Chapter Forty-Five

Don’t Let the Door Hit Your Ass On The Way Out ...

That’s Our Job! 


“Here comes the daylight, here comes my job.

Uptown in the penthouse, or downtown with the mob.

Here comes the nighttime, here comes my role.

Goodbye to the pavement, hello to my soul.”

-Heaven 17


    Daniel and I never got our chance to come across with our Sept. 15 ultimatum.

    On Sept. 11 (yes … ironically enough, as emotionally turbulent we were at the time, we had no idea of what that day would come to mean for the whole world a mere year later), as Daniel sat at the computer writing out our demands to Richard J. Marco, Jr. there came a knock on our front door.  

    We went down the stairs to answer it. It was our friendly, neighborhood mailman with a certified letter from — Richard J. Marco Jr. of the Marco, Marco and Bailey law firm.

    The following letter is injury heaped with insult and stupidity on top of idiocy by an attorney better known for “family law” than for adoption in the greater Cleveland Ohio area. 

    If it was meant to scare us into submission, it failed miserably. Denise Hubbard really had to do better than this in her choice for “corporate attorney.” I want to say Mr. Marco is a scumbag, but that’s not a strong enough term. 

    “Shithead” is.


September 8, 2000


Dear Mr. and Mrs. Case:

Please find enclosed the translated certificate of birth for Paul Anguel Case. Also, please be advised as to the travel dates necessary for the completion of the adoption process. It will be necessary that you arrive in Sophia on October 8th.  On October 9th you will visit the orphanage and pick up your son. The medical appointment will be on October 10th, the Embassy appointment will be on October 11th and you can then return to the United States commencing on October 12th. It will be necessary that you FAX to Building Blocks the travel itinerary, including the flights and such pertinent information.

Please take note that in the event that you hold over in another country on your return from Sophia it will be necessary for you to secure a transit visa in order for your son to stay over night in said country. Otherwise, he will not be permitted to leave the international part of the airport. It would be best, therefore, for there to be a non-overnight hold over or a non-stop flight to the United States. In the event that you do have an overnight hold over the transit visa will need to be secured while you are in Bulgaria. You should probably anticipate your plans as best as possible.

I wish you the best in your adoption.

Unfortunately, there continues to be issues that are raised with respect to the personal relationship between yourselves and Building Blocks Adoption Service. I have received from Building Blocks a tape recoding of telephone messages as well as an indication of caller identification number. These indicate certain obscene and profane messages emanating from your house. This is totally unnecessary and, in my opinion, absurd. I went to Bulgaria with Denise Hubbard recently. She discussed your case extensively with the Bulgarian representatives, as she did with any other case. She did her best to secure the appointments for the pick up of your child. There was no animosity and there was no discussion designed to infringe on your adoption in any way. Your actions and implications are resented.

Further, it is not necessary that I inform you of my travel plans. My office is still here and I have people that are present and functioning. I resent the personal implication that I need to confirm my work schedule with you and will not do so. You should be aware that an e-mail address that contains a name other than my own is not mine. The e-mail that my family uses for personal purposes is not to be infringed upon by you for business purposes. I have a family life and a home life and do not appreciate your invasion of that particularly with derogatory comments.

It is unfortunate that you continue to raise an adversarial relationship with Building Blocks Adoption Services, while continuing to use those services. Had you had such a problem with them then perhaps you should have terminated the adoption process at some time in the past. We will continue to honor our responsibilities to you, but will not provide any services beyond the completion of the adoption of your son.

As far as the release previously sent, if it is your intention not to sign a release and to seek legal recourse, then do so. Just indicate so, one way or the other.

    When we read this, we were stunned.  

    Were they that paranoid at BBAS that they had Caller ID?  Did they call the bomb squad out after I had called?  If this was an attempt to cause me to fear any legal retaliation, the courts in Orange County, New York, would love to hear from them.

    We find it highly amusing that he prevaricated and obfuscated on behalf of his client and then had the audacity to blame us for calling him on it. People like this are in the adoption business. Medina County’s best family law practitioner, we’re sure.

    In the early 1990s, interestingly enough, Marco and his partner Steven Bailey were sued for malpractice by a former client, Dale Edwards, a protracted case settled out of court in 1998. 

    Legally, this means nothing about Rick’s liability for the purported malpractice. But consider that tort lawyers often try to talk their clients out of legal malpractice actions, since not only do they require proving that the client’s original lawyer was a complete idiot, but that the original case was so solid that a competent lawyer would have won it handily. 

    That this one went on to the point of deposing the then-Cleveland police chief and police union head ... that’s unusual.

    He and Denise were two peas in a pod. She was a coward and he was a hired muck cleaner. 

    Only problem is, his brushes and cleaning solution were just too sullied with the crap that Denise kept on tossing his way. She just kept tossing so much out, there was only so much cleaning up he could do.

    We were happy to have a travel date — at long last — for Anguel, but that wait had taken a toll on me. I wasn’t filled with the relief I had been expecting. 

    Instead, I was filled with dread and fear about how bad off Anguel was going to be emotionally, physically and mentally.  

    Truthfully, I had spent every day for the past nine months worrying over the process and his health.  Not receiving any information on his orphanage, his caregivers and his daily schedule caused many doubts to enter our minds about his environment and if we had indeed done the right thing by pursuing his adoption.

   Of course we got on the telephone right away to inform our families, but nobody was elated like they had when we told them we were traveling for Cyril.  The mood was more one of “Thank God it’s over, let’s move on.” 

   They, too, had been put through the wringer by the wait and the horrible treatment we had received. We began to make our travel arrangements, at long, long last.

    Mr. Marco’s letter particularly enraged Daniel. He waited until after we were home to write a response.

    We also moved ahead with another possible response, with another discussion with another lawyer.

    The Cleveland lawyer whom we had first sent our file to with regards to the possibility of suing BBAS gave up private practice for a position with a large corporation, so he was unable to continue doing anything for us.

    He did, however, send back the file to us with the name of an attorney in the Columbus area, James Albers, who had more direct experience in the adoption field. We had gotten in touch with him in August.

    In the middle of September, he called back.

    “What a horrible story,” he told Daniel. “What a horrible story.”  

    He asked to clarify one point. When had we requested a doctor and been refused?

    We hadn’t, Dan said. My mother had tried.

    Mr. Albers then explained that if that was so, then the chances of a lawsuit being successful lessened considerably. At least to the point where he didn’t think he could be the one to take it.

    He also explained that it would be hard to sue over the misrepresentations in Anguel’s timeline, assuming we brought him home in a few weeks’ time as we were scheduled to do.

    That didn’t really surprise us. Between the contract and the law (almost none covered international adoption at the time, which is unfortunately still the case until the Hague Convention regulations are finalized), we ourselves had realized that it would be hard to make a case, especially given that we had already stated several places that we didn’t directly hold BBAS and Denise Hubbard responsible for Cyril’s death.

    But Mr. Albers offered to do two things for us all the same.

    First, he said that once we gave him the word that we were home, he would write a letter to Rick Marco suggesting that we just get our money back without any strings attached. 

    BBAS’s release to us, he said, was far more imposing than the standard release he wrote for agencies, in which clients hold the agency harmless for any undiscovered medical conditions they find in children (There are problems with these, many problems, but that’s not the issue here).

    Second, he referred us to yet another lawyer, Leslie Scherr of Maryland, who might be able to take the case and had a proven track record. 

    It was some measure of hope for accountability.

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