WASHINGTON, November 16, 2016 – New information shows that David Rucki, whose contentious divorce and custody case received national media attention, hired two private law firms at the same time he claimed he was on public assistance.
In June 2016, Marshall Tanick of the Minneapolis law firm Hellmuth and Johnson sent a letter to Deirdre (Dede) Evavold on behalf of David Rucki.
“I am writing to you on behalf of David Rucki,” began a letter from Tanick to Evavold from June 7, 2016, “and his daughters, Samantha and Gianna, with regard to the matter relating to the removal and concealment of the girls and related incidents that have occurred during that episode and thereafter.
“There are various civil claims arising from your involvement in this matter.”
Evavold is a writer on the blog Red Herring Alert which has been decidedly pro-Sandra Grazzini-Rucki; she was also convicted for her role in the Rucki girls’ disappearance. Samantha and Gianna disappeared on April 19, 2013, the day they were forced by their parents’ family court judge David Knutson to live with their maternal aunt. They lived voluntarily on a horse farm for abused children run by Doug and Gina Dahlen until being found in November 2015. Sandra Grazzini-Rucki is awaiting sentencing.
The Dahlen’s face a January 2017 trial for their role in the girls’ disappearance.
The Red Herring Alert blog continues to be maintained on the internet though it has not been updated since September 25, shortly before Evavold’s trial.
CDN has learned a similar letter was also sent to Lea Dannewitz, who was the proprietor of the blog Carver County Corruption. That blog was removed shortly after the owner received the letter. It’s not clear if David Rucki still employs the firm in any capacity.
Carver County Corruption is the blog where Samantha Rucki said in her June 2016 police interview that she first learned of the corruption in her parents’ divorce.
“I totally understand why you would have a skewed view on the court system I totally get it Sam. But some of the things you are telling me about the corruption and stuff, who told you about that?” Samantha Rucki was asked by Detective Kelli Coughlin in that interview.
“Well when I would go to the library I would google our names and see if we popped up on sites.” Rucki responded. “And we popped up on this one site and I started reading it to see.”
“Do you know what site it was?” Coughlin asked.
“Carver County Corruption.” Rucki responded.
Samantha Rucki also again implicated her father in abuse in that interview, said he was pressuring her to recant her allegations of abuse, but the interview was not allowed to be entered into evidence in her mother’s trial by the trial judge, Karen Asghaug.
Asphaug disallowed this evidence along with David Rucki’s long rap sheet which includes a bar fight, a road rage incident, four orders for protection, Child Protective Services reports detailing his abuse even though Sandra Grazzini-Rucki entered an affirmative defense- meaning she argued she hid her daughters because she feared for their safety.
Since 2011, David Rucki has also employed Lisa Elliott to manage his divorce, where a judge recently awarded him $975 per month in child support from his ex-wife, Sandra Grazzini-Rucki, who was incarcerated at the time of the decision.
In that decision, the judge, Maria Pastoor, said that Rucki was so poor he was receiving public assistance, “The Father (David Rucki) has assigned his right to medical support because of receipt of public assistance in the form of medical assistance.”
An email to Lisa Ellliott was left unreturned. Tanick declined to explain how someone on public assistance could afford two attorneys at the same time when also reached by email.
A phone call to David Rucki was left unreturned.
An email to James Backstrom, the head prosecutor whose office prosecuted Sandra Grazzini-Rucki for her role in her daughters’ disappearance, asking if this apparent welfare fraud would be prosecuted was left unreturned.
An email to Lakeville, Minnesota, David Rucki’s home town, Mayor Matt Little was also left unreturned; Little put out a Facebook post when the news of Sandra Grazzini-Rucki’s conviction was publicized congratulating Backstrom’s office; CDN asked Little if he favored an investigation of David Rucki into this alleged welfare fraud in the interest of fairness.
An email to Marybeth Schubert, spokesperson for Dakota County where Lakeville, Minnesota is located, was also left unreturned.
An email to Beau Berentson, spokesperson for the Minnesota courts, was also left unreturned.
Sandra Grazzini-Rucki is back in prison after it was reported she violated her parole.
Grazzini-Rucki, who was ordered by Judge Asphaug to serve her one year sentence over six years fifteen days at a time along with the time already served, is also subject to roughly 3,400 family court orders, fines, and other fees, making it nearly impossible for the unemployed Grazzini-Rucki to comply with the terms of her sentence.