Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Former Wards of Thieving Conservator Face New Troubles in Court

In the 29 years since Keith Adams came under court protection as a vulnerable adult, the mishandling of his assets is an “outrage,” according to his sister.

“My family has legitimate concerns that it could happen again,” says Cindy Coffin of Rosemount.

The trouble began in 2005 when a professional conservator who was appointed by the court to manage Adams’ finances stole $30,000 from him. Then he was left in limbo after the next professional conservator was sent to federal prison for stealing from other clients.

Now his latest conservator has been accused by federal authorities and state auditors of charging clients improper or unreasonably high fees for many routine tasks.

For years judges turned to Stephen Grisham and his now-defunct firm, Alternate Decision Makers Inc. (ADMI), to take on complicated cases, including those mishandled by previous conservators. That ended in late 2013, after Grisham admitted to stealing $160,000 from some clients to fund his gambling habit.

ADMI collapsed, leaving the courts scrambling for replacement conservators and guardians for scores of its former clients. The continuing concerns with the companies that replaced ADMI demonstrate the difficulties the court system faces supervising professionals and then repairing problems when things go wrong — problems that threaten to swamp the court as it braces for a predicted tsunami of dementia cases among aging baby boomers.

“Our system is sorely lacking,” said Jill Adkins, an attorney specializing in elder law with Gries, Lenhardt, Allen in St. Michael. “I tell all of my clients that the last thing you ever want is to end up in a court guardianship or conservatorship. There are things that can go wrong at every step.”

Full Article and Source:
Former Wards of Thieving Conservator Face New Troubles in Court

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