Thursday, December 18, 2014

Congratulations to 2015 duPont Award Winner WFTS Tampa for: Incapicated: Florida's Guardianship Program

WFTS-TV, Tampa

Incapacitated: Florida's Guardianship Program

An investigative team uncovers rampant abuse and fraud by court appointed guardians

WFTS-TV’s ABC Action News I-Team zealously followed up on a tip by launching an in-depth
Incapacitated_florida_s_guardianship_program-_dupont_awardsinvestigation into Florida’s court-appointed guardianship program, which affects tens of thousands of people. The resulting series of reports exposed astonishing stories of elderly people stripped of their rights and property by self-serving “guardians.” Their homes, personal property and vehicles were often sold for a small percentage of their actual worth and then resold by guardians’ friends for huge profits. The team first followed 99-year-old Willi Berchau, who had been locked into a dementia ward after being determined “incapacitated’ three times by panels hired by the court. It was immediately clear that Berchau was not incapacitated, but was an intelligent, alert remarkable man. The reporters searched through records, spoke with family members and confronted some of the guardians with clear evidence of their misdeeds. As a result, this summer a new guardianship reform bill led to legislative changes to help protect others. 
Adam Walser, investigative reporter; Fran Gilpin, investigative producer; Randy Wright, I-Team photographer; Doug Iten, executive producer of Special Reports.

2015 DuPont Awards
Note:  NASGA congratulates Investigative Reporter Adam Walser and the fantastic staff of the ABC Action News I-Team for this prestigious award and we extend our deepest gratitude for their hard-hitting investigative series on the subject of guardianship abuse.   

The power of the press not only freed wrongfully guardianized  Willi Berchau, but it informed the unwary public who may not have ever heard of adult guardianship abuse, and now - thanks to this fine reporting, can take measures to protect themselves.  Thank you, ABC Action News I-Team!


Anonymous said...

Congratulations! You guys deserve this award!

Betty said...

I love the I-Team!

Mary said...

Way to go!

Jeannie said...

It was a fantastic series and not only did it gain a lot of attention, but it freed Willie Berchau - a miracle.

You deserve every bit of this award.

Finny said...

This is wonderful news and I am so glad for Adam Walser and his crew. I can't remember how many stories they did, but it seems like there might have been as many as ten. And the new one the other day. I'm just pleased as punch for them!

Yvette said...

Congratulations threefold!

Sylvia Rudek said...

Congratulations! Adam Walser for making a difference locally and on the national level. No doubt Willi Berchau would not be free enjoying his life without your help and assistance in the search for the truth.

"The duPont-Columbia Awards honor outstanding broadcast, digital and documentary journalism. We look for excellent reporting in the public service, evidence of commitment to important stories and innovative storytelling."


Entries are reviewed by a Board of Screeners, many of whom are past duPont Award winners. The Board of Screeners refer the best programs to the duPont Jury. Winners are selected by the jury in the fall.

The awards are presented at Columbia University in January.

Anonymous said...

You are heroes . Angels