Original title: I was arrested for stealing health insurance for my disabled children.
WHY should you care about this story?
- It is a (relatively brief) summary of the past 2+ years of legal drama around my advocacy work (for those who have been following the tale.) It was written primarily for my 30,000 fans and followers as an update, but also to educate, inform, engage and motivate people committed to health and environmental justice.
- For those who are new to my blog, It is a treatise on the perils of advocacy work and taking on powerful corporate interests and it is a cautionary tale about how our justice system is currently seriously broken.
- It was also written to counter the array of false stories, rumor and gossip that has arisen over the course of this ordeal and is an attempt to begin to set the record straight regarding me and my work.
- You might consider reading this if you think we still have anything resembling a functioning justice system that pursues and punishes those who have committed crimes and conversely protects the innocent.
- You might consider reading this if you are genuinely interested in/concerned about protecting and supporting the right of free speech – especially dissent and activism aimed at ensuring that American citizens are informed about the dangers of industrial toxicants in our products and our homes and the simple steps they can take to protect their families from the worst affects from chronic or acute exposure to these avoidable hazards.
- You might also consider reading this if you are (or someone you may know is) in a position to help generate the best outcome by providing any assistance in this fight.
For those who don’t already know me (or who are not familiar with my advocacy work), my name is Tamara Elise Rubin. I am 48 years old, and have four sons – ages 10, 13, 16 and 22. I live in Portland, Oregon with my husband and our three youngest boys (our eldest is away at college in Boston).
My two middle sons were acutely lead poisoned by the work of a painting contractor in 2005. Since then I have become a full-time lead-poisoning prevention advocate/“activist”. I have won multiple awards for my advocacy work — including two from the federal government (in 2011 and 2014).
The early Spring of 2016 was a high point of my advocacy career, and also the beginning of a giant (and most unexpected) legal nightmare. In February of 2016, Bernie Sanders shared a stage with me at an event I was hosting in Flint, Michigan [he later said this was his “favorite event of the campaign trail”!] Truth be told, it started out as my event, but quickly got taken over by Secret Service and campaign people — and to the world it looked like a “Bernie” event [even though I had initiated it and coordinated it, and simply invited him to attend!]
Shortly after that event – in April of 2016 – I was the opening speaker for a presentation by Erin Brockovich in Portland, Oregon.
On the heels of those successful high-profile events, I thought things could only keep going up from there… but that turned out be so wrong….
An update on the ongoing drama and legal battles in my life…
On November 28, 2017 I was arrested — on nine counts of felony theft — for allegedly stealing health insurance for my disabled children.
While the allegations were completely false (and were eventually dropped in full), the fact that we live in a country where a mother could even actually be charged with “stealing” health insurance for her family is mind-blowing.
To my knowledge, in fact, the United States is the only country where this charge could be brought.
In other countries (Denmark, Germany, England, Canada, and every other Western democracy) the concept of “stealing” health insurance (or “stealing” health care) doesn’t even exist.
In most western countries, health insurance is provided free of charge (like public education, roads, emergency services, etc.) to all citizens, as a fundamental right in a just society – and a basic principle of practical governance. In that paradigm, nothing could precipitate an incident like what happened to me: two armed sheriff’s deputies (decked out in bulletproof vests) knocking on my door one morning in November, as I sat with my mentally-ill 9-year old son at my side, working on a home-school lesson at the kitchen table.
The Arrest: Tuesday, November 28, 2017
When they knocked on my door they asked me to “step outside”.
I said I could not – as I was with my disabled son, and I could not leave him alone for a moment [he was having a fairly volatile day already; he had just – less than a week earlier – been rejected by the special private school he had been attending.]
I invited the deputies in — and it was then that they informed me that they were sent to arrest me.
Flabbergasted, I asked them what I was being arrested for — and they said they “did not know the specifics of the charges”(!)
I said “How can you arrest me if you don’t know what crime I was supposed to have committed?”
I was shocked and incredulous — as I am a particularly conscientious, law-abiding citizen and have never committed any crime (nothing that rises above the level of a parking violation) – let alone been arrested – in my nearly 50 years on this planet. [In college I refused to even drink alcohol with my friends in the States until after I turned 21, that’s how strict I am about following the law!]
The deputies said that all they knew was that I was being arrested on a charge of “nine counts of felony theft”, and they did not know anything more. They explained that a “felony theft” meant that I allegedly stole something worth $1,000 or more, but that is all they knew. When I inquired, they also said they did not have any knowledge of who might be accusing me of these allegations.
Thoughts raced through my mind. To begin with, I was struggling to understand how here – in The United States of America – sheriff’s deputies could come to my home to arrest me — with no manner of advance warning that I was even being considered to be charged with a crime.
I frantically scoured my memory for some non-existent clue, “If they are here, shouldn’t I have known (in advance) that I was being accused of something? Shouldn’t someone have served me some sort of papers at some point, and then – if I hadn’t responded, maybe – they could issue a warrant and come and arrest me for ‘not complying with an order to show up in court’ or something?”
No advance notice; no warning — this came completely out of the blue. I had no idea it was going to happen and no one had sent me anything indicating I was even being investigated for a possible crime, let alone being charged with one.
I wracked my brain; I could not even imagine what I might somehow be being accused of “stealing” — what I might have stolen that could be worth $1,000 or more (and what I might have stolen “NINE times” for that matter.)
In true “Tamara-fashion”, I asked the arresting officer if I could take a selfie with him. He obliged. I was crying, but tried to muster some kind of reasonable selfie etiquette anyway:
I did not learn that I was being arrested for “welfare fraud” (being accused of illegitimately using public benefits — during a time when my family overwhelmingly legally qualified for those benefits) until after I was in jail — and AFTER I spoke with an attorney – who had to do a bit of research to help me figure out what was going on.
On the one hand, I could just sigh, shake my head in disgust and choose that to say nothing to about this — because, from a distance it seems like just another in the now endless parade of random societal breakdowns — symptoms of the accelerated decay of the U.S. legal system that we have become accustomed to in the apparent twilight of The American Era.
On the other hand, I feel like we should all be shouting from the rooftops (and plastering similar accounts of injustice all over social media), because of the profoundly frightening implications of this kind of new dystopian reality in this country — the everyday/all-too-common authoritarian overreach, “exploratory” investigations [“fishing expeditions”], issuance of baseless warrants and illegal searches/seizures, arrests [and even murders], arising from stupidity/incompetence, bias, and disregard for the presumption of innocence and the traditional basic rule of law. The United States is truly coming to resemble more and more the sort of “banana republics” we have righteously condemned for their iconic combination of systemic incompetence, corruption and injustice.
Let’s take a step back… how could this even happen?
Was there any rhyme or reason to this surreal incident?
Where did the false allegations that led to an illegitimate arrest for charges that were eventually dropped in their entirety – in this instance – come from?
What was the path that led us to this moment in my case?
The Oregon Department Of Justice (DOJ) “Inquiry”:
February 2016 to Present
February 25, 2016: I did that presentation with Bernie in Flint, Michigan. Here’s what I opened with (it’s a one minute video clip from the presentation):
While we don’t have an exact date yet, it appears that shortly after that presentation (late-February/early-March 2016) someone made an “anonymous complaint” to the Oregon Department Of Justice alleging “financial fraud” with the lead poisoning prevention nonprofit I founded, Lead Safe America Foundation. [If you didn’t watch the clip yet, I implore you to!]
March 22, 2016: About a month after the event with Bernie, the paperwork for the DOJ’s “inquiry” was drafted and signed and then later hand delivered the Lead Safe America Foundation’s office. Important to note: the notary signature on this document was Kris Kalanges.
We still don’t know who made the initial complaint that started this investigation – but, based on the timing, we have some likely theories:
Perhaps it was the lobbyist for lead industry heavy, Sherwin Williams – who has been following my lead poisoning prevention advocacy since 2011 and before [the same individual who was also spotted at some of my events; who also privately threatened my backers and Board President, and who subsequently ominously contacted me with an invitation to ‘meet with me’]. Perhaps they saw me on stage with a presidential candidate by my side in Flint, Michigan on February 25, 2016 and decided my reach had gotten too wide and was potentially too impactful (especially with an appeal of the California verdict against them in the works) and it was time to take me down.
Perhaps it was someone with the Portland Public School District – who feared for their job. I was the Mom who had repeatedly reported that there was a lead concern with the schools’ drinking water fountains (back as far as 2009). My e-mails to the district were the supporting documentation in the 2016 legal action against the school administrators, evidence demonstrating that they knowingly neglected to share this information with other parents in the district (knowingly letting the kids drink lead-tainted water for years!) – evidence which ultimately contributed to several high-level people [including the Superintendent of Schools] losing their jobs. Perhaps whoever made the complaint thought if they could discredit me this might alter the outcome of the “lead-in-water-in-the-schools” case? That discrediting me might help them keep their jobs?
We may never know. Whoever made the complaint did so anonymously – likely fully aware it was completely fabricated. There was never any financial fraud nor impropriety with the nonprofit. None.
The DOJ investigator working the “case” apparently sent their “case file” to the IRS.
The documentation from the DOJ included a “financial calculus” that we later learned was an absurd, entirely-speculative fictional sketch, based on fantastically false assumptions and clumsily misinterpreted/incomplete lists of some financial transaction totals that they hastily compiled — without even carefully examining our records, without taking time to ask questions, and without really any rudimentary investigative work or inquiry.
Actual examples of their ridiculous incorrect calculations:
- There were many “spec” invoices that had been sent out for potential events (events that never subsequently actually happened). These were listed in the PayPal records as “unpaid” and didn’t result in any income, however the DOJ tallied up all of these as “received income” anyway.
- There were personal loans (a constant “revolving line of credit” from me to the Foundation, essentially) — to help pay the nonprofit’s utilities and other expenses — during times when there were few or no donations. All such loans the DOJ counted as “income” as well.
- …and of course any repayments of loaned monies (repaid to me for the funds I had loaned) were – incorrectly accounted for by the DOJ as funds I had allegedly embezzled.
- The DOJ’s official “list of concerns” (allegations) included a bizarre notation (presumption, in this case, based on…nothing at all) that I “did not communicate with the Board of Directors and that, as such the Board was not aware of the financial situations (loans, income, expenses, etc.)” In response, my attorneys sent them something like 3,250 e-mails between me and the board about all matters large and small over the course of approximately 5 years – close to two e-mails a day, every single day of the year, for five years.
This sort of bungling ineptitude formed the DOJ’s basis for their allegations of “embezzlement of hundreds of thousands of dollars” — when any first-year accounting student could have easily determined [by simply taking the time to ask a few questions and carefully examining the transactions and matching them up (and actually reading the frequent annotations I earnestly entered in my database and on transaction records)] – that, not only were the financials mundane and unremarkable, but what the DOJ were alleging was literally impossible – based on the actual totals of income and expenses of the nonprofit [supported by the very public and well documented actual activities of the nonprofit!]
And so, in the Spring of 2016, the IRS dutifully started a financial audit of the nonprofit, focusing on 2014.
Saturday, April 2, 2016: I was the opening speaker for a presentation by Erin Brockovich at Revolution Hall in Portland, Oregon. [I was just a wee bit nervous speaking in this capacity, but it was a lot of fun!]
Friday, May 27, 2016: My mother, Helene Glickfeld Marshall, died far too young of a very aggressive and rare form of cancer. I will never get over the pain and trauma of losing my mother. I can only take comfort in how proud she was to see me on stage with Bernie and with Erin before she passed. I share this with you here because it is important to realize that the world did not stop for our “lives” during this time. We still had disabled children to raise, to feed, to educate, to manage, to care for. Our life was as complex as it has ever been – and now so much more so.
Thursday, August 25, 2016: As a result of the DOJ inquiry, I was notified by an attorney that I was (illegally) “fired” from the nonprofit I founded. When I e-mailed the Board about it, all of the directors who e-mailed me back were not aware I had been fired. There had been no vote of the Board in this matter.
After my illegal firing I spiraled into a deep (circumstantially influenced) depression. I had lost everything I had spent the past 10+ years working towards as an advocate, although I didn’t yet suspect I had lost it forever. I still believed in “Truth, Justice and the American Way” and felt with the truth exposed I would be back running my nonprofit and helping families eventually.
I shifted my focus to my search for an attorney and once I found one put everything in their hands. They told me not to blog (and to limit my posting on social media), so I all but stopped writing – the isolation of which practically killed me.
Saturday, December 3, 2016: I learned that Snopes published an article attempting to discredit the science behind my work (the independent consumer goods toxicity testing that I do.) I couldn’t stay silent anymore (in the face of more stupidity and injustice and lies being published by Snopes no less), so I wrote a post rebutting the Snopes article. This post rebooted my blogging career (while also rebooting my optimism for the future and my passion for my work) and I haven’t stopped blogging since. [Ironically I have been cited in Snopes pieces two more times since then. In two of the three pieces they used me as a resource to prove their findings and in the third – the original piece about vintage Pyrex – they attempt to debunk that same body of work.]
Tuesday, February 7, 2017: My husband’s father, Mordecai Rubin, passed way after suffering from Lewy Body Dimentia for years. [Just another glimpse of more “real life” happening around us throughout this ordeal.]
Monday, May 8, 2017: The day before our 16th wedding anniversary and nearly nine months after I was illegally fired from the nonprofit, I was sent a (very thick) set of documents from the IRS that stated that – if the allegations of financial impropriety and embezzlement were correct – I would personally owe the IRS $547,830.30 – plus fines, penalties and restitution.
The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Investigative Audit:
April 2016 – September 12, 2017
To clarify, this fine would be for my nearly 5-1/2 years of work with the nonprofit I founded — during most of which time I was actually a full-time unpaid volunteer, helping families of lead-poisoned children 24/7, as requests for help came in via Facebook and Twitter. [As I still do today.]
The total in cash donations brought in across the first five years of the organization was $421,160.05 (see below). The IRS inquiry was only covering 2013, 2014 and 2015 — so for the years that were being “investigated” the total income was just about $359,457.05.
I was potentially being fined for stealing $547,830.30…from $359,457.05 in total (gross) revenue!
- $13,000.00 year 1, 2011 [apprx]
- $48,703.00 year 2, 2012*
- $73,547.16 year 3, 2013*
- $92,852.91 year 4, 2014*
- $193,056.98 year 5, 2015*
[*These are the exact numbers that were independently confirmed by the audit.]
How could anyone possibly “embezzle $547,000” out of a GROSS of $359,457?
Not to mention the thousands of individuals and families the nonprofit helped and worked with each year; the families we gave direct assistance to every day; the tens of thousands of free lead paint test kits we distributed by mail and at events; and the dozens upon dozens of public education events we hosted or collaborated on during that time (with partners that included hospitals, universities and state and city run health departments and lead poisoning prevention programs) — work that was acknowledged by two awards from the federal government (two awards from HUD at the National Healthy Home Conferences in 2011 and 2014) for being among the most effective lead poisoning prevention campaigns in the U.S.
Implementing all those programs incurred expenses (office rent, postage, phones, personnel, travel costs, refreshments, marketing costs, equipment rental, etc.) that were deducted from the gross income. In fact every penny the nonprofit earned during the time in question was spent on programs of the nonprofit during that time.
The allegations were obviously fundamentally absurd.
….my first inclination was to laugh out loud — but for the fact that it was the IRS that was delivering the “punch line” to the anonymous tipster+”earnest” DOJ agent’s absurd “joke”.
My friend Leila is a tax attorney, and she agreed to represent me in the case. For me, as a mother of disabled children, it is pretty much impossible to think straight half of the time – let alone represent myself against allegations of this magnitude made by the IRS!
Once Leila read the documentation from the IRS, she told me that if I were found guilty of these allegations, the total financial impact could actually be closer to $1,000,000.
While I knew there was absolutely no merit to any of the allegations, I was beginning to grow increasingly nervous at the thought that if this crazy, surreal nightmare had gone this far (which it had)- there might be some remotely possible scenario in which, somehow, my complete innocence might not matter.
I was reassured by Leila that a careful review of the facts (including the actual well-annotated transaction logs that I kept in custom FileMaker Pro databases* and spreadsheets along with the supporting documentation, vendor transaction records and receipts) would demonstrate that I was completely innocent of the allegations.
Before my kids were poisoned, I was a professional database developer working In FileMaker Pro (since 1990.) I have never used QuickBooks because I have never needed to, as I was always able to design custom FileMaker solutions for my clients (including databases for work with Kaiser Hospitals, Starbucks and Nike.) The DOJ refused to look at any of the FileMaker files or printed documents from them and insisted that “accounting should be in QuickBooks”. When I inquired about about their repeated insistence that they considered anything other than QuickBooks “suspicious” and unacceptable, they recited the phrase “we’re not allowed to dictate which specific software you use for accounting.” In my case file they apparently also asserted that FileMaker is some “off-brand”/“unusual” proprietary program, and thus a highly suspicious choice — which, of course is ridiculous, as it is Apple’s premium, cross-platform, powerful/highly-customizable database product used by multitudes of businesses across many major industries desiring greater detail and flexibility in annotation, analysis, and reporting.
I answered all of Leila’s questions.
I shared all of the relevant information with her.
I spent countless hours compiling receipts from vendors and additional documentation supporting all transactions questioned by the IRS.
Together Leila and I provided detailed answers to all of the IRS agent’s questions. Important to note: The IRS agent was very good at her job. She asked a lot of questions. An investigation of this nature cannot be fairly undertaken without an appropriate level of inquiry.
Fun Fact: Apparently, I have an exceptionally good memory for the details of financial transactions. I actually remembered the details of virtually every transaction – large and small – for every single question that the IRS auditor asked about the thousands of transactions over the years.
Thank you, technology (trusty old Apple PowerBook, FileMaker Pro, PayPal, Internet research, digital receipts, etc.!) for also helping to make that possible!
Tuesday, September 12, 2017: Leila flew out from Philadelphia to represent me in the in-person conversation with the IRS agent.
To help with this process I had also hired Phyllis, a respected local nonprofit bookkeeping specialist, to do a forensic reconstruction of the Foundation’s accounting for the audit. The attorney for the Foundation refused to give us access to the non-profit’s files during this time (and even went so far as to imply that the files did not exist, which was completely untrue.) Phyllis is brilliant and thorough — and very detail oriented. She was singlehandedly responsible for an incredibly complete, amazingly accurate forensic reconstruction of the entire books of the nonprofit in QuickBooks [per the (unofficial) demands of the DOJ that the data be in QuickBooks, since they evidently only know how to understand/review/analyze that.]
Phyllis and Leila’s combined services cost me more than $30,000 — money we had to borrow from friends, and more than $14,000 of which is still owed to Phyllis and to Leila’s legal firm.
Phyllis came to the audit meeting on September 12th too.
In the IRS audit room we answered more questions, and presented more supporting documentation. While I wouldn’t want to do it again, it was actually kind of fun being able to provide detailed answers to every single question instantly and with ease!
At the end of the meeting, the IRS agent (Angie) concluded the audit 100% in my favor.
IRS Angie determined that:
- I was not guilty of any of the allegations and
- I did not owe even one penny to the IRS!
- There would be no changes to my tax returns as originally filed.
Angie seemed dumbfounded as she asked me, “did you provide any of this documentation to the DOJ??” When I explained that we had provided all of it to them, she asked – incredulously, “then why on earth are they pursuing this?” Adding, “it just doesn’t make any sense!”
She also told me, “I really appreciate the work you do!” — she personally thanked me for my advocacy work, and my “contribution to the community” — and added, “if you ever need help with tax questions – or anything – I would be happy to help you, if I can!”
Thursday, September 14, 2017: My attorney Leila wrote a summary letter about the audit which we forwarded to the DOJ to inform them of the IRS’ conclusion in the matter. This communication was also delivered to the attorney for the nonprofit.
Monday, October 2, 2017: Without my knowledge and going against an agreement that had been made with my attorneys, the attorneys and single remaining Board Member for Lead Safe America Foundation filed “Articles of Dissolution” formally dismantling the award winning nonprofit I had founded even though we had been found to be innocent of the allegations based on the IRS audit.
Note on this document [image below] that the dissolution was authorized on September 22, 2017, ten days after the IRS found the allegations to be baseless. [I did not find out about the dissolution of the organization until later in the month, several weeks after the paperwork had been filed.]
It is a very simple letter, but it is the IRS’ way of confirming I was innocent of the allegations, that I didn’t owe a penny of the “potential $547,000+” (nor of the “potential fines, taxes or penalties” that might have come with that.)
The most important fact here: The main outcome of the IRS dismissing the inquiry was that they agreed with my taxes as filed, and were not disputing them. What this specifically means is that my taxes – across multiple years, as approved and audited by the IRS – clearly demonstrated that my family was below the poverty line for all of the years in question. as we also have been for most of the years since our children were poisoned and disabled.
Sadly, in the U.S., it’s not atypical for the disability of children (or some other extreme medical crisis) to lead to a family becoming destitute, and this is what has happened to us.
With the IRS verdict officially confirming what we already knew, we were relieved and jubilant! As far as we were concerned, this audit clearly proved our innocence (as well as the innocence of the Board of Directors of the nonprofit I founded) in these allegations of financial impropriety AND clearly showed that the DOJ was working off of assumptions based on a totally false calculus, which had now been disproven by the IRS.
By the first week in October (2017), we felt certain that with this IRS’ decision (and the supporting letter to document it), the DOJ would quickly conclude their investigation in my favor and close it.
“Not so fast…”
October/ Early November 2017
Monday, October 16, 2017: Now that the IRS audit was over, I was lucky enough to find a new attorney (pro-bono) to help coordinate what I hoped would be the final stage of the information exchange and conversations with the DOJ.
Through early November my attorney team worked on communicating with the DOJ and getting them everything they asked for (specifically all of the documentation involved with the IRS audit, all of the documentation the IRS used to determine my innocence in this matter) in a digital format they would be able to easily access.
This included the QuickBooks file from the forensic reconstruction of the finances of the nonprofit (which the DOJ agent had insisted was the only credible/acceptable platform for financials that they could accept and review), as well as 2,300+ pages of documentation supporting my innocence in the matter – and specifically supporting the transactions contained in the QuickBooks file.
Fun Fact, Wednesday, November 8, 2017: My advocacy work was featured on CBS This Morning With Charlie Rose (right before he was canned!) They did a national news piece (the first ever national news mention of my new branding of #LeadSafeMama!) that properly credited me with the discovery of lead in fidget spinners.
Friday, November 10, 2017: the DOJ had everything they needed to dismiss the case. They had confirmed with my attorneys that they had received the thumb drive we sent them with all of this information.
Riding the wave of all the recent positive national news coverage of my work, I guess I was optimistic in assuming that they would come to their senses and concede they had been on a wild goose chase!)… but nope, hold on there… not so fast.
My Arrest & Criminal Case: Six Months
November 2017 to May 2018
Tuesday, November 28, 2017: I was arrested! In my kitchen. While home-schooling my son.
At first glance it might seem to the outside observer that my arrest had nothing to do with the DOJ inquiry nor the IRS tax audit. In fact, on November 28th when my attorney called the DOJ to inquire about this he was specifically told that my arrest had nothing to do with the DOJ inquiry.
The outside observer might conclude that I am a “bad” person, who was separately (and independently) investigated by the DOJ; audited by the IRS; and arrested on nine counts of felony theft, for welfare fraud.
Well, no, actually.
The DOJ investigation; my firing from the nonprofit I founded; the destruction of my reputation; the IRS audit; and the (fraudulent, illegal) arrest on nine counts of felony theft are all inextricably linked: they all stem from the single, “anonymous complaint” to the Oregon DOJ. [An “anonymous complaint” that truly seems as if it could have been intentionally designed to efficiently destroy my reputation, kill off my advocacy work and drown me in a mountain of debt.]
In fact, the main (and only) “witness” – who signed the paperwork to have me arrested on “nine counts of felony theft” (including allegedly stealing health insurance for my disabled children) turns out to be the same DOJ agent that authored the original false calculus and list of bogus allegations that were submitted to the IRS.
His name is Kris Kalanges. His title is “Financial Investigator” for the Oregon Department of Justice.
After my arrest, we put together the following (very interesting) timeline:
- October: Kris (the DOJ investigator) asked my attorneys for the documentation the IRS used to determine my innocence in this matter.
- Friday, November 10, 2017: My attorneys finished compiling and providing this information to Kris (2,300+ pages of documentation plus the requested QuickBooks file, clearly demonstrating my innocence of the trumped-up allegations). Kris confirmed he received this documentation.
- Monday, November 13, 2017: Kris testified before the Grand Jury and served as the primary witness in the effort to have me arrested. In this testimony Kris apparently lied under oath (in alleging my guilt) – because (we know now for sure) he knowingly withheld exculpatory evidence which he had in his possession (i.e. documentation from the IRS audit [the Quickbooks file and 2,300+ pages of supporting documentation]- evidence that clearly demonstrated my innocence of the allegations).
- Tuesday, November 28, 2017: I was arrested, taken away in handcuffs in front of my young child (I was released that evening), which was a frankly a terrifying and traumatizing experience — physically, emotionally, and mentally violating: they cuffed my hands behind my back, put me in the back of an unmarked black SUV parked in front of my home…the officer initially refused to put a seatbelt on me, but I insisted — remembering Freddie Gray. The handcuffs were extremely tight and painful, and left deep welts on my wrists [when we arrived at the station, the officers would not let me use my phone to take a picture to document the injury] — and that’s just one tiny piece – of that part of the story.
- Tuesday, November 28, 2017: Mark (Kris’ co-worker at the DOJ) assured my attorney that my arrest had nothing to do with the DOJ investigation (basically lying through his teeth, given his co-worker served as the witness to the grand jury to call for my arrest and given the misinformation that served as the basis for my arrest was provided to DHHS by the DOJ.)
- Mid-December 2017 – Kris contacted my attorney asking for the password to the QuickBooks file (thus inadvertently revealing that he had still not yet even looked at any of the exculpatory evidence — even though he had had it in his possession for more than a month).
- Early February 2018 – Kris met with the Deputy District Attorney and many others working on the criminal case (including my legal team) and (apparently) admitted in chambers with the DDA that he had never looked at any of the exculpatory evidence prior to testifying against me in order to have me arrested and also admitted that he did not present this exculpatory evidence to the Grand Jury [in legal terms, he knowingly “withheld” this evidence].
- February 2018, March 2018, April 2018 and Early May 2018 [Three full months] – The DDA and DOJ did not immediately drop the criminal case — even in light of the facts confirmed at the meeting in early February, that Kris had not acted in good faith and had withheld the exculpatory evidence from the Grand Jury.*
*The question arises: Why would a public servant risk his job and endanger the integrity of an investigation by withholding a profound and significant amount of evidence that fully exonerates the accused of the charges?
So, exactly WHY was I arrested?:
- The DOJ had alleged I made oodles of money working for my nonprofit when I did not.
- September 12, 2017: The IRS audit clearly demonstrated the DOJ allegation was wrong, and – in fact – confirmed that my family was below the poverty line for all of the years in question (and that we used what little money we had to help finance the work of the nonprofit in an attempt to bring it to a point of self-sufficiency.)
- Early on (perhaps as early as June of 2016) The DOJ contacted the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) for the State of Oregon and shared their false calculus asserting I was potentially guilty of welfare fraud.
- This false calculus they could have/should have withdrawn in September, October, or at least no later than November 10, 2017 when they learned it was incorrect (based on the results of the IRS audit), but Kris chose not to withdraw this falsified evidence.
- The “welfare fraud” allegation was based on the same original erroneous assumptions that I made income that I did not declare [based on the DOJ’s false numbers, and ignoring the IRS’ comprehensive audit corroborating my income as claimed and filed on my tax returns] and that therefore we received benefits for our family (including health insurance and food stamps) fraudulently.
- November 10, 2017: Kris had in hand (and confirmed he had received) all of the documentation from the IRS audit proving my innocence of the allegations.
- November 13, 2017: Kris testified to the Grand Jury that I “knowingly committed this ‘crime’” which raised it to the level of nine counts of felony theft.
- November 28, 2017: Kris’ work partner Mark lied to my attorney in stating that my arrest had “nothing to do with the DOJ investigation.”
(but not over)
Thursday, May 10, 2018: The criminal case against me was dropped in full – because the evidence did not support (and actually clearly contradicted) the false allegations.
Friday, May 11, 2018: We served the DOJ (and other participating agencies including DHHS) with a Tort Notice, saying that we were planning on suing them for f-ing with me and destroying my life and my life’s work over the past two+ years.
Time to celebrate – right?
That’s what I thought!
I was so excited.
The IRS found me innocent of the allegations and dropped the case in full, and now the Criminal Courts dropped the case in full because the evidence did not support the allegations [and because there was solid and significant evidence of “improper actions” on behalf of the DOJ investigator (Kris) the person who served as the sole witness in my arrest.]
I was so relieved – even “happy”.
For a minute.
I was sure the DOJ was finally going to drop their inquisition now!
How could they possibly continue this charade of trying to destroy me and drown me in legal debt when both the IRS and the Criminal Courts had dropped their inquires explicitly because none of the allegations were supported by the evidence (actual facts)?
Well… Kris had other things up his sleeve [crafty bureaucrat – always finding new ways to use public resources to try to find a low-income mama of lead-poisoned kids turned award-winning lead-poisoning prevention “activist” (advocate) guilty of some heinous offense!]
Around May 15, 2018, Kris contacted my attorney. He said he would be “Willing to drop the [two-year-long and counting] DOJ “inquiry” — if I would just sign a document saying I would “never work for any non-profit again.” Hmmm…
Kris wanted me to essentially “admit guilt” for something I did not do — when two government bodies (the IRS and the Criminal Courts) had already discredited and dismissed these completely bogus allegations he came up with in the first place.
In not agreeing to this strong-arm “deal”, I assumed they would have no choice but to find a way to close the inquiry. However, what I learned (just getting a better understanding of human psychology) is that when someone like this spends two+ years of their time and taxpayers’ resources trying to prove you are guilty of a crime you did not commit, and when you have served them with a tort notice saying you are going to sue them for what they have done to you, they just dig their heels in.
My lawyer explained to me that if Kris dropped the case now (and stopped supporting the use of government funds to try to attack me) he would be supporting our case against him (and the DOJ and other agencies), essentially admitting he was barking up the wrong tree for more than two years.
So he did not drop the inquiry… and in June of 2018 we were served with yet another set of legal papers — asking for “financial restitution” to the State of Oregon (DHHS) — for the very same “crimes” that the IRS and the Criminal Courts had dismissed because of incontrovertible evidence that we had not committed them.
At first I though it was a bureaucratic mistake — or just paperwork that crossed in the mail. Maybe the Department of Health and Human Services for the State of Oregon didn’t get the memo that the IRS had dismissed their case against me, as had the Criminal Courts. That conclusion didn’t exactly make sense in my mind (because they were also one of the named parties that we stated we intended to sue in the Tort Notice, so they must have – literally – gotten the memo) but it seemed to be the only conceivable explanation.
Nope. Oregon DHHS was going after us for more than $73,000 in “restitution” for health insurance and other benefits that we received during times that we qualified for these benefits (and specifically during times that the IRS audit clearly demonstrated we were below the poverty line.) Because yeah – it makes sense for the safety net agency to go ahead and blindly, doggedly pursue a low-income family in crisis with disabled children; a family that has newly incurred more than $100,000 in debt in their efforts to prove their innocence in these matters. [After all, the packet they received from the guy at the DOJ said I had done these things, so it must be true.]
June 2018 to Present (October 2018)
Friday, June 15, 2018: We got seven big documents in the mail.These documents stated that the State believed we “owed them more than $73,000 for benefits we received but that we did not qualify for at the time we received them”. This included health insurance, food stamps and TANF (Temporary Assistance to Needy Families.)
All of these benefits were awarded to our family during years the IRS audit had confirmed that we were below the poverty level.
The the benefits that I was arrested for allegedly “stealing” back in November of 2017.
The arrest for which the charges were dropped in full in May of 2018, because the evidence did not support the charges.
But in another surreal twist…
DHS had decided to pursue us for these very same bogus charges on “an administrative basis”, — despite the fact that allegations that led to these charges had already been dismissed in full by the IRS and dismissed in full again by the Criminal Courts. Yep.
This paperwork was asking for “restitution” from me, from my husband AND from my eldest son — who is now away at college in Boston. WHAT!? [So many “WHAT!?”s!!!!]
I thought they must have sent it to us inadvertently – because frankly this was the paperwork that one might have expected to get one or two or three months before one might have been arrested, had one ignored such documents.
The documents said that we could “contest the allegations and request a hearing”.
We did that immediately, of course.
The guy (Eric) who I spoke with, who was handling the health insurance component of this new inquiry seemed intelligent, nice, and sympathetic & understanding. The woman handling everything else (Karen) …not so much. She truly seemed adversarial from the beginning, not necessarily intent on discovering the truth of the situation, but more along the lines of others we have dealt with over the past couple of years; from the beginning through her words and actions she seemed intent on simply trying to prove us guilty of the allegations that had already been been proven to be untrue.
Shortly after requesting a hearing in the matter, and responding to many of their questions (sending them tax returns, and sending them the full information from the IRS audit — including the 2,300+ pages of documents and the QuickBooks file….. [hold on a minute, I am having a deja vu moment…am I in an Arlo Guthrie song?? Maybe it’s time for a new song — instead of “Alice’s Restaurant” we could call this one, “Tamara’s Kitchen!”…“and so they loaded everything back into the vee doubya microbus with the shovels and rakes and implements of destruction, along with the QuickBooks file and the 2,300 pages of supporting documentation and…”]
We were assigned a hearing date of Monday, August 27, 2018.
Up to this point I have had to find and engage 8 — count them EIGHT — different individual lawyers who have been advising me or actively working with me on all the various layers of this crazy cluster-fuck … [Phil, Gloria, Jamie, Megan, Celia, Justine, Kelly, Leila].
I contacted my “legal team” and asked if any of them could help me.
Each explained in turn that – for various reasons – none of them could represent me! Either they “did not have the time with their current caseload”, or it was “not their area of expertise”, etc. …
So I apparently now needed to find yet another lawyer to represent us in the DHS hearing!
#Sigh. <John Lennon’s voice: “…number 9…number 9…number 9…number 9…”>
During this time while I was looking for another attorney, I also realized that, given the evidence was so overwhelmingly in our favor, I might be able to communicate and respond to questions myself directly [represent myself “Pro Se” in this matter, in legal jargon], and in doing so — might also be able to easily convince them to simply drop the inquiry before the hearing.]
Tuesday, July 17, 2018: We confirmed that the DHS agent (Karen) received the 2,300+ pages and the QuickBooks file that my attorney (working on the DOJ communications) had put together and that husband dropped off at her office.
**** At this point in the story, I feel it is very important to note that, especially in contrast to the IRS investigator, Karen asked me relatively few questions. I don’t believe she could possibly come to a fair decision without the level of inquiry made by the IRS agent. Also to note, the quantity and limited scope of the questions she did ask (which I answered thoroughly and in full) resembled more the limited inquiry by the DOJ investigator, which resulted in his complete misunderstanding and misrepresentation of the facts (and my subsequent illegal arrest on false charges.)********
Monday, July 30, 2018: Nearly two weeks later, Karen said she had been reviewing the documents we had sent over on a thumb drive but “was unable to open one of them”.
The one she couldn’t open? The QuickBooks file!
I had explained to Karen that the QuickBooks file is the forensic audit that I paid more than $10,000 to have done. This is the key piece of evidence the IRS used to exonerate me. What did she mean she “only couldn’t open that ‘one file”?! The 2,300+ pages of documentation that we sent with it are the supporting documentation to the QuickBooks file, not separate documents, to be reviewed out of context without the file they were compiled to support!! #Sigh
My exact e-mail following up on this on 7/30:
While I understand the limitations of technology in public agencies to some degree, I wanted to communicate that I am disappointed that this (your e-mail from this morning – Monday, 7/30) is the first we heard from you (one day shy of two weeks from us getting you the thumb drive on Tuesday, 7/17) that you were not able to open the main file (the QuickBooks file) that demonstrates my innocence of the allegations central to this investigative inquiry.
Thursday, August 2, 2018: Karen confirmed she was able to get the QuickBooks file open “this morning” (after “getting the software installed”* for the purpose of doing so).
*This made no sense to me — because it was the State of Oregon DOJ that initially insisted we put the information in QuickBooks, “…so it would be in a normal, auditable format”, yet the State of Oregon DHHS representative couldn’t figure out how to open a QuickBooks file and had to make special accommodations to do so! [Because the State doesn’t use QuickBooks, she told me.]
After (she said) she got the QuickBooks file open (and frankly, at this point I ‘m not 100% sure I even believe that she ever did)… once I finally answered all of her questions (and forwarded all of the relevant information from the criminal case and the IRS) I actually [naively?] assumed they had everything they needed to dismiss the case, and after reviewing the evidence, would reasonably have to do so.
Thursday, August 16, 2018: Via my attorney team, we did finally get a referral to an attorney who was considering helping us pro-bono in this part of the case. She said she too had a very busy caseload and said that it would be contingent on us to asking for (and being granted) a 90-day continuance for our hearing, to give her time to get on board.
Monday, August 20, 2018: I sent Karen an e-mail specifically asking her that… along the lines of …”Now that you have everything, are you able to dismiss the case?”
I really did not think at this time that under any conceivable logic, they were going to actually proceed with the hearing.
Tuesday, August 21, 2018: Karen responded with “The Department expects to proceed to hearing at this time.”
I could only assume she had not actually fully reviewed the documentation yet, as otherwise it did not seem to me that she had any remotely defensible reason to go ahead with the case.
I called to ask for a continuance — and was told that “that would be very unlikely at this point” and “if you DO get one it will likely only be 30 days.”
Tuesday, August 21, 2018, 5:07 p.m.: With three business days left before the hearing, Eric (the guy reviewing the medical portion of the charges – $27,000 of the $73,000) e-mailed me and told me that his portion of our case had been “dropped in full. He had done his job. He had reviewed the information we had submitted and found no basis for moving forward with the claim. Nice guy — thorough; good to work with.
Wednesday, August 22, 2018, 7:31 a.m.: Karen sent us an e-mail saying she was overnighting the exhibits for her case to us (very last minute) yet still intended to go ahead with the scheduled hearing!
Thursday, August 23, 2018: The “exhibits” were delivered to our home in a large box — 1,900+ pages of paper (stuff I had sent to her, regurgitated back to us), delivered late morning on Thursday— that we (parents of lead poisoned children with no childcare and no legal representation) were supposed to somehow review in full – and respond to – in time for an 8:30 hearing on Monday morning!
And even with this, we had also been told that the Hearings Office could still “not grant a continuance over the phone” (which really seemed just so ridiculous) Instead, we were told, we ALL [myself, my husband and our son in college in Boston!] needed to waste our time to “appear in person” at the hearing! This entailed (again – a low income family, saddled with enormous debt from defending our innocence in this ongoing saga) renting a car (as we do not own one), lining up a babysitter for our kids, flying my oldest son in from 3,000 miles away where he lives in Boston [luckily the timing corresponded to Summer Break!] — just so we can request a continuance from the judge, “in person”??
Well, if that is the requirement…
Sunday, August 26, 2018: The night before the hearing, a friend of mine [who is a retired judge] stayed up late with me and helped me write a letter to the DHS Judge to ask for a continuance. I am so lucky to have friends like that in the world! At this point I would not have been able to write this simple e-mail without his help, I was so bleary-eyed and emotional over this chaos.
Monday, August 27, 2018, 8:30 a.m.: The morning of the hearing [which lasted less than 15 minutes] we were granted a 90-day continuance. The judge also said that it was not a requirement that we all had to appear [for either the request for continuance or the actual hearing] in person [adding, “although that is generally ‘preferable’”]!
******Note the two people who were there representing the state at the hearing were Karen, and an investigator with the State who is named specifically in our Tort Notice as one of the people we intend to sue for his inappropriate actions in handling my case.******* !
Monday August, 27, 2018, 11:25 a.m.: We contacted all of our lawyers (including the lawyer who was considering representing us in this matter) to let them know about the continuance.
#SmallVictories (aka: The little “triumphs over adversity” I celebrate these days.)
Friday, September 7, 2018, 6:26 p.m.: Eleven days later the prospective pro-bono lawyer who said she could likely help us if we got the continuance, e-mailed us (Friday after the close of work hours) and let us know that she would not actually be able to represent us due to scheduling conflicts. I’m not mad at her, she had prepared us that once we got the continuance she would have to carefully examine the needs of our case and her current caseload at the time in order to finalize any decision to help us — but I was incredibly saddened and disappointed by this news.
And here we are, now.
With a brief respite for the Jewish High Holidays (9/9/18 through 9/19/2018) that brought us to mid-September— with still no representation for this hearing.
Thursday, September 13, 2018: And so we started over; we called Legal Aid within “a window” we had been instructed to call “to make sure to get the right person” — and got a recording informing us “the office is currently closed”.
Thursday, September 20, 2018: I called Legal Aid again (after the holidays) and told our story all over again to a new person. This call lasted longer than THREE hours, including more than two hours on hold… (“tenacity” ;-)) This attorney was a really good listener (she is still trying to help us) —but made it clear that the scope and complexity of our case might be too much for the resources they have available (there are A LOT of people who need their help). She said she would get back to me. Note: this is the office of Legal Aid that is specifically designated to handle food stamp cases in Portland.
I again contacted each of our lawyers to ask for any recommendations or referrals.
I contacted all of my lawyer friends to ask for referrals.
I posted on Facebook asking for referrals.
The last word we have from the Legal Aid lawyer is a reiteration of our earlier conversation “even though they are technically the branch of Legal Aid that helps with food stamps cases”, our case is likely ‘too complex’ for them, and likely “falls outside the scope of what they can do” in terms of representing us. #Sigh …but they may be able to help us represent ourselves if we can’t find other representation. She is currently reviewing documentation that has been sent over to her by DHS and I will be sending her a copy of this piece as well.
Wednesday, October 10, 2018: And that brings us to today. While I wait to hear more from Legal aid (and continue looking to see if I can find anyone else to represent us in this final phase of the case), I am preparing to represent myself [while working and managing my children with disabilities, running my household and all that comes with that].
Adequately and effectively representing myself in this matter is actually a close to a physical impossibility. I cannot in the next 8 weeks (8 weeks from this past Monday), without assistance, represent myself in this issue, although I am going to communicate with Karen and in good faith, knowing I am 100% innocent of the allegations, continue to answer her questions (should she bother to ask any this round, in response to this narrative summary specifically) and provide her with any requested information in an effort to “make every effort to resolve this issue BEFORE the December 4th hearing”, as the judge instructed us to do when he spoke to all of us assembled at the brief initial hearing.
Only time will tell.
And so it was that I was “arrested for stealing health insurance [and the other benefits for which we were also qualified] for my disabled children” — even though the IRS reviewed all of our records and concluded that we were eligible for the benefits received by virtue of us being below the poverty line during the time in question.
What Do They Hope To Gain By This Inquiry?
Fundamentally, I just don’t know what “the powers that be” could possibly hope to gain by continuing to pursue a low-income family with disabled children for “restitution” for benefits legitimately obtained in the first place!
At this moment our debt is crippling – primarily the result of all of the legal bills (and related costs) that we have had to borrow money to cover during the past two-plus years of this fight to prove I am innocent of these ridiculous, made-up allegations.
- We have no money for groceries (again).
- We have no assets.
- We own nothing of any value.
- We don’t have any savings or investments.
- We don’t own a car.
- Our house is in foreclosure (11 months behind in our payments and we have been given until November 4th to bring our mortgage current or lose our home — with no way of doing so),
Does the Oregon Department of Health and Human Services specifically and intentionally want to drive us into greater poverty and bankruptcy (and even literal homelessness) with their actions?
That seems to be the goal. We own nearly nothing & literally, nearly everything in our house is – very obviously – either completely worn out, broken or both:
- Our computers are very old hand-me-down computers — that my husband resuscitated when they were donated to us, broken
- Our few items of clothing are very worn out and many have holes. [I’ve gotten to the phase of washing my shirts, wearing them one last time, and throwing them in the trash because of the holes and stains!]
- We each only have one pair of shoes [most with very worn soles or actual holes in them!]
- The side of our house is visibly rotting away (and so is our garage).
- Our furnace barely functions – and can not be repaired. [We have wood and a fireplace to help with heat in the winter thank god!]
- Our oven is broken.
- Our microwave is broken.
- Our toaster-oven is broken.
- Our toaster is broken.
- Our refrigerator is on its last legs.
- Our kitchen faucet is broken and leaking.
- Our main toilet is broken (cracked all the way through the basin to the floor!)
- [We are thankful that at least our water & dryer still work,”knock on wood”!!]
- We don’t have any winter clothes for the kids this year.
- We barely manage to feed our children [we do, but it is always very tight.]
What could the Department of Health and Human Services of the State of Oregon possibly hope to gain by going after us for restitution for Supplemental Nutrition And Food Assistance and TANF from years ago – from when we obviously legally qualified (“restitution” which they are still seeking — even though the allegation of “stealing” health insurance has already been dropped in full, which should have alerted someone that perhaps they were on the wrong track?!)
A better question to ask: How is it a good use of public funds for them to be doing this?
They are paying government employees tens of thousands of dollars (in the form of their salaries) to attack a low income family of disabled children who qualified for assistance and continues to have little means to feed their family and pay their bills express because of the persecution by the State!
It’s so backwards that the only thing that makes sense to me is somehow leaving this insane country.
We have qualified for food stamps most of the past two years now, but have steadfastly avoided applying — as I am afraid it might result in further “scrutiny” by the same sort of (misinformed? biased? poorly trained and/or supervised? intellectually-challenged? crazy? combo plate?) functionaries that were responsible for this bureaucratic serial train wreck in the first place.
We’ve frankly lost all faith in our country’s public safety net for families in need.
What’s Next For Us?
What would you do?
How could you continue to participate in a system that is so fundamentally broken that children in this country are being poisoned every day and the people trying to make a difference and prevent that from happening are being punished for their work — work which represents sacrifice and scarcity for their own family, but is necessary because no one else is willing to do it?!
It’s tempting to just stop fighting and give up/give in (although I don’t even know what that would actually entail/look like) — the constant fighting is definitely wearing on my health, and on everyone’s sanity here — but for the sake of my children, be clear on this one point:
I must and will continue to fight this battle until justice is served.
However, at this point, I am actually considering seeking political asylum in some saner place for my family. If you have a recommendation for a country (and a city) – where there are good/spectacular resources for children with disabilities (and where they may be interested in my skills — consumer goods toxicity testing, writing, filmmaking, environmental activism, children’s health activism) — and consider these skills as an asset to their country (rather than a threat, as they appear to be here in the U.S.) please do let me know. We need to find a better/saner place to live once this battle is over!
In the meantime our priorities are:
- Saving our home: Our mortgage kicks over from forbearance back into active foreclosure on November 4th.
- Finding an attorney immediately: Our next hearing with the administrative Judge for DHHS is set for December 4 — just about seven weeks away now, and we still do not have representation.
- Encouraging the DOJ to conclude their inquiry in my favor: the Oregon DOJ has still not dropped their open-ended “inquiry” [after over two years without any evidence corroborating their suspicions/allegations of wrongdoing, and despite the IRS exonerating me and the criminal courts dismissing the case in full].
If you can help with any of this
please scroll to the bottom of this post for more specifics.
Welcome to the new America.
While my family is truly in crisis right now, I want to leave you with one more very important bit of information. During this time my attorneys implored me to stop blogging. They also asked that I stop posting on social media.
Although I respect their experience and do generally follow their advice, I was truly unable to comply with those particular two recommendations. That’s how I help families, and now that’s also how I make a living.
In the past two years I have published more than 1,000 new blogs posts – primarily of consumer goods I have tested for lead, and last month (September 2018) my blog reached it’s one millionth unique view.
I now have more than 30,000 active followers on my combined social media profiles. The map showing the countries my work is reaching is phenomenal (see below, everything blue is a place where someone has read my blog in the past two years)- people across the globe are benefitting from the information I share every day.
I also still continue to help families with lead poisoned children every.single.day. I help them via my blog, social media and direct support to families in the form of phone calls, home visits and personal coaching through the crisis they face when a kiddo has tested positive for lead. I have continued to do this without a framework, without a sponsoring organization, and without any formal sponsorship or funding.
I am so thankful that so many of you have stood by me through this (believing me, sharing my posts, and contributing in support of my work and legal fees!) and I am especially grateful that you have bothered to read this story — all 20+ pages of it!
No matter how this turns out, I know I am making a difference, I know I am helping families all over the planet. This knowledge keeps me going, in spite of the chaos, persecution and poverty.
Mother of Four Children
(Three with Disabilities)
P.S. On a more upbeat note: if you want to read about the possibility of a better world for children and for families (and for people in general) please check out the book “The Nordic Theory of Everything, In Search of A Better Life” by Any Partanen. My 13 year old son just finished reading this book (with the help of Dad) and he has proclaimed he is “READY TO GO!” (to move to Finland).
P.P.S. And as noted above, I will be sharing this “essay” [“Short Story”?] with the DHHS investigator on our case! Perhaps it will persuade them to drop the case?
P.P.P.S. For those who pre-ordered a copy of my book in July of 2017, this is why it is not yet finished. I am working on finishing it in soon though – I have all of the resources lined up and I am very excited about that project!
HOW YOU CAN HELP?
#1) Share this story and your outrage with what has happened to us on social media.
#2) Check out the other ways you can help us below.
If you would like to contribute financially here are several ways:
- GoFundMe Link
- Chip In Link
- Venmo: @TamaraERubin
- Subscribe Link
- PayPal Gift Via Friends & Family: TamaraRubin@mac.com
If you want to help us in other ways during this ongoing crazy time, please consider the following:
- Most urgently we need to 1) save our home (about $25,000) and 2) find an attorney to represent us for the December 4th hearing – someone who will ideally argue all of the above and get the case dismissed BEFORE the hearing. We have lived in this home since April of 2007. It is really the only home our children have ever known. Given their disabilities it would be crippling for us as a family to lose our home right now, as a result of all of this – so any help in that area is most appreciated.*
- Hire me for a [rather last minute] speaking engagement for Lead-poisoning Prevention Month (October)! Or pre-pay me for a home consultation to hold a spot when I come to your area in the coming year!
- Pre-order a copy of my book on lead in consumer goods— which has absolutely nothing to do with all of this drama and for which publication has been delayed significantly as a result of all of this!
- *We are also open to loans to be repaid in full (with interest) as soon as we possibly can.
My cell: 415-609-3182 (text me first and I can call you back when the kids are quiet). My best e-mail: TamaraRubin@mac.com