Monday, August 31, 2015

Memphis VA retaliates against Veteran who exposed neglect



MEMPHIS, Aug. 28, 2015 – The patient who leaked shocking videos showing paralyzed veterans left unattended at the Memphis VA says the only change since the video is that the hospital is now retaliating against him.

Last week, CDN broke  the news that paraplegic and quadriplegic veterans at the Memphis VA are left alone while nurses attend staff meetings.

The story was first released on CDN, and then was picked up by the Fox News Channel, featured on Fox & Friends as well as on its website, sparking national outrage about lack of care at the VA.

Instead of rectifying a bad situation, hospital staff appears to have taken punitive action against the source of the video. Staff placed the patient, whose identity CDN is protecting for safety concerns, on bed rest after they speculated he could be responsible for the video. On bed rest, he is not allowed to move from his bed. “Before the videos, I was able to get up for an hour or so,” he told CDN. “I don’t understand why I can’t get up for an hour. It (moving around) helped with my mental health and with my overall outlook, I was able to go outside and get fresh air.”

The source noted, however, that there has been no change in terms of leaving patients unattended during staff meetings, which take place three times a day. “So far as I know it’s still the same thing. I’m in a room where I can actually see the front desk from my room.”

Willie Logan, the Memphis VA’s press representative, told CDN in its last story that a nurse was always at the nurse’s station and patients only needed to push a button to reach a nurse.

The source disagrees. He noted, “It’s apparent from the video that there is not somebody at the nurse’s station at all times. The room where they have that meeting is not a patient’s room so I’m not sure if they can hear the call.”

On the foxnews.com article, several commenters pointed out that a quadriplegic, someone paralyzed from the neck down, isn’t able to push a button.

A follow-up email to Logan on this issue was left unreturned, but the patient said shortly after the email was sent, several nursing managers who had never been in the ward before were working in the ward. “I’ve seen people in here I’ve never seen before,” he said. “They’re flipping beds and cleaning under mattresses and everything.”

Following the exposure, Paralyzed Veterans of America released a statement condemning the deplorable conditions. “This video speaks to a need that our organization has stressed to VA leaders, Congress and the public for quite some time: VA needs more nurses in specialized care services like spinal cord injury centers.”

The patient said his current care is indicative of the quality of care at the Memphis VA for years. “The treatment was so bad that I made up my mind not to come back,” he said of his experience four years ago.

Because of the severity of the injury, he said he was forced to get treatment at the Memphis VA because he didn’t have proper insurance for treatment outside the VA system.

Sean Higgins, the whistleblower who brought these videos to the attention of CDN, said this case is a microcosm of a bigger problem at the Memphis VA. “The situation in the Memphis VA has been out of hand for quite some time. To care for those who shall have borne the battle is clearly not the agenda at the Memphis VA,” Higgins said in a text message to CDN. “We veterans see the neglect from management that is filtered down to the staff that actually cares for these veterans. We continue to see more of the same: deny, delay, and hope you die before they have to pay.”

Full Article & Source:
Memphis VA retaliates against Veteran who exposed neglect

Ex-lawyer accused of hypnotizing women indicted on 27 charges


TOLEDO - A former Cleveland-area attorney accused of hypnotizing women for his sexual pleasure has been charged with kidnapping, sexual battery and gross sexual imposition following an investigation that began last fall.

Michael Fine was taken into custody Friday afternoon and charged with 27 counts before being released on bond, according to sheriff's records.

Police in the northeast Ohio village of Sheffield began investigating Fine after two women told investigators they believed they'd been hypnotized after losing track of time and being unable to recall meetings and phone calls with Fine. Police said they later recorded Fine using explicit language while talking to the women.

Fine's attorney, Robert Housel, said on Saturday that he was surprised by some of the charges. He also said that Fine had been undergoing medical treatment for quite a while.

Fine likely will be arraigned within the next week, Housel said.

Just over a week ago, Fine, 58, agreed to permanently surrender his law license, which means he no longer can practice law in the United States.

One woman told authorities she thought Fine hypnotized her numerous times on the phone and during meetings in his office and at conference rooms at the Lorain County Justice Center. She said she hired Fine in February 2013 for a custody dispute.

The woman decided to record phone conversations with Fine.

According to a motion filed by the Lorain County Bar Association, Fine used sexually explicit language during the calls, which ended with Fine and the woman discussing legal matters. She then took the recordings to Sheffield Lake police. According to the motion, she told investigators she didn't go to police earlier because she feared not being taken seriously.

Police officers and investigators from the county prosecutor's office wired the woman with video and audio recording equipment for a meeting in Fine's office last November, the motion said.

Investigators said they entered the room when Fine began discussing sex acts.

A second woman, who hired Fine in September to represent her in a divorce, told investigators that Fine discussed relaxation and meditation techniques during their first meeting and suspected that he tried to hypnotize her. The same thing happened in their next three meetings and afterward, according to the motion, the woman felt as if she'd lost time.

The second woman went to Fine's former law firm in early November when she learned he had not filed any paperwork in her case.

She told authorities that when she learned Fine was no longer with that firm, she told an attorney about her suspicions. The attorney advised her to contact authorities.

Full Article & Source:
Ex-lawyer accused of hypnotizing women indicted on 27 charges

The trials of collage artist Kasoundra Kasoundra


BY PENNY ARCADE, DANA DAVISON and MIKKI MAHER   |  suffocating and corrupt bureaucracy has grown up around social services for the elderly. Guardians, social workers, financial managers and other caregivers too often show a cavalier disregard for the welfare of their charges. And don’t imagine for a moment that it is only lonely, friendless, isolated denizens that become victims of abuse. If you are a senior caught in this bureaucratic quagmire, even your best friends can’t help you.

Consider the case of Kasoundra Kasoundra. This very original New York Underground personality, now pushing 80, has been an avant-garde artist for more than half a century. When she arrived in Manhattan as a Midwestern college dropout in the early ’60s, she boldly knocked on the doors of celebrities such as Hermione Gingold and Bob Dylan simply to find out what made them tick.

Modeling at the Art Students League to earn her living, Kasoundra inserted herself into the urban art underground, making friends with its creative geniuses while she perfected her own considerable talents as a witty collage artist. Brice Marden and Jonas Mekas, among others, collected her artworks, and Maurice Gerodias, founder of The Olympia Press, took her with him on trips to Europe.

Kasoundra hung out with the Alice’s Restaurant crowd at the church in the Berkshires, and acted in Harry Smith’s “Mahagonny.” Her poster of Harry looking at himself in his own eyeglasses is a sought-after treasure.

Flash-forward to January 2011, when Kasoundra was discovered lying on the floor of her kitchen and transported to Lenox Hill Hospital by Adult Protective Services. Kasoundra’s boyfriend had run off with her roommate, and despite her bad liver, Kasoundra had consumed an entire quart of vodka.

When her friends finally located her in the hospital, she was yellow with jaundice.

The physically feisty Kasoundra bounced back soon enough, but she was transferred to the hospital’s psych ward because she complained of depression. This proved to be a dangerous disclosure, because from that moment forward, Kasoundra was never to enjoy her freedom again.

A self-portrait collage by Kasoundra Kasoundra.

Although she has fought valiantly through three years of court hearings with three successive judges, Kasoundra remains marooned in a nursing home in New Rochelle with little hope of ever regaining her liberty. How could this happen?

Kasoundra’s trials began with her landlord. As she stayed in the psych ward month after month, her rent fell increasingly behind, and the landlord sued for eviction. Kasoundra paid him $2,000 as a gesture of good faith until she could return home and get her affairs in order, but the landlord was not appeased and the eviction proceeding continued.

Kasoundra had lived for 30 years in a rent-stabilized apartment on the Upper East Side, and under SCRIE (Senior Citizen Rent Increase Exemption) she paid $684 a month. With a modest renovation, Kasoundra’s four-room apartment —particularly in view of the new Second Ave. subway line — might easily fetch $3,500 per month in today’s inflated real estate market. Such apartments have become valuable assets to landlords, who often pay rent-stabilized tenants thousands of dollars to move out.

Although the hospital helped Kasoundra acquire a pro bono lawyer to stave off her eviction proceeding, the better course might have been to help her set up an automated bill payment plan at her bank so her rent could be paid on a timely basis.

Kasoundra’s next problem was that her medical condition, hepatic encephalopathy, caused her liver function to wax and wane. This condition (and/or the medication taken for it) can cause symptoms of grogginess and occasional forgetfulness — side effects that dissipate once the liver returns to normal and the medication is discontinued.

In the meantime, the psych ward social worker was reluctant to send Kasoundra home to her apartment, a three-flight walk-up. The staff considered that she might be better off living in Lott House, an elegant, assisted-living facility in her neighborhood, where she could occupy a studio apartment and have her meals served in the spacious dining room with windows overlooking Central Park. Kasoundra loved the park, and had once been a volunteer gardener there.

An appointment was made for a visit to Lott House, but after Kasoundra’s initial interview, her social worker sat on the application for months. No one helped Kasoundra apply for “Community Medicaid,” which, in view of her meager Social Security income, would be needed to pay for homecare services or for her residency at Lott House. Instead, the hospital applied for and received a “hospital Medicaid” payment for the hefty bill Kasoundra now owed the hospital.

As the year drew to a close, Kasoundra’s social worker, who was about to retire, was under pressure to dispose of her cases. Because Community Medicaid had not been set up, Kasoundra could neither return home nor move into Lott House, and her social worker decided to dispense with the problem by seeking a court-appointed guardian under Article 81. For this purpose, Kasoundra was given the short form of the R-Bans Mental Status Test, and the social worker said afterward that Kasoundra had performed poorly “on one component of the test.”

On this flimsy basis, the hospital applied to the New York State Supreme Court for a court-appointed guardian. Since Kasoundra had been adopted and her adoptive parents had passed away, she had no one who could intercede on her behalf or halt the impending termination of her rights and ability to control her own destiny.

The first guardianship hearing took place in December 2011. Although Kasoundra was never sent court papers (a procedural violation), she asked one of her friends to inform the judge’s clerk that she wanted a “trial by jury,” and that she did not want the “court evaluator” to have access to her medical records, if the evaluator was going to base a competency judgment on the results of the paltry mental status test. Kasoundra was legally entitled to both of these options, but her requests were ignored. 

At the hearing, one of Kasoundra’s friends offered to become her guardian, but the social worker spoke out against this prospect, and the judge decided to appoint a professional guardianship agency.

Ironically, just before the hearing took place, Kasoundra’s latest liver test had come back “negative,” which meant that her medication would be discontinued and her sporadic grogginess would soon dissipate, which it subsequently did. But no doctor or social worker from the hospital brought up the results of Kasoundra’s latest liver test –– or its import –– at the hearing.

In her ruling, Judge Visitacion-Lewis stipulated that Kasoundra should be returned home with appropriate homecare services provided, or, if that proved too difficult because of the stairs, Kasoundra should be placed in an assisted-living facility “in her community.” (Since Lott House was the only such facility that accepted Medicaid, it was not only the most desirable but also the only option.) The judge also stipulated that the guardian should confer on all important matters with Kasoundra and work closely with her friends to insure that her needs were met. None of the judge’s directives were followed.

Kasoundra’s third problem was her guardian, Judah Samet of United Guardianship Services. Ignoring the judge’s orders, he promptly whisked Kasoundra to a nursing home in New Rochelle — far from her community and friends. Kasoundra was confined to a bed with a loud buzzer that went off every time she tried to get out of bed. She received no physical exercise, and soon her leg muscles began to atrophy. Even after her friends discovered where she was, they were unable to contact her because she had no working telephone. She remained isolated and alone for months.

Finally one of her friends brought a psychiatrist to the nursing home to evaluate Kasoundra. He gave her a routine mental status test and determined that her cognitive functioning was normal. He saw no reason why she should not live at home if she wished to do so.  (Continue Reading)

Full Article & Source:
The trials of collage artist Kasoundra Kasoundra

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Tonight on T.S. Radio: Katherine Hine - Who's Judging the Judges - Corruption in Our Courts

Guest: Katherine Hine, host of 3 weekly broadcasts on www.wljaradio.net.

Katherine Hine: The corruption in our courts has become so epidemic, so wide-spread and ingrained, that our courts are the last place to find justice.

Join us this evening as Katherine Hine of WLJA radio in Ohio joins the show to discuss just who is judging the judges?

You can call in to the show during the second part, by calling the above number and then hitting “1”.

Katherine will be talking about WLJA and the issues she and Pastor Caleb cover on WLJA, especially on Bedlam in America, God’s Healing Bounty, and Who Judges the Judges.

4:00 pm PST … 5:00 pm MST … 6:00 pm CST … 7:00 pm EST

LISTEN to the show live or listen to the archive later

Fran (Grady) Gilhooly on Eyes of Predator Guardians TV



Source:
YouTube: Fran (Grady) Gilhooly on Eyes of Predator Guardians TV

Is Someone Casing Your Estate?

Unintended ‘heirs’ might pounce. 

You likely have money, property and other items of value that you plan to leave to loved ones or charity. But do they know your plans? It’s important that you tell them — and sooner rather than later. Why?

Because communication is one of several ways you can protect yourself from an insidious, all-too-frequent crime that is both underreported and underprosecuted, and which victimizes families of all social and economic levels.

I’m talking about inheritance theft.

No matter how smart you are or how stable your family, no one’s estate is entirely safe. Thieves are known to siphon assets from healthy, highly educated people about as often as they do those of the infirm and feeble-minded. And they get away with it because the thieves usually know the victims — and know the victims won’t prosecute.

In other words, the thieves are likely to be members of your own family. Inheritance theft can be hard to detect because thieves use whispered lies, fraud, psychological manipulation and forgery — acts hard to uncover and even harder to prove in court.

Some people never discover they were victimized or the thief convinces them that no theft occurred. Other victims are ashamed to reveal that a family member or close friend stole from them, and others don’t report losses to avoid publicity.

There are two types of estate hijackers:

Family members. Some steal because they want revenge after a lifetime of feeling neglected or abused; others feel compelled because of drug addiction, their own marital or family needs or financial strife; and some simply are greedy.

Outsiders. These include overly friendly strangers, some of whom assist the elderly or infirm to gain their trust; club or church friends; spouses from second marriages; caregivers or healthcare workers; someone who constantly criticizes or tries to portray someone as incompetent; anyone entrusted with handling another person’s money or financial affairs; anyone with a power of attorney; unethical executors of wills or trustees of trusts; and salespeople pushing financial products that are not in a client’s best interests.

How can you protect your estate and intended heirs from thieves and interlopers? While nothing can make you invincible, here are four ways you can help yourself and your parents avoid becoming victims of inheritance theft:

1. Prepare an estate plan. Documenting your desires for the disposition of your assets is the first step in preventing people from claiming you made verbal promises to them. Hire an estate attorney that you’ve vetted personally or who is referred to you by a trusted source.

2. Choose a trusted friend or family member to serve as your executor and/or trustee. And to help make sure he or she follows your instructions, distribute copies of your will and trust documents to at least one other heir — and preferably to all of them. If you feel uncomfortable letting others see your plans, require your executor or trustee to retain the services of an estate attorney (at your or your estate’s expense) to oversee matters. Instruct that the attorney be paid on an hourly basis rather than as a percent of the estate’s value. (Note: We don’t recommend that you name an attorney, bank or trust company as executor or trustee because they typically charge exorbitant fees, often as a percentage of the estate’s value. And they can be difficult or even impossible to fire — leaving your heirs helpless if they are unhappy with the costs or service.)

3. Keep all your legal and financial documents in a safe place, such as a safety deposit box or a fire-resistant home safe. Create digital backups.

4. If you make changes to your documents, inform all concerned. And that includes your independent, objective, fee-based financial advisor.

Originally published in Inside Personal Finance July 2012

Full Article & Source:
Is Someone Casing Your Estate?

Saturday, August 29, 2015

MB Financial Bank Completes Acquisition of JPMorgan Chase Illinois Court-Appointed Guardianship and Special Needs Trust Business


CHICAGO, Aug 27, 2015 (BUSINESS WIRE) -- MB Financial Bank recently completed its acquisition of the Illinois court-appointed guardianship and special needs trust business of JPMorgan Chase, according to Mitchell Feiger, president and CEO of MB Financial, Inc. MBFI, +0.44% parent of MB Financial Bank, N.A. Terms of the deal were not announced. The acquisition added approximately $200 million of assets under management to MB Financial Bank’s existing guardianship business. Approximately five years ago, MB completed its acquisition of the Illinois guardianship and special needs trust business of U.S. Trust, Bank of America Private Wealth Management.

“MB has established an expertise and commitment to the guardianship and special needs trust business. This purchase represents a significant increase to our current portfolio, and further solidifies our strong position in this important market. We are confident that clients’ needs will be well served at MB through access to an experienced team dedicated to this customized, proactive service,” says Mitchell Feiger.

The Illinois guardianship and special needs trust business is headed by Alan Teraji, senior vice president, personal trust and guardianship group. His team will expand with the addition of Kim Bahna, Josie Sanchez and Sharon Franta, formerly of JPMorgan Chase.

About MB Financial Bank
MB Financial Bank N.A. is a Chicago-based commercial bank with approximately $15 billion in assets and a more than one hundred year history of building deep and lasting relationships with middle-market companies and individuals. MB Financial Bank offers a full range of powerful financial solutions and the expertise and experience of bankers who are focused on their clients’ success. MB Financial Bank is a wholly-owned subsidiary of MB Financial, Inc.

Learn more about MB Financial Bank at www.mbfinancial.com.

View source version on businesswire.com: http://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20150827005230/en/

SOURCE: MB Financial Bank
MB Financial Bank
Karen A. Perlman
Senior Vice President
847-653-1788
kperlman@mbfinancial.com

Full Article & Source:
MB Financial Bank Completes Acquisition of JPMorgan Chase Illinois Court-Appointed Guardianship and Special Needs Trust Business

Jefferson County lawyer, wife indicted on felony theft charges


Carl Robert Ogle
A Jefferson County lawyer and his wife have been indicted on charges of felony theft for allegedly pilfering money from his clients.

A Jefferson County grand jury returned indictments charging Carl Robert Ogle, 68, and Tameline Ogle, 63, of Jefferson City, with one count each of theft of more than $60,000, according to the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation.

The couple was arrested Thursday and booked into the Jefferson County Jail in lieu of $10,000 each.

The lawyer, who had practiced law in Sevier and Jefferson counties for nearly 40 years, was disbarred by the Board of Professional Responsibility of the Tennessee Supreme Court in October 2014.

According to board's disciplinary file, trouble began when the money from a lawsuit settlement check for $161,000 disappeared from the escrow account of a client's estate.

Board investigators learned that Tameline Ogle also had access to the escrow account. They later discovered money missing from several other clients' accounts.

The thievery totaled more than $183,000.

Carl Ogle blamed the missing funds on his wife's gambling addiction.

More details as they develop online and in Friday's News Sentinel.

Full Article & Source:
Jefferson County lawyer, wife indicted on felony theft charges

Affidavit: Woman steals $30,000 exploiting the elderly



Laura Vasquez, 41, gained the trust of an elderly woman, then convinced her to hand over more than $30,000 to her, according to an arrest warrant affidavit.

San Antonio police began investigating the case in May, but believe Vasquez took money from the 76 year-old woman as far back as October of last year.

The affidavit stated that the victim told police soon after she met Vasquez, who was cutting her grass, Vasquez asked her to loan her $5.  During the next seven months, Vasquez continued to ask the victim for money—sometimes thousands of dollars at a time, the affidavit stated.  In all, police said, she took more than $30,000.

The affidavit stated that she gave the elderly woman various reasons why she needed the cash, including to pay her rent, buy medicine and pay her own bail when she wasn’t even incarcerated.

The victim told investigators that she hoped that by continuing to loan Vasquez money, she would keep her engaged and willing to pay her back, the affidavit stated.

Detectives said Vasquez admitted borrowing money from the woman, but told them it was only a few thousand dollars.

She was arrested Thursday on charges of exploitation of the elderly and theft involving the elderly.

Full Article & Source:
Affidavit: Woman steals $30,000 exploiting the elderly