Saturday, December 27, 2008


Florida law does not permit appointment of a foreign guardian who is not a family member, yet that’s exactly what North Carolina imposed upon this innocent and defenseless lady. The foreign guardian, appointed without due process by a Superior Court clerk, incarcerated Hazel in a 32-bed facility in Port Charlotte, Florida, without good cause or necessity. The same clerk later refused to hear evidence on her financial abuses. He expressly allowed this stranger to rip Hazel from a loving, stable and stimulating environment with her daughter in Asheville, NC. The relocation was against the advice of Hazel’s court-appointed guardian ad litem, doctors, day care case manager, her sister, her brother, her brother-in-law, another caregiver/friend, and of course, repeated pleas of Hazel’s daughter. Hazel’s daughter even asked to be allowed to care for her mother in Hazel’s own Florida home without any compensation. Her daughter was willing to give up her home and career, so Hazel would not have to go to a facility. Why should Hazel be “warehoused” when she has willing and able family or friends to care for her. The response: “Denied.”

Despite a successful appeal against such order, reversing for “prejudicial error,” the clerk’s office ignored the appeal ruling upon remand, even after the guardian ad litem testified that moving Hazel would be a violation of the guardian’s fiduciary duty, was against the public policies of NC for in-state and non-facility confinement, and was grounds for the guardians’ removal. Hazel’s “institutional confinement” also contravenes the 1999 US Supreme Court case, Olmstead v. L.C., as well as the stated legislative intent in two states and Florida’s statutory prerequisites for facility confinement.

The guardian has total control of Hazel’s estate which was worth $450,000 in January 2006. The guardian testified in December 2006 that Hazel’s assets were worth $300,000-350,000. The clerk made no inquiry about this extraordinary loss of value. The guardian would not let Hazel’s daughter into her mother’s home to retrieve Hazel’s most precious property. So, Hazel’s property (including Florida homestead property with no mortgage) is essentially gone. The guardian hired attorneys in two states to maintain her powers and Hazel’s assets pay them. Hazel does not have a lawyer since the guardian successfully argued to a Florida judge that Hazel is “incompetent” so cannot “hire” one, even if the attorney serves pro bono. Although this guardian consistently acts in conflict of interest with Hazel’s interests, her appointment continues although statute and case law authorizes her “removal.”

The Florida Dept of Children and Family Services (DCF) is aligned with the guardian since the 20th Judicial Circuit Court has “regularly appointed” her for about 18 years. There can be no “elder abuse” if the court authorizes the guardian to act, notwithstanding the lack of meaningful scrutiny. She is under no obligation to maximize Hazel’s resources. This guardian is the president of a corporation (for administering guardianships), even though “appointed” individually, has admitted going to court hundreds of times, and has told Hazel’s daughter that she never loses and the court does whatever she wants.


Anonymous said...

This story tugs at the heart and also also turns the stomach.

We come to an age in our life when we should be protecting our parents. The inability to do so because of a corrupt and hungry for money system tears us apart.

If we don't stop guardianship abuse, it's not going to stop. We must continue to shout until we achieve reform!

Anonymous said...

Another sad case of the court doing whatever it wants, completely ignoring the ward's best interest.

Anonymous said...

These cruel, greedy people hae their eyes on US~!