Wednesday, August 14, 2013

At Last!

     At last!  
     The government has filed its Complaint against me.
     One month ago the government was forced by a new judge to unseal the case and back it, or fold its cards.  Judge Mickel had retired, and the new judge probably stared at her inheritance, a docket full of aging cases like mine, and said:  let's clean house.  She ordered the government to make a move.  She was granting no more every-90-day extensions.
     So, case was unsealed about a month ago.  As I had expected, it was a whistleblower lawsuit filed more than three years ago by Pat McCullough, the woman who bought my Hawthorne Medical Center on March 12, 2009.   As I explained in earlier posts, this woman, an RN who hadn't practiced her nursing trade in many years, had no intention of running a medical clinic in rural Florida.  She hailed from Kentucky, raised race-horses, had no family ties or other connections to Florida, and may have intended to make a quick buck and beat it back to her ranch near Lexington, KY.  She never relocated to Hawthorne, and made only superficial moves to direct the clinic to continue serving patients in the respectable manner it had been doing for ten years.
     Instead, McCullough's motive was likely a purely self-serving one:  she wanted the assets of the clinic, and she planned to use the clinic's good name and sterling credit to cash in at whatever banks had loan officers she could trick into buying her hard-luck story ("I only want to help these poor, rural folks who need a clinic, but Dr. Colasante left me with a mess...").  It worked!  She obtained loans she would never repay
.    She certainly didn't pay me for the clinic purchase.  But her plan to destroy me went far beyond not paying, and was more clever than boring foreclosure.  I just wanted to assume ownership of the flagging clinic, when I saw it being destroyed, step by calculated step, a few months after her takeover. 
     Pat hired new billing people (including a woman who shortly afterward was arrested for embezzling funds from the Cardiology department at Marion Hospital) and sequestered them away in a storage shed --now outfitted with air conditioning and a lock on the door.  She must have given them instructions to collect as much of the accounts receivable (money still owed by patients and insurance companies to the clinic) as possible, and identify (or falsify?) documentation or coding infractions she could report to the federal government in a whistleblower claim designed to bamboozle its agents into thinking a) she was heroic--saving America's tax dollars!--and b) I was a criminal, perpetrating fraud against Medicare at every turn.
     Pat McCullough's claim was filed.  I will copy and paste it for your perusal in my next blog post.
     The government was given 20 days to decide whether to back that lawsuit, alter it in accordance with its agents suspicions, or jump ship. 
     The government's prosecutor, perhaps a determined and ambitious man, decided to back the case and file it, but he altered the allegations.
     The case against me is 28 pages long, and contains 110 complaints.
     I have been instructed by my lawyers to formulate responses to these complaints.
     The complaints are absurd, outrageous, and false. 
     How do you respond when someone lies about you?  And what if that person fabricates evidence to substantiate the lies?  I don't know if this is what she did, but it seems logical. 
     I'd like to think I could depend on intelligent investigators (the friendly men-in-blue policemen of my childhood, the ones who rescue kittens from trees) to ferret out truth from fiction.  But I don't know. 
     The news these days is full of stories about civil forfeitures:  millions of people, over the past decade, getting stopped and frisked on the streets of New York City, and their belongings taken into custody and never returned;  drivers on certain highways being stopped, because they fit a certain "profile," and having their cars searched and ransacked and their belongings confiscated by the police, never to be returned (in cases titled "State of Texas v. $6,037" or "United States v. One Pearl Necklace," or "United States v. Adams' Residence.")
     The government's case against me is both criminal and civil:  an odd conglomeration of vague charges that seem insupportable from my perspective--and shouldn't I know?
     These days I'm spending my time, therefore, writing answers to the complaints, one by one, all 115 of them.  It's boring work, and I'd rather be seeing patients, but this is what I got dished out, for now.
     I remind myself that I am a free person.  Every day I wake up and the sun is shining, the chickens seem happy to see me, the fig trees are loaded with purple figs bursting at the seams, and a family of armadillos has been poking holes in my back yard.  That's all beautiful, right?  (Don't hate armadillos!  They eat cockroaches, and they're the only known predator of fire ants!)
     One of my dear friends has been repeating the same thing to me, a line by Socrates.
     It's better to be the victim of an injustice than to commit one.
     Alas, I am on the better side of justice.  I know that.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Apologies, but I Have to Inform the Public

     I apologize to my readers for not updating you right away on the (unfounded) (absurd) "criminal" case being entertained--and funded!  with hundreds of thousands of tax dollars?-- by the government against me--probably for the purpose of making themselves look like a bunch of Zorros--(and to "recuperate" money, sometimes from people, like me, who have rightfully earned it, as a crazy and unjust way of supporting our [top-heavy] American justice system's exorbitant expense account in the name of "fighting fraud").
     I apologize also for abandoning this blog for three months.  I stopped writing because I had hoped Mr. Fallgatter (who complained about my blog and the harm it might be doing his business) would stop his money-mongering lawsuit against me, or at least come to a decent and fair settlement about his charges for his three weeks of work on my behalf.  He tagged me along for awhile, then he won his lawsuit in a court (do I now purportedly owe him $150,000?) and with a local judge (do they rub shoulders at social events?) all of which must have felt like winning a home game to him--since, in the end, I represented myself, never a good thing. (Why?  Explanation to follow.). 
     I will enumerate all the charges and expenses associated with Mr. Fallgatter in an upcoming post.  And I'll bring my viewpoint to bear on the travesty of a "criminal investigation" being conducted on me.  But the upshot is still the same:  Where's the crime?  Why the silence from the government?  What have I done wrong?  Please, please, tell me!  And give back my patients' charts, and give back my assets, so I feel free to practice medicine again!  This country needs family doctors!
     For now, however, I need to make public my experiences with Mr. Fallgatter, and his firm (which to my mind is disreputable), namely, Fallgatter, Farmand and Catlin.  Potential clients, scouring the internet for clues--people in need of a good lawyer and appraising Mr. Fallgatter!--might wish to hear a firsthand report by someone who has been "represented" (i.e., ushered into the lion's den) by him might have the benefit of my experience and proceed with caution.
     Forgive the next few posts, and any thereafter, if they have to do with Mr. Fallgatter, and if this bores you.  It is boring, I know.  The case is boring, and Mr. Fallgatter is boring, as are all the people around us who work for money, who see the world only through their own eyes, and who have an exploitative view toward interpersonal behavior.  But I write them in the interests of public safety.  They show how one bad thing can snowball until a multitude of bad things are rolling downhill at incredible speed, picking up more and more refuse along the way, until it's headed straight for a person, and crushes him.
     If someone had posted an experience like mine to the annals of Google, I would have known enough about Mr. Fallgatter to steer clear of him.  I never would have hired him.  I would have preferred to go to jail before having someone with his character represent me, traitorously, in the name of justice.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Fresh Field Peas, Punjabi-Style

     One of the finest items in local Florida grocery stores is local peas, freshly shelled.  These are called, variously, "white acre peas", "zipper cream peas," "black-eyed peas," or "green field peas."  They're all delicious, but I get tired of cooking them with onions, tomatoes and olive oil.  So I experimented with my Indian spices and came up with this gem.  Served with quinoa, it's an irresistible breakfast, lunch or dinner. 
     Turmeric and ginger, by the way, are powerful anti-inflammatory foods, and turmeric is purported to have anti-cancer properties.  
     Be sure to rinse and drain quinoa three times before cooking, to remove natural saponins (which imbue a bitter taste and inhibit absorption of nutrients).

2 large yellow onions, chopped coarsely
10 cloves garlic
1 hot pepper (serrano, cayenne, Thai...)
1 inch fresh ginger, peeled
2 small tomatoes, quartered
1/2 cup water

1/2 cup sunflower oil
3 Tbsp mustard seed
4 lbs fresh peas/beans, washed
8 cups water
1 Tbsp ground cumin
1 Tbsp ground coriander
1 Tbsp garam masala
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 Tbsp salt
2 tsp turmeric powder
4 Tbsp butter
2 Tbsp fresh, chopped cilantro

Place onions, garlic, hot pepper, ginger, tomatoes and water in blender or food processor and puree.
Heat oil in an 8-qt pot.  Stir in mustard seeds and cook until they pop and crackle.  Add peas and sizzle for 5 minutes.  Add water, pureed onion mixture, spices, salt and butter.  Cover and cook on medium heat for one hour or more, until peas are soft, stirring occasionally and adding more water to keep peas from sticking..  Stir in cilantro and serve with a dollop of thick yogurt and a mound of quinoa or brown rice, and a chopped green salad with onion.

How to Cook Quinoa

Quinoa is a grain high in protein, magnesium and iron.  It originated in Peru and was a mainstay for the Incas.  It is less expensive bought in bulk, and must be rinsed and drained three times before cooking (use a fine-mesh strainer to drain).  It cooks in minutes, making it a convenient fast food accompaniment for beans or stir-fried greens.

3 cups quinoa, rinsed
4 1/2 cups water
1 tsp salt

Place all ingredients in a pot, cover, and bring to a boil.  Turn the heat down and simmer10 minutes.  Turn the heat off and allow the pot to sit for 5 minutes.  Fluff and serve.

How to Cook Brown Rice

3 cups brown rice 
6 cups water
2 tsp salt
(1 tbsp fennel seeds)
(1/2 cup raisins)
(2 tsp cumin seeds)

Wash rice.  Place all ingredients in a 3-qt pot and bring to boil.  The optional ingredients add flavor and interest.  Cover, turn heat to very low, and cook without taking off lid for 45 minutes (short-grain rice) or 60 minutes (long-grain rice).  Turn off heat and wait 10 minutes.  Serve.


How To Help Me: Contact Government

     You can help by calling, emailing, or writing to Senate and House members of Congress.
     The contact information is below, with phone numbers, addresses and links to emails.
     Say that you want them to tell the House and Senate Judiciary Committee members to have hearings on the matter of FBI SWAT-type raids on non-threatening businesses. 
     Tell them about the raid on my clinic, which ultimately forced me to shut down a busy, family practice office, depriving patients of medical care in their neighborhood.  Tell them you want legislation passed to limit use of the USA Patriot Act so that FBI agents can't stalk, bait, raid, ruin, and forfeit the bank accounts of ordinary citizens. 
     Tell them to stop trying to turn ordinary people into dangerous threats when there is little or no evidence to support their investigations and attacks.
     The easiest way to reach these reps is by e-mail or Facebook.  Google them, go to their websites, and fill out a comment form.  Or, call the phone numbers below.

Local Representatives are:
     Ted Yoho, FL:   (352)505-0838;  (352) 665-8223, 
     Corinne Brown, FL: (904) 354-1652  
Some House Judiciary Committee members are:
     Bob Goodlatte, Chairman: (540) 432-2391
     John Conyers, Ranking Member:, (734) 675-4084
     Ron DeSantis, FL:  (202) 225-2706
     Ted Deutsch, FL:  (561) 470-5440
     Joe Garcia, FL:  (202) 225-2778

Some Senate Judiciary Committee members are:
     Patrick Leahy, Chairman, VT:  (800) 642-3193
     Chuck Grassley, Ranking Member, IA:  (319)363-6832
     Al Franken, MN:  (218) 722-2390
     Orrin Hatch, AZ:  (202) 224-5251
     Jeff Sessions, AL:  (202) 224-4124
     Lindsey Graham, SC:
     Rand Paul, KY:  (859) 219-2239,

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Curtis Fallgatter Update

     In case you're checking out this post to decide whether to hire Mr. Fallgatter or not, save yourself the trouble of reading my wordy diatribe, and look elsewhere for legal representation (or forgo a lawyer altogether, if you can manage without one):  that's my advice. 
     Whatever you do, don't hire Mr. Fallgatter.  He's been a scoundrel to me.  He's been a greedy, sideswiping, double-talking, self-serving lawyer, who used the legal system against me for his own gain, rather than helping me, and I would not recommend him or his firm to anyone.  I am about to file two complaints with the Florida Bar against him and his firm;  based on his own report, they won't be the first Bar complaints he's had to answer to.
     Many things have happened since my last blogpost...yet, in essence, nothing has happened.  Nevertheless, I miss blogging and have decided to grace the world with my viewpoint again.
     My opinion is subjective, especially when it comes to the firm of Fallgatter, Catlin and Farmand.  This legal firm is located in Jacksonville, Florida, not far from the courthouse.  I would not recommend this set of lawyers to any potential clients.  Not unless they enjoy the possibility of being sued by the very lawyer they hire to protect and defend them.  Not unless they don't mind losing in court.  I was charged extravagant fees by Mr. Fallgatter, after he used the $20,000 retainer he received from me to pay himself for his first five days of work, when he was just beginning to understand the nature of my case. After three weeks of work, he charged $87,000.  Then, in the midst of my primary legal crisis, he sued me for the money.  By the time the lawsuit was settled, and because I represented myself (until then, legal fees for defending myself against Mr. Fallgatter totaled $35,000) the court ruled in favor of Mr. Fallgatter.  The court is blocks from Mr. Fallgatter's sumptuous office, Mr. Fallgatter is well-known to the judge, the procedure of law in civil cases is second nature to Mr. Fallgatter:  everyone knows it's easier to win a game on your own turf.  
     Mr. Fallgatter's office is one of which he is very proud.  Almost immediately upon speaking with him, that first time in August 2011, he urged me to visit his office to see how capacious and beautiful it is, with its gleaming floors and rich decor.  It's located in a part of town where real estate is most valuable, and why not?  "Clothes make the man," and this building is Mr. Fallgatter's clothing.  Clearly, he's not suffering privation, he can pay his bills, and he has no need to sue clients whom he deems wealthy enough to exploit.. 
     One of the first things Mr. Fallgatter admitted, when we had a hearing before a judge two months ago,  in a telephone conversation with the prosecutor (the person Mr. Fallgatter was supposed to defend me against) was "Dr. Colasante has plenty of assets."  It is my belief that Mr. Fallgatter's sole intention in representing me was to take as many of those assets as he could, and to claim that he deserved them.  He planned to attack and pillage me in the same way the government did in its raid on my medical clinic, only he was going to do it with a smile on his face, and smooth-talking avowals of "caring" about me, and "respecting" me, and "thinking the world" of the way I practice medicine.  Which makes him more dishonorable than the government's agents who, unlike Mr. Fallgatter, didn't cajole and flatter me when they did their damage, but were following orders from the justice department:  take back money for fraud.
     "Plenty of assets" is what motivated Mr. Fallgatter, and that's what the court, moved by his claims to have helped me in those three weeks, awarded him. "Plenty of assets" was the subtext that inspired Mr. Fallgatter to insist I needed his services, and was likely to be indicted any day.  Then he billed $87,000 for 3 weeks of service, and sued me when I questioned the bill, and ignored me when I presented him with the opinions of three colleagues in the field of law, each of whom said his charges shouldn't have exceeded $8,000, or $10,000, and certainly not the $20,000 Mr. Fallgatter had already been paid as a retainer.
     How do people defend themselves against lawyers who charge exorbitant fees by exaggerating the time it took to prepare a simple motion, and by double and triple-billing for the same services detectives whose  and then sue the very client they are supposed to be helping?  I hired a first lawyer, a second lawyer and a third lawyer, paying $35,000  with more charges in the offing, before deciding to represent myself.   When the case was heard in the jurisdiction where Mr. Fallgatter has been practicing for decades and is friendly with the people who man the courts, where he knows the playing field, knows the judge, knows how to present his case to advantage, saying, the judge ruled in his favor.
     Everywhere I turn, I hear the same thing.
     "I hate lawyers," my brother said.
     "I hate lawyers," my best friend said.
     "I hate lawyers," my neighbor said.  "Get as far away from them as possible."
     No, some lawyers are good, I say.  They are.
     "Wrong," is the quick comeback.  "They're all bloodsuckers." 
     "You never should have hired him."