LAKEVILLE, Minnesota, August 29, 2016 – The high profile and contentious Rucki divorce and child custody case experienced another twist recently, when father David Rucki claimed indigence. This latest claim counters his previous assertions, which aired on ABC’s 20/20, that he is a multi-millionaire.
Rucki’s story was featured on the long running ABC show in April. During the show, host host Elizabeth Vargas said Rucki made millions in trucking. The interview took place inside Rucki’s spacious suburban Minneapolis home and one shot had his son, Nico, watching a giant big screen television.
Rucki’s two daughters ran away from home in 2013 and remained missing until late 2015. His ex-wife was recently convicted of helping their daughters escape in a controversial trial where the judge forbade a great deal of evidence documenting Rucki’s long criminal history and history of domestic abuse.
Whle portraying himself as a wealthy man on “20/20,” he has presented himself as a pauper in need of public assistance in court.
“The Father receives child support services from Dakota County for the joint children puruant to the Title IV D of the Social Security Act,” according to a recent decision by Judge Maria Pastoor in his child support case.
Title IV D is administered be the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and those receiving benefits must demonstrate financial need.
That hasn’t stopped his lawyer, Lisa Elliott, from claiming pauper status. She recently argued in court that Rucki’s five children, of which he has sole custody and his ex-wife has not been allowed to see since early 2013, would starve and not be able to get medical care without child support from their mother.
David Rucki presented a wholly different picture when he testified at his ex-wife’s criminal trial. During that trial, he claimed he had taken his five kids on three vacations-two to California and one to Florida- in the year since his two daughters returned.
Rucki has also been able to afford the legal services of Lisa Elliott continuously since 2011.
Emails to Elliott, Vargas along with “20/20” producers Sean Dooley and Beth Mullins were not returned.
Pastoor ordered Sandra Grazzini-Rucki, Rucki’s ex-wife, who is unemployed and facing a September sentencing, to pay a minimum of $50 in child support in the August 2016 order.
Sandra Grazzini-Rucki was convicted of six felonies relating to her daughters’ disappearance;. In her trial, she ffered an affirmative defense, arguing she hid her daughters fearing for their lives but that defense was stymied when the trial judge, Karen Asphaug, refused to allow any of Rucki’s criminal history including a bar fight and a road rage incident. Asphaug also refused to let the jury know that three different people received restraining orders against Rucki and Asphalt did not allow and Child Protective Services reports including detailing how Nico, then eight, said his father put a gun to his head.