Somangshu Mukherji’s vile email to his American wife, our daughter Alexandra, heinously celebrates the success of his cruel vendetta to have her stripped of visitation rights with her son, three year-old Avram–rights she had so briefly that she never once used them. Avram’s not Mukherji’s blood relative. Mukherji as of last Spring, was, according to his court filings, an Indian national. Our daughter reported to the Herkimer police that Mukherji sends her abusive emails about once every two weeks.
The custody hearing of Mukherji v. Kaidan-Berry in Ann Arbor Family Court was as obscene as Mukherji’s email: a sickening spectacle of an unrepresented mentally ill defendant bullied by an attorney before a seemingly soporific judge. Mukherji’s oral testimony with it’s touching avowal of enduring love for his wife, despite her mental illness, was especially nauseating, given his alleged abuse and its probable exacerbation of our daughter’s bipolarism. His true feelings for her and her family are on display in his email to her.
Here are our daughter’s court filings in that judicial proceeding:
Fitbit’s James Park, our daughter and Somangshu Mukherji
Mukherji’s attorney intimated in her questioning of Alexandra that a symptom of her “psychosis” was her belief that she had dated James Park, the cofounder of Fitbit. Here’s Alexandra with sister Shelly and James in Myakka State Park in Florida in 2002, when James was post-Harvard, pre-Fitbit. We’d recently moved to Sarasota. (Like James I was also recently post-Harvard.) These were our family’s blessed days before Alexandra met Somangshu Mukherji. James was also a frequent visitor to our home in Boston’s Charlestown. We liked James, and to his credit, he plunged right into those alligator-rich waters with our daughters to free their canoe from the mud, even as he lamented his lack of a pistol. Solid husband material, I thought. Alas!
“Mukherji alleged … that her false memory of his abuse was another sad symptom of the “psychosis” that made her a danger to her son.”
Immediately after Mukherji won custody of our grandson Avram in Michigan, he had him illegally taken from our home in Herkimer NY, where our daughter had fled with Avram after what she alleged in her court filings were years of abuse and neglect. (Mukherji later alleged Stalinesque-like, that her false memory of his abuse was another sad symptom of the “psychosis” that made her a danger to her son.) As our daughter alleged in her Michigan court custody proceedings, Mukherji’s exploitation of her mental health issues led to her tragic marriage to him and the issuance of the Green Card he needed for his academic appointment.
Alexandra received no notice of the hearing that stripped her of visitation rights. (These notices come from Somangshu’s attorney, Honest Deb.) Coincidentally, she was with her mother Linda when the court called for her to appear telephonically. Alexandra told the judge she’d received no notice and turned the phone over to her mother, who politely told the judge that “many untruths were told” at the custody hearing, and hung up. The reliable Judge Owdziej then again rubber stamped another of Somangshu Mukherji’s grandiose and expensively contrived pleadings, indefinitely ending Avram’s mom’s visitation rights.
“The malignant narcissist undermines families and organizations in which they are involved, and dehumanizes the people with whom they associate.
Was it the unexpected sound of his wife’s voice that triggered Somangshu Mukherji’s rage? Or his alleged lies being denounced as such by Avram’s grandmother? Both? I don’t know. But his love note to his wife soon followed, as did a restraining order (Order of Protection).
Avoiding the Black Spot -Paying Spousal Support Is For Other Husbands
Mukherji’s been toadholed in his Ann Arbor condo, avoiding process servers. To date he’s avoided service of the Order of Protection and a Spousal Support Summons. Service of Process is not the same as the giving of the Black Spot–alternate service is available. He’ll eventually be served. Then he too will have his day in court–a New York court.
Somangshu Mukherji’s Cruel Vendettais the latest in an ongoing series exposing the exploitation of a mentally ill American citizen by a foreign national to obtain US residency, and from that, a professorship at a prestigious US university.
As this series sadly illustrates, it’s easy for a well-credentialed and unscrupulous Green Card seeker to exploit America’s mental health crisis and its overwhelmed clinics and courts to cunningly take advantage of a mentally ill American’s desire for love, marriage and a family to secure a good life for himself. This marital chicanery can grow even more heinous when a child becomes involved and when the victimizer is abusive. It’s especially poignant when the victims are one’s own daughter and grandson. Sadly, we don’t believe their plight is unique, just underreported. The mentally ill are easily played by the unscrupulous. People tend to shun them and shrug off their complaints.
Somangshu Mukherji – The Story So Far
Somangshu Mukherji and Herkimer’s Rogue CPS Workers tells how our daughter Alexandra with our grandson Avram escaped her allegedly abusive and neglectful husband, University of Michigan Music Professor Somangshu Mukherji, fleeing in the dead of winter to our home in Herkimer, New York, with Mukherji soon in pursuit of Avram, who is not his blood relative. It details the obvious malfeasant collusion of two Herkimer County Child Protection Workers, Sara Riente and Lisa Bates, in aiding Mukherji in his Michigan court custody case. Our daughter Alexandra’s court filings in the custody matter clearly state her alleged abuse and forced social isolation by Mukherji, and his alleged neglect of Avram.
Somangshu Mukherji’s Raid details the happenings during Somangshu Mukherji’s supposed parental visit to Herkimer and why I believe that visit was just a foiled attempt to grab Avram and head back to Michigan. Our daughter’s certified Michigan court filings, which I rely upon for much of this series’ narrative, are embedded in that post.
“His victory secured, Somangshu Mukherji set out on a cruel vendetta to prevent his American wife from ever again seeing the son he’d taken from her.”
Somangshu Mukherji’s Cruel Vendetta Begins
With our grandson son safely recaptured and recloistered, and the two of them living in new, nicer digs near U. Mich Ann Arbor, you’d think Professor Mukherji would settle back, get to know his wife’s son, and savor the fruits of his victory. He’d certainly earned it, given the amount of billable legal hours he must have racked up winning his case. (He filed about 130 pages of legal briefs with the Michigan court, plus all the attendant hearings, consultations, motions and consultant expenses.) But no. His victory secured, Somangshu Mukherji set out on a cruel vendetta to prevent his American wife from ever again seeing the son he’d taken from her.
Buying A Friend – The Friend of the Court
Mukherji met with his attorney and a social worker certified as a Friend of the Court (FOC) Evaluator and Mediator, most likely recommended by his attorney and paid for by Somangshu. Out of their meeting came a convenient official document, a Michigan Friend of the Court Proposed Recommendation and Final Order. Our daughter was notified to attend telephonically, but skipped the event, believing that any gathering of her husband and his hirelings is inevitably the Somangshu Mukherji Hour. She was right.
“A process…designed to fulfill the child visitation wishes of affluent parents who can afford to pay their way to a fast and favorable ruling.”
The FOC document has the brassy ring of Mukherji’s previous court custody filings, which our daughter in her own Michigan custody filings characterized as “self-aggrandizing twaddle.” The proposed visitation change order marshalled a host of unfounded allegations, cited them as facts and drew the desired conclusions from them.
The Recommendation and Final Order is key to a process seemingly designed to fulfill the child visitation wishes of affluent parents who can afford to pay their way to a fast and favorable ruling. It spares a busy family court judge the tedium of having to weigh competing arguments by accepting and rubber stamping a monied parent’s Proposed Order. It’s especially effective when the other parent has no attorney and so refuses to participate in the charade.
The Admirable Somangshu Mukherji and His Tainted American Wife
Here are some of the more outrageous portions of the Friend of the Court mediator’s basis for the Proposed Order: (The document follows below)
“[Our daughter] is driven by false beliefs against Somangshu’s treatment of her and other delusions.” (page 4)
Her son’s “main bond [of love and affection] is through Somangshu.” (page 4)
“Recent text messages from Alexandra to [Somangshu] which appeared delusional” (Page 8) (More correctly: text messages from Alexandra’s account to which Somangshu allegedly has access.)
Our grandson lost weight loss while with us in New York; (He gained weight.) p. 7
“Maltreatment is not an issue while Avram resides with his father.” p.8 (Why?)
“New York CPS finding…spoke to physical and medical neglect [of Avram]” CPS found all of Mukherji’s heinous allegations against our daughter and us “unfounded.” p. 9 And we called out the malfeasant child protection workers who colluded with him.
If our daughter were to return to Somangshu, court-ordered supervision of her with her son should be replaced by supervision by Somangshu and his mother. (page 3) [Really]
“Interactions between Somangshu and Alex are tainted by the products of her mental illness.” (“Tainted,” like meat? Not a clinical term, but Victorian English of the sort one might hear at Oxford.)
“…false beliefs she carries when symptomatic [are] delusions which accuse Somangshu of harm against her.” p.7 (“Professor Mukherji argued that his wife fled him because she was psychotic and a danger to his son. He offered as proof the fact that she had left him.” My perspective on the gist of Mukherji’s voluminous child custody pleadings.)
Domestic Violence Category- “Not raised as relevant…”p. 7 [Of course not.] The social worker’s evaluation extolled Somangshu Mukherji’s selfless conduct throughout his marital ordeals as “admirable…admirable… admirable…” (p. 9) It goes on and on. Here’s a copy. I’ve highlighted its most egregious bits.
The Friend of the Court evaluation argued that “the product”of our daughter’s mental illness, other than the delusion that her husband was abusive, was abuse and neglect of her son, to whom it implied she posed an inherent danger, as attested to solely by husband Somangshu Mukherji . It’s Proposed Order recommended therefore that she be stripped of all visitation rights with her son, until she presented herself to the Friend of the Court in Ann Arbor for psychiatric evaluation, with evidence of ongoing psychiatric care to include her treatment plan. Following its assessment, The Friend of the Court would, if merited, support an order to modify the visitation order. (p.9) More hearings might be required, of course. With Somangshu and his lawyer notified.
Here’s the order, signed as always for Mukherji by reliable Ann Arbor Judge Julia B. Owdziej:
Following on the heels of his child custody victory, Somangshu Mukherji moved to crush any hopes Avram’s mother had of ever seeing her son again. It was a gratuitously cruel act, accomplished through the transparently contrived device of a tainted document. It reeks of malice.
Mukherji’s spiteful behavior continues. He won’t even let Avram’s mother talk to her son on the phone. Discouraged, she doesn’t try that often. Yesterday’s attempt was typical. “Can I speak to Avram?” “See a doctor,” snarled Mukherji, hanging up.
In March of 2018, in an outrageous violation of New York law, two rogue Herkimer CPS workers, Sara Riente and Lisa Bates, abused their positions and took a malicious hand in a child custody court battle in another state. They acted so brazenly, so unprofessionally and so illegally under the color of authority that we think this sort of malfeasance has long been tolerated in Herkimer County.
“Herkimer! Protect My Precious $on!”
In January of this year, we were subjected to false allegations of child abuse by our son-in-law, Somangshu Mukherji, an Indian national, as he tried to gain sole custody of our two-year-old grandson Avram. Custody of Avram would preclude his having to pay child support.
Our daughter fled to our home with our grandson to escape the alleged abuse and neglect of the two of them by Somangshu, a very glib professor of music at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. Avram’s not his natural son. According to our daughter’s Ann Arbor MI family court filings, (Case 19-352-DC), in which she alleged spousal abuse and neglect, Somangshu never bought the child clothes or toys, and called him “the little bastard.” Our daughter alleged Somangshu disposed of everything we ever sent her and Avram, and held her incommunicado, not permitting her to speak to us. Here’s our grandson Avram in our home last January, with his first-ever new clothes and toys:
Had our grandson remained here with his mother, the good professor might have ended up paying $1,000+ a month in child support until the child was 21. He seems to have done the math, as his feet barely touched the ground on his way to his attorney’s office to file for sole custody. To protect his “son”.
“Somangshu …reported me to CPS as a pedophile and my wife as dysfunctionally bipolar…Mukherji’s unrelenting use of the canard “pedophile” makes one wonder about his own childhood.”
Our daughter had barely filed her child support payment application before husband Somangshu reported her and us for child neglect and abuse with New York. Herkimer Child Protection Worker Sara Riente promptly came to our house and advised us that Somangshu had reported me to CPS as a pedophile and my wife as severely bipolar. Mukherji’s frequent use of the canard “pedophile” make one wonder about his own childhood.
CPS worker Riente then spent fifteen minutes investigating our grandson’s safety, offered no criticism and left. She made one even shorter followup visit a month or so later.
In March, we received letters from from New York Child Welfare exonerating us of our son-in-law’s baseless accusations: “Unfounded” was the official finding. Yet this was not the end of the matter. Sara Riente and her colleague Lisa Bates then came to our son-in-law’s Somangshu’s aid in his Michigan custody case, providing him with a document that was as defamatory of our family as it was illegal:
“At this time Avram does not meet the [standards of abuse or neglect]. [However] it does appear that it would be in the child’s best interest to be in the care of the parent who can provide access to regular medical care, a stable and sufficient and living environment and age appropriate supervision and care for a young child. Based on the evidence gathered during this investigation, this Department’s decision would be that [the mother] is not providing the above-mentioned care.”
Herkimer CPS Workers Riente and Bates Go Rogue
Apparently dismayed at finding our grandchild healthy, well-fed, well-clothed and safe with family of whom they seemingly disapproved, Herkimer CPS workers Riente and Bates went rogue, colluding with our son-in-law: at his request, they wrote him an “official”Herkimer County Social Services letter, falsely stating that “it is the opinion of this Department” that our grandchild would be better off with his father. Our daughter only became aware of their poisonous letter when she received a copy of her husband’s public court filing, in which their illegal letter was offered as evidence of our daughter’s unfitness as a mother and of our home as” [not] stable and [in]sufficient.”
Bogus Herkimer Social Services’ Letter Key Exhibit
In their venomous and illegal letter supporting our daughter’s husband, Herkimer CPS workers Riente and Bates threw aside any pretense of impartiality and professionalism. They miscast their libelous opinions as “the finding of this Department.”
Seemingly not liking the “Unfounded” decision they were required to render under NY law as child protection workers, they magically morphed into Herkimer county workers to express a different “official” finding, malfeasantly subverting the law they were supposed to uphold.
Our son-in-law’s attorney cited their letter as key evidence that our daughter was an unfit mother and ours “not a loving home, Your Honor.” Their treachery helped allegedly abusive and neglectful “dad” Somangshu Mukherji retain custody of “the little bastard.”
Herkimer CPS Workers’ Riente and Bates Defamatory Letter In Support Of Plaintiff Somangshu Mukhjeri
Here’s Riente and Bates’ letter to my son-in-law, Somangshu Mukherji. I’ve redacted just about all the confidential information they malfeasantly revealed, except for their conclusion on page 2, in which they dispute the lawful conclusion New York law compelled them to reach. They falsely present their scurrilous opinion as an official finding of Herkimer County Social Services.
Despite our daughter’s request that the Ann Arbor Family Court disregard the Herkimer CPS’ workers letter as a violation of New York law, the court did not exclude it.
After several court appearances, our daughter lost custody of her son and he was returned to Somangshu Mukherji in Michigan–a process that was yet another instance of Herkimer County employees playing fast and loose with the law. Mukherji later successfully moved to have the Ann Arbor Family Court strip our daughter of the right it had granted her to visit her son in Michigan, arguing she was danger to the child. The order, crafted by his attorney and hired social worker and rubber stamped by the court, bristles with an array of absurd preconditions which can only be met in Michigan.
You can also sue. In a case like our daughter’s, where the evidence of malfeasance is low-hanging fruit, an attorney might take the case for damages on a contingency fee basis. Herkimer CPS workers are probably not worth suing. New York State is a sovereign entity and can rarely be sued. But Herkimer County can be sued.
This is New York, not Alabama. We have laws to protect us from illegal actions such as those of Herkimer’s rogue CPS workers. Make the law work for you.
Child protection workers who engage in lawless vendettas against struggling parents and families simply because they disapprove of them should find another vocation.
Court Judges Abusive Spouse Better Parent Than Loving Mom In January, after years of what our daughter in her court filings alleged were years of forced isolation, neglect and abuse by Somangshu Mukherji, she fled with our grandson Avram, escaping by subterfuge to our home in Herkimer New York. Mukherji was soon in pursuit, alleging in his later custody filing that she had “absconded” with her son. He and our daughter had joint physical custody of the child at the time of his visit. Over our daughter’s strenuous objections, the Ann Arbor Michigan Family Court (Case 19-352-DC), granted Somangshu an unsupervised visit here in New York.
Prior to his visitation, written request to he and his attorney for a firm visitation schedule and Mukherji’s new address in Ann Arbor were rebuffed. We made clear that without that information, the child would not be released for a visit. The Ann Arbor Family court had removed all safeguards to Somangshu Mukherji’s heading right back to Ann Arbor with little Avram, address unknown.
Ann Arbor Michigan’s a university town. Many residents are dependent on the University of Michigan for their income. Its family court judges are elected officials and appear to accord any U.Mich professor entering an appearance the status of divine right. Ann Arbor’s family court opened the way for Somangshu Mukherji to try to snatch our grandson Avram and take him back to Michigan with no legal consequences and no additional legal fees. Most importantly, he’d avoid paying child support of at least $1,000 a month for Avram. Getting the kid into that waiting taxi and heading back for the airport would be Somangshu’s Mission Accomplished.
Timeline of Somangshu Mukherji’s Raid
0:01 – 0:30 Green Card Dad Somangshu Mukherji [SM] arrives via cab at our home from the airport. Storms the house. I open the door.
0:31 – 0:55 SM “Give me my son.” Avram’s his son on paper only, a Green Card son. His wife believes he signed the birth certificate to enhance his immigration status.
0:56 SM “I’m calling the police.” I remind him that he doesn’t have a lawful New York visitation order.
1:03 – 1:22 I advise SM that he is trespassing.
1:22 – 1:56 SM Refuses to let me step out onto my porch. I do anyway. SM again demands “my son.” I order him from our property. He refuses to leave. As you can see, he’d rather be outed lying on camera than do anything I ask.
Somangshu Mukherji’s Litany of Lies Begins
2:06 – 2:20 SM, still refusing to leave, calls Herkimer Police: “This is about a custody order I’m here to fulfill.” He has a Michigan court visitation order. Had he a custody order, he would have no authority to serve it: Somangshu Mukherji is a Michigan resident and per his custody court filings, an Indian national Legally, he could serve me a cup of tea.
2:22- 2:58 SM complains to Herkimer Police that I am threatening him, and violating his locally-unenforceable Michigan court order, which he now says is a visitation order.
2:59 SM complains to police that I am “harassing [him] openly.”
3:04 SM tells Herkimer police that I am “violating a standing custody order.” (He does not have a custody order from anywhere). Miscellaneous verbal abuse from SM.
3:55 – 4:21 BRIEF MOMENT OF TRUTH: SM gives police his name and cellphone number (908-705-5616).
4:24 SM falsely states that his taxi driver is a witness to my “harassing” him. The taxi is out of sight around the corner, the driver in the cab, as my videos attests.
4:30 SM tells Herkimer Police that he’s spoken with Herkimer County Undersheriff Scott Scherer.
05:01 SM at last leaves our property to await the police. (Note: no taxi in sight.)
“…his Michigan court order is a visitation order, not a custody order, and not lawful in New York unless registered with a New York court”
Herkimer Police Arrive 5:04 – 5:44 Herkimer Police arrive. (Officers Carbone and Holt.) SM meets them. I follow and point out that his Michigan court order is a visitation order, not a custody order, and not lawful in New York unless registered with a New York court, which expense SM has avoided.
06:00 – 06:25 I repeat same to Herkimer officers when they interview me. I note that SM was trespassing and harassing me and refused to leave when ordered. They send him on his way, directing him to not return.
Somangshu Mukherji’s Retreat
06:27 – 06:57 SM leaves the area afoot. (Later spotted around the corner, presumably awaiting a cab to airport.)
06:58 – 08:27 SM complained to responding officers police that he fears his “son” is being abused by his pedophile grandfather, crazy grandmother and neglected by his psychotic mother. (It’s in their report.) They’re obligated to follow up. Which they do and leave. It’s the same toxic twaddle Somangshu Mukherji previously filed with New York Child Protection Services. They closed the matter as “unfounded”.
08:28 – End Before leaving the area, SM has friendly chat with the Barton Gang’s Joyce Barton, who delightedly spreads tales of our troubles to the neighbors. SM in his custody filings has already cited the Bartons’ criminal activities captured on our videos as evidence that ours is too dangerous a neighborhood for our grandchild.
Somangshu Mukherji – a Scourge of God I’ve known Somangshu Mukherji for 16 years. He’s gone from the seemingly nice kid we saved from deportation when he was at Harvard (allegedly “academic dishonesty”) to a scourge of God on our family. Our daughter, his wife, is terrified of him. Obviously he lies a lot. He may even believe what he’s saying because he’s saying it, classic behavior of a malignant narcissist.
Somangshu’s already established a working relationship with the Herkimer County Sheriff’s Department, whose deputies later illegally took our grandchild from our home and handed him over to him. On this day Herkimer Police sent Somangshu packing. “Somangshu Mukherji’s Raid” is an chilling example of how easily a biased judge can empower a malevolent personality to rip a child from a loving parent.
Here’s Avram with his first-ever toys. He was almost three then. We bought them for him when he arrived in Herkimer. Somangshu, our daughter attested in her court filings, never once bought his beloved “son” clothes, shoes or toys. “Never a dime,” she said. Smartphones, clothes, toys, shoes sent our grandchild and our daughter he allegedly sold on eBay, pocketing the proceeds. His wife and son he dressed in castoff clothing, except for the nice winter coat her bought our daughter, so she could food shop for him, on foot. (She was required to wear shoes that were too large, she reported, hobbling her.)
“A child is not a dog. No matter whose child. It requires more to lawfully take a child than it does a dog. Even in Herkimer.” Look no further than Herkimer, New York, USA, to see the illegal taking of a child from his family. On 4/24/19, Herkimer County sheriff’s deputies entered our home and took our two-year-old grandson Avram from his mother. They didn’t have a warrant. They didn’t have a valid court order. They said they had “verbal permission.”
A Herkimer Kidnapping – In The Tradition of Schindler’s List
It requires more to lawfully take a child than it does a dog. Even in Herkimer. No matter how inconvenient. No matter whose child. New York’s Domestic Relations Law governs the return of a child to a parent in another state. It incorporates the provisions of the federal Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act (UCCJEA). The law requires registration of an out-of-state custody order with the local family court, due notice and a hearing. Then the custody order can be legally enforced. It only takes a few days. Apparently too cumbersome for scofflaw Herkimer.
Herkimer Family Court Involvement?
The deputies said they had “verbal authorization” [Video, below: 1:56] from Judge John Brennan of the Herkimer Family Court to take our grandson. If so, Brennan played fast and loose with the law. New York’s family courts are notoriously packed and dysfunctional. Scooping up a kid without a warrant for an out-of-state return and whisking him to the waiting parent avoids further clogging the court calendar with the tedium of due process. Especially when the outcome appears predetermined. In an extrajudicial kidnapping like this–in legalese, “an illegal taking”– speed is of the essence: Not much a parent can do when the kid’s back in the other state. It seems a cynical practice encourage by long success. Had our daughter been known to have an attorney, and lived at a better Herkimer address, the law might have been followed.
“2:41: Nameless sheriff’s officer waves to unidentified woman in unmarked car down the street to approach closer.”
Video Timeline001-1:05 Herkimer County Sheriff’s deputies, accompanied by Herkimer police officer, arrive at our house. (Police here to protect deputies from us.) 1:06-1:14 I foolishly let them in without asking for a warrant or court order. I assumed they were acting lawfully. Never assume this in Herkimer County. 1:15-1:15 One deputy identifies himself as Sgt. George. The other merely says “Herkimer County Sheriff.” (He’s not the sheriff.) 1:20 – 1:55 Sgt. George reads the order to our daughter. It’s quickly apparent it’s a Michigan court order. George states it authorizes them to take our grandson for return to his father in Michigan. It doesn’t. I object, citing New York law and the procedure necessary to lawfully execute an out-of-state custody order in New York. Sgt. George says they have verbal permission from Herkimer County Family Court to enforce the Michigan court order. I continue to dispute their authority.2:41 – 2:54 Deputy(?) Nameless tells me to “go argue the order” with Herkimer County Family Court Judge John Brennan if I don’t like it. I point out that I can’t, it’s a Michigan court order. Judge Brennan is a New York judge. He has not issued an order in this matter. Nameless Deputy repeats that they have verbal authority from Judge Brennan to take our grandchild. Seems hostile. 3:14 – 3:20 “Where is the child?” they demand. 3:21 – 3:45 Little Avram taken. Nameless sheriff’s officer waves to unidentified woman in unmarked car down the street to approach closer. She hesitatingly does so. May know we’d recently reported Herkimer CPS workers Sara Riente and Lisa Bates to NY authorities for malfeasance. 3:46 – 4:36 Avram passed to unidentified woman wearing unviewable badge driving unmarked car. 4:37 – 4:56 Grandma gives kindly Herkimer Police Officer Holt clothes and shoes for shoeless Avram, who takes them to the sheriff’s deputies. End: Unknown woman in unmarked car makes good her escape with our grandson.
“Our grandson now lives in an upscale townhouse in an upscale college town with his Rhodes Scholar professor-‘father’. We fear for his safety.”
A Herkimer Kidnapping Finale
Gloating email later that evening from Mukherji to our daughter saying he was at a Herkimer motel and that Avram had been returned to him. He’s refused all attempts at contact by our daughter. Our grandson now lives in an upscale townhouse in an upscale college town with his Rhodes Scholar professor father. We fear for his safety. Why? Read on.
A Herkimer Kidnapping – Backstory
In late January 2018, our daughter escaped with our grandson from her allegedly abusive and neglectful husband, Somangshu Mukherji, an Indian national. As she attests in her custody case court filings, he’d allowed her no contact with us for years and kept her in almost complete social and physical isolation. Mukherji’s a nontenured assistant professor of Music at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. He’s not the child’s birth father. Our daughter alleges in her custody case filings that Mukherji signed Avram’s birth certificate to enhance his status with US Immigration.
The trigger for our daughter’s flight to Herkimer was Mukherji’s announcing the three of them were going on a trip with him to Turkey, along with his equally abusive mother. The US State Department advises against travel to Turkey: “terrorism, kidnappings and arbitrary detentions.” Anything could happen, especially to a toddler. Sounded like it might be a one-way trip for the “son” our daughter alleges Somangshu calls “the little bastard.” Somangshu’s vigilance slipped for a moment and our daughter and grandchild bolted for here. Penniless, she took a cab across several states, paying with the Uber account Somangshu kept on her phone for his convenience.
Somangshu Mukherji – No Good Deed Goes Unpunished
Somangshu Mukherji’s Green Card and his well-paid professorship were made possible by his marriage to our severely bipolar American-born daughter.
And we took a hand, too, having earlier and foolishly helped him stay in the US. In 2003, we sponsored Mukherji after Harvard dropped their sponsorship of him as grad student, alleging “academic dishonesty,” according to our daughter’s court filings. (Mukherji had earlier been a research assistant to Harvard evolutionary biologist Marc Hauser, who was found guilty of scientific misconduct and served a sentence on federal charges.)
At our daughter’s pleading, we posted a $40k bond for Mukherji with the U.S. Department of State so that he could remain in the US. (17% of our total assets at the time.) Mukherji’s repaid us by allegedly exploiting and abusing our daughter, misusing his medical guardianship of her and denying our grandchild clothes, shoes and toys. “Never a dime,” alleges our daughter in her Ann Arbor MI Family Court custody defense filings. (Case 19-352-DC )
“Professor Mukherji argued that his wife was psychotic and a threat to his son. He offered as proof of her insanity the fact that she had left him.”
Somangshu Mukherji in Pursuit
Upon their arrival at our home, I texted Mukherji that his missing wife and her two-year old son were safe with us in Herkimer. No reply, but his feet must not have touched the ground as he raced to his attorney’s office to file for sole custody of the son he’d always allegedly neglected—the son of his wife and another man–and for the child’s immediate return to him in Ann Arbor. Doing the math he may have suddenly realized his love for the boy and wanted him back: child support would cost him over $1,000 a month.
After a long court battle in Ann Arbor, Somangshu Mukherji was awarded sole custody. (He had a lawyer, our daughter didn’t. Ann Arbor Legal Aid, which is partially supported by U. Mich Law School, wouldn’t represent her.) My summary of his lengthy case and filings: Professor Mukherji argued that his wife was psychotic and a threat to his son. He offered as proof of her insanity the fact that she had left him.
Here’s our daughter’s Michigan court filings in the case. It’s the sad and probably all too common tale of how an unscrupulous foreign national can exploit a mentally ill American to jump the Green Card queue and secure a good job. And then escaped unscathed by taking advantage of America’s patchwork of child custody laws and fragmented family court structure.
Mukherji apparently established a cordial relationship with Herkimer County Sheriff’s personnel during his 4/11/19 trip to Herkimer, likely through then Herkimer Undersheriff Scott Scherer. His Michigan court approved visitation of that date seemed to me a transparent attempt to nab our grandson on the cheap. He may have convinced the sheriff’s staff that his “son” was in grave danger from the psychotic mother, loony grandmother and pedophile grandfather. (From his slanderous Child Protection reports, since dismissed.) The day before the kidnapping, Mukherji won sole custody of Avram in an Ann Arbor court. Victorious at last, he immediately flew to Herkimer to take possession.
Michigan court order in hand, Somangshu was but one step from obtaining a lawful custody order, one issued by a New York court, which the Herkimer county sheriff could legally enforce. He needed only to register his Michigan order with the Herkimer Family Court, which could, after a hearing for all parties, issue a New York order mandating the return of the child to Michigan, all required by New York law. Of course, it would have cost Mukherji more money. Instead, Herkimer County cut him a break him by skipping past New York law and sending its deputies right over to take Avram from his nap. I’ve known Somangshu since 2003–he can be very charming when he wants something.
Preventing A Herkimer Kidnapping: “Get A Warrant”
I suspect the Herkimer Family Court and the Herkimer County Sheriff get away with this all the time, possibly by saying that the parent voluntarily consented to accept service of the out-of-state custody order. As the video of this illegal taking shows, our daughter did not do that. The Herkimer sheriff’s officers presented her with the Michigan court order, which without a New York order had all the validity of a Post-It-Note. I contested their authority and cited the UCCJEA and applicable New York law. They didn’t care. Told me to “get a lawyer.” [video-2:41] “We will now take the child” said they. And they did.l This extrajudicial kidnapping spared Professor Mukherji the bother and expense of obtaining a legal New York custody order.
New York State Commission on Judicial ConductCorning Tower, Suite 2301Empire State PlazaAlbany, NY 12223 If you videoed the incident, as we did in A Herkimer Kidnapping, either upload it to the agencies or send it in with your complaint on a thumb-drive. Publish it on social media. It’s New York. It’s your right. Use it or lose it.