Help Wanted: Lion Tamer

Letters published February 7, 2007

Waging war with the Staffords: My daughter is in a contested divorce with her husband, who has hired the Staffords to wage a very, very dirty war against my daughter, me, and my 70-year-old wife ["Revenge of the Husband," January 24].

My daughter left her husband and took her son to live at our house because of domestic-violence issues. My wife and I are retired and live on Social Security. Sickness took most of our savings, and her $200-an-hour lawyer the rest. Many people have told us they will have this case last for another three or four years. Unless you have the money, you lose.

We're in the eighth month, and my daughter's husband's attempt to run us out of money has worked. They just filed an emergency hearing to take my daughter's son away from her on false charges. My daughter's attorney said he cannot be her lawyer anymore because she owes him $3,000.

Do you know of any good lawyer who is not afraid to stand up against the Staffords? We would give all the money we can to make on-time payments. Please, please help if you can.

Phillip Houston
Olmsted Falls

The price of revenge: Vince Stafford being harassed? Give me a break. The Stafford brothers' motivation in domestic relations is not to represent the best interests of their clients. They try to destroy their opponent, with no regard to the cost to their client. Could it be that Vince Stafford succeeded in killing the goose that laid the golden egg?

The court agreed that Vince's antics got him the result he desired, and now Mr. Telerico has been fired. Vince has taken the issue of any alimony being paid to Mrs. Telerico off the table. But Mrs. Telerico admitted she wanted revenge when she hired Vince Stafford. Obviously, that was more important to her than any long-term financial settlement.

Vince Stafford provided Mrs. Telerico with the entertainment she sought. I am sure Mrs. Telerico will feel it was worth the price of admission when she writes the checks to pay Vince Stafford. (Anyone want to bet that Vince Stafford has told Mrs. Telerico that her "scumbag" husband will have to pay all of his fees?) No doubt, Vince Stafford will be smiling all the way to the bank.

It is amazing to me that scorned people continue to hire the Stafford brothers. No matter how much one wants revenge, they trust the Staffords to handle matters that will affect the rest of their lives. Do the people who hire the Staffords really believe that men of such disreputable character care about their clients?

Michelle Berens

Finally, a fearless judge: The last line in your story is most telling about the sorry state of affairs in Cuyahoga County domestic relations: "Vince Stafford remains on the case."

In any other county, Vince and his brother would have been barred from proceeding with the Telerico case due to conflict of interest. But in Cuyahoga County, there are no rules in domestic relations. The judges in domestic relations not only tolerate the shenanigans of the Staffords, they kowtow to them. Just consider the fact that the judges have depositions in their courtrooms after hours because the Stafford brothers can't conduct themselves professionally. Would judges willingly stay in their courtrooms until 8 p.m. for anyone else who behaved so badly?

The domestic-relations judges are accountable to no one, so they ignore legal protocol. Thankfully, there is one rational judge. Thank you, Judge Stuart Friedman, for doing something the domestic-relations judges are afraid to do.

Susan Meller
Rocky River

Giving lawyers a . . . worse name? So long as the Cleveland and state bar do not censor and sanction such behavior as Stafford's -- which is well-known and documented -- all lawyers will continue to be regarded as low-down types. I thought we all knew that the rotten apple must be removed from the barrel.

Denny Gilbert

Just Add Julia Roberts
Garfield Heights' woes would make a fabulous film:
I thank you for coming out with this story ["Tomb With a View," January 10]. It's awful to find out that the things featured in the movie Erin Brockovich can actually happen in our hometown. I am saddened to learn about the lack of involvement by the EPA and other governing bodies over the last 30-plus years in this case. These people have endured pain beyond belief -- all because of a careless businessman and the almighty dollar.

May God be with the families affected, however many are left.

Stephen Pastva

Cancer and other bullshit: This letter is in regard to the article I read about the "toxic waste dump" in Valley View. It is sad to see that people are still trying to blame everyone else for bad things that happen to them. Obviously God is pissed at Mr. Berger for something he did.

I can't believe that none of the people in the article smoked, ate fast food, or did anything detrimental in their lives. Cancer is the nation's top killer. Tell those people to suck it up, quit blaming others for their misfortunes, and think about that lady in Michigan (who doesn't live in Valley View) who has cancer, or that child in New York born with birth defects. Believe me, if your water was green and foamy and you didn't call someone to complain, then you get what you deserve.

Oh, by the way: How convenient that the report you cited suddenly went "missing" after your story. You could have come up with something better than that.

Amber Blonski

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