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PROBE: April 24, 2002

April 24, 2002

QUESTION: I am living in a nightmare that never ends. It's called "child support." I was in the Army when I got a divorce. The Army sent a monthly allotment to my ex-wife to support my son.

After I got out of the Army I sent $150 a month as ordered by the court until 1993, although my wife gave my son to her parents in 1990.

I have documents to prove this but I can't get anybody to look at them. My son joined the Army when he was 17. He's 27 years old now. I don't owe child support but Mississippi claims I owe $17,000. Imperial County continues to try to collect for Mississippi.

I am not a bad guy. I never played hooky in school. I am a Vietnam War veteran. I have a good trade. I am an air-conditioner technician. I am 48 years old but I don't have a nickel. All my money has gone to pay child support and lawyers to straighten this out.


One lawyer advised me to "go underground" but I want to live a normal life.

Luckily I still have my truck because soon I will be sleeping in it. I am losing my house at the end of the month. Please help me. — Busted, El Centro

We hope we chipped a hole in the wall fencing you in. George Holbrook, interim director of the Imperial County family support office, said he would meet with you and look at your documents.

He promised he would not arrest you. Attorney Brook Anderholt said an attorney from the Anderholt and Storey law office in El Centro would go with you to the meeting with Holbrook.

Holbrook said you don't owe Mississippi any money. The only money you owe is to your ex-wife, who claims there are months when you didn't pay her.

Since your record doesn't show the Army allotment payments, that will reduce your balance, and therefore the interest on your account. Once your balance is refigured, you may owe less than half of the present $17,000 balance.

You need proof your ex-wife didn't have custody after 1990. Get your hands on the adoption record. Get a deposition from your father-in-law. Depose your son for his account of when he went to live with his grandparents and when he enlisted in the Army.

If you fight this battle in an organized way, you may find light at the end of your tunnel. Good luck!

QUESTION: Recently I went to two Little League games in Brawley at Gonzales Field. At the first game the bathrooms were locked. At the second game they were unlocked but so dark inside I didn't want to go in.

Isn't the ballpark maintained by the city? Shouldn't the bathrooms be open and shouldn't lights be working for safety reasons? — Spectator, Brawley

Yes to both questions, said Brawley Recreation Supervisor Pat Dorsey. The restrooms should be open for games and the light should have been working, she said.

If it happens again, find somebody to change the light bulb or unlock the restrooms, or call Rusty Garcia, president of the league. Little League is responsible for the park on game nights, according to Dorsey.

QUESTION: My wife and three co-workers were on their way to work at the Golden Acorn Casino when they were stopped by the Border Patrol. One officer took off on my wife, a naturalized citizen. He was loud and rude. He threatened to arrest everybody. Where do we complain? — Angry Husband, Calexico

If you were in the El Centro sector, you can pick up a complaint form at the Border Patrol Sector Headquarters, 1111 N. Imperial Ave. in El Centro. If you might have strayed into the San Diego sector or don't know, call the Inspector General's El Centro office. The phone number is 335-3549.

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