Open-and-shut?

See update Dec. 20 update: UPDATE: Court unseals Ed Shadid’s divorce records

When asked about the records, acquired from Gazette sources, Shadid said he is ready for the anticipated public reaction
later this week if the full divorce file is unsealed.

But
I don’t want (ex-wife) Dina (Hammam) or the children to be hurt. I
don’t want the (addiction) recovery movement to be hurt. I’m at
peace with my past. I still have regret and a healthy amount of
shame, but I can look at myself in the mirror and know I’ve done so
much hard work the last nine years learning to love myself.”

Special
Judge Lisa K. Hammond sealed the file in 2007 to protect the couple’s
three children from indiscretions both parents committed during the
marriage and bitter divorce battle.

With
Shadid posing a serious threat to unseat incumbent Mayor Mick Cornett
in next spring’s mayoral election,
The
Oklahoman

newspaper, which also has supported Cornett’s runs for political
office, has tried for two months to unseal the divorce records.
Hammond will decide Friday if she will open the secret file as
requested by the newspaper.

I
don’t have a chance right now (to keep divorce records sealed),”
Shadid told
Oklahoma
Gazette

in an exclusive interview. “I already know what the result is.”

According
to several verified sources, Hammond reportedly has told others,
including an elected district judge, that she is inclined to release
the divorce records since Shadid is seeking the mayor’s post. The
judge also sealed her 2007 order explaining why the file was made
secret, a move that was criticized by the Oklahoma Supreme Court in a
recent decision involving the newspaper’s attempt to obtain the
records.

Ed Shadid

The
Oklahoman’s

coverage thus far focused on Shadid invoking his constitutional Fifth
Amendment right against self-incrimination during a divorce
deposition in June 2005. However, the deposition is not part of the
sealed file, Shadid said.

On
several occasions during the deposition, Shadid’s attorney
instructed him not to answer questions about past marijuana or
cocaine use. Shadid also admitted he underwent a previous drug
treatment program at age 18 in San Antonio, Texas.

Shadid
said he began drinking alcohol at 15, started smoking marijuana at 16
and used hallucinogens at 17. The drug use continued until November
2004 when Shadid claims he stopped.

Shadid,
a spinal surgeon, admitted himself in January 2005 to Talbott
Recovery in Atlanta, Ga., to deal with the addiction. He stayed at
the center until mid-April 2005 and has been drug-free since that
time, the Ward 2 councilman said.

The
best thing that happened to me was going to treatment for three
months,” the councilman said. “I was able to learn new tools
about dealing with pain and trauma and being honest with other human
beings about who you are. It was one of the most beautiful and
powerful experiences I’ve ever had in my life.”

The
“real work” began after Shadid left the Atlanta treatment center.

You’re
sober and now you begin applying all the tools you have to a real
world environment,” he said.

For
Shadid, that meant diving head first into a high stress divorce case
with attorneys and custody evaluators while “hemorrhaging money.”

I
was fighting to have a relationship with my children,” he recalled.
“But as painful as that was, it made me stronger and battle
tested.”

Record
review

Shadid’s
cocaine use occurred in 2000 and again in August 2004 when he and his
brother traveled to Las Vegas for a weekend. That was the last time
Shadid used the drug, he said, but it was another story for his
brother who died two months later from a drug overdose.

Records
reflect that in 2003 and 2004, Shadid destroyed personal property and
shouted at his wife during arguments when their children were
present.

In
the 2005 divorce deposition, Shadid admitted he threw a chair against
a wall, kicked a hole in a wall and broke a lamp during a heated
argument with his wife. Those altercations, he said, occurred while
he was dealing with the emotional trauma of his brother’s death.

Another
serious allegation made in the divorce file acquired by Oklahoma
Gazette is one of sexual abuse by Shadid toward his children. The
allegation was made by a nanny employed by Shadid’s ex-wife.
However, an investigation by the Department of Human Services
discovered no wrongdoing. Instead, investigators recommended the
nanny should be barred from being with the children.

Shadid
admits he ignored his wife “in a lot of different ways,”
including the use of pornography and his medical practice as another
way to escape the marriage relationship.

Friendly
alliance

Strange
as it may seem, the bitter divorce feud between Shadid and Hammam now
has the pair fighting each other’s battles.

During
a recent meeting of Leadership OKC on Dec. 12,
The
Oklahoman

Editor Kelly Dyer Fry and Hammam engaged in a public dialogue about
the newspaper’s quest to unseal the records.

Hammam
asked Fry why
The
Oklahoman

was demanding the immediate release of the entire divorce file.
According to witnesses at the meeting, Fry replied that the newspaper
was only interested in the material related to Shadid invoking the
Fifth Amendment.

Shadid
claims he met with Fry last month at the newspaper office, offering
to show reporters the entire divorce file provided The Oklahoman
would agree not to publish information that would hurt the three
children — ages 9, 10 and 12. According to Shadid, newspaper
officials declined the offer.

Fry
did not return a phone call for comment Monday.

At
the same time, social media has been divided over the controversy
with some writers asking why Cornett has not been questioned about
his reported drug use. In a YouTube video dated Dec. 31, 2011,
Flaming Lips lead singer Wayne Coyne told an OKC concert audience
that Cornett, “your own pot smoking mayor” had proclaimed that
date as Yokolahoma Day in honor of international recording artist
Yoko Ono celebrating New Year’s Eve in OKC.

Coyne,
known for his flamboyant comments and actions, also said, “The
mayor of OKC, a good friend of ours, secretly in his own home smokes
marijuana.” The comment drew loud cheers from the audience. The
video is publicly available on YouTube.

In
a text to Oklahoma Gazette late Sunday night, Coyne clarified what he
said: “It was just a silly remark. No I’ve never smoked pot with
Mayor Cornett and I don’t think he smokes pot. But, I think he is
open minded and has progressive solutions for lower income families
in OKC and perhaps he will consider the outdated marihuana laws, and
their impact on our families and community in his next term.”

“The mayor has never done illegal drugs,” the mayor’s chief of staff Steve Hill wrote in an email message to Oklahoma Gazette.

Apparently,
Shadid finds himself battling more than Cornett and the state’s
largest daily newspaper in this election, he told
Oklahoma
Gazette
.

A
former state senator sent Shadid an unsolicited text message implying
that the councilman’s troubles might go away if he bowed out of the
mayor’s race.

Based
on some conversations it is my opinion that there is a good chance
the paper does not pursue any further if you drop out of the race and
either resign or announce you won’t run for election to city
council. Just my opinion. No guarantees,” the text states.

Moving
forward

Despite
the public attacks, Shadid, described as a progressive, said there’s
nothing in the divorce file that would preclude him from making sound
decisions as mayor.

I
performed at an extraordinary level as a doctor and I’d do the same
as mayor,” he said.

Still,
Shadid believes
The
Oklahoman’s

demand for the entire divorce file has nothing to do with the Fifth
Amendment right he invoked.

It’s
about discrediting me,” he said. “I know when this (divorce file)
comes out, it will be in front of hundreds of thousands of people,
but I also know what to do to take care of myself and I know what to
do take care of my children and it’s going to be OK.”

Shadid
knows his foray into OKC politics has been costly in terms of privacy
and financial resources. Although he freely admits he’s still a
millionaire, Shadid was candid when asked about his medical practice.

I’ve
lost an incredible amount of money the last three years,” he said,
referring to his time on the city council. “I had a booming
surgical practice which is a skeleton of what it was. I used to work
six to seven days a week at my medical practice. I work two now.”

Despite
the negatives associated with politics, Shadid remains optimistic.

It
has been worth it and it’ll be worth it even with all this stuff
coming out. I made a deal with God. Politics is a way of making
amends,” he said, referring to the lessons he learned in drug
treatment. “You have to be willing to suffer. There has to be a
willingness to endure pain and then everything will be OK.”

For
Shadid, he’s accumulated enough wealth and enough material goods,
so much in fact, that he has no plans to return to his old work
habits.

Now,
I have to work for others,” he said.

Tim Farley

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