Monday, December 31, 2012

As we leave 2012 tonite, we long to see the smiling faces of our loved ones lost this past year, victims of guardianship and conservatorship abuse: Clara Marsh, Alvahteen Anderson, “Annie’s Mom,” Boyd Israel, Retta Rickow, and more.

Their families fought the good fight and now advocate so other vulnerable elderly or disabled will not suffer as their loved ones were forced to at the end of their lives.

May those we lost light up the skies of heaven and forever keep our hearts warm.

Bobby Schindler Files Petition Requesting to be Gary Harvey’s Guardian


Bobby Schindler, brother of the late Terri Schiavo, has filed a petition in the New York Supreme CourtChemung County asking guardianship of Gary Harvey be turned over to him. How can the County refuse to resign or disagree with the petition? How could they dare say this guardianship transfer would not be in the best interest of Gary Harvey? Legitimately, they can’t.

Should the County fight Bobby Schindler’s effort, then the County (and those involved in the case on their side), shall have been proven to have lied to the court and the community. The County claimed it did not want to be Gary’s guardian, but there was no one else. Now there is. So, if they fight to retain guardianship, that means there is an ulterior motive for doing so. After all, just why would they fight so desperately to retain a ward they didn’t want in the first place or thereafter; have warehoused; and, seem to think is bothersome and time consuming in the isolation and hide the information (from his wife) health care plan they have prepared for him?

Bobby Schindler has an impeccable reputation. He is knowledgeable about TBI (traumatic brain injury). He has first-hand experience in dealing with a family member suffering from TBI. He is compassionate and caring. He is hopeful and realistic. Just what part of all that he is, could the County honestly say is not good enough to be guardian of Gary Harvey? Can we say – none?

Full Article and Source:
Bobby Schindler Files Petition Requesting to be Gary Harvey’s Guardian

See Also:
The Dictators of Non-Compassion: Gary Harvey Case and the Unexpected Twist

Terri Schiavo's Brother, Bobby Schindler, Petitions Court to Intervene in Guardianship Case

Government Corruption Guardianship Abuse

Source:
YouTube: Government Corruption: Guardianship Abuse: Institute on Aging

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Tonight on T. S. Radio: Alternatives to Guardianship





Join us this evening as Beverly Newman, Elder Advocate, Florida, discusses the alternatives to guardianship that most people never know exist.

The courts won’t tell you …and neither will any of the attorneys, predatory professional guardians, or those agents of doom and gloom from APS who stand to gain financially from the exploitation of the elderly for profit. Know your rights!

And know when a probate judge operating what is in essence a kangaroo court is violating not only the victims rights, but the law as well.

7:00 CST … 5:00 PST … 6:00 MST … 7:00 CST … 8:00 EST

LISTEN LIVE or come back later and listen to the archive

Recommended Website: Hospice Patients Alliance










Serving:  Hospice patients, family and caregivers, the bereaved and hospice staff

Promoting:  Quality hospice services that respect you as a person

Informing:  YOU!  Knowledge is power...to get the best care

Protecting:  Your rights!

"Serving hospice patients and their families is one of the greatest privileges and trusts a health care professional could ever be granted. Only those staff with great love, sensitivity, and compassion understand the real mission of hospice. Really, it is a "calling."


"The Constitution of our nation is firmly based upon respect for the sanctity of life, the liberty to live in freedom until a natural death occurs in its own timing."

~ Ron Panzer, Founder, Hospice Patients Alliance

Source:
HospicePatientsAlliance

A Short Documentary Film

A short documentary film directed and narrated by David Goodwin about a little girl from England with Down Syndrome and The Feuerstein Institute in Jerusalem from whom she receives treatment. Source: Down Syndrome Film "Looking Up on Down

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Virginia: Scott Schuett, Operator of 5 ALF's, License Revoked!

Scott Schuett, who currently operates five assisted living facilities in Hampton Roads, had his administrator and preceptor licenses revoked by the Virginia Board of Long-Term Care Administrators on Tuesday.

After two hours of testimony by state inspectors on conditions involving code violations at three of his facilities — Ashwood Assisted Living in Hampton, Madison Retirement Center in Williamsburg, and Oakwood Assisted Living in Suffolk — the Board deliberated for 30 minutes before voting to revoke Schuett's licenses. Schuett has owned assisted living facilities in the region since 2003. The problems cited at the hearing involved conditions observed in 2011 and 2012. The decision does not prevent him from owning or operating homes with licensed administrators on site.

Schuett was a no-show at the hearing. He informed the Board that morning that family illness prevented him from attending the formal public hearing held in  Henrico County. The hearing followed the Sept. 13 suspension of Schuett's licenses,the Board having determined that his practice posed "a substantial danger to the public health and safety."

The Board also levied a $25,000 fine against Schuett. Lisa Hahn, executive director of the Board, deemed the fine "suitable" for the 28 violations presented. Schuett was informed of the vote by phone. He did not return phone calls for comment. In an interview prior, he indicated that he expected to lose his license and talked of returning to his home state, Michigan. The regulations allow him to petition for reinstatement after three years and the payment of the fine.

Five witnesses spoke about conditions at Schuett's homes. Virginia Goodell, licensing inspector for the Department of Social Services, described the ongoing problems at Madison, a home she described as having a "high population of chronically mentally ill adults." Complaints ranged from a lack of food and infestations of cockroaches and bed bugs to fist fights and the delayed report of the death of a diabetic resident who refused medical care.

Ivy Burnham, the inspector for Ashwood, presented a similarly long list of infractions involving insufficient staffing, undocumented medication administration, failure to follow admissions policies and poor record keeping. Burnham estimated that 90 percent of the facility's residents have mental health issues. Both facilities are in jeopardy of losing their licenses.

Trish Meyer, licensing administrator for the Eastern Regional Office of the Department of Social Services, reviewed inspections from Oakwood. She observed that there had been 19 reported assaults of residents within six months, alone evidence of insufficient supervision.

Full Article and Source:
Scheutt Loses Assisted Living License

See Also:
Scott Schuett: Operator of Peninsula Assisted Living Homes Fights for License

Newport News Assisted Living Facility Closes

Woman arrested for malicious wounding in Newport News retirement home incident

Man Charged in Assulting Woman, 92, in Suffolk

Injury Leads to More Scrutiny for Suffolk Home

Assisted Living Concerns: Facility Resident Tried to Enter Home

Board Alleges Improper Care at Adultcare Homes

State Suspends Assisted-Living Facility Administrator's Licenses

Check the License Status of Any Facility Through the Virginia Department of Social Services Website

CARR: California's First Only ONLINE Assisted Living Public Recrod Search

CARR'S Facility Search is a novel approach to researching assisted living facility options. CARR founders recognized the paucity of objective information available to seniors & their families and have worked since 2009 to configure a website that offers more than marketing material. CARR's Facility Search for RCFEs (or Residential Care Facilities for the Elderly)is the first & only website in California to offer online, the actual public documents on assisted living facilities. 
 
Visitors using our site can locate a facility by name, zip code or city using the search bar to the left. Each facility profile contains the following valuable information:
  • Who owns the facility
  • Who owns the property
  • How many residents are allowed (capacity),
  • Whether the facility has waivers (special approvals to offer hospice, bedridden, dementia, or other types of more specialized care to residents)
  • Inspection reports
  • Complaint investigation reports
  • Regulatory violations and cited deficiencies
  • Non-compliance Conference Summaries
  • Secretary of State registration information
  • Fire Marshal Clearances
  • Other relevant documents

Full article and Source:
California's First Only ONLINE Assisted Living Public Record Search

Friday, December 28, 2012

The Dictators of Non-Compassion: Gary Harvey Case and the Unexpected Twist

Sara & Gary Harvey
How long has it been since Gary Harvey fell down those basement stairs? Some days it seems as though it was only yesterday, but it wasn’t. It was January 21, 2006. It has been nearly seven years and little has changed, since the county took over and began their reign of merciless dictatorship.

Oh, Gary & Sara Harvey have gotten seven years older and he is no longer in the nursing home, but a ward connected to St. Joseph Hospital. Only his location has changed, as the desperate and uncalled for battle goes on with the power hungry feeding upon, demeaning, and controlling this husband and wife.

On December 10, 2010, I wrote:
Amazing! I can actually recycle my article as if it was current and remaining accurate. How often does that happen?
Here it is the holiday season of 2010 and Sara Harvey gets a letter from Bryan Maggs, Chemung County Attorney, stating that her visitations with Gary are suspended immediately. Isn’€™t that the same gift they offered last year? I’€™m so impressed with the repeat gift and the timing –” NOT! (Wife’€™s Visitation in Jeopardy: The Recycling of Gary Harvey’€™s Holiday Restrictions)  
Would anyone be surprised to learn that Sara didn’t get to visit Gary on Christmas Day 2012?

It isn’t often that one can continue to recycle articles and pretty much be assured that there is going to be some excuse… some mistake… some problem raising it’s ugly little head and taking away anything that could be considered special for Gary and Sara, especially during this special holiday season. It isn’t often, unless the articles happen to involve Gary and Sara Harvey, Chemung County and St. Joseph Hospital.

Anyone see a pattern?

Where has Kevin Moshier been? Silent once again?
Guardianships are like adoptions in that it is the obligation of the guardian to look out for the ward he has been put in charge of. Unlike adoptions, the guardian is supposed to act on behalf of the ward and make decisions as the ward would make for self if capable. And then there is the attorney to insure the rights of the ward. So, where has Kevin Moshier (the appointed attorney) been when Gary Harvey’€™s wishes have been trampled upon?
 As I reported in the past, “€œGary Harvey is the brain injured man from New York, who seems to have his own private “€œdeath panel”€ determined to kill him off and to make his and his wife’€™s life as miserable as possible, ‘until the sentence is carried out. One might think it could get no worse than it has been. One should never think such thoughts, lest one (or more) be shown that –€” for however bad –” things can actually get worse!  
Just where was Kevin Moshier, the attorney who should be representing Gary against any wrongs, when the so-called ethic’€™s committee wanted to put Gary down by starving and dehydrating him to death? Did he stand strong and ask what these people were thinking and why they would even consider such a thing? 
When they put the DNR on Gary, did Kevin Moshier demand they lift it?  
When Sara Harvey’€™s visits with her husband were restricted, did Kevin Moshier step up to the plate and say, “€œI don’€™t think so. This is not what Gary would want. This is not in Gary’€™s best interest. Gary has a right to have time with his wife.”€ Did he? Of course he didn’€™t.  
Sara is a danger to Gary? I didn’€™t even go to law school and I can see that the case against Sara is trumped up and so full of holes that even a pre-med student could dissect it in a few moments. But Kevin Moshier couldn’€™t or can’€™t?  
Even more amazing is the fact that it was the guardian & pals that tried to kill off Gary, with Moshier quietly hanging out, though it was Sara who was, and has been, labeled the danger. (I have trouble getting my reality oriented thoughts around that one.)
What about the press conference where information was given about Gary Harvey’€™s case that should not have been given? Information that I believe was to turn people on Gary. Did Kevin Moshier do anything about that? Did he file on those responsible? ~ (August 5, 2011) The Silence of Kevin Moshier
Gary’s life is in the hands of these county vultures. Yes, the very group of people who attempted to have their ward starved and dehydrated to death, claiming he was terminally ill. Oh, but it is Sara that they treat and report as the threat? The irony is beyond belief. However, these people have not fooled everyone, nor have they covered their tracks as well as perhaps they think. The day will come when they answer to the one they can hide nothing from. It will be a day their cold hearts shall be placed in judgment and every cruel thought and action shall be reviewed.

Gary Harvey does not need to be under the guardianship of the County. He is their ward due to half-truths, non-truths, attorneys backing out at the last minute, attorneys not doing the job but taking the money and things such as that. They think we don’t know all this, but many of us do.

Full Article and Source:
The Dictators of Non-Compassion: Gary Harvey Case and the Unexpected Twist

See Also:
Terri Schiavo's Brother, Bobby Schindler, Petitions Court to Intervene in Guardianship Case

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Terri Schiavo's Brother, Bobby Schindler, Petitions Court to Intervene in Guardianship Case

Attorney Christopher Johnson has filed with the Supreme Court of the State of New York, asking the court to allow Mr. Bobby Schindler, brother of Terri Schiavo to serve as Guardian for Mr. Gary Harvey.

In 2006, Mr. Harvey, a Chemung County resident, was involved in a home accident, which left him with a profound brain injury. His spouse, Mrs. Sara Harvey, sought guardianship only to be denied by the Chemung County Supreme Court who ultimately appointed the Chemung County Department of Social Services as Mr. Harvey's guardian. Since that time, Mrs. Harvey has been in a prolonged court battle with Chemung County officials and the New York State Court System.

Indeed, it was in May of 2009 when the ethics committee from the hospital where Mr. Harvey was residing recommended the removal of his nutrition and hydration tube, and also issued a "do-not-resuscitate order" (DNR).

Fortunately, the court denied that request. However, inexplicably, the DNR stayed in place and Mr. Harvey remains under the control of Chemung County, despite the fact that the county tried to end his life.

"I have raised the question many times, 'How can Chemung County, Guardian of Mr. Harvey, be acting in his best interest when they, in fact, tried to kill him?' From all indications, it appears that Mr. Harvey has been warehoused and denied the opportunity to receive the care and rehabilitative services that would benefit his condition," stated Bobby Schindler.

It is the hope that with this filing, the court will recognize that Mr. Harvey deserves the chance to receive aggressive therapy and rehabilitation. Certainly from Mr. Schindler's experience with brain injured persons, he would afford Mr. Harvey the help he needs in the hopes to significantly improve his quality of life.

Source:
Schiavo's Brother Petitions Court to Intervene in Guardianship Case

The Forgotten Ones: Compassion for the Elderly


" I am the one no one wants, like a stray cat or an orphaned child."

~ A nursing home resident

*Please volunteer to visit our lonely and forgotten elderly. ♥


Source:
The Forgotten Ones: Compassion for the Elderly

Brain Injury Survivors Help Each Other Recover

More than two million Americans sustain brain injuries each year. There are few programs in Hawaii that help patients transition from hospital and acute care into the community, but we found one that helped change them - right before our very eyes.

Through the Brain Injury Association of Hawaii, transformation happens. 56 year old Carl Debo is teaching 22 year old Consolacion "Ching" Mongco to swim.

The pair couldn't be more different. Carl is an attorney and former teacher. Ching is former college student. The two were brought together by both hardship and hope.

Three years ago, Carl suffered a stroke. Everyday life as he knew it would never be the same. He became introverted, and finding the right words can still be difficult. He was slow to respond in our interview.

Around the same time in 2009, Ching left a party with her ex-boyfriend who she says had been drinking. They got in his car. He started racing another driver, lost control, and flipped. Ching was badly hurt. "I was in a coma for, like, one month," she said. She still uses a crutch to walk.

When Ching and Carl heard about a pilot program for people suffering from brain injuries, they applied. Hawaii has little out there to help survivors transition into the mainstream.

"It will give us something to have a structured program after brain injuries, relearning. So relearning how to talk, relearning how to communicate, social skills, you know, our brain controls everything," said Mary Wilson, the Executive Director of the Brain Injury Association of Hawaii.

1.7 million Americans sustain traumatic brain injuries (TBI) each year, according to the Brain Injury Association of America, and almost 800,000 have acquired brain injury from non-traumatic causes. More than three million have lifelong disabilities due to TBI, and 1.1 million have a disability due to stroke.

Full Article and Source:
Brain Injury Survivors Help Each Other Recover
See Also:
Terri Schiavo Life and Hope Network

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Ohio Resident Questions Consumer Financial Protection Bureau's (CFPB) Integrity

I am copying below three e-mails which I received from representatives of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) concerning the reason why the CFPB’s "privacy attorneys" blackened out what it did from the material which the CFPB now posts online at http://www.regulations.gov/#!documentDetail;D=CFPB-2012-0018-1047.

You can easily determine exactly what these attorneys blackened out by comparing pages 3 and 5 of the redacted version posted by the CFPB to the same pages of the unredacted version which I post online at http:\\home.roadrunner.com\~tvfields\UnredactedCFPBSubmission.pdf.

By making this comparison, you can verify the following:
• NOT redacted from page 3 is the reference to my father by the line which reads “The second example is represented by the page copied below from the medical record of my father.”
• NOT redacted from page 5 are the signatures of my father, Dr. Steinmetz, Nurse Nemeth and Dr. Sonneborn.
• What was redacted includes (1) the mention of an attorney’s involvement, (2) the mention of the attorney’s relationship to the parties, (3) the identity of Boca Raton Community Hospital, (4) all references to the fact that the patient was on a morphine drip, under a Do Not Resuscitate order, and just hours from dying of cancer.
• What remains after the redaction leaves false impressions about what was redacted. For example, it leads some people to wrongly suppose that what was redacted on page 5 was filed with the court as the patient’s Will and then contested as such. It leads others to wrongly suppose that the patient had not made out and saved his Will before these notes were entered into the medical record.

Considering what was and was not redacted, I have concluded that, contrary to the reason given in these e-mails, the redactions were NOT to protect the personal privacy of others.

To make this point even clearer, I post online at http:\\home.roadrunner.com\~tvfields\ReasonableRedactions.pdf what these redacted pages might have looked like if the purpose of the redaction was just to protect the personal privacy of others.
~ Tom Fields

----- E-Mails Received from the CFPB -----
From: CFPB_Ombudsman@cfpb.gov 7:42 PM
To: tvfields@oh.rr.com
Subject: RE: Update re. Request for Congressman LaTourette's Assistance

Mr. Fields -- Thank you for sharing this email with our office. It appears that you unfortunately may not have received the subsequent email that we sent to you, which explains that the information you requested be posted contains confidential information. Todd Vanlaere, who is posting the comments, offered to post your comment without the confidential information if you wish to resend it to him. Again, he can be reached at: todd.vanlaere@cfpb.gov.

We are attaching our previous email for your reference.

Thank you again for contacting the Ombudsman's Office, CFPB Ombudsman’s Office
Tel: 855 830 7880 (Toll-free)
Fax: 202 435 7888
consumerfinance.gov
*************************

From: Todd.Vanlaere@cfpb.gov [mailto:Todd.Vanlaere@cfpb.gov]
Sent: Wednesday, September 05, 2012 3:54 PM
To: tvfields@oh.rr.com
Subject: RE: Request for Clarification

Dear Mr. Fields:

I just wanted to touch base with you and let you know that I've received your email, and I am aware of your concerns about your submission. Your concerns are being addressed and I anticipate that I will be able to post your submission soon, but please advised that there will be some redaction. If you'd like me to send you the final redacted version of what our privacy attorneys clear to post prior to posting it, I'm happy to do so.

Thanks,
Todd
*************************

From: Todd.Vanlaere@cfpb.gov [mailto:Todd.Vanlaere@cfpb.gov]
Sent: Thursday, September 06, 2012 9:20 AM
To: tvfields@oh.rr.com
Cc: CFPB_Ombudsman@cfpb.gov; Hubert.Humphrey@cfpb.gov; Brett.Kitt@cfpb.gov
Subject: re. Request for Clarification

Dear Mr. Fields:

I have attached a redacted copy of what you have submitted to us. As a matter of policy, we redact comments that discuss individuals other than the commenter to protect their personal privacy. Therefore, as you can see, a lot of your document has been redacted. Per your request, I will not post anything for public viewing until you approve it.

Thanks,
Todd

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Today, we light a candle for those victims of guardianship and conservatorship abuse – the elderly, the young, and the disabled - who are cruelly isolated from their family by their court-appointed “protectors” on this holiday. We remember them, and their suffering families, in our hearts and our advocacy.

Happy Holidays

Monday, December 24, 2012

Petition: Mom, It's Christmas 2012 - Your Daughters Will Never Stop Fighting for Your Freedom

STOP The Injustice Of An Innocent Woman Being Held Against Her Will, Isolated From Family & Friends For The Past Five Years In A Nursing Facility Through No Fault Of Her Own.

Why Are We Forcing Our Tax Payers To Pay Out HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS OF DOLLARS A YEAR Forcing Mollie Florkey To Be Held Prisoner In A Nursing Home When It's Not Necessary ?

SIGN THE PETITION

See Also:
NASGA:Mollie Florkey, Ohio Victim

Petition to the FDA; Regulate Nursing Home Injuries and Deaths

Family members expect bed rails to protect the parents, grandparents, and great grandparents spending their nights in nursing home beds.

Warning labels are not placed on the bed rails that have strangled and injured Senior Citizens for years. The FDA finally issued a warning in 1995 about the dangers of bed rails.You've heard about that, right? Exactly. No one has. And so the deaths and injuries continued.

After the FDA's ineffective warning, officials discussed placing warning labels on bed rails. But, manufacturers resisted, so the FDA let it slide.

Shoving the issue of bed rail safety labeling under the rug won't hide the needless deaths and injuries that vulnerable senior citizens face. Putting a warning label on a product that needs it, however, will save lives.

SIGN the Petition - FDA: Regulate Nursing Home Injuries and Deaths

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Tonight on T.S. Radio

As we come to the close of 2012 and celebrate Christmas, we also have cause to celebrate a few victories. This evening, Linda Kincaid, Elder Advocate/California, and Beverly Newman, Elder Advocate/Florida, join together to bring news of progress and hope in the fight against guardianship abuse.

Hopefully, you will find this show to be uplifting and encouraging.

7:00 CST ... 5:00 PST ... 6:00 MST ... 7:00 CST ... 8:00 EST

LISTEN to the show LIVE or listen to the archive later

Petition: To Return Mary G Sykes Home and to Remove Carolyn Toerpe as Plenary Guardian

Probate elder abuse in Cook County is a continuing issue. The courts are corrupt and deny the elderly their human rights on a regular basis.

Mary G Sykes, a 92 year old woman is just one example.

While she stood in open court and wanted to tell the judge she wanted to return home with her daughter Gloria J Sykes, she was denied this right. She was repeatedly denied the right to an attorney by the court. Her GAL's only listened to one party--Carolyn Toerpe and the entire procedure was railroaded. Gloria was denied the right to be her guardian--even though she lovingly cared for her for 10+ years in Mary's own home. Carolyn, who had little contact and rarely took her mother was awarded Plenary Guardianship in a railroaded proceeding.

SIGN THE PETITION to Return Mary G Sykes Home and to Remove Carolyn Toerpe as Plenary Guardian

Florida is a Zero-Tolerance State for Human Trafficking? Not Really!

In tracking the rampant organized criminal activity across the country with regards to the abuse of elderly individuals [with assets] who are targeted by professional predators working within the probate system, Florida jumps to the forefront in the abuse, exploitation, and looting of personal assets of the elderly.

While Florida may have been at one time, the most desired state to retire to, it is now the preferred hunting grounds of professional predators who operate within and with the cooperation of the probate court system. This is human trafficking for profit.

From the Attorney General's website:  
“Contrary to some misconceptions, human trafficking crimes do not require any smuggling or movement of the victim,” says the Department of Justice on its website.

Florida's status as a hub for human trafficking has state officials pushing a "zero-tolerance" policy toward criminals who exploit others for profit.

“It’s important to me because this is a crime against humanity, it’s truly modern-day slavery,” State Attorney General Pam Bondi said in an interview.

These should be comforting and reassuring words, and for the most part I presume that most find them so. Still, I wonder why Attorney General Bondi refuses to even acknowledge another form of human trafficking rampant not only in Florida, but across the nation. The trafficking of the elderly who committed what must be the new crime of, aging with assets.

Full Article and Source:
Florida is a Zero-Tolerance State for Human Trafficking?  Not Really!

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Petition: Remove Sonoma County Judge Mark Tansil

We, elders and disabled consumers of California licensed fiduciaries, are being forced to pay large billing fees to court appointed self-dealing fiduciares, guradians, and trustees, and their greedy attorneys.

The culprit: Judge Mark Tansil, of Sonoma County Califonria, awards these fees to those self-dealing fiduciaries the court appoints. When we attempt to object, Judge Mark Tansil forces us to go without legal representation, and then awards large billing fees to these self-dealing fiduciaries and their attorneys.

We believe Judge Mark Tansil is a disgrace to the Judicial systen, and that he should be removed from the bench, therefore we are petitioning the California Governor, and the California Commission on Judicial Performance to take action against Judge Mark Tansil.

SIGN the petition to remove Sonoma County Judge Mark Tansil

Medford Student Beats Odds With Brain Injury

With just a year left of college, Tessa Venell was looking forward to her senior year. But a car accident in July 2006 left the then 21-year-old Medford resident in a coma with broken bones and a traumatic brain injury.

Doctors told the family their daughter had a 10-percent chance of making a functional recovery, meaning there was a 90 percent chance she might never be able to take care of herself again."We didn't have a good prognosis," said Tessa's mother, Julie Venell. "I think you kind of protect yourself from believing that." We’d hoped she’d be in the other percentage. You don’t even let that sink in.”

Despite the dismal forecast, Tessa overcame the odds. One year after her accident, she returned to finish her degree at Brandeis University. She went on to film an environmental documentary in China and is now writing a book about her recovery and rehabilitation.

“She’s had remarkable accomplishments for people who didn’t have a brain injury,” said Dr. Douglas Katz, medical director of the Acquired Brain Injury Pogram at Braintree Rehabilitation Hospital. “The fact she was able to return, complete college a year after and complete a documentary movie is just remarkable in and of itself.”

Tessa, who has lived in South Medford for the last three years, now works as a grant writer for the Ivy Street School in Brookline, which treats and educates a growing number of young people with brain injuries and other neurological difficulties.

Full Article and Source:
Terri Schindler Schiavo Foundation - Medford Student Beats Odds With Brain Injury

Friday, December 21, 2012

Lawless America: Jennifer Goings

Source: Lawless America: Jennifer Goings

Prominent Milwaukee lawyer loses license for misuse of funds

After practicing law for more than a half century and being president of one Milwaukee's better known law firms, Joseph W. Weigel will be leaving the profession next year as a disbarred lawyer.
The state Supreme Court Wednesday unanimously agreed to revoke Weigel's law license for misusing client funds by using the money to pay vendors or other clients. Special prosecutor Paul Schwarzenbart has argued that Weigel ran the firm's client trust account like a Ponzi scheme. That is, Weigel, 77, ran hundreds of millions of dollars through the fund and used money won in new cases to pay off clients in older cases. Others, such as consultants and experts who assisted in cases, went unpaid.
"A six or seven figure deficit in an account that holds client funds is an ethical failure of epic proportions," the court said in its 37-page decision.
Schwarzenbart has handled the case since 2006 because Weigel's son, William Weigel, is a top official at the court's Office of Lawyer Regulation and he often is involved in prosecutions of lawyers who violate ethical rules. Schwarzenbart made all decisions in the Joseph Weigel case and did not consult William Weigel or other agency officials, said Keith Sellen, agency director.
Full Article and Source:
Prominent Milwaukee lawyer loses license for misuse of funds

CANHR Lawsuit Targets Nursing Home Management and Fees

A lawsuit filed by CANHR against the Department of Public Health and Country Villa Service Corp, challenges the state-approved practice of allowing Country Villa nursing homes to contract out their operations to another entity owned by Country Villa.

The “management’ company then receives a percentage of revenues (often 5%) from the facilities they operate. Besides CANHR, the plaintiffs include Gail Dawson, an individual. CANHR and Ms. Dawson are represented by Russell Balisok and Silvo Nardoni of Glendale. The lawsuit asks for declaratory relief invalidating state statutes as in conflict with federal law; for an order requiring disgorgement of all management fees paid; and for a permanent injunction.

Source:
CANHR Lawsuit Targets Nursing Home Management and Fees

See Also:
Read CANHR's Lawsuit

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Compassion for the Elderly: Ways to Help the Elderly at Christmas Time

Christmas is a season of giving. People often pick certain groups of individuals to help, such as the elderly. Here are eight ways you can help the elderly this Christmas season.
Volunteer with Meals on Wheels. Meals on Wheels is a national program that provides meals to home-bound senior citizens. During the Christmas season, they need extra volunteers to cover for their regular volunteers. Go to mealsonwheels.com for more information.

Take seniors Christmas shopping. Many senior citizens lack the ability to drive themselves to shopping. Your assistance with transportation can make a difference this Christmas for a senior citizen. You can dedicate as little as an hour to this and make a big difference in a senior citizen's life.

Help a senior citizen with Christmas cards. Offer to spend an afternoon with an elderly neighbor helping them to address and to mail their Christmas cards. You actually need not supply anything, though it may be helpful to supply some stamps.

Visit seniors at a senior center or nursing home. The Christmas holidays can a lonely time for people, especially for senior citizens. One of the quickest ways to brighten someone's day is to visit him or her. Many senior centers and nursing homes especially welcome visitors during the holiday season. School groups are particularly favored visitors. Be certain to contact your local senior center or nursing home well ahead of your visit so you can be sensitive of their scheduling needs.

Help prepare or serve a Christmas dinner for the elderly. Almost every major city's commission on aging will offer Christmas holiday meals for the elderly. Those dinners need volunteers to help prepare and to help serve meals. Your time commitment could be as little as two hours, and it may or may not be on the Christmas Day. This way, you still have time to enjoy your Christmas dinner.

Gather Christmas food boxes for the elderly. Local service organizations often organize food drives for the elderly during the Christmas season so that the elderly can fix a Christmas dinner for themselves. Check with your local food bank or service organization in your city to see if there are already formal food drives in existence in your city. If not, you can always organize your own through your community group or place of worship.

Make Christmas gift bags for the elderly. Often, the elderly do not have any family members to spend Christmas with or even to give them a gift. You can make a difference this Christmas by assembling a small gift bag for them with treats and maybe a few practical items such as warm socks. A little goes a long way.

Do a good deed. Finally, Christmas is a season of giving, and it doesn't need to be season-specific giving. Any kind of good deed you can do for an elderly person is in the spirit of the season. It can be as simple as looking in on your elderly neighbor or clearing their sidewalk of snow.

~Nicole Hubbard

Source:
The Forgotten Ones:  Compassion for the Elderly

Elderly Brains Can't Process Scams, Misleading Information, Two Studies Show

A psychological study conducted by Professor Shelley Taylor reported this week that a section of the brain known as the anterior insula is to blame for elderly people being more susceptible to fall victim to scams. This new information creates an interesting addition to a study conducted earlier in the year by researchers at the University of Iowa, which recorded that aging of the ventromedial prefrontal cortex results in a lessened ability to process doubt and skepticism when taking in visual information.

Prof. Taylor, of the University of California Los Angeles, conducted a study wherein 119 elderly residents of a senior living home, between the ages 55 and 84, were shown photos of both neutral/trustworthy faces and faces which showcased visual cues that alert us to non trustworthiness, such as a shifty gaze, smiling without the eyes and facial hair, and asked to rate their level of trustworthiness. The same faces were shown to a group of 24 staff and students between the ages of 20 and 42. While both groups reported equal ratings of trustworthiness while assessing the neutral faces, the elderly group was found to be incapable of picking up on the visual cues provided in the untrustworthy photos.

Full Article and Source:
Elderly Brains Can't Process Scams, Misleading Information, Two Studies Show

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

YouTube: Re-Evaluate Sue Lee

In 2008, Sue Lee suffered a severe stroke. Sue was declared permanently disabled and incapacitated by the state of Oregon. Eventually, a state-appointed Conservator took control of Sue's business, home, and financial assets.

4 years later, Sue Lee has shone great strides in recovery. While struggling to regain her speech, she is a fully capable person.

Despite her recovery, state appointed doctors as well as her conservator have continued to list Sue as INCOMPETENT.

Sue Lee IS competent and this film stands to show her ability to communicate her wishes and care for herself on a daily basis.


Source:
Re-Evaluate Sue Lee

See Also: "It's Just a Lack of Concern for a Human Being"

Website: Center for Judicial Excellence

CJE is dedicated to public education and community outreach about individual rights in the court system.

Since it's founding in 2006, CJE has filled a critical void, shining a light on a vital branch of government that wields tremendous power over the lives of average people.

CJE has empowered citizen leadership, inspired government action, and become a major catalyst in building a national movement for family court reform.

Source:
CenterForJudicialExcellence

See Also:
Jury Finds Nevada County Superior Court Guilty of Retaliation: Verdict of Whistleblower's Historic Case Exposes the Flaws of an Unregulated Legal System

GA: Camden Co. Judge Pleads Guilty to Charges, Resigns

The just-elected probate judge of Camden County left office after pleading guilty to three criminal charges.

Wise had worked in the office for 20 years and was the associate probate judge when the charges were brought against her earlier this year. She was elected probate judge in July and was scheduled to be sworn in Jan. 1 to the seat of retiring Judge Martin Gillette.

District Attorney Brian Rickman told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution that Judge Shirley Wise pleaded guilty to three counts -- theft by taking, theft by deception and violation of her oath of office.

Among the charges against Wise was that she took cash payments for vital records from December 2008 until earlier this year and failed to account for and deposit the money. According to records from the Judicial Qualifying Commission, Wise tried to hide the acts by shredding or destroying the original duplicate cash receipts that had been given to customers.

Rickman said Wise was sentenced under the First Offender Act to seven years on probation and fined $1,000.

He said Wise also gave more than $5,500 in restitution to the Camden County Board of Commission. Wise also agreed to not seek or accept appointment to a judicial office in the future.

Full Article and Source:
Camden Co. Judge Pleads Guilty to Charges, Resigns

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

FINR: Caregivers Bloodied Patients as Complaints Drew Laughter

Caregivers at a Florida center for the brain-injured beat patients, goaded them to fight each other and fondle female employees and in one instance laughed at complaints of mistreatment, according to investigative reports released under a court order to Bloomberg News.

The center, the Florida Institute for Neurologic Rehabilitation, is fighting a state directive that it move about 50 patients to other facilities. That order followed a Bloomberg story revealing a history of violence at the center southeast of Tampa. At least five patients have died from alleged abuse or neglect there since 1998, two in the last two years.
The newly released records summarize 15 probes conducted by the Florida Department of Children and Families since 2008, including 12 that have never been disclosed before. Leon County Circuit Court Judge Kevin J. Carroll ordered the state to provide the reports, with the names of victims blacked out, after Bloomberg petitioned the court, arguing there was a compelling public interest.

The Wauchula-based facility, known as FINR, draws patients from across the U.S. and abroad and is said by competitors to be the largest such rehabilitation center in the country. It often finds customers among the relatively few brain injured with legal settlements or insurance payments that enable them to pay premium prices. FINR charges some of them $300,000 a year.

In all of the 15 cases summarized in the reports --involving 17 patients and 20 staff members -- the allegations were classified by investigators as verified, meaning they were supported by a “preponderance of credible evidence.”

‘Difficult Population’

Until now, the state had released only a summary of complaints, indicating there have been 526 allegations of abuse and neglect since 2005. Of those, 37 were deemed verified. Another 117 fell into a category defined by state regulations as when “there is credible evidence that does not meet the standard of preponderance.” The rest are still being investigated or involved cases where the agency discovered no evidence of abuse.

Joe Brennick, FINR’s owner and chief executive officer, declined to comment on individual cases. In an e-mailed statement, Brennick said the center “has consistently acted in the best interest of its patients, and has one of the toughest self-reporting policies in place for a facility of its kind.”

“It is important to understand that FINR serves one of the most difficult populations of patients in the country,” he said, “and that these patients often act out aggressively and are extremely difficult to manage. This is not to absolve wrongdoing by staff members, but is a fact that is often overlooked in media reports.”

Full Article and Source:
Caregivers Bloodied Patients as Complaints Drew Laughter

See Also:
Florida Brain Injury Center Fights Order to Move Patients

Philadelphia Traffic Judge Removed From Bench by Discipline Panel Because of Lewd Photo

A Philadelphia traffic court judge was removed him from office by a judicial ethics panel for showing a female court clerk cellphone photos of his genitals.

The Court of Judicial Discipline issued the one-sentence order Thursday in the case of Willie Singletary, who had been deemed to have engaged in judicial misconduct.

Singletary's lawyer, John Summers, called it "a one-time, accidental mistake" and said that Singletary resigned from the bench in February. He said Singletary is working, got married this year and is moving on with his life. "The court looked at all available sanctions, looked at past cases, and it selected removal," Summers said. "Surely it knew that he had already resigned."

Full Article and Source:
Philadelphia Traffic Judge Removed From Bench by Discipline Panel Because of Lewd Photo

Monday, December 17, 2012

Appellate Court: Disabled San Jose Man Owes Nothing to Trustee and Attorneys in Bitter Probate Dispute

In a stunning ruling, a California appellate court on Thursday declared that a Silicon Valley trustee and his two attorneys are not entitled to a penny of compensation, after a years-long dispute over their six-figure bill to briefly manage a disabled San Jose man's life savings.

The decision is a major victory for Danny Reed, a brain-injury victim whose story was featured in July in this newspaper's investigation "Loss of Trust" -- an exposé of how the Santa Clara County Superior Court long allowed estate managers to receive outlandish fees for their court-appointed duties serving the disabled and elderly.

Not only was the ruling major vindication for the 37-year-old man who waged a rare fight against powerful interests in the local courts, it also sets legal precedent that strengthens the rights of others to maintain control of their court-overseen trusts.

"This is much bigger than me," Reed said Thursday. "It's for all the people who can't understand what's going on. This is something that will help them too."

Reed's life became entangled in Santa Clara County's probate court after a pair of accidents left him partially disabled. The money he received in legal settlements was set aside in a special needs trust overseen by a judge.

While Reed never sought help, a probate judge appointed trustee Thomas Thorpe in 2010 to temporarily oversee Reed's trust -- including $650,000 and a townhouse -- when questions arose over  his mother's handling of the funds.

Thursday's opinion, written by 6th District Court of Appeal Acting Presiding Justice Eugene Premo, reversed a lower court's order that Reed's trust must pay $51,285 to Thorpe and his two attorneys, Diane Brown and Michael Desmarais. The trio originally sought $108,771 for Thorpe's 4½ months on the job.

The appellate court said the judge had the power to appoint Thorpe but should not have awarded him and his attorneys any fees, because the trust document included a provision that explicitly denied any new trustees payment for"> their services. That was a provision of Reed's trust document that Thorpe and his attorney had tried unsuccessfully to change.

Thursday's ruling, however, did not address another $146,000 in fees that the lower court ruled Reed's trust must pay Desmarais for his work defending Thorpe's original bill. That dispute is part of a second case that the appellate court is still to consider.

It remained unclear whether Thorpe would appeal the ruling to the state Supreme Court. Calls to Thorpe and his attorneys were not returned.

Full Article and Source:
Appellate Court: Disabled San Jose Man Owes Nothing to Trustee and Attorneys in Bitter Probate Dispute

See Also:
Document:  Ruling in Favor of Danny Reed

San Jose Appeals Court Justice Accuses Estate Trustee of 'Feeding Frenzy'

NJ Lawyer Indicted for Allegedly Stealing $600K

A Mahwah man has been indicted by the Essex County Grand Jury after allegedly stealing over $600,000 from clients of his East Orange Law Office, Acting Essex County Prosecutor Carolyn A. Murray announced in a release Tuesday.

According to Murray, Raymond Roche, 54, a Mahwah resident, was served with a three-count indictment after allegedly stealing settlement checks from his personal injury clients.

Roche faces 20 years in prison if he is convicted of second-degree theft, misapplication of entrusted funds, and first-degree financial facilitation of criminal activity charges, the release said.

Roche, a lawyer with a practice in East Orange, allegedly “accumulated unpaid medical liens on personal injury cases,” Murray said in the release. “He received settlement checks from the insured but failed to pay off the medical liens.”

Roche is accused of depositing the checks into his attorney’s trust fund, and writing checks from the trust account to his law firm, Roche and Associates, in 2006 and 2007, Murray said.

Full Article and Source:
Lawyer Indicted for Allegedly Stealing $600K

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Tonight on T.S. Radio: Elder Abuse in Florida






Join us this evening as we explore the probate system in Florida.

Kevin Pizzarillo joins the show to discuss an ongoing case which was predicated upon the filing of fraudulent petitions. Even after the court was informed that the petitioners were fully aware of pre-existing directives and other legal instruments, the Judge refused to reverse the ruling granting temporary guardianship.
 
In the mix are numerous attorneys who obtained retainers and then withdrew from the case just before court.

Even with a massive collection of legal documents as evidence, the Florida state Attorney General refuses to act on the criminal activity taking place.

What is happening in this case and in hundreds of other cases in Florida, is the practice of human trafficking for profit.

5:00 PST … 6:00 MST … 7:00 CST … 8:00 EST

LISTEN live tonight or listen to the archive later

Judge OK's $18M Settlement in 'Kids-for-Cash' Case

A federal judge in Pennsylvania has given final approval to a settlement that will pay out nearly $18 million to juveniles who allege they were wrongly jailed by corrupt judges.[Former Luzurne County Judges Michael Conahan and Mark Ciavarella]

The approval granted Friday in Scranton allows attorneys to begin distributing money to about 1,600 teens and their parents.

The funds come from developer Robert K. Mericle (MEHR'-ih-kuhl), who built a pair of for-profit youth detention centers.

Two Luzerne County judges accepted payments from Mericle and routinely jailed teens at the facilities. The judges are now serving lengthy prison terms.

Mericle pleaded guilty to failing to report a felony. He awaits sentencing in the so-called "kids for cash" scandal.

Affected youths will receive between $500 and $5,000. Some will get more based on the circumstances of their incarceration.

Source: Judge OK's $18M Settlement in 'Kids-for-Cash' Case

Ben Alfano is Still Footing the Bill

While Ben Alfano will be much with his children this week, if only in memory, Thanksgiving eve would seem a callous time to render "final" judgment on the draining of the veteran's estate.

But as Washington County Circuit Judge Rita Batz Cobb has scheduled the hearing for 11 a.m. Wednesday, let's review the charade that has brought us this far.

Twenty-seven months ago, Cobb dismissed the pleas of Alfano, his four doctors, four of his five children and Cobb's own court visitor, and awarded control of the veteran's life to Chris Farley, a professional guardian.

Farley -- like Alfano's court-appointed attorney, Richard Pagnano -- was enlisted by the Oregon Department of Veteran Affairs, the conservator of Alfano's sizable estate.

Alfano, a 72-year-old amputee with full benefits, would survive only another six months.

As I wrote in a series of February columns, Farley moved the veteran out of the Raleigh Hills Assisted Living facility he loved and eventually into a locked-door dementia-care unit in Gresham, and strenuously isolated him from his children.

Alfano's heart burst, literally, in February 2011, and he died at the VA Medical Center.

As Judy Bridges, the Raleigh Hills administrator, submitted in an affidavit, "I believe with all my heart that the move killed him."

Full Article and Source:
Steve Duin: Ben Alfano is Still Footing the Bill

No Charges for Algonquin Woman Who Abandoned Disabled Daughter

While her actions were “inexcusable,” an Algonquin mother will not face criminal charges for abandoning her 19-year-old disabled daughter at a Tennessee bar, according to the district attorney general in Campbell County, Tenn.

That was the conclusion of a grand jury that investigated whether Eva Cameron, 45, should be charged with willful neglect and exploitation of an impaired adult, according to a news release issued Monday by Lori Phillips-Jones, district attorney general.

“There is no disagreement that the actions of the mother, Eva Cameron, in this case were inexcusable,” the news release states. “However, Tennessee law has not anticipated such behavior and thus the Grand Jury was faced with conduct which was not necessarily indictable.”

Cameron could not immediately be reached Monday. She has said previously that she did not believe Illinois would provide adequate medical services or housing for her daughter, who functions at the intellectual level of a 3-year-old.

Tennessee officials at first said they would not charge Cameron because her daughter is legally an adult, but reversed course after learning the circumstances of the case. On June 28, the teen, who has a limited vocabulary, was discovered without an ID or money at a bar in rural Caryville.

Full Article and Source:
No Charges for Algonquin Woman Who Abandoned Disableld Daughter

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Alabama: Legislation Would Protect Seniors From Physical Abuse, Monetary Crimes

A group of Alabama legislators and government agency officials [12/10] announced proposed changes to state laws they said will boost protection for people 60 and older in cases of elder abuse, neglect and financial exploitation.

State Sen. Cam Ward of Alabaster and Rep. Paul DeMarco of Homewood attended the press conference at the Heardmont Senior Center to show their support of the proposed legislation they are sponsoring.

"This is the opportunity to finally go in and look at where some of the loopholes have been," DeMarco said about state laws pertaining to elder abuse and financial exploitation.

The bill would target caregivers, people with power of attorney, legal guardians and anyone else who monetarily takes advantage of elderly or physically abuses them. It expands the criminal penalties associated with such acts and provides more avenues for prosecution.

Full Article and Source:
Legislation Would Protect Seniors From Physical Abuse, Monetary Crimes

MO: Columbia Woman Charged With Financial Exploitation is Sentenced to Prison

A Columbia woman who pleaded guilty in October to financially exploiting a person with a disability will serve four months in prison and will then be placed on probation so she can begin to pay back the woman she bilked out of tens 0f thousands of dollars.

Deanna Harris received a sentence of eight years in prison but will spend 120 days in prison, after which Circuit Judge Christine Carpenter will review the case to see if probation is warranted. When Harris is released, she will be required to pay at least $400 a month in restitution to Luana Harrison, the victim of the crime. If she fails to make the payment, she will be sent back to prison.

"I think it would be very beneficial to Ms. Harrison to receive some of her money, but I just don't trust you," Carpenter said in Boone County Circuit Court on Monday in explaining her decision to send Harris to prison for some time.

Harris borrowed thousands of dollars from Harrison between April and September of 2010 under false pretenses and didn't pay her back.

Harrison testified last month that she would like to see Harris given the maximum possible sentence.

Full Article and Source:
Columbia Woman Charged With Financial Exploitation is Sentenced to Prison

Friday, December 14, 2012

Lawless America: Mary Claire Connors



NOTE: The "NASGA.org" link mentioned in the video is incorrect. The correct link to "NASGA" is as shown above: www.StopGuardianAbuse.org.

Source:
Lawless America: Mary Claire Connors
See Also
NASGA: Grace Connors, Pennsylvania Victim

Nebraska Woman Fighting Guardianship Law

A Nebraska law designed to prevent abuse of vulnerable citizens by their guardians has gone too far, according to Margaret Smith of Broken Bow, and she wants it repealed.

“This law is very cruel and unnecessary,” Smith said. “It made no allowances for people who had been married for a lifetime. It has the same regulations as if being a guardian for someone you didn’t even know.”

LB157, also known as the Guardianship Reform Act of 2011, passed unanimously in the Nebraska Legislature. The author of the bill was District 27 Sen. Colby Coash of Lincoln. Gov. Dave Heineman signed the bill in February 2011, and it took effect in January.

Margaret has been the guardian for her husband, Bob, since March 2006 when he was hurt while working at a cattle sale in Broken Bow. He hit his head on the concrete and even though he regained consciousness two months later, he remains physically and mentally disabled and lives in a nursing home.

At the time of the accident, Margaret already had power of attorney for her husband’s medical care, but because he couldn’t sign his name to grant her power of attorney over his finances, she did the only other thing she could — she got a guardianship of him. With that, she could continue to manage the couple’s business.

In February, when Margaret went to the judge’s office to turn in her annual report regarding her husband’s condition, she was given a large stack of papers containing new regulations and forms she needed to fill out.

“I got as far as the paragraph that said I would need a court order to take any money out of our joint accounts and took it all to my attorney,” Margaret said.

Some of the 16 mandates of LB157 include that funds of the guardian and ward should not be co-mingled. A guardian will take no money out of the shared accounts by any means, for any purpose without a court order, and guardians are required to use specific forms downloaded from the Nebraska Supreme Court’s website. In addition, guardians are required to pay a $5 fee to file required reports.

Until this law passed, Margaret said she didn’t have a problem. Now she said believes she needs a court order to buy a tube of toothpaste from the joint bank account she shares with her incapacitated husband.

Full Article and Source:
Broken Bow Woman Fighting Guardianship Law

Realty Firm Accused of Fraud and Elder Abuse

Argus Realty lured investors with commercial real estate securities it touted as "institutional grade," but it was "a rigged game in which the sponsors made millions in fees while taking savings from people earned over a lifetime," 11 plaintiffs claim in court.

Six LLCs, led by ARI-NBCC 2, and five people sued Argus Realty Investors, Argus Realty, and several affiliated companies and people, in Orange County Superior Court.

"The sponsors and entities behind this offering gorged themselves on unconscionable fees and costs associated with the offering and the management of the properties while placing the investors in a hopeless, fraudulent investment structure that had no chance of providing a reasonable return," the complaint states. "While the investment was touted as 'institutional grade,' it was anything but institutional grade. This TIC was no investment in any sense, but a rigged game in which the sponsors made millions in fees while taking savings from people earned over a lifetime.
Full Article and Source:

Realty Firm Accused of Fraud and Elder Abuse

Thursday, December 13, 2012

High Court Concerned, Just Not Enough

The old widow wasn't asking for much. All she wanted was a chance to plead her case to an unbiased judge, a fresh eye to decide whether the people charged with protecting her were justified in sucking up her life savings.

Two courts, after all, had said the probate commissioner overseeing her estate acted unethically, that the court-sanctioned siphoning of her bank account was "inexcusable."

The widow's story prompted no less than the chief justice of the Arizona Supreme Court to convene a committee to consider reforms to the Probate Court. "I've read your columns," Chief Justice Rebecca White Berch told me in 2010. "They cause concern."

As a result of what happened to Marie Long and a few others, laws were changed and reforms were enacted in the hope of better protecting the most vulnerable among us.

All, that is, except for Marie Long.

The state Supreme Court dashed her hopes recently by refusing to consider her appeal.

"It's a very sad day for Marie Long," attorney Candess Hunter wrote after being notified that Berch's court denied Marie's request to take a look at what happened.

Marie Long was worth $1.3 million when she suffered a stroke and came under the "protection" of the Probate Court in 2005. By 2009, she was destitute and dependent upon taxpayers for support, her savings sucked dry while the Probate Court looked the other way.

In 2010, then-Commissioner Lindsay Ellis wrote that the attorneys and fiduciaries were justified in helping themselves to well over $1 million. As for the lawyers who tried to stop the bleeding -- the ones who were volunteering their time to help Marie -- Ellis laid into them, charging that their "venomous" attacks challenging the six-figure bills forced the other side to defend itself.

With Marie's money, naturally.

Two months after Ellis' ruling, we learned that Ellis had her assistant slip an advance copy of her ruling to one side -- the side that wound up with Marie's money.

Full Article and Source:
High Court Concerned, Just Not Enough

See Also:
Guardianship Agency Cost Elderly Woman Dearly

Probate Judge Indictment Thrown Out

A judge has thrown out the indictment against Franklin County Probate Judge Eddie Fowler.

Fowler was indicted in September on one count of misdemeanor sexual battery after being arrested in late August.

During a hearing November 29th in Franklin County Superior Court, Fowler’s attorney Daniel Moore asked the indictment be quashed.

Moore said by law his client was to have received written notice from the District Attorney’s office of their intent to take the charges before the grand jury and he was also to receive a written copy of the charges against him 15 days before the case went before the Grand Jury.

Moore told Senior Court Judge Robert Adamson Fowler received the notice of intent, but not the written copy of the charges.

The judge agreed and in a ruling issued December 5th overturned the indictment. That ruling was made public this week.

Full Article and Source:
Probate Judge Indictment Thrown Out
See Also:
Associate Probate Judge Named in Franklin County

Caretaker Charged With Bilking Elderly Madison Couple Of Several Hundred Thousand Dollars

On December 6, 2012, the Madison Police Department, with the cooperation of the Milford Police Department, arrested Linda Correira for one violation of Connecticut General Statute 53a-122: Larceny in the First Degree.

Correira’s arrest comes after nearly a year-long investigation by the Madison Police Department into unauthorized withdrawals from multiple bank accounts belonging to an elderly Madison couple. Correira allegedly bilked the elderly Madison couple out of several hundred thousand dollars, during the time period of July 2011 through December 2011. The missing funds include some service fees as well as unauthorized withdrawals. Correira accessed the couples various accounts while working as an in-home caretaker for the two Madison residents.

Correira has numerous past arrests for larcenies and other crimes in Milford, Torrington, Winchester, Manchester, Stratford, and Fairfield.

Full Article and Source:
Caretaker Charged With Bilking Elderly Madison Couple Of Several Hundred Thousand Dollars

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

CT: Probate Fight Over Southington Farm Continues

In a nearly empty courtroom in Hartford on Monday, a half-dozen lawyers continued to fight over the dying wishes of a Southington woman who wanted to give her farm to the man who helped her care for the place for decades.

Incredibly, Sam Manzo, the caretaker, is still the loser in the Smoron Farm controversy. He lives in an unheated trailer on a farm he was supposed to inherit three years ago.

Instead of the probate court system making sure Manzo inherited the farm – what Josephine Smoron explicitly stated in her 2004 will – the controversy drags on, bouncing about dreary courtrooms, waiting for a judge to take charge and right a monumental wrong.

"My client is in desperate need to have this go forward,'' Eliot Gersten, one of Manzo's lawyers, told Superior Court Judge William H. Bright on Monday morning, complaining that bills aren't getting paid. "This delay is hurting my client. He is living without heat."

The case has landed in Judge Bright's courtroom because the man appointed as conservator for Smoron, Southington lawyer John Nugent, has refused to step aside and admit his error. Nugent still controls two trusts that he set up in 2009 — unbeknownst to the dying Smoron or Manzo — that contain the estate's assets.

The plan might have gone unchallenged if Manzo hadn't complained to court authorities, who eventually ruled that Nugent abused his position as conservator. The Southington probate judge who appointed him, Bryan Meccariello, was censured by the Council on Probate Judicial Conduct for allowing Nugent to set up the trusts, which circumvent Smoron's will. Meccariello did not run for re-election in 2010.

The trusts remain, and efforts to restore Manzo's inheritance have stalled.

Full Article and Source:
Probate Fight Over Southington Farm Continues

See Also:
Rick Green: Probate Court Mess Continues

FL: Wards of the State Depend on Their Guardian Angels

A decades-old photo of Santa Claus and a child in winter clothing sits on the dresser in a holiday-bedecked bedroom.

That little girl, who was developmentally disabled and had cerebral palsy, lived with her parents in Massachusetts.

Now, at 62, with no family left to see to her needs, Kathy lives in a Space Coast group home as a legal ward of the state’s Statewide Public Guardianship Office. At the request of her guardian and because of privacy concerns, FLORIDA TODAY agreed not to publish her last name.

Along with 82 other adults in Brevard who’ve been declared incapacitated, all aspects of Kathy’s care falls to Aging Solutions, a nonprofit appointed by the state as the Office of the Public Guardian here and in three other counties.

The often-sad stories of these wards are highlighted annually over the holidays through Aging Solutions’ “Elves for Elders” campaign, which provides basic gifts for the organization’s charges.

But how do these Floridians, most older than 60, land in guardianship in the first place? And how are their needs met the rest of the year?

Wards, many cognitively and physically impaired, wind up under state guardianship for diverse reasons. Some were exploited financially by caretakers or family. Some living in dangerous, unhealthy situations were referred by the Department of Children and Families; others by hospitals or neighbors. Those with sufficient assets often are put in a private guardian’s care. Those who are indigent can fall under the state’s protection.

All share a bond: They no longer can care for themselves and have no family or friends to step up and take the lead. For example, Kathy’s parents and brother are deceased, and though she has one aunt in Brevard County, the older woman is unable to look after her niece.

Full Article and Source:
Wards of the State Depend on Their Guardian Angels

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

San Jose: Appeals Court Justice Accuses Local Estate Trustee of "Feeding Frenzy"

Accusing a local trustee of engaging in a "feeding frenzy," an appeals court justice Thursday expressed outrage over a case that has brought widespread attention to excessive fees plundering the estates of elderly and disabled adults.

Private estate manager Thomas Thorpe of Los Gatos charged a brain-injured San Jose man $108,771 after just 4½ months' work -- and then billed him more than twice that much in a legal battle to defend his fees.

"What did he contribute to the whole process? For the $100,000, could you give me one example?" Justice Franklin Elia demanded of Thorpe's attorney, Ellyn Nesbit. "Give me a $20,000 example!"

At the rate Thorpe and his lawyers were running up bills in 2010, Elia said, there would soon be nothing left of 37-year-old Danny Reed's $653,000 in life savings.

"Ultimately, it became a feeding frenzy," the justice said.

In their first appearance before the 6th District Court of Appeal, lawyers on both sides of Reed's case made oral arguments Thursday, but a decision is not expected for weeks.

Reed's plight was first publicized in this newspaper in July to illustrate how some Silicon Valley estate managers and their attorneys have charged extraordinary rates as trustees and conservators appointed by Santa Clara County Superior Court judges.

After Thorpe submitted his $108,771 bill for a judge's approval, Reed challenged the fees in court. That led to $261,878 in additional charges for Thorpe and his attorneys to defend the original bill.

Full Article and Source:
San Jose: Appeals Court Justice Accuses Local Estate Trustee of 'Feeding Frenzy'

See Also:
San Jose:Judge Rejects Nearly $30,000 Attorney Fee to Disabled Man's Trust