Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Guardianships: A Broken Trust: Gwen Batson: Savitt Clears House With Husband's Order

In a case The Post wrote about in April, [Elizabeth] Savitt along with attorney Sheri Hazeltine — who represents Savitt in many cases — hauled out belongings from Gwendolyn Batson’s Lake Worth home. Photos show they took nearly everything but the chandelier. Wearing badges with the word “guardian,” they invoked an order signed by Judge Colin, witnesses told The Post.

Colin’s order appointed Batson’s brother and sister-in-law as emergency temporary guardians for Batson in late January 2012, court records show. That decision would be oreversed by a successor judge, but not before Savitt and Hazeltine in mid-February broke the lock on the home that Batson lived in and seized all of the belongings.

It turned out the home and much of the property seized didn’t belong to Batson but to restaurateur Skender Hoti, a Kosovo native who had taken care of Batson for decades. To get appointed emergency temporary guardian, Batson’s brother, Kenneth Davis, claimed Hoti had taken financial advantage of his sister. Colin agreed, noting in his order that immediate action needed to be taken to safeguard Batson’s belongings.

But if Hoti was taking advantage of Batson, it was a long con. Their relationship spanned decades. She traveled to Kosovo to attend his wedding and was a fixture at Hoti’s Lake Worth restaurant, Little Italy. Hoti claimed the guardianship was a means for Davis to seize his sister’s properties.

Davis used Colin’s order — employing the judge’s wife to help — to seize all the possessions in the home where his sister lived.

Elizabeth Savitt
As Savitt and others moved items into a truck, Hoti called sheriff’s deputies who stopped them. The two argued that they had authority from Judge Colin but the deputies said the order was insufficient, that they needed what is called a writ of possession.

Hoti said he saw Savitt scream at deputies: “You can’t do that. I’m a judge’s wife. I’m Judge Colin’s wife."

Three days after the seizure of Hoti’s property, Colin recused himself from the case.

Savitt wasn’t Batson’s guardian, yet Judge French approved paying her $1,500 of Batson’s money. The clerk questioned the expenditure more than a year after the house was cleared out and then Savitt submitted a bill, court documents show.

Hoti said even though deputies made them return his possessions, he later found valuables missing: jewelry, firearms and about $18,000 in cash.

Full Article and Source:
Gwen Batson:  Savitt Clears House With Husband's Order

1 comment:

Betty said...

It makes me want to cry. I'm reading all these stories at one time and together they are overwhelming.