Fathers’ Lives Matter: Doctor In Divorce Case Wants Review of “Biased” New York Supreme Court Judge McGowan

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Dr. Mahadeo, outside State Supreme Court in Queens County, says he was falsely accused of feeding daughter peanuts she was allergic to and deprived of parental rights. 
 
[Policing The Courts]
 
The brutal public execution of George Floyd by police officer Derek Chauvin in Minneapolis on May 25 was the straw that broke the proverbial camel’s back.
 
The gruesome killing came shortly after Breonna Taylor was bullet-riddled by police in Louisville and Ahmaud Arbery was executed by a Georgia lynch mob that included a former police officer and his son.
 
Floyd’s execution has sparked nation-wide and global protests that continue. As a result there’s pressure on the political class to divert public funding from police departments and to enact federal and state laws to fight police brutality, corruption, and misconduct.
 
Some states, like Minnesota and New York, quickly enacting new laws governing police conduct. On June 25, the House of Representatives voted 236-181 to approve a bill—named after George Floyd—to fight the use of excessive by police and discrimination. If passed by the Senate—where Republicans have stalled it—it would remove the legal protections that now shield police officers from accountability for their misconduct. The law would make it easier to prosecute police crimes and also ban the chokehold.
 
These are all welcome developments. Yet policing is only one component of the overall criminal justice system that warrants review, oversight, and intervention. Prosecutors, lawyers—including public defenders who are overwhelmed and routinely advise innocent clients to take a plea—and judges, all need serious scrutiny.
 
Over the next few weeks Black Star News will revisit some past cases we’ve covered—as well as ongoing ones—to demonstrate egregious misconduct by lawyers, prosecutors, and judges. We invite readers to contact us via mallimadi@gmail.com and colin_30@yahoo.com with documented information about their own cases or others that they’re familiar with involving egregious abuse of power.
 
Today we look at one case before Judge Margaret Parisi-McGowan, who handles matrimonial cases in New York State Supreme Court in Queens County. (Judge McGowan is reported to have been stricken by the coronavirus and has since recovered).
 
Robby Mahadeo, a medical doctor, claims he’s been a victim of a series of biased rulings before Judge McGowan. The original Black Star News report on case is available online. After BSN reported his case, two other individuals contacted the publication about their own, including Dr. Siranush Cholakian, whose case was subsequently featured, and will be revisited in the near future. 
 
Before Judge McGowan started presiding over the case on November 16, 2017, Dr. Mahadeo and his wife Rachael, had 50/50 custody, he says. On the first court date she presided over, Judge McGowan denied Dr. Mahadeo’s request for an adjournment to hire a new attorney. Without any motion before her, she also limited visitation to four days per month, he says.
 
On the second court date, December 15, 2017, Dr. Mahadeo's wife and the court-appointed attorney for the children (AFC), Rayaaz N. Khan, claimed Dr. Mahadeo had intentionally given peanuts to their youngest child, then three years old, even though he knew she was allergic. "It was preposterous. A concocted allegation out of the blue,” Dr. Mahadeo, who is a pediatrician, says. “Yet Judge McGowan, without any evidence, based merely on the words of my wife and Khan, removed my parental rights."
 
On the same December 15, 2017 court date, Dr. Mahadeo objected to what he called an “extortionate” bill of $20,000 from Khan whom he claimed had never produced itemized invoices. The previous two judges had ruled that Khan shouldn’t be paid more than $7,500, he says.  
 
“Khan asked Judge McGowan to throw me in jail if I didn’t pay,” Dr. Mahadeo recalls. “The judge said if I didn’t go to a nearby Chase bank and come back with $20,000 she’d have me locked up six months for contempt.”
 
“From the very first day, this judge took a hostile position against me as if a decision had been made before we even appeared before her. This second court date confirmed her bias,” he says.
 
Dr. Mahadeo says he begged for more time to raise the money and McGowan gave him six days. “When I came back with the $20,000 the judge had three court officers stand behind me like I was a common criminal,” he says. “She let Khan use me like an ATM machine.”
 
Dr. Mahadeo presented a written statement from Dr. Lorry Rubin from Long Island Jewish Medical, where the child had been treated, stating that she’d suffered from a throat infection not an allergic reaction to peanuts. Judge McGowan ignored the evidence and refused to restore joint custody rights. “She said ‘all doctors lie,’” he recalls.
 
Dr. Mahadeo filed a motion for Khan to be removed as AFC alleging that he’d engaged in child abuse through improper correspondence with his two teenage children and coaching them to make statements against him.
 
Court records show that Khan told Mahadeo’s son, when he was 10, that visitation with the father, and counseling, were optional and that not even the judge could compel him to comply. “He told my son ‘your dad is full of crap, your dad lied, your dad’s action were improper and your dad filed false ACS claims,’” Dr. Mahadeo says. “Clearly my son was being abused by this AFC.”
 
Judge McGowan refused the boy’s plea for another AFC, Mahadeo says. When Mahadeo filed a motion to have Khan removed, the AFC asked the judge to sanction him. Judge McGowan dismissed Dr. Mahadeo’s motion and ordered him to pay a fine of $3,000.
 
Since the false peanuts allegations more than three years ago, Dr. Mahadeo hasn’t seen his eldest daughter, who is now 17, and the son, now 15.
 
He’s permitted one-hour supervised weekend visits with his youngest daughter, but not since March 14, 2020 even though a court-appointed psychologist Dr. Ellen Weld recommended that Dr. Mahadeo be allowed extended supervised visits and ultimately unsupervised ones. A second psychologist, Dr. Peter Favaro, in June 2018, recommended therapeutic sessions with the teenage children. Judge McGowan ignored both professional recommendations. “I feel like she is holding me hostage so I can be extorted by Khan,” Dr. Mahadeo says. “This raises serious questions about her motives for doing this.”
 
Dr. Mahadeo says Judge McGowan then went out of her way to help his wife undo their prenuptial agreement which the couple signed in 2003 when they married. After a two-day hearing in July 2018, Judge McGowan issued an order upholding the agreement's validity, on August 4, 2018. The judge determined that Rachael Mahadeo failed to show that the agreement was "the product of duress, fraud, overreaching or unconscionable…”
 
Then suddenly, on September 25, 2018, Judge McGowan vacated her own order. The judge told Dr. Mahadeo's lawyer, in chambers, that a “confidential informant” had alerted the court that Dr. Mahadeo had bribed a witness who testified in the pre-nuptial agreement hearing. The judge said she’d referred the matter to the Queens County District Attorney's office for investigation.
 
It was only later, after Khan sent one of his bills to Dr. Mahadeo demanding payment, that he discovered who that “confidential informant” was. It was his own son, who was 12 at the time. Khan’s bill noted that he’d accompanied the boy to the DA's office. "This was orchestrated by my wife and Khan," Dr. Mahadeo says. "This is child abuse on the part of Khan, and he billed me for it, and Judge McGowan made me pay.”
 
The Queens County DA found that the child wasn’t credible and didn't even ask to speak to Dr. Mahadeo, he says.
 
Four months later, on January 28, 2019, Judge McGowan again reaffirmed the prenuptial agreement's validity. “She took no action concerning Khan and my wife coercing my child into making those false allegations. I wonder why the DA hasn’t prosecuted Khan for this egregious misconduct,” Dr. Mahadeo says.
 
Finally, Judge McGowan agreed to Dr. Mahadeo’s repeated demands for a trial on the peanuts allegations. She scheduled March 26, 2019 as the trial date. Dr. Mahadeo lined up witnesses, including Dr. Weld, the psychologists, in addition to Dr. Ajey Jain, Chairman of the Pediatric Department at Jamaica Hospital, and Dr. Rubin, Chief of Pediatric Infectious Disease Department at LIJ, where Rachael had taken the child to be examined. “I was confident that once the lies were exposed in court I would enjoy my co-parenting rights again,” Dr. Mahadeo recalls.
 
On March 23, 2019, three days before the trial date, Khan asked for a telephone conference during which he asked that the trial be canceled because he wanted to file a motion for a new prenuptial  trial. Judge McGowan granted Khan’s request. Meanwhile, he denied Dr. Mahadeo’s multiple requests for a telephone conference to reinstate visitation, he says. “Any objective person could tell that Judge McGowan and Khan were not working independently,” he says.
 
Dr. Mahadeo says even though Khan had no standing, he filed a motion for Judge McGowan to vacate her order upholding the prenuptial agreement's validity. Khan had sat in during the original two-day hearing in July 2018, and had billed Dr. Mahadeo $3,000. Now, in his 2019 filing, he told the court that he’d been unaware that he could have spoken during the earlier proceedings. “Why should I be penalized for his malpractice?” Dr. Mahadeo says.
 
On May 13, 2019, Judge McGowan again set aside her August 4, 2018 order affirming the validity of the prenuptial agreement and ordered a new trial for June 10, 2019. “She never again mentioned the trial for the peanuts allergy,” Dr. Mahadeo says.
 
Dr. Mahadeo says his finances were drained as the case dragged on. Khan had billed and had been paid $38,000 as of December 2018, and has more bills to present. Also, on September 4, 2019, Judge McGowan ordered Dr.Mahadeo to pay Alyssa Eisner, his wife Rachael’s lawyer, $75,000 in attorney’s fees.
 
Meanwhile Dr. Mahadeo’s case remains in limbo. After another lawyer informed McGowan that he was preparing a motion for her to recuse herself, she did recuse herself. The case was briefly sent to King’s County in Brooklyn, but has since been returned to Queens County.
 
“I fear that I could end up before McGowan and Khan again,” Dr. Mahadeo says. “I need an impartial judge and AFC. I also would like Governor Cuomo to look not only at my case but to appoint a special commission to review the conduct of other judges since I’m hearing complaints from other parents who contacted me.” He says he wrote to Cuomo about his case on July 24, but hasn’t received a reply.
 
“Fathers’ lives matter too,” he says.
 
Black Star News reached out to the parties for comment.
 
“No can do,” Dr. Favaro said, in a brief e-mail message response, declining comment.
 
Dr. Weld also declined to comment, saying in an e-mail message, “I am sorry but I cannot, as I am appointed as a neutral by the Court to provide clinical reports, and that would not be ethical for me to comment for a news article.”
 
Rachael Mahadeo, Eisner who represented her before McGowan, Khan, Dr. Rubin and, Dr. Jain, didn’t respond to e-mail messages seeking comment for this article.
 
Lucian Chalfen, a spokesperson for the New York Unified Courts system in an e-mail message said, “The defendant is free to appeal any decision made in his case to the Appellate Division for their determination.”
 
A message left at the governor’s office wasn’t returned by the time this article was posted. 
 

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