“We can report that Edward G. Partin has been under investigation by the New Orleans District Attorney’s Office in connection with the Kennedy Assassination investigation… based on an exclusive interview with an Assistant District Attorney in Jim Garrison’s office. We can report that Partin’s activities have been under scrutiny. In his words: “We know that Jack Ruby and Lee Harvey Oswald were here in New Orleans several times… there was a third man driving them and we are checking the possibility it was Partin.WJBO radio, June 23rd, 1964; quoted from Walter Sheridan’s “The Fall and Rise of Jimmy Hoffa” in 1972.
Wendy’s history, like mine and most of my Partin family’s, is available online if you search for our names together and include maiden and middle names. She was Wendy Anne Rothdram Partin, My dad is Edward Grady Partin Junior, and my name is Jason Ian Partin. A 1976 court report filed in East Baton Rouge Parish’s 19th judicial district mentions my immediate family and my PawPaw, James “Ed” White. Our situation was summarized by East Baton Rouge Parish’s family court judge, Judge JJ Lottingger.
This is a suit by Edward Partin, Jr., plaintiff, seeking a divorce from his wife, Wendy Rothdram Partin, defendant, after having lived separate and apart for more than one year following a judgment of separation from bed and board. Plaintiff also seeks custody of the minor child, Jason Ian Partin, and the defendant reconvened asking that she be granted the permanent care, custody and control of the minor child.
The Trial Court had previously, by ex parte order, awarded the temporary care, custody and control of the minor to Mr. and Mrs. James Ed White. Following trial on the merits, plaintiff was awarded a divorce as well as the permanent care, custody and control of the minor child, with the temporary physical custody of the minor child to remain with Mr. and Mrs. James Ed White. The defendant has appealed this judgment as it regards the custody of the child.
This couple was married when plaintiff was 17 and the defendant was 16 years of age. Nine months following the marriage, they gave birth to young Jason. While we are not concerned with the facts surrounding the separation and divorce, it was apparently one of incompatibility as defendant testified that at the age of 17 she found herself married to a man who did not love her and so she left. Her testimony was as follows:
“As I say I was emotionally upset. I was receiving little support from Edward. I was scared, very confused. I didn’t know exactly which way to turn. I felt I had no one to listen and help with the situation at hand.”
Several weeks later she returned and lived with her husband again. She found that the situation hadn’t changed, and felt she had to get away again. She heard of a man who wanted someone to share expenses on a trip to California, so she quit her job and with her last wages left with him. She testified that she had no sexual relations with this man, and plaintiff does not accuse her of such. Following this trip she returned to Baton Rouge still emotionally upset. Her husband was suing her for separation and told her he was going to take custody of Jason. She went to live with her aunt and uncle, got a full time job with Kelly Girls paying $512.00 per month.
In February, 1975, the defendant’s mother was injured in an accident and she moved in with her to care for her. In September, 1975, following the recuperation of the mother she returned to live with her aunt and uncle.
During these above periods of time, the minor child lived with Mr. and Mrs. White. The Whites came to regard Jason as their own and, although the separation judgment awarded custody to the plaintiff with reasonable visitation privileges to the defendant, the Whites decided the defendant-mother could only see the child two days a month and that she could never keep the child over night. The reason the defendant did not contest custody at the separation trial was because at the time she felt unable emotionally and financially to care for her son.
[Judge Lottinger wrote a paragraph of legal jargon here, citing the “double burden” placed on Wendy by the deceased Judge Pugh to go above and beyond what was typically necessary to regain custody.]
We note that the petition for separation was grounded on habitual intemperance, as well as abandonment of the husband and the minor child. There are no other grounds listed for the separation nor for custody. The petition for the separation and custody of the minor child was not contested by the defendant, and a default judgment was granted. Defendant testified in the instant proceedings that the reason she did not contest custody in the separation proceeding was that she was not financially or emotionally capable of caring for the minor, and that knowing the Whites were going to be caring for him, she knew he would be in good hands.
Though the petition for separation had as one of its allegations “habitual intemperance”, the plaintiff in the instant proceeding testified that he had never accused his wife of drinking, nor had he ever seen her drink.
[Judge Lottinger goes on to cite a few precent cases, verdicts from previous judges in higher courts used to justify his opinions, a detail that’s less important in Louisiana’s unique version of the Napoleonic legal code still lingering from the Louisiana purchase that gives judges more freedoms than in all other states.]
The welfare of the child is the main issue that the Court is concerned with. This issue is more important than any wishes or wants the parents may have. Fulco v. Fulco, 259 La. 1122, 254 So.2d 603 (1971), rehearing denied (1971). As a general rule, and in particular where children of young age are involved, preference is given to the mother in custody cases. This preference is very simply explained, the mother is normally better able to care for the child and look after the education, rearing, and training necessary. Estes v. Estes, 261 La. 20, 258 So.2d 857 (1972), rehearing denied (1972).
No argument is made that the mother is not now morally or emotionally fit to care for the child, or that the house in which she lives is not a proper place to rear a child. In fact, the Trial Judge admitted that it was a fine home.
The Trial Judge has not favored us with written reasons for judgment, however, we must conclude from various statements by the Trial Judge that appear in the record that he could find no fault with the defendant, nor was there anything wrong with the house in which she lived. It thus becomes apparent to this Court that the Trial Judge applied the “double burden” rule to the defendant. We have already ruled that the “double burden” rule does not apply in this situation, and thus, under the established jurisprudential rules, we can see no reason why the defendant-mother should not be granted the permanent care, custody and control of the minor child with reasonable visitation privileges granted to the father.
In consideration of our above opinion, there is no need to discuss the specification of error as to the ex parte granting of custody to the Whites.
Therefore, for the above and foregoing reasons, the judgment of the Trial Court is reversed, and IT IS ORDERED, ADJUDGED AND DECREED that the defendant-appellant, Wendy Rothdram Partin, be and she is hereby granted the permanent care, custody and control of the minor, Jason Ian Partin, and IT IS FURTHER ORDERED, ADJUDGED AND DECREED that this matter be and it is hereby remanded to the Trial Court for the purpose of fixing specific visitation privileges on behalf of plaintiff-appellee Edward Partin, Jr. All costs of the appeal are to be paid by plaintiff-appellee.
I’ve reread Judge JJ Lottingger’s summary dozens of times over the past few decades and I see something new every time, and often when I see something new in this 1976 report I reread other reports on my family, like the1976 JFK Assassination Report, Chief Justice Earl Warren’s comments about Big Daddy and Mamma Jean in 1966’s Hoffa vs the United States, and Walter Sheridan’s in depth shadowing of our family up until the month I was born, published as “The Fall and Rise of Jimmy Hoffa” in 1972 . After Wendy was died of liver failure, I saw, for the first time, or at least I pondered deeply for the first time, that my dad had testified he never saw her drink; he denies saying that, and we both know she drank, even when pregnant, and they both smoked a lot of marijuna and took LSD, acid, though Wendy was rarely, if ever, drunk. We assume that Lottingger was trying to help Wendy, and may have bent the truth a bit, or was explaining the term used as grounds for divorce, “intemperance,” a legal term of that time associated with “an inabilitiy to act moderately or with restraint, especially with respect to alcohol consumption.”
All of Wendy’s biologic family – our family – that I knew in Louisiana were functional alcoholics to a degree few people witness, sloppy and slurring every day by three or four in the afternoon, which comes as a surprise given her family in Canada. Her grandfather, Harold Hicks, was famous in Canada, where hockey is revered almost to a religious status, because he was a successful professional hockey player for the Toronto Maple Leafs and Boston Bruins – though Wikipedia omits the Bruins for some reasons – and later became a respected manager of the Canadian railway system, and his obituary would show an outpouring of support from people who had followed his career for decades. Her great aunt Edith was also well known, an 80 year old spinster who made national news after marrying her former employer, making national news in Canada after marrying her former employer of fourty years, Mr. Lang, and when he soon died she inherited Canada’s largest private art collection and donated many fine works to museums. She was followed by a few gossip columns who admired her admirably, noting that in her 80’s she was still an avid golfer who traveled the world’s finest courses and tipped generously. She never had children, but she doted on Grandpa Hicks’s three daughters, Lois, Joyce, and Mary, who all said they had a stable, loving home in the booming 1950’s following the end of WWII. All three were partiers, Mary with wine, Joyce with Scotch, and Lois with whatever was handy. Auntie Lo met Robert Desico, a French Canandian who had served in the navy during WWII and was an up and coming manager at Montreal’s Bulk Stevadoring, and they married and learned they couldn’t have children and accepted their fate and leaned into their party lifestyle without moderation. Uncle Bob accepted a role managing Bulk Stevadoring’s United States operations, and he and Auntie Lo rented an appartment near the New Orleans headquarters but bought a home an hour upriver in Baton Rouge, where they could afford an upper middle class home adjacent to the Sherwood Forest Country Club and within eyesight of the mostly caucasion Westminister Elementary School. Joyce became pregnant to a man whoes first name I never learned, but whoes last name was Rothdram, and Granny took the name Joyce Hicks Rothdram and Wendy was born on August 14th, 1955, and named Wendy Anne Rothdram. Granny had a son some time after that, and he died infor reasons I never learned and she fled Canada in 1959 and moved in with Auntie Lo and Uncle Bob and Wendy began attending Westminister while Granny looked for work. Granny found a job at CoPolymer in Baton Rouge’s burgeoning Chemical Alley, about 20 minutes north of the airport on the misappropriately named I-110 that dead ended at the row of chemical plants half way between Baton Rouge and Saint Francisville. Granny was a lush, but a responsible, cheerful, hard working and self driven lush who, though uneducated by traditional definitions, obtained a library card and learned what she needed to learn to succeed at work and in the new, to her, American way of doing things as a single, undeducated mother without Canada’s national healthcare. She became a secretary who understood chemical processing and a valuable, salaried employee with benefits who understood about retirement plans and mortgage financing, and she forewent the good bottles of Scotch and saved enough to buy a small, 680 square foot home under the airport flight path. She had a large yard full of large stately oak trees and a drainage creek filled with crawfish and minnows and frogs and eels and within a short distance of Glen Oaks elementary, middle, and high schools.
Wendy left Westminister at around age 10 and began taking classes at Glen Oaks, which was much more rural than Sherwood Forest, which suited her becasue she was much happier in nature than in densely packed suburbs. She stopped seeing Auntie Lo and Uncle Bob as much, becasue by the time school was over all of her family was already one or two Scothes into their evenings and in no condition to drive the 30 or so mintues between the suburbs and her new home. A few years passed and Wendy became well known for – and these are the words of my uncles and Wendy’s friends – having the finest ass in all of Glen Oaks. She was, apparently, strikingly beautiful and remarkably fit, a girl who liked to climb trees and ride bikes and, because she had grown up within walking distance of Sherwood Forest’s swimming pool and tennis courts, compete on Glen Oaks’s swim team and tennis team. She was petitie, like Granny, but what most boys would consider voluptuous. She had strawberry blonde hair and bright hazel eyes that crinkled when she laughed, which was often. She was, as my dad would say, the finest girl he had ever seen. He was a senior at Glen Oaks and was estranged from his family and living with Big Daddy’s mother, my great-Grandma Foster, a few blocks from Granny and Wendy.
Judge Lottingger didn’t go into all of those details, but he would have learned them from the trial judge, who was Judge Pugh. I’m unsure why Judge Pugh knew so much about our family – it’s unusual to see a court report where a judge implies he had seen a defendants home, much less call it a “fine” home, but I assume they both knew enough about Wendy’s Canadian family to understand why it was hard for her to receive support from them. It wasn’t a lack of love or ethics: they were simply alcoholics who never left home after about 5pm, which is responsible, if you think about it. Granny, in particular, was adament about never driving after even one drink, especially after a drunk driver hit her car and shattered her ankle, which is when Wendy went to live with her while I was living with the Whites.
Judge Lottingger took over my custody case in 1975, probably only coincidentally just as Jimmy Hoffa vanished and after Judge Pugh allegedly committed suiciced. The East Baton Rouge Parish 19th Judicial District only had space for one family court judge, and for reasons I don’t understand Judge Lottingger transferred from 30 years of state legislative law to assume the role and take a personal interest in Wendy and my case. I assume that was because he knew my Partin family well, and that would also explain why he was trying so hard to help Wendy. It was only a coincidence that she had met my dad at Glen Oaks, because he had left his parents to live with Big Daddy’s mother, our Grandma Foster, who lived a few blocks from Granny. Wendy never mentioned details to the court, but she had met my dad and enjoyed his prolific supply of drugs and got high and lost her virginity to him in January of 1971 and two weeks later realized she was pregnant, but was unable to affort the approximately $150 for an abortion and accepted my dad’s marriage proposal. They dropped out of school and eloped to Woodville, Mississippi, where Big Daddy was from and my dad still had family and where state law allowed a 16 year old girl to marry a 17 year old boy without parental consent. They returned and began living in one of Big Daddy’s houses and my dad earned money by dealing drugs. Lottingger barely mentions my dad in court reports, though his name would have been known all over Baton Rouge, especially by Judge Lottingger.
By the time Jimmy Hoffa disappeared, my grandfather had been nationally famous for a decade as the surprise witness who sent Hoffa to prison in 1964, at the obvious risk to himself and his family becasue of inevitable retribution from Teamsters loyal to Hoffa and Mafia families indebted to him. For the next few years, national media portrayed Big Daddy as an All American Hero who helped Bobby Kennedy stop corrupt labor unions and who, with the help of J. Edgar Hoover, probably stopped Hoffa from assassinating Bobby Kennedy. As soon as the jury convicted Hoffa based on Big Daddy’s word in 1964, Bobby ensured Big Daddy was in national news as often as possible, with full issues of Look and Life magazine dedicated to the Partins, even sharing the spotlight with the new first family, the Johnsons, after President Kennedy was shot and killed. It was there that Hoover showcased the FBI’s latest surveillance and lie detector technology using Big Daddy as an example, showing the world my big, handsome grandfather hooked up to a lie detector machine with FBI scientists in white lab coats chekcing their clipboards and confirming what Hoover swore, that Hoffa had asked Big Daddy to obtain plastic explosives, probably from New Orleans mafia boss Carlos Marcello, with the intention of bombing Bobby Kennedy’s home, possibly killing his wife and children and escalating their Blood Feud to a new level. America was split between believing Big Daddy was a hero and believing that he was a rat who lied to save himself after Bobby Kennedy freed him from prison.
Big Daddy was in a Baton Rouge jail for kidnapping two kids of one of his Teamsters, who had lost them in a custody decision under Judge Pugh, and, coincidentally, also for manslaughter in Mississippi. He was also under indictment for embezzling funds from the Teamsters. Combined, those charges would have sent him to prison for at least a decade, and possibly for life. For some reason, he had the New Orleans FBI director’s phone number and called him, not his attorney, immediately upon being arrested, and that director called Watler Sheridan, head of the FBI’s “Get Hoffa” task force, who then contacted his boss, US Attorney General Bobby Kennedy. Big Daddy was free within 48 hours, and within a few months he was standing beside Hoffa in a relatively minor court case in Tennessee, serving as Hoffa’s trusted seargent at arms and ostensibly guarding the inner circle of Teamsters against mafia and undercover FBI agents seeking to find, as Bobby had directed, something… anything… to convict Hoffa. When the prosecuting attorney called Big Daddy to the stand to testify that Hoffa had asked him to bribe a juror, Hoffa was so shocked that he simply said, “My God, it’s Partin,” and instantly changed tactics to attacking Big Daddy’s character by claiming he was a drug using lier incintivised to purjure by Bobby Kennedy promising to keep him out of prison; and he spread word to the mafia underworld that $100,000 would go to whomever convinced Big Daddy to change his testimony.
To portray Big Daddy as an All American Hero, Bobby had to first find Mamma Jean, who had been hiding her five children from Big Daddy for almost a year, spreading them among her family in unregistered hunting and fishing camps throughout Louisiana and east Texas. Walter Sheridan, a respected FBI investgator before helping run John F. Kennedy’s presidential campaign and then Bobby Kennedy’s Get Hoffa task force, found her and offered her a series of deals in exchange for postponing her divorce and remaining silent about Big Daddy until after he used up his appeals and then, if still found guilty, as long as he remained in prison.
His small part in history was sumamrized in 1966’s Hoffa vs The United States by Chief Justice Earl Warren, famous as author of the Warren Report and overseeing Roe vs Wade, Brown vs The Board of Education, and the case that gave us Miranda Rights. His words would have been studied by almost all judges in America, and here is just a part of what he said about Big Daddy:
Here, Edward Partin, a jailbird languishing in a Louisiana jail under indictments for such state and federal crimes as embezzlement, kidnapping, and manslaughter (and soon to be charged with perjury and assault), contacted federal authorities and told them he was willing to become, and would be useful as, an informer against Hoffa, who was then about to be tried in the Test Fleet case. A motive for his doing this is immediately apparent — namely, his strong desire to work his way out of jail and out of his various legal entanglements with the State and Federal Governments. And it is interesting to note that, if this was his motive, he has been uniquely successful in satisfying it. In the four years since he first volunteered to be an informer against Hoffa he has not been prosecuted on any of the serious federal charges for which he was at that time jailed, and the state charges have apparently vanished into thin air.
This type of informer and the uses to which he was put in this case evidence a serious potential for undermining the integrity of the truthfinding process in the federal courts. Given the incentives and background of Partin, no conviction should be allowed to stand when based heavily on his testimony. And that is exactly the quicksand upon which these convictions rest, because, without Partin, who was the principal government witness, there would probably have been no convictions here.
Here, the Government reaches into the jailhouse to employ a man who was himself facing indictments far more serious (and later including one for perjury) than the one confronting the man against whom he offered to inform. It employed him not for the purpose of testifying to something that had already happened, but rather for the purpose of infiltration to see if crimes would in the future be committed. The Government, in its zeal, even assisted him in gaining a position from which he could be a witness to the confidential relationship of attorney and client engaged in the preparation of a criminal defense. And, for the dubious evidence thus obtained, the Government paid an enormous price.
Warren would even mention Mamma Jean, though not accurately.
Upon his arrival in Nashville, Partin manifested his “friendship” and made himself useful to Hoffa, thereby worming his way into Hoffa’s hotel suite and becoming part and parcel of Hoffa’s entourage. As the “faithful” servant and factotum of the defense camp which he became, he was in a position to overhear conversations not directed to him, many of which were between attorneys and either their client or prospective defense witnesses. Pursuant to the general instructions he received from federal authorities to report “any attempts at witness intimidation or tampering with the jury,” “anything illegal,” or even “anything of interest,” Partin became the equivalent of a bugging device which moved with Hoffa wherever he went. Everything Partin saw or heard was reported to federal authorities, and much of it was ultimately the subject matter of his testimony in this case. For his services, he was well paid by the Government, both through devious and secret support payments to his wife and, it may be inferred, by executed promises not to pursue the indictments under which he was charged at the time he became an informer.
“… Partin’s wife received four monthly installment payments of $300 from government funds, and the state and federal charges against Partin were either dropped or not actively pursued.”
Under the deal offered by Walter and Bobby, though never documented anywhere other than verbally among our family, Mamma Jean was given a new house in a fancy suburb of Houston, big enough to raise her five children and far enough away from Baton Rouge to be free from Big Daddy, and a monthly living stipend greater than she would have received in alimony, though she never told me how much and I never asked. The payments Warren mentioned were brought to the court’s attention by Hoffa’s attorneys, claiming Big Daddy was bribed, but Walter and his team used a legal loophole that showed the money was for her travel to and from court-related interviews. Other records continue to show that she did the bare minimum required to support Big Daddy, and always claimed her right as his wife to remain silent; in other words, she kept her word to Walter, and no one in our family ever had a reason to doubt her honesty or that Bobby did, in fact, buy her a big house in the suburbs and pay her more than what’s on record even after six decades of investigation. But, even without that detail, she and Big Daddy were well known nationally and were practically celebrities in the state capital of Baton Rouge, where Big Daddy returend to run Teamsters Local #5 while Judge Lottingger worked with Louisiana legislators trying to prosecute Big Daddy on behalf of governors, the same way Bobby Kenedy had spent years trying to prosecute Hoffa on behalf of President Kennedy. But, Lottingger was stymied again and again by federal forces for as long as Hoffa remained in prison.
“I’m not going to let Partin and his ganster teamsters run this state!” Governor McKeithen reported in state newspapers soon before I was born, and he tasked Lottingger with prosecuting Big Daddy. They failed, and a newspaper even ridiculed McKeithen when Walter told him, plainly and bluntly, “Lay off Partin.” Dozens of other examples exist, and Big Daddy was showcased in local news almost weekly, and he was showcased nationally again when Hoffa went to prison and the Kennedys began attacking organized crime and using Big Daddy, again, probably because of his already established reputation as a man who feared no one. Walter was even impressed, and said that in decades of hiding mob witnesses, all of them were terrified of retribution and asked to remain anonymous or go into the federal witness protectoin program; but, Big Daddy asked to be showcased and return to Baton Rouge despite the risk to himself and his family.
Hoffa had gone to prison soon after his 1966 Supreme Court case, becasue Warren was the only one of nine surpreme court judges to dissent against using Big Daddy’s testimony to convict Hoffa. Hoffa continued to be a celebrity from in prison, and he had access to the best attornies willing to work with Hoffa and mafia leaders.
Frank Ragano, author of “Mob Lawyer,” represented Hoffa, New Orleans crime boss Carlos Marcello, Miami boss Santos Trafacante Junior, and a long list of other leaders in practically every major city including the new and burgeoning Las Vegas. Through coded talk, Hoffa told all mafia bosses that he’d forgive their loans from the Teamster pension fund if Big Daddy either changed his testimony and freed Hoffa or signed an affadavit that Bobby and Walter had used illegal wire tapping and thereby invalidating the entire case and freeing him. In other words, it didn’t matter how Big Daddy changed his testimony, all that mattered was that he was alive and could do it, and all loans would be forgiven, about $120 Million in total that Hoffa had lent various mafia leaders to build Las Vegas casinos and get guns and supplies from the ports of New Orleans and New York, and, interestingly, to fund Hollywood films. Apparently, Hoffa and the mafia liked movies and actors, and I’ve always wondered if the famous scene in The Godfather of a severed horse head left in a Hollywood producer’s bed was a message from the mob to Hoffa, becasue the Teamsters logo has always been two horse heads on either side of a wagon wheel. The timing is right, and few people realize that organized crime also invested in legal activities, because they were human, too, and probably enjoyed going to see a good movie every now and then. They had each paid Hoffa’s underlings $20,000 to $40,000 just for the privledge of having Hoffa review their request, and Hoffa had full authority of almost $15 Million per month in unregulated Teamster union dues from almost three million Teamsters. That was a lot of money in the 1950’s and 60’s, and had been the focus of then Senator Kennedy’s vendetta against the Teamsters and Bobby Kennedy’s Blood Feud against Hoffa. It was an incintive for the mafia families to influence Big Daddy however they could.
The Partin family began being attacked, with multiple explosions blowing up houses that may have also held Big Daddy’s plastic explosives, and several Teamster leaders affiliated with Big Daddy were assassinated. Big Daddy and his little brother, Uncle Doug, also a Teamster official, where beaten, shot, and stabbed many times, and Doug’s son, Don, was left paralyzed after a car accident that was probably drunk driving but also conicided with Doug’s home exploding. State news covered these events often, and in 1968 a Time magazine expose on organized crime and links to unions and Hollywood, and they focused on Big Daddy and his refusal to accept a $2 Million bribe from Marcello to change his testimony and free Hoffa; Big Daddy honorably said he wouldn’t purjure himself, which is funny in hindsight. Many pundits including Ramano said the mafia would never bribe anyone when they could kill them, not realizing that if Big Daddy died then Hoffa would have practically no hope of leaving prison before his 11 years were served.
In 1971, the year I was conceived, Hoffa asked Richard Nixon to intervene in order to receive a few million dollards towards his presidental campaign and Hoffa’s endorsement for his presidency, the first time in history a major union leader would endorse a republican, providing probably three million Teamster votes and an untold number of Americans who followed Hoffa’s word, even from prison. Nixon sent the famous actor Audie Murphy to Baton Rouge to offer a pardon for perjury if Big Daddy recanted, but Audie died in a plane crash after leaving and that made news and Big Daddy was even suspected of killing Audie yet remained free from prosecution. Hoffa fudned and endorsed Nixon, regardless, and President Nixon padroned Hoffa in 1972 and Big Daddy’s testimony no longer mattered. Soon after, Judge Pugh removed me from the Partin family ex parte, which may have just been a coincidence; but, like I suspect that the severed horse head was a message to Hoffa, I’ve always suspected that Judge Pugh made his choice because of what he knew was happening behind the scenes of Louisiana law, and Wendy always suspected something was unusual about Pugh’s 1975 alleged suicide.
News surfaced about Big Daddy’s criminal activity after his federal immunity began to waiver, and around the time Judge Pugh removed me from custody Big Daddy was arrested for stealing $450,000 from a safe that held Local #5’s pension fund, unregulated and away from banks, just like Hoffa had done with the international pension fund. Local #5’s safe was found at the bottom of a murkey river near one of his houses, empty and without fingerprints. The two witnesses were discoverd beaten bloody, and the survivor refused to testify. But, state prosecutors locked on to the potential to prosecute Big Daddy now that Hoffa was out of prison, and state newspapers followed his case as evidence unfolded over the years.
I can only assume that Judge Lottingger knew my Partin family well, even though he focused mostly on Wendy in Partin vs. Partin. But I have no doubt he knew the then recent history of Big Daddy’s role in kidnapping the two children of Sydney Simpson, a 22 year old Baton Rouge Local #5 Teamster who had just lost a custody trial, and the federal interventions that prevented Louisiana from prosecuting Edward Grady Partin Senior, and probably Ed Partin Junior, too. By my 1976 custody case, my dad had already been arrested and convicted for selling opiods, though that was never mentioned by Lottingger or Wendy’s attorney, and I suspect it was hidden, at least temporarily, becasue in my dad’s 1990’s court cases they cite his conviction in the 1970’s as evidence of a long history of dealing drugs. And, it’s interesting to note that my dad had abandoned Wendy and me to ride motorcycles to Miami with his friends and take a boat to Jamaica to buy the drugs, yet there’s no mention of him abandoning us and no explanation of where he was when Judge Pugh removed me ex parte and placed me under the guardianship of Ed White.
Judge Lottingger’s 1976 case returend custody to Wendy, but I’d languish in the foster system a couple of more years becasue my dad would appeal and, as Lottingger mentioned, Mr. and Mrs. White had grown to view me as their own and would also fight for custody of me. That’s when my memories with Wendy would begin, though without the benefit of hindsight.
By 2019, I continued to appreciate Wendy on deeper and deeper levels the more I learned about my Partin family and could, as an adult, empathize with a 16 year old girl who had fled an abusive father at five and was an immigrant to a new cutlrue and being raised by an alcoholic family, lost her virginity and found herself pregnant and living with a drug dealer and in a house probably packed with plastic explosives and near a murky river where people were beaten bloody and safes were pushed off bridges, and experiencing a world where mafia hitmen tried to kill or kidnap anyone named Partin, and a Partin family willing to kidnap children after an unfavorable custody decision. It’s no wonder that Lottingger quoted her as saying, “As I say I was emotionally upset. I was receiving little support from Edward. I was scared, very confused. I didn’t know exactly which way to turn. I felt I had no one to listen and help with the situation at hand.” In hindsight, that was probably an understatement. I can’t imagine what she must have gone through to regain custody of me. She survived, and she fought the Partins and then the Whites for seven years and finally regained custody of me and would always joke that she was born WAR, Wendy Anne Rothdram, but marrying a Partin WARP’ed her.
If Lottingger was right and she never drank before, I believe that if anyone earned the right to take a drink after surviving the Partins, it was Wendy Anne Rothdram Partin.
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