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Heikkinen v. Cote

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MAINE SUPREME JUDICIAL COURT					Reporter of Decisions
Decision:	2000 ME 1
Docket:	Fra-99-349
Submitted
on Briefs:	December 17, 1999
Decided:	January 6, 2000

Panel:WATHEN, C.J., and CLIFFORD, RUDMAN, DANA, SAUFLEY, ALEXANDER, and
CALKINS, JJ.




CHERYL A. HEIKKINEN v. ROBERT E. COTE


PER CURIAM

	[¶1]  Robert Cote appeals from an order entered in the Superior
Court (Franklin County, Marden, J.) requiring him to pay child support and
make periodic payments toward a support arrearage, finding him in
contempt of court for having failed to pay the arrearage under a prior order,
and ordering his incarceration pending his compliance with the court's
order.  On appeal, Cote contends that the court erred when it found that he
was able to pay $10,000 toward a child support arrearage in order to purge
his contempt.
	[¶2]  Cote, having won a lottery, was entitled to receive seventy-
three thousand dollars annually.   The court found that in a systematic effort
to render himself judgment proof, Cote had assigned the proceeds from the
lottery in contempt of a prior order of the court, and "laundered" or
"secreted" the money with the assistance of his girlfriend and others.  The
court concluded:
[Cote] has intentionally dissipated assets, he has
carried on a continuing pattern of contempt, and . . .
he now has access to assets, notwithstanding [the
assets] stand in the name of others.
The record contains ample evidence to support the court's finding that Cote
had the ability to pay the amount ordered.  
	[¶3]  Because this appeal is frivolous and taken with no reasonable
likelihood of success, we order Cote or his counsel to pay to Heikkinen
treble costs pursuant to M.R. Civ. P. 76(f).  On remand, the Superior Court
shall order Cote to pay counsel fees to Heikkinen for this appeal.
	The entry is:

Judgment affirmed.  Treble costs shall be
paid by defendant or his counsel to
plaintiff, Cheryl Heikkinen.  Remanded
with instructions to assess counsel fees
for this appeal.

Attorney for plaintiff: Ronald J. Cullenberg, Esq. Cullenberg Law Offices P O Box 70 Farmington, ME 04938 Attorney for defendant: Brian P. Winchester, Esq. 116 State Street Augusta, ME 04330-5632