Mom told months ago kids could be held for shunning dad

Mike Martindale and Jennifer Chambers
The Detroit News

Pontiac — The mother of three West Bloomfield Township children was warned nearly seven months ago that her children could end up in a juvenile facility unless they followed court orders to see and communicate with their father, according to court records.

The children — two boys, 14 and 10 years old and a 9-year-old girl — have been in Oakland County's Children's Village facility since June 24 after Judge Lisa Gorcyca found them in contempt of court for ignoring her instructions to have a "healthy relationship" with their father.

Their mother, Maya Eibschitz-Tsimhoni, 40, has filed a complaint alleging their rights are being violated and seeking their release.

The mother and her ex-husband, Omer Tsimhoni, 45, and their respective attorneys have declined requests from The Detroit News to discuss the case, which has received national publicity after Gorcyca removed the children from their parents and placed them in the juvenile facility, which houses a range of children from those being abused to those facing criminal charges.

According to court records, the children were sent to Mandy's Place, one of three settings inside Children's Village.

George Miller, director of Oakland County's Department of Health and Human Services, said Children's Village offers a safe and structured environment.

Mandy's Place, Miller said, is for emergency placement for children from birth to age 17, who either have no next of kin, no foster care designation or need temporary placement. It is set apart from detention and treatment.

Miller said Mandy's Place has single rooms and dorm rooms in a home-like setting. The facility does not have cells and is not a jail, he said.

A 25-page report filed in November 2014 by William Lansat, the children's initial court appointed guardian and legal adviser, provides a historical overview of the case, which started in December 2009 when Maya Eibschitz-Tsimhoni filed for divorce from her husband of 14 years.

The divorce was finalized in August 2011, but court records indicate the couple have been in court numerous times on dozens of legal issues pertaining to parenting time, court-ordered psychological evaluation, family and individual therapy and other matters involving the children.

The father, a General Motors engineer, lives the majority of time in Israel and because his ex-wife fears he might kidnap the children and take them out of the country, he has been ordered to turn over his passport during parental visits, according to court records.

In a Nov. 23, 2014, report to Gorcyca, a frustrated Lansat wrote that "the behaviors of these children toward their father over the years is neither normal nor acceptable."

Lansat said a two-day court appearance in August 2014 underscored his concerns.

"The children would not answer any adult; they huddled together as if they were sending messages/vibes to each other in some sort of Manson-like behavior," he wrote.

Lansat's comparison to Charles Manson and his followers would be repeated months later when Gorcyca suggested the children were engaging in Manson cult-like activity before he separated them from their mother and each other at Children's Village.

Lansat noted another mental health professional indicated she saw the children "tapping their feet under the table in the jury room as if they were sending Morse codes to each other."

Lansat wrote that parenting time scheduled for Aug. 21 and 22, 2014, in the court's jury room was disrupted by the children's behavior.

"When the children first came to the courthouse on that Thursday it took at least six deputies, a prosecutor ... various court personnel and finally the judge to get those kids into the jury room," Lansat wrote. "The court admonished Mother as to what the Court saw in the children's behavior on the record — at least twice. The three minor children sat outside the courtroom on the chairs. the children would not respond to me — but more important — either to the deputies or the prosecutor. For minor children to basically evade armed Sheriff's (deputies) is absolutely appalling.

"I advised Mother that unless she gets these kids off the bench, there will be grave consequences — such as placement in the Children's Village."

The oldest son apologized to Gorcyca earlier in the summer but refused to talk to his father, who he described as "violent" because he allegedly saw him hit his mother.

According to the Lansat report, on Aug. 27, 2010, the children called 911 on their mother's instruction after she alleged her husband was "pushing her around." The children also alleged their father "threatened to kill them while at a park."

Police investigated and did not find any injuries or probable cause for arrest.

Omer Tsimhoni denied making the threat and Lansat said the case was closed.

In a February 2012 incident when Tsimhoni attempted to pick up the kids at school for a supervised family therapy session, the school called Lansat to report "the kids were hysterical and would not go with their father," according to his report.

Lansat suggested supervised visits between the children and their father without their mother present. Or, in the alternative, something more drastic.

"Consequently, the Court needs to consider, if there is to be any progress, a draconian approach," Lansat wrote. "There has been no progress of any meaningful degree regarding Father's parenting time/relationship with his children since August of 2010. In fact, the situation is, quite frankly, worse.

"It is like a prolonged, pervasive toxic stream where a parent closest to the child behind closed doors either intentionally or unintentionally says things to the kids causing them to act in a certain way."

Ronn Torossian, a family friend of the father, issued a statement by email Thursday, saying that after more than five years in family court, more than 50 court appearances, and seven attorneys, "Ms. Eibschitz continues to endanger the children rather than serve their best interests. Mr. Tsimhoni is pained at all that has transpired with his children."

"This situation is traumatic for everyone involved, and it is unfortunate that the mother's actions have resulted in this situation. The children's best interest must be of paramount concern," Torossian said.

"Ms. Eibschitz continually alienates the children from their father, and has ignored countless court hearings and rulings. Mr. Tsimhoni has great respect for the court and the legal system. He is a loving, caring father who desires a healthy relationship with his children."

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