Dan Rotta recently got a brand-new daughter-in-law and a sentence of 180 days in jail. The Fisher Island millionaire took his 16-year-old son to Las Vegas and let him marry his housekeeper's daughter. Because the boy is married, he's now legally considered an adult, and his mother, Rotta's ex-wife, Renee Rotta, no longer has any legal control over him. Ms. Rotta is none too pleased, and the judge handling their custody battle has ordered Mr. Rotta to jail for contempt of court.
It's a bizarre tale reported by the Miami Herald's David Ovalle, but in essence Ms. Rotta wanted her son to attend the Logan River Academy in Utah. The boy is apparently smart but has attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and oppositional defiant disorder. So two years ago, Ms. Rotta sought a court order to send the boy to the academy. Its website describes the institution as a "boarding school for troubled teens." The judge handling the case at the time strongly agreed with the mother and ordered Mr. Rotta to enroll his son in the school.
For whatever reason, Mr. Rotta was dead set against the idea. Miami-Dade Circuit Judge John Schlesinger believes that Mr. Rotta had gone behind his ex-wife's back and persuaded the school not to admit his son. However, Mr. Rotta also discovered that the school does not admit married students. So the month before his son was to enroll in the school, in December 2010, and just a day after his 16th birthday, he flew his son to Las Vegas and had him marry his housekeeper's 18-year-old daughter. In Nevada, only one parent needs to give permission to let a minor marry.
Judge Schlesinger decided that Mr. Rotta's actions constituted contempt of court.
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"It is hard for this court to imagine a bolder, more egregious example of indirect criminal contempt," he wrote.