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ACLU of Nevada
--------My Complaint is Against the Following:--
Organization/Agency: Dina Emerson
City: Las Vegas
--If your complaint is against an individual at the
organization/agency listed above, please provide: --
First Name: Dina
Last Name: Emerson
--Permission to Contact--
I give permission to the ACLU of Nevada to contact this individual or organization: Yes
--Details of Complaint--
Date of the situation giving rise to the complaint: December 15, 2013
Did the incident take place in Nevada: Yes
Provide a brief factual account of the events that lead you to
file this complaint, including dates, places and the names of people directly involved:
I am Michael Woody, 56 years old.
I lived in San Francisco from 1981 until 2007 working variously as a theater technician, designer, performer, inventor and so on, humbly and content to be free to pursue my great work at the expense of expensive creature comforts.
Jan 1987 I met Dina Emerson, fell in love and we had a psyche defining relationship that lasted until Oct 1987, recently revived in May 2009 after Dina sought me out on Facebook and ambushed me.
May 2007 I moved to Newport News VA to live with old friends and cultivate my new community.
Jan 2009 When Dina contacted me I was unemployed and attempting my 2nd plea for SSDI. I am currently waiting for the hearing date to be announced within the next 2-3 months, fourth time and an attorney being the charm. Dina had recently return to Vegas to sing for Cirque du Soleil at TI and was in effect separated from her husband Ken Fecthner.
Feb 2009, at Dina's invitation and expense I flew to Las Vegas to enjoy reunion as old friends with no expectations after several telephone conversations that established an agreement regarding who we were in 1987 and after the lives we had lived for the 22 years apart what that meant to both of us in 2009. There was no specific talk about a future together or the requirements for it to work. We did, however, talk about her family dysfunction, her marital discontent, her history of alcohol abuse, drunk driving, AA with her mother, anti-depressants and psychotherapy.
The reunion was a success beyond wildest dreams, I was able to blend in easily enough with her peers and coworkers having a life in the arts in common and we had had the conversations admitting frankly how tired we were of being broken out of habit and how much we treasured the opportunity to be together to heal ourselves, support the other and do together what we alone can be together, in so many words our oaths and vows of love and friendship.
As our affections grew, I continued to point out that Dina was vulnerable and harried and so should be in no hurry to enter into a for-life relationship with anyone, especially as she was still legally married to KF. I proposed a more informal companion/friendship granting I might find a way to subsist in Las Vegas without dependency on her and it was Dina who insisted that she preferred the idea of crediting the weight of recognition we had when we saw each other and waste no more time apart. The 22 year trial separation had been a failure. We had never stopped being the Eros in/to each others Psyche. She has since forgotten it or is in denial.
May 2009 I returned to escort Dina to the wedding of a co-worker and friend and then a trip to Bakersfield to be introduced to her mothers side of the family at the matriarchs 90th birthday. We made the decision then that I would return to VA, pack and ship my belongings at Dina's expense and then move to Las Vegas for the expressed purpose of creating a married in every meaningful way but on paper household we defined as equal after significant conversations specifically identifying the potential issues of inequity, particularly the material wealth gap, and coming to terms we could both accept. Dina sealed the deal by composing lyrics for a song of mine and presenting me a recording of her singing her proposal.
Jun 2009 - Dec 2012 We resided at Walhaven where I functioned as the Domestic to Dina's Bread Winner with all the responsibilities defined as we discussed them with no issues I was aware of including my capitulation when Dina asked me to refrain from seeking work outside of the home. I agreed to be home when she was and began to design websites for various performing artists in Las Vegas. Between Oct 2009 and Aug 2012 we hosted very successful house concerts featuring and for the families of performing artists for shows all over Vegas and it was this community that I devoted myself to after seeing them in my home and appreciating the particular struggles of the lives they lead and especially for the international performers in this culture.
My experience with them inspired me to evolve my web design business into a service for performing artist I have been kept from offering to this community, one which I fear has heard slanderous things about me from Dina who is keeping me away.
Late Winter 2012 Dina tells me that she has begun to wean herself off of her anti-depressants. When asked she informed me that she was doing so without her doctors knowledge or supervision. Mid Summer 2012 I ask Dina how it's going and she informed me that she had stopped taking them all together weeks before and was satisfied with the effect. We never discussed anti-depressants again.
Late Summer 2012 in hind sight this is the beginning of descirnable behavioral changes inconsistent enough with her previous state of observable normal as to be noteworthy
Nov 2012 I ask Dina to arrange a couples sessions with her TheRapist Susan. At this session I was ambushed by the TheRapist and accused of being an abuser without substantiation. I have proof that the TheRapist was manipulating Dina. All Dina knows is what the TheRapist told her so I have no more credibility as a messenger of any kind, much less one critical of her neurotic attachment to sociopaths she depends on. I didn't know it at the time which led to much confusion as nothing being said lined up with what was going on.
Jan 2013 We move into Walhaven, a property representing the schism between us.
Mar-April 2013 Dina has reoccurring fits offrustration/anger/sorrow and begins voicing threats of ending the relationship without explaining why
May-Jun 2013 Dina begins alternately offering and refining ultimatums and attempting to bribe me into leaving as though I didn't deserve an explanation
July 2013 news of a room in SF opening arrives. I arrange to snag it intending to stay no more than two months to see if there is any design work in CA and to break the routine in Vegas for both of us but the talk and the plan was never for more than a couple of months.
Sept 2013 I fly to SF. Dec 2013 Dina comes to SF. I am told I am not allowed to return. I am told she cares more about the story she's been telling friends or family than whatever happens to me. I am devastated and in ruin without my household resource, community, anything. I find an attorney and begin my fourth disability claim.
Apr 2014 I move into a wooden shed on my brothers land in Chloride AZ, Pop. 200,
Sept 2014 He, his wife and I move to Penn Valley CA in a house my sister owns.
Feb 2015 that arrangement falls apart when the wife loses her mind. A friend in Auburn WA drives to CA to rescue me and keep me off the street while I wait for the SSDI hearing.
An agreement between us was made consciously and with intent and I declare it is binding until a court tells me otherwise. Dina is derelict in her freely chosen responsibilities and her intentionally inflicting emotional harm with all this unnecessary upheaval is in some arguable way criminal and due due process for a redress of grievance, the transgression that took my past, my present and my future away from me. I have been householdless since Sept. 2013
Were you given any explanation for what happened? If so, what was the explanation:
10/09/13 at 2:42 PM
Oh, Michael… where should I begin? OK, I'll start with this:
You seem to be saying that I didn't answer your question, "When you stop to think about it do you think it's over between us?" However, I did address that very specifically in our last phone conversation. Here's what I said then, and I stand by it -- I hope and yearn for a future for us, but in order for that to be possible, I need some things from you. I need you to go and find some kind of counseling or professional help to aid you in getting your life & health on track enough for you to be at least somewhat more self-sufficient. I need you to try to get work, or something regular, that requires you to show up at a certain place at a certain time and perform the job, project or task required. I realize that at your age, and with your last many years of being out of the normal workforce, this is a huge, scary undertaking. That's why I made sure to tell you that it doesn't have to be ALL about getting a "paid" job; simply committing to something (i.e. volunteering, working with a friend, colleague or associate on a project, updating someone's website, being a sound op, WHATEVER -- these are just examples off the top of my head, not exact requirements) would be a great first step. I've been saying this, pretty much the same thing over and over, for about 6 months now. My understanding is that this is why you left Las Vegas and took the chance on going to SF -- to use the opportunity to get counseling or medical assistance, and to call upon your large network of known people to work towards becoming active in something and getting a life of your own again. You hated Las Vegas -- don't try to re-write history and tell me that's not accurate. Be honest, you complained nonstop and with vitriol about this place and didn't do much of anything to try making the best of it.
Also, I've said it before, and I stand by it : I sincerely feel that you and I DO NOT have a future as long as you are 100 per cent dependent on me and as long as you have unaddressed mental health issues. It's getting in the way of us EVER being together in a healthy way. That's my belief and my experience. If you want to prove me wrong, nothing would make me happier. But an email such as the one you wrote me yesterday certainly bolsters my case and accomplishes one thing very well… it pushed me even further away from you and disappointed me again. Read what you wrote me, and ask yourself HONESTLY, if you received an email like that, would you be inclined to reach out to that person, or would you be insulted, disappointed and hurt? And then, finishing it up by saying first of all that you don't want anything to do with me because of the pain, but oh, by the way please go buy me cigarettes and send me things -- really, Michael? Especially after I jumped through hoops at work to get comp seats for the Kronos Quartet guys as soon as you asked me to. It just makes me dreadfully sad.
You have said many times (including in this email) that you suffer from post-traumatic stress. Ok, then, get help. Get treatment. Recover. Otherwise, we are exactly where we were before. Which is a shitty place for both of us.
I feel I've helped you, or tried my absolute best, for a long, long time now. I'm done now, and it's up to you to take it from here. I am going to remove you from the insurance at the end of 2013. After that you can get basically free health care from the State of California. So if you want to use the insurance, you have about 2 and a half months left to do so.
I will send you your things, when I have time. Let me know which things you need most urgently and I'll prioritize accordingly. I imagine your laptop is at the top of the list, so I will do my best to get that off to you very soon. I will let you know when it's on the way.
I don't know what else to say at this juncture, except that I wish with every fiber of my being that you and I could be together in the way that I think we BOTH wish we could. But it cannot happen unless you take responsibility for your life, Michael. I have tried and failed to help, and now it's up to you.
[None of this explains the situation. Dina is arguing from a point of view that I had never seen before, insisting that she had the right to suddenly dictate the terms of our partnership. All of her criticisms of me are IMO projections of her own struggles but having been cast in a role everything I did or said was misinterpreted as soon as I attempted to uncover the truth, the actual first cause of her difficulties.]
What steps have you taken to complain/appeal/resolve this issue,
including filing complaints with other organizations:
Direct contact for resolution failed.
Attempts on my part to find a mutual friend able to serve as a mediator or go-between failed.
Doug Elliot, a friend of Dina's, volunteered to represent her in communication with me from Dec 2013 to Nov 2014. It failed to produce a result.
I have started a crowd funding campaign to collect contributions towards a Retain for an attorney to present an argument claiming my right for a redress of grievance.
I have also started and been running for a year a crowd fundingsite to get donations to subsist in Las Vegas while I attempt to relaunch a business providing a service to the performing artists in the valley.
Please state clearly what you would like the ACLU to do for you:
Is the ACLU interested in challenging the rights of people to impair their cognition and alter their personalities by not taking drugs a doctor has determined are necessary to establish an adult normalcy capable of making responsible informed decisions? What rights do I or anyone have to be protected from someones right to dabble with mind altering drugs to the extent it alters their personality when it results in the destruction of a household? If taking drugs that lead to irresponsible behavior can lead to state intervention on behalf of the vulnerable should not taking perscribed drugs that lead to the same thing lead to intervention on behalf of the vulnerable?
Is the ACLU interested in challenging the presumption that money imbues people who possess it with a disproportionate influence over others, that it defines the class war in this culture? If Dina argues that she got to do what she wanted including changing our agreement without my knowledge or consent because she was the one making money she did so in open violation of our negotiated agreement that money would not be able to do that in our household, negotiated and resolved after the glaring variance in our material wealth was exposed at the time of the joining of our assets into a common household resource.
No matter what label the state of Nevada assigns my relationship with Dina Emerson there was a verbal contract between us starting May 2009 and in effect Jun 2009 until Dina's breach Dec 2013 defining us as partners in a household, comprised of each of us with equal standing within joined resources, that we discussed and agreed to freely and that outlined each of our contributions and responsibilities specifically to ensure that the discrepancy in material wealth between us didn't disproportionately empower Dina with greater decision making influence.
It was a condition I made on both of our behalfs and it was appreciated and accepted defining our two person household then in residence at Westwind as equal. Dina repeatedly reminded me that I had the ability to spend household money on more than groceries and other necessities and I repeatedly told her that
I spent the household resources on the household which gave me more than I ever dared hope for before she offered it to me in marriage, public sybolic gesture ceremony TBD.
I was not a guest in Dina's home after May 2009, I was her registered domestic partner and answered to husband in our household and I contributed everything I had and was to our partnership as did she creating a combined resource I have been deprived access to.
I may have an argument for abandonment with intent to injure but it's in a state that doesn't recognize common law marriage, although Dina's employer insisted we register as DP with a state office for me to be eligible for her health insurance. She mentioned adding me to her Will on several occasions but I doubt that happened or was offered in earnest.
I have an argument for breach of verbal contract with significant but not decisive emails substantiating my claims, intentional infliction of emotional harm* and being deprived a reasonable expectation of income by being manipulated into leaving the only place I can earn with my disability, to restore my self-reliance as an earner and maybe job creator. In the end I believe Dina did it because she stopped taking her antidepressants without supervision and has reacted with a personality breakdown making her capable of committing such heinous and calloused acts towards someone who has never harmed her or offered any threat to her other than recently with the threat of going public with our story to get the funds to take her to court to assert my rights as a partner in an unconventional household.
I have been deprived of my household and resources and effectively homeless since Sept 2013 but only aware that I was since Dec 2013. I have been forced into social isolation without any resource and it is impossible to begin to recover under my own power under these circumstances.
I have two crowd funding sites attempting to serve two very different ends for the same reason. Due to forces beyond my control I was forced to move four times in 18 months so it was only recently in WA that I was stable enough to receive social services while I wait anxiously for the SSDI hearing that's been pending for 26 months to be heard and resolved.
I am in solitary confinement within a prison so Dina can avoid the responsibility for the consequences of her decisions. I know I commited no crime, never harmed her or threatened to harm her and my continuing to contact her has been to resolve our crisis alone as I have no interest in reviving our relationship, simply to resolve it after my ruin at her hands. That she threatened and then actually received a restraining order against me stands as her harassment of me.
I was told at our last meeting Dec 2013 that she cared more about maintaining what she had been telling friends and family than what happened to me, with no explanation. Though not competent to diagnose I blame her unsupervised weaning herself off of anti-depressants which arguably rendered her incompetent to make the decision she did to violate our contract and cast me to ruin regardless of any contrived rationalization of entitlement to do what she wanted because she wants to.
What protection do I have if someone taking meds specifically to maintain a normalized mental health claims to have a right to stop taking them unsupervised and it leads demonstrably to my ruin? Is not the very taking of those drugs by choice an abdication of some measure of responsibility for ones actions and therefore is the choice to stop taking med without supervision less likely an expression of Will but rather a potential symptom of mental illness? What protection do I have from that? Can it be held that Dina did not have a right to deprive me of my household simply because she wanted to or because she brought money to the joined resource instead of because she went off her meds? May I be recognized as an abandoned spouse, at the least a betrayed and robbed partner of a damaged woman due recognition and compensation?
The stresses associated with being abandoned with no explanation (in shock and alone there was little else to occupy me except my ruin and the possible why of it as there was no means or opportunity to recover from it) has impaired my memory and concentration, affected my diet and sleeping habits, increased my consumnption of tobacco, made me wonder if I've accelerated the onset of Altzheimers, which took out mom... Compounded by the isolation, the lack of access to my new friends and collaborators, is the damage to many old friendships that were harmed by the upheaval of my exile and ruin when all I had available to me was social media for any human contact
Years of work has gone undone and years of preparation is lost for all time. Every time I packed I lost something significant to me. If I ever get out of here I will have moved only to remain homeless six times in two years and my continuum has been interrupted, my legacy dashed as unintended consequences of Dina being allowed to evade acknowledging and making amends for her transgressions against me and the community we share.
The last straw. On march 17 2016 Dina pressured Nathan into rescinding his offer of a place for me to stay in vegas, one we had arramged Nov 2015. He did so, he says, because he feared backlash, that the Cirque duSoleil community would out of some allegience to Dina stop asking him to babysit their kids thereby depriving him of income. Fear of that was his explanation for withdrawing the offer of a place to stay so I could finally get my product in the field and my business off the ground before my disability cripples me
*The thing is, before making an ethical argument it needs to be consider if there is anything mitigating in Dina's unsupervised weaning of herself off of anti-depresssants because I believe I can argue corralaries between her resumption of consumption of alcohol and the mind altering associated with med withdrawl unsupervised while in the care of a dubious TheRapist named Susan.