Following an apparent "change of circumstances," a New York County judge awarded temporary full custody of Carole Crist's two teenaged daughters earlier this month to her ex-husband, Todd Rome, who alleges Florida's former first lady has abandoned and ignored her daughters for more than two years.
The decision, signed by family court Judge Gloria Sosa-Lintner on February 1, isn't a public record and couldn't be independently verified.
Rome, CEO of Blue Star Jets in Manhattan, said Crist's indifference toward their children has traumatized both of his teenaged daughters. But only recently has it impacted their education, driving Rome, he said, to file a motion in state court requesting full custody.
Rome said his younger daughter, who attends boarding school several hours outside Manhattan, was recently suspended and left mired on Rome's couch for days waiting for Carole Crist to return the required paperwork, acknowledging the disciplinary measure. But Crist never did.
"The original divorce agreement granted joint custody," Heller said. "But she hasn't seen them in two years, and the children's needs haven't been met. She won't answer calls. Her lawyers won't answer calls. And we had no choice but to go to family court."
Heller said if Crist declines to respond to the court's decision, permanent custody may be soon delivered to Rome.
This isn't the first time Rome has filed litigation against Carole Crist, expressing dissatisfaction with her parenting. In 2011, Rome sued Crist alleging child abandonment. She hadn't paid any child support, he said. State Supreme Court Justice Matthew Cooper, however, said Crist wasn't under any obligation to finance her children financially -- or emotionally.
"I also can't make her visit her children," the New York Post reported Cooper saying at trial.
Rome said he's considering filing another lawsuit against Crist, who didn't return phone calls for comment, unless she becomes more responsive. "This may appear like I'm vindictive " he said. "But that's not my thing. Raising two kids by myself is not easy. You can't imagine the ins and outs of raising two teenaged girls without a mother. And one of my girls keeps getting into problems because of neglect from her mother."
Crist's attorney didn't return telephone calls Thursday.