring the action for contempt, hoping Ashley and I could find a way to work things out. I could wait no longer because over $440,000 was transferred from the other children's accounts.
Tuesday, May 6, 2008
This Blog is created with the purpose of responding to certain allegations and statements made about me and my life by my former wife, Cynthia Ream-Phillips, in an article published in the Kansas City Star, The Columbian Newspaper, and in an interview aired on "Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel".
I started this Blog, and will continue to add comments to it, because my children do not deserve to be told that they were abandoned by their father. They do not deserve to have their friends, schoolmates or others around them telling them that their father abandoned them. They do not deserve to be told their father is something he is not. The amount of information that needs to be stated is voluminous. I will be adding and editing to this Blog on an ongoing basis. Please be patient.
First and most importantly what must be addressed is the idea that I abandoned my four children. As you will see, this a lie.
Following the end of my time as a Football player, I was faced with the reality that the marriage I had been in for 17 years had been ending for several years. I was prepared for, and in fact, somewhat relieved that the intense physical toll would be ending. Toward the end of my career it was evident to me that the lifestyle of professional football would be easier for me to leave then for my former wife. From the beginning of the marriage she had worked to promote herself through football and I had done a great deal to facilitate her achieving the things she set out to do. I paid for all expenses(tuition and lifestyle) as she attended law school and sat for three bar exams. I purchased a beauty salon for her. Through contacts at the Chiefs, I facillitated her being able to do several television shows, including the Chiefs Pregame show, Chiefs Christmas and others. Through my contacts at Turner Sports ( I had done sideline for the Senior Bowl in 1997) she was hired to do Turner Sports Super Bowl Pregame Show. I even brought her on as a Co-Host to my Radio Show in Kansas City. Cindy, during this time, enjoyed a kind of "soap opera" life. She had a Beauty Salon, a personal trainer, full time nannies. plastic surgeons, a professional decorator, and a cook. We lived in a beautiful home near the plaza in Kansas City and except for the multiple football injuries that I was accruing and suffering from, we and our children were in good health.
But, as I knew, the life had to end. The injuries were crippling. I was anxious to begin life as something other than a defensive tackle, the most physically punishing task on a football field. I had a license to practice law. I had a great association with the Law Firm of McDowell, Rice, Smith and Gaar in Kansas City and had been allowed to gain legal experience with the firm in the football offseasons. I had the benefit of many friends and contacts in Kansas City with the Chiefs and in the community. I was ready. She was not, or perhaps, she was ready to move on with me out of the picture.
I did everything possible to save the marriage that I was in with Cindy. I agreed to move to Florida so she could be closer to her parents. We moved less than ten miles from them. They had continually been present at our homes while we were married, and when we moved to Florida, it became apparent Cindy was invested more in spending time with them than in continuing to build a relationship with me as something other than a professional athlete. I attended marriage counseling twice a week for over ten months. It was to no avail.
Cindy's parents worked as family law mediators in the courthouse of the county Cindy and I moved to. Yes, talk about a railroad job: Move to jurisdiction in which her parents work in the courthouse in a family law, when every ounce of financial or gain or status was beaten out of me after years of football, and then, construct a circumstance in which I was painted as something I was not. All this took time, two years, and then, of course, money (Cindy transferred over 2 million out of accounts within less than forty five days of the divorce filing and another 1.7 million upon conclusion of the divorce financial matters) and the children. So much for the lie about me spending 90% of the money that I made on the football field--the lies, distortions and manipulations are pervasive and are not motivated by adherence to actual occurrences but by how the statements can create a distortion of my true character in the mind's of those in the court and community, helping her execute her plan.
I filed for divorce when I learned Cindy was both personally telling and sending letters to people stating that I was trying to kill her. I have not and would not ever do such a thing. I was advised I had to file for divorce for my protection. As it had to be explained to me, I couldn't face it without others showing me, Cindy was orchestrating a scenario in which she would have a tremendous amount of leverage over me. She was doing it without regard for the truth or actual events, using the technique of telling a big enough lie enough times to lead uninformed people to eventually accept it without question. Always and forever anyone who cares to read this needs to know--
Cindy left Florida first. I was seeing my children 3-5 times a week, going to their schools, and having them visit my home. Cindy moved those kids to New York City in the summer of 2002. She had made multiple trips to New York with the children without my knowledge. She convinced my eldest daughter Ashley to attend a performing arts school in the Queensborough area of New York City and used Ashley's relationship with me to coerce me into a kind of submission; either I must let the children move thousands of miles away or risk Ashley forever believing that I was the person who stood in the way of her dreams. What a horrible position for a father and daughter to be put in. What could I do? The choice for me, created by Cindy, was would I be a father who crushed his eldest daughter's hopes or one who was certain to lose access to his three other children with their relocation to New York? Either choice was cruel to me and the children.
The move to New York I am certain was motivated by Cindy believing it was her way to get back in front of the camera and see her face on the television screen. She had lived in New York for several years before she met me and had contacts in that city. She was especially driven to use her relationship with Sally Jesse Raphael to help Cindy gain in roads in the television business.
After Cindy's move to New York with the children, I flew there and stayed in hotels every other weekend to see the children. I took them trick or treating and visited their schools. It was financially, physically, and emotionally exhausting. I was alone in Florida, surrounded by bad memories of false accusations of drug abuse, violence, and mental instability. The divorce was an assault on me as a person, father, etc... We, with the participation and mediation of our marriage counselor, had made an agreement for an amicable divorce. Cindy's agreement to this was simply a way to keep me from seeing the action she was preparing. While I was doing everything to save my family, I was accused of drug and alcohol abuse. I said, "Fine, you say I am crazy or on drugs, I'll do whatever it takes to save this marriage." I sought extensive professional advice. It turned out to be a good thing; they could vouch for me, my actions and my stability. One analyst after being involved in a deposition and review of the case and the facts said alcohol may have kept me sane! I was never diagnosed by them with anything other than depression.
I went so far as to have myself tested before and after ever visitation with my children. It too was a good thing as we used the tests in court when she accused me of being on drugs during a visitation with my children. With over 2 and 1/2 years of random testing, testing before and after seeing my children at times and sites of Cindy's choosing, I never tested positive for anything.--nothing--ever--in spite of this, she continues to make allegations. I ask people to look at the facts not just her assertions.
During the divorce, Cindy had me followed for over six months by two private investigators trying to find something she could use to support her lies about me. The lead investigator at his deposition stated he would fax his reports to Cindy; then, she would edit them and send them to him for his signature. Is that unbelievable? She is so manipulative. I can't imagine how much money she had to pay the investigators. By the way, the "worst thing " they found was I had two beers and a bowl of clam chowder in the Dallas airport. Amazing, this woman is practicing law, scary.
During a visitation in May of 2004 in New York City with my children I was asked by one of them if I would be able to come see them when they moved to Pennsylvania. I was shocked. I had not been informed of any plans or intentions to move the children. Later it came to my attention that Cindy had purchased a home in Washington, PA. in October of 2003. She had in no way consulted me or advised me of the move until in June of 2004, she informed me that if I was going to pick up the children for summer, I would have to do so at their new home in Pennsylvania. I did so and spent six great weeks with the children at my home in Oregon where we were able to spend a great deal of time getting with the children's cousins, aunts, uncles and grandparents.