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Old 10-20-2005, 05:54 PM
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Default A high-stakes battle over Pequot chief's girl

A high-stakes battle over Pequot chief's girl
New York Daily News
The chief of Connecticut's casino-rich Mashantucket Pequot nation is giving new meaning to Indian Affairs.
Tribal and state judges are being pitted against each other in a violent custody battle now that Michael Thomas, who oversees the Foxwoods Resort, wants his ex-girlfriend to return their 2-year-old daughter, Rain, to the reservation. The Mashantucket Pequot court recently backed up Thomas by giving him full custody of Rain "based on the history of domestic violence" involving Rain's mother, Vanessa Hyman, according to Thomas' lawyer, Saul Edelstein.
Hyman, 31, was arrested on Aug. 16 in the Bronx and charged with endangering the welfare of a child and third-degree assault after she got into a fight with Angela Ramos, 25, said to be Thomas' current girlfriend.
Ramos told cops that Hyman rammed a car she was riding in, yanked her hair, scratched her face and dragged her along the pavement.
Hyman calls the account "preposterous" and tells us that Thomas, who was also there, attacked her by "wrapping his hands around my throat." Edelstein says, "That never happened, or else the police would have arrested him. My client wanted to get the hell out of there before these two ladies killed each other."
This wasn't their first scrap. Tribal police arrested Hyman on June 29, 2004, charging her with third-degree assault, criminal mischief and risk of injury to a minor. Thomas, 37, told cops that, around 2:30 a.m., he suffered bloody neck and head wounds after Hyman used a mop to break a glass pane in his bedroom door.
Hyman says the "fabricated" charges were dropped and that Thomas was "the one who assaulted me." Edelstein denies her claim, noting: "He called the police."
"She wants justice in an American court," says her lawyer, Raoul Felder, who is representing her in Bronx Family Court. Felder argues that the daughter of the Pequots' tribal chairman "deserves decent child support" — considering that Foxwoods reports annual profits of more than $1.2 billion.
Edelstein says that Thomas, who has six other children, "is the leader of a sovereign nation. He's like President Bush. You can't force him into the court of another nation." A Bronx magistrate is due to hear the case in December.
"This isn't Little Big Horn, and I'm not General Custer," says Felder, who scoffs at the tribal-court custody ruling. "I guess I didn't get the smoke signal."
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