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.

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 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.

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.

Telephone messages from Oklahoma Gazette to Cornett were not
returned for comment Sunday night. Also, text messages from Oklahoma Gazette to
Coyne were not answered Sunday night.

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

A former state senator sent Shadid a 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 money 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.

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Tim Farley

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