Gradually, the mess surrounding the Smoron Farm in Southington - where a probate judge and court-appointed conservator attempted to subvert the will of an elderly woman - is getting cleaned up.
A state grievance panel has found probable cause in a complaint filed by Sam Manzo, the caretaker who was supposed to inherit Josphine Smoron's farm until John Nugent, the conservator, and Bryan Meccariello, the judge, engineered a deal that funneled the lucrative parcel of land to a local developer.
This sordid case is the latest example of why we need to keep a closer watch on both our probate judges and the lawyers they appoint as conservators.
This poor woman's will was effectively nullified without her ever being consulted by her lawyer. Meccariello, when he approved the changes, held a court hearing where he was the only one present. Smoron died shortly after Meccariello's decision in the case.
In a decision released Wednesday, the grievance panel found that Nugent failed to ever meet with Josephine Smoron, even though he was her court-appointed conservator in charge of all her finances. He changed the will to make three local churches the beneficiaries of Smoron's estate and then made a deal with a developer to acquire the land.
According to the grievance committee's finding, there is probable cause that Nugent violated a number of rules of professional conduct for lawyers, including "failure to abide by a client's decisions" and a failure to "attempt to ascertain information necessary for proper representation" and failure "to protect the client."
Full Article and Source:
Smoron Farm Probate Mess Slowly Cleaning Up
Editorial: Impeachment Clearly Called for in Probate Case