Sunday, May 20, 2012

Apologies to Judge Robert (Bob) Dorfman

In both the April 24th edition of Arizona Road Cyclist News ( and on the Geezers' Blog (, I published a letter written by a cyclist identified as Teri. In her letter, she described an incident that occurred on April 21st in which an automobile passed dangerously close to her and several other cyclists who she says were riding in the bike lane on Mockingbird Lane, a street which wends through the Town of Paradise Valley.

One member of the last group of cyclists that the automobile passed in this manner made an obscene gesture, upon which the car's driver pulled into the bicycle lane, blocking the cyclists, jumped out, and demanded to know what gave them the right to ride there. When one of the cyclists tried to explain the three-foot law to him (probably not very politely), several witnesses say that the driver loudly proclaimed that he was Judge Dorfman, an expert on the law, and to make sure the cyclists did not forget his name, he spelled it in a loud voice, letter by letter.

The cyclists involved and others, including me, have been carrying a grudge against Judge Robert Dorfman ever since, but I recently learned that we have done him a grave injustice. The man who claimed to be Judge Dorfman was an imposter, a long-time acquaintance of (now retired) Judge Dorfman's named Spencer Goldsen of Phoenix.

Mr. Goldsen has since admitted to being the driver in question, although he disputes the statements of multiple witnesses that he claimed to be Judge Dorfman. He claims to have said that according to his friend Judge Dorfman, cyclists are required to ride in the bike lane (although that wouldn't explain why he passed dangerously close to at least once cyclist who was riding well within the bike lane and is one of several of his statements that do not jibe with witness accounts.)

Judge Dorfman's account of how he discovered his impersonator follows, but before you read it, I want to extend my sincere apologies and those of the cyclists involved for taking Mr. Goldsen at his word. We have done Judge Dorfman a grave injustice, which we can never completely atone for. The best we can do is to publish this retraction.

I wish to add that I have exchanged several emails and had several telephone conversations with Judge Dorfman, and he comes across as a genteel, polite person. That makes the fact that we have wronged him even more painful.

Here is Judge Dorfman's statement:

 I was in NO WAY involved in the described incident. I was not even in Paradise Valley or the Phoenix area on the dates in question, but was in fact in Flagstaff, Arizona when this incident occurred. Additionally, I have identified the individual who was involved in the incident who used my name without any authority to do so.

On the afternoon of Thursday, April 19, 2012, I traveled to Flagstaff, Arizona where I remained at our summer home with my wife until Monday, April 23, 2012 when we returned to our home in the Valley. If necessary, I can produce credit card statements to show my presence in Flagstaff during this period of time.

I was able to identify the individual who improperly used my name by reviewing the statement of one of the cyclists in which she describes a “grey Volvo station wagon” precipitating the incident. I have never owned or driven a grey Volvo station wagon in my life. However, since this incident occurred near the Camelback Golf Course where I belong, and occurred on a Saturday, (when our Men’s Club plays on a regular basis), and because I know an individual, who is also a member of the club and who drives a grey Volvo station wagon, I was able to surmise what had happened.

The individual in question is Spencer Goldsen. Mr Goldsen has been an acquaintance of mine since our days in college dating back to 1965. He owns a grey Volvo station wagon and unfortunately at times has a quick temper.

Upon reading the allegations of the complaint, I immediately phoned Mr. Goldsen who readily admitted being involved in the incident, but vehemently denied claiming that he had represented to be me. I have attached a notarized letter from Mr. Goldsen with his recitation of the facts.

Needless to say, I am deeply troubled by the allegations of the complaint as well as the alleged conduct of Mr. Goldsen. I look forward to a prompt resolution of this matter.

Bob Dorfman