Wednesday, June 20, 2018
Politics

Charlie Crist's wife loses custody of two teenage daughters

The ex-husband of former Florida first lady Carole Crist has been granted full custody of their two daughters, after alleging that she abandoned them and hasn't returned messages in nearly two years.

"She's completely abandoned them," Todd Rome said of his former wife of 14 years in a brief telephone interview Friday.

He said Mrs. Crist, married for four years to former Gov. Charlie Crist, has not seen or spoken to her 14- and 16-year-old daughters since June 8, 2011, and that even simple tasks like getting her signature on documents have become a challenge.

Mrs. Crist and ex-husband Rome had joint custody until Feb. 1 when a family court judge in New York granted him temporary full custody. Rome said he may seek full custody permanently.

"She probably will not fight it, because she didn't fight this one,'' he said.

Neither Charlie nor Carole Crist could be reached for comment Friday, and a local attorney for Mrs. Crist said they would have no comment.

"This is a domestic situation, which is private," said Sam Heller, her attorney. "Unfortunately, Mr. Rome has been untruthful throughout this process."

The court records in New York are not public record, and Rome, CEO of Blue Star Jets in Manhattan, declined to provide a copy of the custody order. He did, however, read the judgment over the phone to the New Times in South Florida, which first reported the ruling.

"The children's needs haven't been met,'' Rome's New York attorney, Mark Heller, told the New Times. "She won't answer calls. Her lawyers won't answer calls. And we had no choice but go to family court."

Reached by phone as he was driving with his daughters, Rome said he has no explanation for why Mrs. Crist, 43, cut off contact with his daughters. He then passed the phone to his wife of four-plus years, Vanessa Rome.

"Anything that needs a co-parent signature becomes a complete ordeal, because she doesn't answer,'' Mrs. Rome said of Mrs. Crist. Mrs. Crist used to visit her daughters every other weekend in New York City.

Mrs. Rome said Mrs. Crist had no patience for the girls any time they complained about something.

"She doesn't like to discuss anything or be called out, so if they say anything that rocks the boat she'll say, 'Okay, bye. I have to go,' and hang up."

The former governor has in the past spoken warmly of his stepdaughters — he called them "our children" in 2009 — but Mrs. Rome said "he wanted no part of them." When in Florida during 2010, the girls constantly found themselves bored at political fundraising events with no one to talk to. Mr. Crist, she said, also had no tolerance for any hint of unpleasant teen behavior.

"He would say, 'I'm not coming to dinner with you with that attitude,' " she said. "Often they were left alone in the hotel room to order room service."

Mr. Rome has been outspoken in his criticism of his ex-wife's parenting and in 2011 sued her for failing to pay support. The New York Post wrote about one late-2011 court hearing attended by the Crists. The Post quoted a judge noting that their divorce agreement requires no child support for the daughters living in Manhattan and, "I also can't make her visit her children."

Adam C. Smith can be reached at [email protected]

Comments
Hotel renovator approved by council to restore New Port Richey’s Hacienda Hotel

Hotel renovator approved by council to restore New Port Richey’s Hacienda Hotel

NEW PORT RICHEY — A seasoned historic hotel renovator and operator is going to take a crack at getting New Port Richey’s city-owned Hacienda Hotel back into action. New Port Richey City Council members, acting as the Community Redevelopment Agency, u...
Published: 06/20/18
Pope Francis criticizes Trump’s family-separation policy on migrants, says ‘populism is not the solution’

Pope Francis criticizes Trump’s family-separation policy on migrants, says ‘populism is not the solution’

VATICAN CITY - Pope Francis stepped into a growing controversy over President Donald Trump’s immigration policies, criticizing the separation of migrant families at the U.S.-Mexican border and saying that "populism" and "creating psychosis" are not t...
Published: 06/20/18
Raburn out in State House 57 race. Now who’s in?

Raburn out in State House 57 race. Now who’s in?

Well, that didn’t last long.U.S. Army veteran Michael Sean McCoy filed to run as the Republican candidate in the State House, District 57 race just hours after incumbent State Rep. Jake Raburn, R-Lithia, announced he was stepping down.McCoy, who live...
Updated: 6 hours ago
Romano: A Tampa Bay ‘superstar’ caught in the crosshairs of Trump’s border policy

Romano: A Tampa Bay ‘superstar’ caught in the crosshairs of Trump’s border policy

At this moment, she is Tampa Bay’s most influential export. A smart, accomplished and powerful attorney making life-altering decisions on an international stage.But what of tomorrow? And the day after?When the story of President Donald Trump’s border...
Published: 06/19/18
‘Don’t leave me, Mom’: Detainee tells of separation from son

‘Don’t leave me, Mom’: Detainee tells of separation from son

SEATTLE — The call came at mealtime — an anonymous threat demanding $5,000 or her son’s life. So Blanca Orantes-Lopez, her 8-year-old boy and his father packed up and left the Pacific surfing town of Puerto La Libertad in El Salvador and headed for t...
Published: 06/19/18
Trump defiant as border crisis escalates, prepares to lobby House GOP on immigration bills

Trump defiant as border crisis escalates, prepares to lobby House GOP on immigration bills

WASHINGTON - As he prepared to visit Capitol Hill, President Donald Trump on Tuesday continued to insist that Congress produce comprehensive immigration legislation, while anxious Republicans explored a narrower fix to the administration policy of se...
Published: 06/19/18
Trump, GOP to huddle as outrage builds over border policy

Trump, GOP to huddle as outrage builds over border policy

WASHINGTON (AP) — Calls are mounting on Capitol Hill for the Trump administration to end the separation of families at the southern border ahead of a visit from President Donald Trump to discuss legislation.Trump’s meeting late Tuesday afternoon with...
Published: 06/19/18
Another detention center for immigrant children planned for Houston

Another detention center for immigrant children planned for Houston

Another facility intended for detaining undocumented children is reportedly in the works for Houston as the number of children separated from their parents at the border continues to swell.Southwest Key Programs, the same contractor that operates the...
Published: 06/19/18
Muralist working with huge St. Pete ‘canvas’ to create neighborhood eye-grabber

Muralist working with huge St. Pete ‘canvas’ to create neighborhood eye-grabber

ST. PETERSBURG — They appear to rise out of nowhere — two enormous, reclaimed-water tanks with an artist’s white clouds scudding across a blue background.A closer view reveals silhouettes of a lone coyote howling at the sky, mangrove islands, oak, cy...
Published: 06/19/18
FBI agent removed from Russia probe for anti-Trump texts says he’s willing to testify before Congress

FBI agent removed from Russia probe for anti-Trump texts says he’s willing to testify before Congress

The FBI agent who was removed from the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election for sending anti-Trump texts intends to testify before the House Judiciary Committee and any other congressional committee that asks, his attorney sai...
Published: 06/17/18