Letters July 22-28, 2004 | New Times Broward-Palm Beach

Letters July 22-28, 2004

Bad Fortune

And imprudent jurisprudence? Trevor Aaronson's July 15 story on Melody Fortunato ("Below the Bar") could have been called "Below the Belt." This so-called representative of the people screwed me bad during my divorce in July 2000. She was supposed to represent me for a child support hearing before the judge and told me at the last minute that she would not do it because she wanted me to pay her in full before the court date. I had given her a retainer and made payments to her. I was not in town for the hearing and was not represented, so my ex-wife had her way. I was nailed with higher child support, court costs, and the ex-wife's attorney's fees (for that month). Then Fortunato put a lien on me for payment. I have not recovered from that yet.

Matteo Papagno


Charge it! How about this one... I hired Melody Fortunato as a result of a referral. She was presented to me as the best in the business. She then told me how good she was and how many cases she had won.

After a year in court, she was told to prepare an order by the presiding general master. She did not do it. She told him, "I'm not doing it; let the opposing counsel do it if they want it so bad..." Opposing counsel filed an emergency motion to compel and to seek sanctions... including attorney's fees. We (Melody and I) had to go to court... in Miami... She charged me travel time, plus her customary rate to defend me on the emergency motion because she didn't produce the draft as instructed... I then fired her and hired another attorney.

Melody billed me for another $5,000. I told her to back off or I would file a bar complaint. When the bar initiated an "investigation," Melody billed me for the time she spent preparing for the bar complaint and defending herself... She is now in the process of obtaining a judgment for nearly $7,000 for her time spent defending herself, the actual claim, and reasonable interest.

She routinely would inform me of hearings... the day of... or the day prior to the hearing. She was ill-prepared for the hearings and did not instruct me in the procedural aspects of the divorce (financial disclosure, etc.). Notices would show up after the event if at all, and her staff was generally argumentative and disorganized.

Incidentally, my new attorney managed to settle the case... in less than three months.

Adam P. Von Romer

Fort Lauderdale

P.S. The bar investigation was ineffectual at best... and farcical... Talk about leaving the fox to guard the henhouse.

A Bone for a Pit Bull

The bulls are not the pits: Now that you have shown in your July 8 article "'Burb Dogs" the negative side of the words pit bull, will you at least write something about the positive side of pit bulls? How they are naturally loving, friendly, and protective? Let's not forget how humans victimize this gentle breed! I am a 24-year-old female college student and pit bull owner (mine is a 512-year-old, 90-pound, red/red nose male) as well as a pit bull foster mom. At this time I have a 3-plus-year-old female pit bull in my care who weighed about 25 pound when she was turned over to me, and she is completely blind... She was slated to be put down! Whoever owned her previously adopted her as an 8-week-old puppy and was supposed to bring her back to the shelter a short time later to be spayed. They instead used her as a puppy mill until her blindness became a real issue. I believe she was kept in a tiny cage for most of her life; she is about a foot shorter than she should be. Every bone in her body was visible, not to mention that in between each toe of all paws was burned and scabby because she sat in her own crap all day, every day! Somehow, this poor dog... who suffered so much at the hands of humans... is the most gentle, sweet, affectionate, intelligent dog I have come across in about five years of pit bull rescue. Her blindness does not stop her... She and I go out to Dada's on Friday nights to listen to the band, socialize, and attempt to find her the right home. All the while, she behaves perfectly! Three weeks after I got her, her hip bones are no longer visible and her coat has become clean, soft, and dandruff free. She now weighs a little over 40 pounds, walks perfectly on a leash, and is potty trained. She loves car rides, long walks, and just sleeping on her person. I understand that the story of Leon Edouard was a tale worth retelling: It was full of suspense, no doubt a page-turner. But throw the pit bull-owning community a bone here in South Florida and show all sides of the "pit bull issue."

Amanda Zimmer

Delray Beach

Sonic Baloney

Bad hair review: Todd Lamb's June 24 review of Sonic Youth's album (Sonic Nurse) is one of the lamest I've ever read, of any artist.

I, and I believe most readers, could care less what the band's hairstyle is -- I'm interested solely in the music. Two lines are about the music, and the rest are Lamb going on about their lack of ponytails!? I can't believe the editor let it run.

Mike Moles

Fort Lauderdale

Liberation Song

Brian's song too: I'm not a Jamaican, but I am an African-American lesbian. I was so upset by Brian Williamson's killing. I got an e-mail about Jeff Stratton's June 24 article ("Gay in Jamaica") a few weeks ago.

I have co-workers who are Jamaican here in Fort Lauderdale, and at times, they are very rude and indifferent toward me. But this is not Jamaica, and we in Fort Lauderdale have laws to protect us. I am so concerned for the gays and lesbians in Jamaica that at times, I don't know what to do. I have friends who are gay and Jamaican here in Fort Lauderdale, and they are still closeted because of their family and/or friends. One day, liberation will come.

Sara Cofield

Fort Lauderdale