A 46-year-old Staten Island mother has filed suit against the city of New York, claiming that the emotional and physical trauma of being forcibly separated for her children by the Administration for Children's Services entitles her to $900 trillion. If she wins, Newt Gingrich's Moon Colony Dreams will be all but shattered.
Fausat Ogunbayo's two sons were removed from her custody three years ago on the grounds that she left them alone for hours while she worked. The state also said that Ogunbayo was mentally unstable, suffering from hallucinations and delusions and refusing treatment. According to a pair of complaints in 2008, she brought her boys to the doctor complaining that radiation was making their skin turn darker every day, and wrote a letter to the boys' school warning them that the FBI and CIA were after her sons.
Ogunbayo says that she and her boys, now 13 and 16, have suffered from "over three years of terror, horror, grievous harm, time lost, substantial economic hardship and injuries." The boys have spent their time away from their mother living in a foster home in Queens.
According to the Staten Island Register, Ogunbayo's suit isn't completely out of the blue. In December, an appellate court ruled that refusal to seek treatment for a mental illness is not grounds for the state to remove children from the custody of their parents, and that the state's case against Ogunbayo was unfounded. The boys were good students in school (and had nearly perfect attendance), were up to date on their vaccinations, and were a healthy height and weight.
Ogunbayo claims that she petitioned to regain custody of her children, but that they haven't been returned to her. She's also provided written letters from her sons stating their preference to return home to live with their mother.
Meanwhile, the Administration for Children's Services is filing a new petition to keep the boys in foster care.
The whole story sounds unfortunate all-around— if the woman's suffering from untreated mental illness, it's a shame she's not able to receive suitable treatment, and it's a shame that the boys have been kept separate from their mother. One would hope that end result of the case is that the boys are safe and everyone's happy and healthy, but it's hard to say that the proceedings are off to an excellent start; representing yourself in a $900 trillion lawsuit against the city of New York is not a good way to prove that you're in a fantastic mental state.
Staten Island Mom hits City with $900 Trillion Suit [Staten Island Register]