Saturday, February 23, 2008

In Memoriam - Grace Connors

Grace Connors
July 17, 1921 – October 13, 2006

Grace Connors graduated from West Pittston High School and was a member of Immaculate Conception Church, West Pittston, PA.

She was beautiful inside and out, devoted to her family and lived an active life, supporting political campaigns, pursuing a strong appreciation for the arts and attending to her civic duties. She was a coordinator for the Red Cross during the flood of 1972. She was an officer of the retired National Association of Federal Employees Union, Pittston Chapter.

Tragically, Mom suffered horribly and needlessly the last five years of her life under unlawful public guardianship through the County Orphans Court, which was in appeal when she died.

For over 2 ½ years, I was not allowed to visit her at the nursing facility holding her captive. During this time, Mom, suffering from dementia, thought I deserted her and did not love her anymore. (Under my one on one care with unlimited medical/health resources, her dementia had improved and further improvement was expected until the unlawful guardianship claimed dominion over her completely thereby enforcing a slow but steady decline.) By the time these brief and regulated visits were allowed, my Mom had deteriorated so much, I did not recognize her.

Because her family was her first priority, the court’s ordered isolation with only limited contact with her granddaughter and only in the office of the corporate nursing facility under supervision, was so very punitive to her.

The closer we got to appeal date, the quicker she declined as the alleged guardian, kept relating that Mom was dying for several months. In spite of being told, allegedly by the so called guardian, that "your daughter is selling your house out from under you" (totally false), Mom only believed her for a day or so and then be right back to talking positively about me. Near the end, when the alleged public guardian agency was becoming fearful of a wrongful death suit, I was offered the guardianship.

Mom was a strong and determined woman but she could not hold out long enough to regain her freedom and rights --- both unlawfully stolen from her. She held on as long as she could but in the end, her only release --- her freedom was gained by her death. She was dehydrated and starved to death after all of her teeth were removed; she died skin and bones after we were forbidden to give her water when she asked for it.

She was my best friend. She was a loving wife and mother, a kind person, and followed the law and advice from AARP, attorneys, etc. by making a Durable Power of Atty. and designating me as her atty.-in-fact, which she never revoked. She had Long Term Care Insurance, etc. My father was a WWII veteran; they paid all their taxes and lived honest good lives instilling the same values in their children.

The court used no evidence -- only hearsay, to destroy and punish her with the orders that benefited only corporate interests, and some "good ole boys and girls" at the expense of her, her legacy, her family and the taxpayers/citizens.

I am compelled to speak, write and inform citizens of this atrocity in the hope that enough exposure of such heinous predatory hidden practices can be stopped by public outcry and action. I will be forever affected by the long term trauma & loss that was unimaginable as an American citizen.

In addition to her husband, James G. Connors, who died in 1986, she was preceded in death by her daughter, Patricia Connors, who also died in 1986. She is survived by her daughter, Mary Claire, and granddaughter, Keely, who miss her more every day until they meet again in spirit. It is part of Mom's legacy to have her and our suffering and losses count for something.
~Mary Connors

See also:
Elders Beware: Ward of the State

Mom's wishes ignored: Daughter questions guardian change by judge

We're powerless despite following rules, say kin

Epidemic Guardianship Horrors

Petition to Strike as Unlawful and Invalid Certain Guardianship Appointments

Family Service Assoc. of WY Valley has registered guardians with National Guardianship Association

Friday, February 22, 2008

Red Flag Warning Signs

There are always warning signs about BAD guardians.....we usually just don't see them until it's too late. Here are some red flag warning signs from NASGA members or victims of guardianship / conservatorship abuse:

1. When you ask the guardian questions, you receive dishonest answers, answers you know are false.

2. A distant relative is the first person to arrive in an emergency situation. This person is too willing, too eager and too happy to help.

3. Absolute arrogance in the guardian's voice making sure that you know he/she has taken over and is in charge - not you.

4. Your family member does not have access to their own telephone, or any outside communication.

5. When you try to visit the family member, you are not allowed to take them from the facility, not even for lunch, by order of the guardian.

6. You no longer have access to any financial information.

7. The guardian's background - a lawyer and/or a professional killer of wildlife, a fish & game commissioner. Disrespectful - above all.

8. An attorney recommends a guardian and gives you the name of a guardianship attorney or guardianship agency. "If an attorney (even one you trust) says anything about a guardian, conservator, mediator, trustee, or by any other name that indicates a stranger to the family who could "help the situation", DO NOT TRUST IT AND RUN THE OTHER WAY!!!!"

9. You are unable to view medical records, speak to doctors or inquire about medication being administered to your loved one.

10. If your loved one is in a nursing home, you are only allowed to visit in the dining room or recreation room, not allowed to be alone with your loved one.

11. The guardian/conservator treats you as an outsider and stranger instead of a relative, friend, or loved one.

12. Your loved one doesn't get his/her mail.

13. The staff at a nursing home or assisted living facility denies you any visitation, saying: you upset your family member.

14. When you try to contact the facility to speak with your family member, you are continually told that they are unavailable to come to the phone.

15. When you visit, the guardian hovers or even employs someone to hover so that you are not allowed private conversation with your loved one.

16. Your loved one appears to be more sluggish and withdrawn, perhaps even dazed.

17. Items are missing from your loved one's home.

18. The guardian/conservator refuses to take your call or answer your questions.

19. You start seeing questionable documents and realize that financial accounts are closed or beneficiaries have been changed. Financial statements have been diverted to the guardian/conservator.

20. There is no record of any emergency contact information or any record that you even exist.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

The Kung-Fu Judge

John L. Phillips Jr., a retired Civil Court judge known as the "Kung-Fu Judge", who owned theaters in Brooklyn that were a prominent platform for black activists in the 1980s, has died. He was 83.

In 2001, Mr. Phillips, at 77, announced he would challenge the incumbent, Charles J. Hynes, in the race for district attorney in Brooklyn. But he was declared mentally incompetent after an investigation by Mr. Hynes that some said was politically motivated. Mr. Hynes said the action was undertaken for Mr. Phillips’s own good. A series of court-appointed guardians took over Mr. Phillips’s affairs, but a court case ensued involving allegations that the guardians had mismanaged his person and finances.
Source: Civil Court Judge Is Dead

It was reported that this self-made multi-millionaire who served honorably for 13 years, was destitute and confined against his will to a Bronx nursing home. He was barred from receiving visitors or mail or even phone calls without permission of the court. His property had been sold off in unpublished and possibly illegal auctions. Millions in assets disappeared.
Source: At long last, please set Judge Phillips free

After spending just over two years living in a cramped, foul-smelling room in a bleak nursing home at the outer reaches of the Bronx, the retired Brooklyn judge was finally transferred to an assisted living facility closer to his Brooklyn home.
Source: Court Orders Release of Retired Judge from Nursing Home

The Brooklyn Eagle reported the saga of the retired judge’s guardianship case, along with a potential million-dollar fraud. The Eagle revealed details of an accounting of the tenure of a former property guardian, a report that shows hundreds of thousands of dollars in misappropriated funds. Accounting, filed in Brooklyn’s guardianship court, details irregular financial disbursements by former property guardian Emani Taylor, made from the bank accounts of retired Judge John Phillips, a ward of the guardianship court. Phillips’ supporters hope this accounting could be the catalyst for a criminal probe into what they claim have been years of mismanagement and outright theft.
Source: Were Funds Pilfered from a Retired Judge’s Estate?

It was also reported that the retired judge owed a million dollars in back taxes. Since 2001, the responsibility for his taxes has been with a string of law guardians appointed by the state court since 2001. But for reasons that are not yet clear, the lawyers involved in the case never filed tax returns.
Source: The Tax Travails Of the 'Kung-Fu Judge'

Court-appointed guardians for Alzheimer's-stricken ex-Judge John Phillips failed to file any income taxes for their elderly ward for more than five years - running up a million-dollar bill to the IRS, according to court papers. In a flurry of strongly worded motions, a current guardian slammed two predecessors, Ray Jones and Frank Livoti, for filing no taxes on Phillips' multimillion-dollar estate, which includes some dozen buildings in Brooklyn.
Source: Judge Money Melee - Guardians Lax on Tax

A Brooklyn lawyer had been suspended from practicing as a state panel investigated her handling of the estate of John L. Phillips Jr. The lawyer, Emani P. Taylor, had been accused of improperly enriching herself from the Phillips estate. A panel in the Supreme Court’s Appellate Division called for Ms. Taylor’s immediate suspension pending further investigation, saying she had refused to cooperate with a court investigation into allegations of professional misconduct as Mr. Phillips’s guardian. The panel also found that Ms. Taylor “intentionally converted guardianship funds.”
Source: Lawyer Is Suspended as Conduct Is Criticized

The People vs. the People

A Brooklyn-based filmmaker spent the better part of the last two years compiling a documentary on the retired civil court judge’s legal efforts to restore his once-vast real estate empire, as well as the 2001 election for district attorney. The film tells the story of how a real estate empire worth an estimated $10 million was dissipated, under the administration of a series of attorneys appointed by a state guardianship court.
Source: Film Tells of Retired Judge’s Guardianship Case

See also:
Exactly how corrupt and vindictive is the Brooklyn District Attorney’s office?

What an Outrage! From judge to ward of the court

Court Orders Release of Retired Judge

Erasing the Kung-Fu Judge

Battle Continues In Guardianship Case Of Retired Judge

Out of Order - Ailing Judge's Guardian Stole 187G

N.Y. Court Suspends Lawyer Accused of Taking Money From Judge's Estate

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Fox 5 Investigates: Guardian Abuse

Mary Garofalo has a special investigation into guardians:

Imagine a perfect stranger coming into your life, taking control of all your money and possessions, selling off your home without your permission and then deciding where you are going to live. You might think it was a huge scam, but it's not. In fact, what's shocking about this story is: It's all perfectly legal and it's happening every day to thousands of people across this country. Fox 5's Mary Garofalo has a special investigation that is a real eye opener.

My Fox NY

Tuesday, February 19, 2008


If there is a stain on the record of our forefathers, a dark hour in the earliest history of the American Colonies, it would be the hanging of the "witches" at Salem.

But that was a pinpoint in place and time--a brief lapse into hysteria. For the most part, our seventeenth century colonists were scrupulously fair, even in fear.

There was one group of people they feared with reason--a society, you might say, whose often insidious craft had claimed a multitude of victims, ever since the middle ages in Europe.

One group of people were hated and feared from Massachusetts Bay to Virginia. The Magistrate would not burn them at the stake although surely a great many of the colonists would have surely recommended such a solution.

Our forefathers were baffled by them. In the first place where did they come from? Of all who sailed from England to Plymouth in 1620, not one of them was aboard.

"VERMIN." That's what the Colonist called them. Parasites who fed on human misery, spreading sorrow and confusion wherever they went.

"DESTRUCTIVE." they were called.

And still they were permitted co-existence with the colonists. For a while, anyway. Of course there were colonial laws prohibiting the practice of their infamous craft. Somehow a way was always found around all those laws.

In 1641, Massachusetts Bay colony took a novel approach to the problem. The governors attempted to starve the "devils" out of existence through economic exclusion. They were denied wages, and thereby it was hoped that they would perish.

Four years later, Virginia followed the example of Massachusettes Bay and for a while it seemed that the dilema had been resolved.

It had not, somehow the parasites managed to survive, and the mere nearness of them made the colonists skin crawl.

In 1658, in Virginia, the final solution: Banishment; EXILE. The "treacherous ones" were cast out of the colony. At last, after decades of enduring the psychological gloom, the sun came out and the birds sang, and all was right with the world. And the elation continued for a generation.

I'm not sure why the Virginians eventually allowed the outcasts to return, but they did. In 1680 after twenty-two years, the despised ones were readmitted to the colony on the condition that they be subjected to the strictest surveillance.

How soon we forget!!

For indeed over the next half century or so, the imposed restrictions were slowly, quietly swept away. And those whose treachery had been feared since the middle ages ultimatly took their place in society.

You see, the "vermin" that once infested colonial America, the parasites who prayed on the misfortunes of their neighbors until finally they were officially banished from Virginia, those dreaded, despised, outcasts masters of confusion ---
were lawyers.

From "Paul Harvey's" The rest of the story. Paul Harvey is a national talk show host. Source: Discriminating Forefathers

Monday, February 18, 2008

Marked for Destruction

A diary of Elder Financial Abuse and Fraud. Locked away in an Assisted Living Facility against her will. A crime perpetrated by her Professional Legal Guardian:

Marked For Destruction is a true crime story, a diary account of Adele Fraulen-a senior lady who had made her way in life with little help from anyone. Suddenly, a brother dies leaving the earned interest from a $1 million dollar estate for her and a surviving brother to share. But when Adele sought professional help to manage her inheritance she was seen by the professionals she trusted, a legal guardian and her attorney, as an easy "mark." Adele signed documents represented to her by the professionals as a revocable contract for them to help manage her new finances. The contract's small print would also allow them to become her legal guardian if she ever were to become incapacitated. Soon after signing, Adele decided she did not need outside help and asked the guardian and attorney to cancel her agreement with them, but instead of honoring her desire they began court proceedings to have her declared mentally and physically incapacitated--thereby invoking the "if" clause. Their clever schemes succeeded and Adele was eventually confined in a locked nursing home where her food was drugged to help keep her quiet and her contact with the outside world was limited.

They took her freedom, her life and her money, but a neighbor came to her rescue. Adele's story, described in the book Marked For Destruction, tells of her neighbor's exhaustive and successful fight to free her from captivity.
Source: Marked for Destruction by Officer John Caravella /retired

TELEVISION SERIES: The producers of "Boston Legal" portrayed this story's theme, highlighted by the performances of Betty White and Norma Michaels as Adele. Norma Michaels captured the desperate plight Adele lived and provided a portal to the significance of this crime in today's society. The life-altering events of this story unfold daily in our own backyards.

Catherine Piper (Betty White) helps her 83-year-old friend, Adele (Norma Michaels), escape from the hospital where her court assigned conservator had placed her, Alan Shore steps in to help Adele regain control of her life.
Script: Boston Legal: Chitty Chitty Bang Bang