Paralyzed in Paradise

Just when things couldn't get any worse for Heather GrossmanĖthey did

Heather left Samuels after about four years of marriage. She says that although he was eager to have children, he was obviously jealous of them, and had outbursts in which he held a gun to her head and hit her.

"I became afraid of him, and I worried about the kids, and I wasn't happy," she says between breaths on the ventilator. "So I decided to get a divorce."

She says Samuels stalked her, following her first to Minnesota, where she relocated with the kids.

Maricopa County Attorney Rick Romley, whose office refuses to prosecute John Grossman.
Maricopa County Attorney Rick Romley, whose office refuses to prosecute John Grossman.
Paradise Valley Police Detective Mike Cole calls the alleged abuse in the Heather Grossman case "egregious."
Kevin Scanlon
Paradise Valley Police Detective Mike Cole calls the alleged abuse in the Heather Grossman case "egregious."

She met John Grossman in Minnesota, through a friend. John's father, Bud, is widely considered one of the richest men in the state. He created Gelco Corporation, a successful truck leasing company that he sold to General Electric in 1987, reportedly for $1 billion. Bud was also, until recently, a co-owner of the Minnesota Vikings. (Bud Grossman refused to comment about Heather and her allegations.)

Heather and John moved together to Boca Raton. Heather says John told her he ran a music promotion company called Major Entertainment. But for the most part, she says, he lived off of his trust accounts.

John was good and kind initially, Heather recalls. Like Ron, he was older (16 years older) and generous. But they soon started bickering and split up for a while. She returned to Minnesota with the kids. Ultimately, he proposed and she accepted, moving back to Boca Raton. The two were married June 8, 1997, in a pretty wedding in nearby West Palm Beach.

Ralph Stephens says he almost didn't come to the wedding -- that's how much he disliked John -- but he didn't want to hurt Heather's feelings.

Just four months later, Heather and John were shot. Heather's mother flew down to Florida to care for the children for several weeks. She says John treated her poorly, yelling at her and the children, refusing to allow her to use the phone or visit Heather.

Then the Grossmans moved to Denver so Heather could undergo rehabilitation at Craig Hospital, and Florence returned to Minnesota. She was surprised to get a call from John, asking her and Ralph to come to Denver. He said he had a free apartment for them, and had already rented furniture.

So the Stephenses locked up their house and moved to Colorado. The relationship quickly deteriorated. They say John wouldn't allow them to see their grandchildren.

Heather recalls that John complained to her that her parents were "idiots," that he didn't want them around.

"I said, Don't yell at me, John, because you're the one who wanted them to come here.'"

One day, about six weeks after the Stephenses had come to Denver, Florence showed up to visit Heather.

"John came in yelling, Get out of the hospital. You're not allowed,'" Heather recalls. "I was crying and she was crying. [I said,] Mom, don't listen, don't go. Stay here.' And then she left."

Florence remembers saying, "Heather, it's just better if I leave.'"

The Stephenses say they called John's home after that, asking to speak to the kids. The baby sitter refused to allow it, saying she'd get fired. For a while, the Stephenses would call the hospital at night, to check with the nurses on Heather's progress. The nurses would put Heather on the phone. But if John happened to call while Heather was talking to her parents, he would badger the nurses about who she was on the phone with -- and yell at her about it later, she says.

"I said to my mother, I love you and Dad, but this is causing me more problems . . . and I just don't know if I can handle what I have to go through when he finds out I'm on the phone talking with you guys,'" Heather says.

"And that's the last talk I had with my mother."

Nurses came and went quickly in the Grossman household, Heather says, estimating that over a four-year period she had as many as 40 or 50 come through the door. Heather says one nurse left a restaurant where John was berating her, and they found him vomiting by the handicapped van -- he was that stressed out. Her nurses told her they had nightmares, and one wanted to carry a baseball bat at work.

Some didn't make it past their training. Heather recalls one nurse who just didn't show up for his first day of work. It was Mother's Day, and she was supposed to go out to brunch. The nurses always left because of John, Heather says.

"John always blamed it on me or blamed it on the kids, and when I'd try to tell him . . . it would make him real mad. He didn't see it, he wouldn't believe it," she says.

John was so rude to her friends that they stopped visiting, Heather says. She was terrified to complain to anyone.

"I thought that if I said that John was doing this, and he was put in jail, I wouldn't get my medical care. And I'm in such a high level as a quad . . . I wouldn't live in a nursing home. They wouldn't know how to take care of me."

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I got home from work and turned the T-V on, which happened to be on Investigative Discovery..... I thought she looked familiar, and then they said her name.  My jaw dropped....Ok seriously, I'm freaking out a bit.  I dated her stepson during this period and actually was a part of their move to AZ.  I'll make this long story short. I witnessed first hand how crazy John Grossman was.... He got in my face while I was there.  Now over a decade later,  I finally feel some sort of validation.  No one believed or supported me when I was going through the short lived abusive relationship with the son of John Grossman. I only dated Matt for three month's.  He was an abusive boyfriend verbally, emotionally and physically.  Now I understand where he learned this behavior.  He strangled me while I was driving on the 5 freeway and he hit me in our apt (yes our apt I moved in after 1 month).  I want to take this opportunity to say F*&K you San Diego Police dept and anyone else that didn't believe or support me.  Hindsight is 20/20. Our roommate walked in on Matt abusing my cat's and he told me.  I moved out the next day. What doesn't kill you does make you stronger.  I am STRONG!


heather is so sweet, she's so gorgeus....

Terry C
Terry C

Poor girl. She sure had a penchant for picking the wrong men.

Makes me glad I am divorced and making it on my own.


Wow, I have a 13 year old son from my first marriage. My 2nd husband calls him an idiot, moron, loser, etc...Emotionally and verbally abuses him from sun up to sun down.Nevermind what he does to me. He calls me a fat ass, bitch, coo-coo. We have a 4 year old and a 1 year old together now. I hate myself for bringing children into a marriage with a father who berates, verbally abuses, emotionally abuses, and uses all 3 of these boys to make fun of and call their mom names. I worry my 13 year old will commit suicide. I wake up to my husband EVERY DAY slamming doors and being extremly hostile to my and my oldest son. Even my 4 year old just wants to me around me. I find myself trying to avoid this man whenever and however possible. I don't have the finances or education to raise 3 boys by myself. I am trapped and I HATE that my boys see this abuse on a daily basis. My husband went to therapy with me for 6 weeks and the entire practice could hear him screaming names at me for the 1 hour session. He is anxious and impulsive say the therapists. In order to not take responsibility for his actions, he tells everybody who will listen that I have some sort of mental problem and I need help. I am currently on anti-depressants and trying to muster up enough courage to leave this destructive man. Nobody we know ever sees his abuse because he ALWAYS makes sure it is done in our car or in our house. I have no witnesses. When we talked about divorce, he said "when I get through with you, you'll be lucky if you can afford a 1 bedroom apartment you dumb bitch". I wish I never re-married. I saw some very faint signs of this behavior just weeks before our wedding but never before that. I blamed it on stress of his job and school. The verbal, and mental abuse started when I was 6 mos. pregnant with our first child. We went to therapy for a few months and I really saw an improvement. That is when we decided to have another child. Things were great until he was about 6 weeks old. The abuse has tripled since then and our therapist says I am suffering from post traumatic syndrome. I wake up every 3 hours at night trying to clear my mind and just think about what to do. I count how many years I will have to endure this in order to see my kids grow up. I cannot feel anything anymore. I am numb and in survival mode. When I have an argument with my oldest son, I found myself repeating the same behavior that my husband inflicted on me. I hate what this environment has done to me and my children. My friends implore me to leave but I don't have the money for an attorney. My husband has already become violent with me by throwing household objects at me and ripping the sheets off our bed while I am in it. If I get a restraining order, it will just infuriate him and he has already taken steps to take my name off every account we have. I cannot even retain information and I am having memory problems too. I gained 10 lbs because I eat dinner after he has gone to sleep because I feel sick and nervous around him. Trying to keep him calm is a full time job. He calls everybody idiot behind their back and plays "the greatest guy" in front of everyone. I have no witnesses and no hope for any kind of future. By reading this article, I am only thankful that I am not confined to a wheelchair. Gives me something to think about.


@anonymous, you wrote this on 08/2009.  I am just wondering how are you and your children today?

Terry C
Terry C

Time to kick him to curb.

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