Saturday, March 7, 2015

Adult Children's Applications For Guardianship Do Not Guarantee Justice For The Elderly

NEW YORK (MainStreet) — By the time my 80-year-old father, James Fairley, boarded a flight to New York City in October 2014, the probate court in Bexar County had dismissed my guardianship application.

That's not surprising given the fact that some 37% of judges, court managers and clerks who responded to a Center for Elders and the Courts survey revealed that guardianship filings have increased over the last three years and 43% noted an increase in caseloads.

Judge Tom Rickhoff wrote in his decision that he did not have jurisdiction to require evaluation by a gastroenterologist or pulmonologist.

I was thoroughly exhausted with the pricey Morningside Manor Assisted Living Facility and the Veteran’s Administration’s (VA) Audie Murphy Geriatric Clinic in Texas, where supervising physicians had refused to acknowledge or treat my father's significant weight loss and persistent congested cough.

"A caregiver's refusal to allow visitors is a red flag," said Kerry Peck, attorney with Peck Bloom and author of Alzheimer's and the Law (ABA Book Publishing, 2013). "Dehydration, unusual weight loss, poor hygiene and unsafe living conditions are others."

Once my father was safely settled in my comfortable Manhattan apartment, I secured referrals from a primary care physician on 5th Avenue and set up appointments for him with specialists that were covered by his generous private health insurance.

I avoided the VA Hospital on 23rd Street and First Avenue due to reports that the FBI had opened a criminal investigation of these hospitals after many veterans had died while waiting for medical treatment.

Our first stop was Lenox Hill Hospital  for an X-ray to rule out pneumonia.

Pulmonologist Dr. Diego Diaz examined my father’s nasal passages and found that the persistent cough and congestion was caused by a sinus infection and/or drip. The doctor prescribed a nasal spray called Flutinase and over the counter tablets called Coricidin.

We subsequently visited Mt. Sinai Cardiologist Dr. Nicholas DuBois who updated my father’s blood pressure medication by stopping Lasix and prescribing the higher quality Losartan to replace Lisinopril.

The cardiologist also scheduled cardio exams. Between Aetna, Tricare and Medicare, he received 100% coverage for this superior care by not only Dr. DuBois and Dr. Diaz but also gastroenterologist Dr. David Borcich who replaced his prescription for Omneprazole with liquid Carafate.

Within six weeks of living with me, my father was back to his normal happy self with a healthy appetite and positive outlook on life.

The congestion in his chest cleared up, the coughing stopped, he slowly began eating again and looked forward to socializing with other elderly veterans at the Stein Senior Center on East 23 Street. All was well until an appointment at the New York Eye and Ear Infirmary of Mount Sinai that confirmed my suspicion that my father was in fact partially blind.

My father reported that receiving his eye drops was hit or miss back at Morningside Manor in Texas and without receiving medication twice a day, his glaucoma had advanced.

Thinking that I would have better luck with the New York court system in securing guardianship, I filed an application on October 31 as suggested by my attorney.

However, against my father’s wishes, the Judge at 60 Centre Street ordered that my father be returned to Texas despite letters and an affidavit from his New York cardiologist, his primary care physician and pulmonologist stating that his care had greatly improved as a result of my efforts.

"Family members are often pushed aside based solely on allegations or innuendos of theft without any formal police charges or proper investigation," said Elaine Renoire, president of the National Association to Stop Guardianship Abuse in Indiana."

What I have learned is that finding justice and adequate medical care for the neglected and abused elderly is not guaranteed in probate court regardless of the state or region and that trying to protect your aging parent can in some cases backfire. 

Full Article & Source:
Adult Children's Applications For Guardianship Do Not Guarantee Justice For The Elderly

Secret daughter in will fight

Olivia Mead -
Picture: Mogens Johansen/The West Australian

The secret daughter of billionaire mining heir Michael Wright has launched an extraordinary contest against his will, claiming she should be provided with a $2.5 million house, a $250,000 diamond-studded bass guitar and a $1.2 million crystal-encrusted grand piano - as well as every other expense she incurs until age 96.

Student Olivia Mead, 19, was yesterday revealed in WA's Supreme Court as the previously unknown daughter of Mr Wright, who was the son of mining magnate Peter Wright and owned the Voyager Estate winery. He died in 2012 with an estimated family fortune of $2.7 billion.

Ms Mead is suing the estate of Mr Wright, as well as his two other daughters Leonie Baldock and Alexandra Burt and the Voyager business, claiming she has been left "without adequate provision" in her father's will.

That will bequested her a $3 million trust fund when she turns 30, as well as an allowance for the intervening years.

But on the first day of a civil trial, the court was told of the astonishing list of items she now claims she is entitled to from the Wright estate. The list includes provision for clothes, shoes, restaurant meals, holidays and bills for the next 77 years.

The statement of claim filed with the court, and pored over in detail by Wright family lawyer Jane Needham, includes a Kuhn-Bosendorfer art case piano - which is inlaid with more than 200 hand-cut pieces of lead crystal in diamond patterns on the case, lid, legs and fallboard - valued at $1.5 million.

Mining heir and owner of Voyager Estate Winery, the late Michael Wright.

Ms Mead said she would need a Ritter Royal Flora Aurum bass guitar - which has a nut made out of 10,000-year-old Siberian mammoth ivory, 24-carat gold inlay and knobs topped with 3.3 carat diamonds - valued at $250,000.

It was also claimed she would need a $2.5 million house, to be refurbished twice at a cost of $500,000, five pairs of $5000 shoes a year, 20 pairs of $300 shoes a year, $40,000 a year for holidays, two cars, $10,000 a year for handbags and fashion accessories and $2014 a year to keep an axolotl - a salamander also known as a Mexican walking fish.

She is also claiming $300 a week for clothes, $800 a week for food and alcohol, $400 a week for restaurant bills and $150 a week for fine wine - all for life.

Sometimes in tears, Ms Mead explained that despite a hoped-for career in public relations, the claimed expenses should be provided by the estate of her late father. "I looked at my needs, how I want to start a family, and what I'd like to do with my life," Ms Mead explained.

But Ms Needham accused her of "thinking of every possible thing you might possibly want and putting it down" in order to inflate the claim against the will.

"There is no lifestyle you are considering that you would need five pairs of $5000 shoes every year for the rest of your life," she said.

Master Craig Sanderson will be asked to rule on the claim, after a trial expected to last a week.

Full Article & Source:
Secret daughter in will fight

San Mateo County Commission on Aging Produces Play About Elder Abuse

WHO: California Department on Aging, Adult Abuse Prevention Committee (AAPC), a standing committee of the San Mateo County Commission on Aging, and San Mateo County Aging and Adult Services.

WHAT: “Making the Invisible Visible,” produced by the Adult Abuse Prevention Committee to build awareness about elder abuse in San Mateo County, is a play illustrating the financial and emotional abuse from a son who takes advantage of his elderly mother. Actors are all volunteers who live in San Mateo County, selected through auditions held by the AAPC. The oldest actor is Marvin Goldman, 93, who plays the role of the son. Audience members are encouraged to participate in a post-performance discussion about elder abuse issues.

Sunday, March 1, 2015, 11:45 a.m. to 1:15 p.m.
Congregational Church of San Mateo
225 Tilton Avenue
San Mateo, CA

Thursday, March 12, 2015, 12:45 to 2:15 p.m.
Pacifica Community Center
540 Crespi Drive @ Hwy 1
Pacifica, CA

Friday, June 5, 2015, 10:30 a.m. to 12 p.m.
San Bruno Senior Center
1555 Crystal Springs Road San Bruno, CA

Performances are FREE
“Making the Invisible Visible,” performed as an improvisational play by a cast of San Mateo County residents for the first time in June 2014, originated as an idea of the Adult Abuse Prevention Committee of the San Mateo County Commission on Aging. The goal was to present the concept of elder abuse and what it can look like. AAPC partnered with play director Eyal Rabinovitch, who directs the theater program of the Peninsula Conflict Resolution Center, to train all the volunteer actors in theatrical techniques. The script is a composite of the actor’s own experiences with elder abuse.

“AAPC decided as a whole to produce the play because it sounded like a completely different and exciting way to reach out and build awareness around elder abuse in San Mateo County and try to prevent it,” said Melodie Lew, AAPC committee chair. “We hope the power of the production moves those who attend, to talk to other people and make them aware.”

Protecting older adults and combatting elder abuse are goals for San Mateo County government in 2015 and have been identified as priority areas for Measure A funding by the County of San Mateo Board of Supervisors.

“Financial abuse often goes unreported,” said Supervisor Adrienne Tissier, who represents the Board of Supervisors on the San Mateo County Commission on Aging. “Bringing awareness about elder abuse to all ages is an important step in making the public aware that this is a widespread problem and not always physical.”

Full Article & Source:
San Mateo County Commission on Aging Produces Play About Elder Abuse

Friday, March 6, 2015

The Vegas Voice, Rana Goodman: Private Guardians vs Family

Rana Goodman,
Political Editor
I would like to give you a brief update on the people I wrote about last month. One is great news, the other, not so much.

If you recall, I wrote of a veteran who had been hospitalized for a short time in California.

He came home and discovered his wife had been placed under the care of a private guardian she neither needed nor wanted. Legal action was instituted after several attempts to rid themselves of the private guardian failed.
Within days after our February “Special Edition” about private guardianships came out, the vet’s attorney was contacted with an offer to drop the opposition’s legal fees from $14,000 to fees from $14,000 to $5,000 – and more importantly, no more guardianship authority or control. A victory indeed.

I’m sorry to say the other family we featured (who were legally kidnapped one evening by their guardian) has not fared as well.

Last month, they were moved from an assisted living facility to a much smaller one. The couple went from a two room apartment to sharing one tiny room.

Visitation with their only child had been limited by their guardian and the mother ended up in the hospital where she currently remains. Her daughter also was hospitalized and is now slowly recovering. Our prayers go out to them and we hope the family can have some semblance of unity soon.

In the interviews we conducted over the past few weeks, I thought about what the “experts” had to say.

Although some of the people were well-meaning, it still hit me that most of the time, the assumption was that the family member was always looking for a way to abuse or steal from the senior, and the guardians were always good and caring.

I feel certain that most of us were raised to honor and respect our elders and we do just that. I believe there are far more people that have cared for their parents and family members (as I have) and, as in the case of child abuse, elder abusers are the minority among family members.

Full Article and Source:

The Vegas Voice: Special Report Part II -GUARDIANSHIP: Now Get Angry!

See Also:
The Vegas Voice - Rana Goodman:  What Would You Do?

Ask the Lawyer: How can I learn more about a bad lawyer?

Q: My father died almost a year ago and we are very upset with a lawyer hired by the family to handle his estate. How do we find out about his background?
— M.R., Carson

A: On the website of the California State Bar (, go to the attorney search box at the top left of the page and type in the lawyer’s name. If you click on your lawyer’s name, you should see a summary about him. Toward the bottom of the page should be a section titled “Actions Affecting Eligibility to Practice Law.” If the attorney has ever been disciplined, suspended or the like, this will provide basic information.

You also can write to the State Bar for paperwork. Mail your written request to: State Bar Court, Discipline Copies, 845 S. Figueroa St., Los Angeles, CA 90017-2515. Provide the attorney’s name and, if possible, bar number. There is a charge of 50 cents per page, a certification fee of $1, and file retrieval fee (if any) of $3. You can also contact 213-765-1400 for further instructions. Finally, if you call at least 24 hours in advance to make an appointment, you can set up a review of the file in person.

Q: I hear a lot of people complaining about lawyers — he didn’t do this, she didn’t do that, calls not returned, overcharges, etc. Just what does attorney malpractice consist of?
— J.H., Hermosa Beach

A: Professional people — doctors, lawyers, contractors, automobile mechanics and the like — have a duty to be careful and to perform their work consistent with the standards of that particular industry. If their work falls below the standards, and that conduct causes harm to a customer, malpractice may have occurred: a lawyer misses a statute of limitations; a doctor prescribes the right medication but gives the patient the wrong one; a contractor fails to secure the floor properly; an auto mechanic fails to fix the brakes correctly.

Not all mistakes are malpractice. A lawyer not returning calls might not be malpractice; it just might be bad, unacceptable practice. Some conduct by lawyers may be unethical, but also might not be malpractice. An example would be failing to turn over the client’s file. If failing to do so prevented the client from taking required actions, and the client was harmed, malpractice might then be a viable claim as well. Typically, before launching a malpractice action, it is important if not critical to have someone well qualified go over what happened to help determine if malpractice with provable damages occurred.
Full Article & Source:
Ask the Lawyer: How can I learn more about a bad lawyer?

Bill to protect elderly from theft, abuse passes House

A measure aimed at limiting people’s ability to steal from or abuse vulnerable adults cleared the state House Monday.

House Bill 1316 would require people to be arrested without a warrant if they violate temporary protection orders banning them from contact with vulnerable adults, such as the elderly or disabled.

Pierce County Prosecutor Mark Lindquist said the change would prove particularly helpful when someone is suspected of gaining access to an infirm or elderly person’s bank account.

Right now, a victim or a victim’s family member can apply for a temporary protection order against someone they suspect of taking advantage of a vulnerable adult.

But it can take up to a few weeks for a court to hold a hearing determining whether a permanent protection order is warranted in such cases, Lindquist said. And during that waiting period, police are not able to arrest someone for violating the temporary court order unless they go to court and get a warrant – a process that also takes time, he said.

“We want to be able to move quickly before the bank account is bled dry,” Lindquist said.

Police are already able to arrest people without a warrant for violating a temporary protection order in domestic abuse cases. Lindquist said he thinks the same rules should apply to temporary orders protecting vulnerable adults.

The legislation, sponsored by Republican Rep. Melanie Stambaugh of Puyallup, passed the House 97-0 Monday.

“There is a serious oversight in current law, where those who are susceptible to abuse are not protected,” Stambaugh said in a statement. “This bill is a critical step in preventing abuse of the elderly, and I was happy to see it pass the House unanimously.”

Lindquist said an increasing number of elder abuse cases in Pierce County now involve financial harm rather than physical harm.

Of the 70 elder abuse cases Lindquist’s office prosecuted in 2014, more than half involved financial fraud, he said.
ead more here:

Full Article & Source:
Bill to protect elderly from theft, abuse passes House

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Throw Back Thursday from 2009: Is Kathleen Simane Now Kathy Larson?

NASGA recently received a comment to a post from July 22, 2009 which reminded us that every once in a while, we should participate in "Throw Back Thursdays."

The comment: Anonymous said...
"This diabolical person, whose name I don't want coming out of my mouth, has bullied and harassed her neighbors and landlords and people she barely knows. There is a path of devastation and chaos, with numerous victims in Minnesota, wherever K.S. goes. Her pattern is very predictable- if you challenge her, question her or tell her NO, she files a restraining order on you with false claims or she files an erroneous police report against you.  Filing restraining orders all willy nilly would be quite costly for the average person. Is she using the welfare system to her advantage? Perhaps.

I believe there is a bright side to everything. I am sincerely happy that a number of her victims have found each other. This site has proved immensely helpful in getting all the victims together. Please if you have any dealings with her, beware and be aware. One second you think she would never hurt you, the next second she is calling law enforcement because she says you have threatened her life. I heard her say in court that Sundowner Retrievers is NOT a business. Why lie about a business you are promoting? Why does she have recent ads promoting the business via the internet and her newly improved advertising on the truck? What is the reason she lies about Sundowner Retrievers? Fraud?

She is a con artist that does not care who she hurts or what she lies about. I used to be surprised that Greg Larson stayed with her through all the drama that she fabricates. Either he has the same criminal mind or he knows what she is capable of and is afraid of her...?" 

The original post:

From TV to Prison

Elder Abuse: A Silent Shame

Award Winning Newspaper

ASA Honors Elder Abuse Series

Elder Abuser Series Honored

Profile of a Sociopath

Is Kathleen Simane Now Kathy Larson?

See Also:
Helen Fabis, Wisconsin Victim

Bradenton attorney reprimanded by state

TALLAHASSEE -- The Florida Supreme Court has suspended a Bradenton attorney's license for three years and a Sarasota attorney's for 90 days, according to the Florida Bar

Richard Lee Buckle was suspended three years retroactive to April 28, 2014, following a Jan. 27 court order. Buckle was admitted to practice in 1973.

According to a news release from the Florida Bar, Buckle sought to have a judge removed from his case by filing a frivolous motion for appointment of a new judge on the eve of his trial. He impugned the judge’s qualifications and integrity, and in his motion, knowingly disparaged the judge based on ethnicity, gender, religion, marital status and perceived sexual orientation, the release states.

Also, Andre Keith Roger Charbonneau of Sarasota was suspended 90 days, effective 30 days from a Jan. 22 court order. He was admitted to practice in 1999.

According to the Bar, Charbonneau received money from his aunt to purchase a home. When filling out the loan application, he indicated the money was a gift from his aunt, who also signed a gift letter. After closing on the house, Charbonneau signed a note indicating the money was a loan, as his family now indicated he needed to repay the monies, the news release states.

Charbonneau never took steps to notify the lender of the change, the release states. Later, Charbonneau filed for bankruptcy and did not list his aunt as a creditor. Charbonneau subsequently revised the bankruptcy petition to correctly include his aunt.

The Florida Supreme Court in recent court orders disciplined 26 attorneys, disbarring four, suspending 17 and publicly reprimanding five. Four attorneys received more than one form of discipline. Two were placed on probation and two were ordered to pay restitution.
Read more here:

Full Article & Source:
Bradenton attorney reprimanded by state

Is That Really a Five-Star Nursing Home?

Consumers will be able to get more accurate ratings of nursing homes under a revised system that the federal government put into effect on Friday.

The change is a step toward ensuring that a five-star rating really means that the home provides exemplary service and is not simply inflating its scores by lying about its performance. Perhaps, not surprisingly, the overall ratings of nearly a third of the nation’s nursing homes dropped under the new rules.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services uses three main criteria — staffing levels, performance on certain quality measures, and annual inspections by state and federal inspectors — to rate homes from one to five stars over all and on each of the three categories separately. The results are posted on its Nursing Home Compare website. The old system relied heavily on self-reporting by the nursing homes of their staff-to-patient ratios and their quality measures. As The Times reported in August, even homes with a history of serious problems received high ratings based on their unverified self-evaluations.

The rule changes were aimed primarily at the recalibrating the quality-of-care measures, such as the percentage of patients with new or worsened pressure sores and the percentage of patients who report severe or moderate pain. The system still relies on self-evaluations of quality, but it raises the bar on an array of these measures, thus making it harder to get top ratings.

It also added new measures on the use of anti-psychotic drugs, reflecting concerns that some homes overmedicate patients to make them easier to manage. And it adjusts mathematical steps used to calculate staffing ratios. Before the change, about 80 percent of the nation’s nursing homes received a four- or five-star rating on their quality measures; afterward, about 49 percent did. The number receiving only one star for quality rose to 13 percent after the recalibration, from 8.5 percent. Two-thirds of the homes dropped stars from previous ratings.

Although the nursing homes will still be evaluating their own quality, the federal government will have state agencies conduct on-site surveys starting this year to check on the accuracy of quality statistics at a sample of homes across the nation. It is imperative that those surveys be as rigorous as possible to help determine if even stronger measures are needed.

Perhaps the most important improvement is that by the end of 2016, the government will require all nursing homes to report staffing levels — an important determinant of quality — every quarter, using an electronic system that can be verified with payroll data. That will be a far more objective measure than unverifiable self-reports.

Full Article & Source:
Is That Really a Five-Star Nursing Home?

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

The Vegas Voice: Special Report, Part II, GUARDIANSHIP - NOW GET ANGRY!

"You’re my last hope. Please help me."

I can repeat the words, and even detail the chilling circumstances of this person who called Rana to discuss her guardianship nightmare. But I will never be able to adequately convey the fear and desperation fin the caller’s voice.

Last month, The Vegas Voice published its “Special Report” concerning the Nevada guardianship laws. The response has been overwhelming and unprecedented.

Political Editor Rana Goodman and yours truly did not know what to expect from our articles, although we anticipated that the private guardian backlash would be intense and fierce.

While we were indeed inundated from just about everybody – no one said we were wrong.

No one.

There were a few: “Yes, the guardianship laws need to be reformed, but...”

However there was not a single attorney, not a government official, nor a private for-profit guardian that disputed the contents of what we reported.

I know what you’re thinking – perhaps the private guardian industry has no idea what was in The Vegas Voice and therefore couldn’t object or defend their actions.

Believe me, they all knew. ...And then there was that anonymous mass email sent by a private guardian advising his fellow guardians in part: “It appears that the victims are finally joining ranks and exposing some of our issues. Time to clean up our ranks."


See Also:
The Vegas Voice:  Guardianship:  A Legal Sham and Disgrace

The Vegas Voice: Proposed Nevada Reforms

Rana and I will be making the rounds to our legislature in Carson City.

Dan Roberts
We promise to let you know which of our elected officials will step-up and help.

We also promise to let you know which blow us off.

The Vegas Voice has proposed five very simple, easy reforms that would resolve a great deal of this guardianship scandal.

They are:
1. Repeal the requirement that a family member must be a resident of Nevada to be appointed as a guardian.
2. Family members and/or those named in a power of attorney, joint bank account, trust or will be given preferential standing over a private guardian in the appointment of a guardian.
3. Establish a cost effective, transparent and consistent process to define the mental competency of the senior. A neurologist in conjunction with the senior’s primary physician should be required for guardianship to be approved.
4. Mandate a complete and accurate initial inventory of all assets, as well as quarterly filing of all financial expenditures - with enforcement penalties for non-compliance.
5. Establish an independent commission or authority to audit and enforce financial accountability of the senior’s estate once any guardian is appointed.

Full Article and Source:
The Vegas Voice: Special Report, Part II: Now Get Angry

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Mom accused of scamming daughter out of $48K trust fund

A city welfare worker scammed her own daughter out of a $48,000 trust fund left by her late father, who was tragically shot to death during a robbery in Florida in 2006, according to a new lawsuit.

Vanessa Nieves
“I want what’s mine,” fumed Vanessa Nieves, 21.

She learned late last year that her mother, Gloria Torres, allegedly tricked her into signing over the insurance money that she was supposed to receive at 18.

Nieves told Justice Rita Mella in Manhattan Surrogate’s Court on Friday that her mother presented her with documents in 2011. Torres convinced her daughter that the paperwork would simply freeze the account until she was 21, Nieves said.

Nieves agreed to sign the papers because she wanted to save the funds to pay for her education.

The Mercy College psych major told the judge, “I was under the impression that I was not closing the account, but extending it.”

Then in December, when she went to withdraw the funds from Chase Bank, she was told by a clerk that her mother had deposited the funds into her own account and closed her daughter’s account, according to a court statement by Nieves’ aunt Chassity Gonzalez.

Torres, who makes $35,000 a year as an eligibility specialist for the Human Resources Administration, was a no-show at court. “I refuse to give you any information,” Torres told The Post when contacted by telephone. The judge issued an order that Torres file paperwork within 30 days explaining what happened to her daughter’s money.

Full Article & Source:
Mom accused of scamming daughter out of $48K trust fund

Testimony begins in hearing on Judge Angela Stokes courtroom behavior

CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) - Opening statements in the disciplinary case against suspended Cleveland Municipal Court Judge Angela Stokes painted far different pictures of her work on the bench.

Attorney Robert Caligiuri of the Disciplinary Counsel told the three Judge panel, "When a person, any person walked into Judge Stokes courtroom 15C in Cleveland Municipal Court they walked into a different universe where rudeness, impatience, judicial incompetence, disrespect and disorder ruled the day." 

He used played video of Stokes berating an attorney in the following exchange, 'I am tired of this nonsense, you are out of order. You are out of order counsel. I gave your client a break by only ordering two days of this sentence into execution.'

The question before the Disciplinary Council is whether the behavior is abusive enough for Judge Stokes to be removed from the bench.

The strategy of Judge Stokes defense team seems to be that all the things the Disciplinary Council cites in it's complaint against her were secretly collected by Presiding Judge Ronald Adrine and his predecessor Judge Larry Jones and were part of a plot to get her off the bench.

Attorney Paul Daiker claims, "The evidence will show that Judge Adrine recruited and rewarded a number of individuals willing to bear false witness against Judge Stokes."

Judge Jones was the first witness saying he tried many times to have her correct her courtroom behavior saying, "It would work for two weeks, three weeks."  He says his concern was her treatment of others.  He cited several examples "leaving the court house at 6 o'clock, 7 o'clock, 8 o'clock and again it's unfair to them and also as I indicated it's unfair to the public."

Stokes law license is currently suspended temporarily. The panel hearing testimony will make a recommendation to the Ohio Supreme Court who will make a final decision.

Full Article, Video & Source:
Testimony begins in hearing on Judge Angela Stokes courtroom behavior

See Also:
Cleveland Municipal Judge Angela Stokes needs to surrender her gavel: editorial 

Cleveland Municipal Court Judge Angela Stokes barred from hearing criminal cases 

Cleveland Municipal Court Judge Angela Stokes says she will defend against court complaint recommending she undergo psych exam

WWII Veteran Louis J. Russo Battles for Justice at 96

The story of a 96 Year Old WWII Combat Veteran, his battle for dignity and justice, and those that would become his new family and his new alliance.

Operation Vet Fit founder and Veterans Advocate, US Marine Veterans, Daniel R. Gaita assist 96 year-old, WWII Combat Veterans Louis Russo during his Jan 28th, 2015 Probate Court Hearing. This video is a short segment from a 5 hour hearing.

Source: YouTube

Source:  YouTube

See Also:
WWII Veteran's Plight Brings Call for Probate Court Reform

Monday, March 2, 2015

The Vegas Voice: ON THE AIR

Steve Miller will be the guest on the VEGAS VOICE radio program Tuesday from 9 - 9:30 AM.  The subject will be the guardianship racket in Las Vegas, and its connection to the corrupt Clark County Family Court.

Steve Miller writes internationally syndicated columns on organized crime and political corruption for Rick Porrello's, The Vegas Voice, and the Canada Free Press.   

Visit Steve's Website

LISTEN to the show 
Tune in to 1230 AM in the Las Vegas area. 

A few of many articles written by Steve Miller and published on this blog:
'Jared E. Shafer's Bad Laws Legalize the Bilking of Las Vegas Retirees'

Private Guardians Jared E. Shafer and Patience Bristol Sue Blind Man for Libel, Now Ask Taxpayers to Pay the Bill

WW2 Hero Liberated From Exploiter/Guardian Jared Shafer, Celebrates New Year With Family

Nevada Guardian Patience Bristol Arraigned on Robbery Charges

New Lawsuit Filed Against Nevada "Guardians" Patience Bristol and Jared E. Shafer

The takeaway lesson on elder guardianship

Since this newspaper published "The Kindness of Strangers: Inside Florida's Elder Guardianship System" in early December, I've been overwhelmed by calls and emails asking for help, or intervention, or just a sympathetic ear.

I'm working my way through the backlog, while trying to farm out cases to journalists in other parts of the state and the nation. It's slow going, because these issues are complicated, and teasing out the truth takes more time than a lot of reporters have these days.

And this week's community forum on the topic, co-sponsored by the Herald-Tribune and Sarasota County Libraries, brought forth even more wrenching testimonials from individuals feeling frustrated by a system that was designed to protect adults no longer able to fend for themselves.

Their stories are sad. But maybe even sadder are the many instances where it turns out that the elder guardianship system is doing its job properly. These are the scenarios where strangers have no choice except to step in and make decisions that families and friends simply cannot.

Take the articulate woman who telephoned me regularly from a Sarasota assisted-living facility, saying she had been incarcerated against her will. She had moved here to be closer to her son, and her daughter in Arizona had placed her under guardianship. Her professional guardian allowed only very limited contact with the Sarasota son.

After speaking with both of them and reading some court filings, it did seem that this woman did not need to be locked away, and might be better off moving in with her Sarasota son and his wife, who said they were willing to care for her. But then I learned that this son had served time in federal prison for securities fraud.


I contacted another son, who lived out of town and was caught in his siblings’ crossfire.

"Regarding the public guardianship, it's expensive," he told me. "But when the family is dysfunctional, what choice do we really have? I attempted not to go this route by hiring a care manager. I really believe it would have worked out for some time, had my efforts been embraced by those that had her ear."

Then there was the charming gentleman from Colombia, who told me that when he was a patient at Sarasota Memorial Hospital, an elder law attorney had come into his room and pressured him to buy an annuity. Next thing he knew, he was under guardianship, his house was sold, and he was placed in an expensive facility that was draining his life savings.

I did some checking, and found that he had been taken by sheriff's deputies to Sarasota Memorial's behavioral health unit in November 2013. It was the second time that month they had been called to the home by neighbors, reports said, and they found him "hallucinating that there were people in his car and in his house and he needed help getting them out."

It was not until April the following year that the Department of Children and Families petitioned to place him under guardianship. This followed an incident where deputies reportedly found him in a Target parking lot, claiming that Hispanics had kidnapped him and driven him around all day.
After I asked him about these reports, the poor soul stopped calling me.

Our forum Thursday concentrated on legislative efforts to improve the necessary evil of elder guardianship, to try to make sure it is implemented only in cases like these, where other attempts to help have failed.

Bruce Robinson, MD
But most people in the audience had come to hear how they might avoid such a fate, and they got good advice from Bruce Robinson, chief of geriatrics at Sarasota Memorial: "Knowing that you may have a problem in later life, decide who you trust to tell you that you have a problem, and work with them to design a plan for how you want to be helped."

Hearing and reading all these sad stories has convinced me that the best hedge against having to depend on the kindness of strangers is to try to live your life according to an updated version of the Golden Rule:

Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.

Make sure they clearly understand what you would have them do.

And get it in writing.

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The takeaway lesson on elder guardianship

Fault Lines: Elderly Incorporated

Elder abuse and neglect is one of America’s fastest growing crimes targeting one of its most vulnerable populations. In long-term care facilities, cases are largely out of view and underreported. As a result, countless elderly victims are suffering alone in silence.

One in 3 patients are in facilities failing to meet basic care requirements, while more than $5 billion went to substandard homes in one year alone, according to the U.S. government. Many nursing homes reported staffing levels insufficient to provide adequate care, including some of the largest for-profit chains in the U.S., says one study. Enforcement agencies say they are limited by new budget cuts.

Fault Lines: Elderly Incorporated

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Prospect Park Residence owner to pay $750,000 in death of ‘kung-fu judge’

The embattled owner of a Park Slope assisted-living facility will pay $750,000 to the estate of a beloved Brooklyn judge, known for holding a black belt in karate, thanks to a settlement in a wrongful death lawsuit.

The suit claimed that Prospect Park Residence owner Haysha Deitsch was running a sham facility staffed by unlicensed nurses when Judge John Phillips stayed there, and that severe neglect led to his death at 83 in 2008.

The settlement is a grim victory, according to the lawyer representing Phillips’s nephew, Samuel Boykin.

 “No one’s cracking open champagne bottles,” said John O’Hara, a close friend of Phillips who delivered a eulogy at the judge’s funeral.

The out-of-court settlement came a week before the scheduled start of a jury trial in which Boykin was seeking $40 million in damages. In a complaint, Boykin and O’Hara accused the facility of failing to provide Phillips with a diabetic meal plan during his eight-month stay, keeping him in an unheated room in the dead of winter, and preventing friends and family from visiting him by citing a fictional court order, all the while lacking the required license to operate an assisted-living facility.

A 2012 inspection of the facility found that Deitsch was providing services to dependent and memory-impaired patients without the proper license to do so, a crime punishable by a fine of up to $1,000 for every day a facility continues to operate.

According to the lawsuit, Deitsch claimed for years that confining Phillips was justified by a court order, but was never able to produce the order. With no assisted-living license and no court order, Deitsch was nothing more than a landlord illegally isolating an elderly, vulnerable man, O’Hara said.

The settlement closes the long, sad saga of the so-called kung-fu judge, a landlord and popular civil-court judge elected without the support of the Brooklyn Democratic machine. Phillips was famed for demonstrating martial-arts moves from the bench, where he served for 17 years. He owned property in Bedford-Stuyvesant at a time when many — including Phillips — were nervous on the neighborhood’s crime-plagued streets, and he turned his Slave Theater into a hotbed of civil-rights activity in the 1980s.

Phillips was an opponent of former District Attorney Charles Hynes, and O’Hara, another foe of Brooklyn’s erstwhile top lawman, has long accused Hynes of railroading Phillips into state care and allowing court-appointed guardians to loot his estate.

Backing up O’Hara’s claims, a Los Angeles tax firm submitted a letter in court describing the ruinous impact of lost assets and rental revenue from Phillips’s properties, which were auctioned off one by one. According to a preliminary investigation by the firm, the judge’s estate lost between $20 million and $30 million from the time Hynes committed Phillips to guardianship in 2001 until his death in 2008.

In 2008, a state panel disbarred Emani Taylor, Phillips’s guardian from 2003 to 2006, for stealing $328,000 from the judge’s estate.

O’Hara claimed Deitsch agreed to the settlement in order to avoid a trial that would have unearthed unsavory details and political connections.

 “Deitsch confined Phillips because Hynes told him to, but they are never going to say that,” he said. “I never got an answer to how he was able to confine him without a court order. We got $750,000 instead.”

A lawyer for Deitsch did not return requests for comment.

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Prospect Park Residence owner to pay $750,000 in death of ‘kung-fu judge’