Saturday, March 15, 2008

Guardianship Nightmare

After Mary Garofalo's Fox 5 video expose on abusive guardians, Fox 5 Investigates: Guardian Abuse, where she highlighted both Maydelle Trambarulo and Esta Varon, Maydelle's family was able to take their mother home during the taping.
See also: Maydelle is free at last!

Esta Varon remained in the assisted living facility against her wishes.

On Friday March 7, 2008, a hearing in a Long Island court was held about whether Esta Varon's guardian would step down, and he did, after which the judge ordered that Esta could leave the assisted living place and go home to live with her son.

Sounds good, right?

Of course, it is good that she is going to be returned to her family. However, the issue that should have been discussed is whether or not she needed any guardian at all. How was she found to be incapacitated? She has still lost all of her rights, only now her children are in control instead of a stranger. In addition, all of her money is spent and the court record does not even reflect the behavior of guardian Sam Rausman and how he never made a mandatory 90 day report until Mary Garofalo's FOX video show aired, and was never required to explain any of the outrageous billings.

Where is the accounting for the 300 plus thousand dollars that has been spent over the last 8 months? Who did it go to, and why? And why can't Esta Varon go back to her apartment if she so chooses? Esta, who has committed no crime does not have that option.

The guardianship law in New York says that the courts must, when at all possible, honor the Ward's wishes, and that a guardianship should only happen as a last resort.

See also:
Fox 5 Investigates: Guardian Abuse

This Could Happen to Someone You Love

Who's the Boss?

Esta Varon, New York Victim

A special thanks to NASGA member Annie McKenna for her dedication in helping victims of guardianship and conservatorship abuse.

Friday, March 14, 2008

What happened to freedom?

The Manire Case:

I have known my in-laws over 26 years. My mother-in-law (Doris) has always bruised easily and she was getting more accident prone due to Alzheimer so she was bumping into things more than normal.

Adult Protective Services came and removed her forcefully from the home and put her in the hospital for a week in Nov. 2004, for observations. During her hospital stay while in their care she fell and had stitches in her knee. Before they took her she was walking and talking. After they took her we are not sure if it was medication or if the shock of how they took her kicking and screaming, that broke her spirit and left her in a vegetated state or what, but after taking her she stopped talking and walking, and stopped feeding herself. At this time J.P. was calling all over to try to find out were Doris was, and how she was. No one would tell him anything. His blood pressure went up causing him to have mini-strokes, and confusion. In November 2004, J.P. went and talked to an attorney and told him that he wanted to sign everything over to their son and that he was checking himself into a nursing home for a 30 day trial to see if he wanted to live there or at home. The attorney said to go and stay in the nursing home and see if that is what he wants and to think about signing everything over (even power of attorney) and let him know after the 30 days. This attorney has been mentioned in a newspaper article along with the judge and other people holding up a case for 8 years.

Dec. 27, 2004: J.P. and I sat down and talked about us (his son, our children and myself) moving into the house with him and living there instead of our trailer that is still on his land so that we could help with cooking, cleaning, any shopping and driving him were ever he needed to go, and taking him to see Doris. I said that I would be more than happy to help. We have lived on their land for 26 years doing any and all maintenance to the yard, house, cars; things like mowing, laying carpet, painting, washing cars, changing oil and breaks, plumbing, electrical……. anything that needed doing we did and in return we had a home and family that we could count on, who loved each other and helped were needed. Isn't that what family is all about? Not according to these people.

On J.P.’s last day of his 30 days nursing home stay he called and said he wanted to come home. By the time my mom got there to pick him up the court appointed people and nursing home staff and Adult Protective Services were there and told my mom that a guardian had to be appointed. This was the end of Dec. 2004. They said that we had to choose an attorney and to call the county clerk and get a list. We called and were told that we had to choose from a list of 6 attorneys, one that the judge approves of, and that if we go outside of this list that that whoever we choose the judge has to approve and he normally does not.

Jan.11, 2005: About 8 Denton County sheriff deputies and 4 Denton County detectives and all the court appointed people came to the home guns drawn and told us that we were trespassing and forced us to sign a trespassing warning. My 12 and 17 year old were told that if they did not sign that they would go to jail. The 12 year old has learning disabilities and did not understand what or why she would go to jail for not signing. She told them that her granddad asked us to live in the house and stay with him. They stated that the judge said that each one of us had to sign or to take whoever did not to jail and that meant her too.

Mid Jan. 2005: We hired an attorney to help me get guardianship of my in-laws and their estate. The attorney just happened to be the one J.P. went to in Nov. 2004. He was on the list of six. He never told the judge in court that my father-in-law had talked to him, he did not argue when the other side said in court “that is hearsay” to our witnesses.

They lied and said that we were forcing J.P. to give us money and that I force him to give me $200,000.00 in check. This is a lie because he has never written me a check and I told them to try and find a check to me for $0.02 (two cents) because in 26 years they have never written me a check and they would not find one at all. I told them to show me and the court the check, they did not even acknowledge that I wanted to see proof of their allegations.

They forced us to stop going to see my in-laws by saying that we were upsetting them and asking questions. I called and told the guardian of the person (judge’s ex-wife), that J.P. was asking me: 1. who is paying the bills? 2. Are the bills being paid ?, I have to make sure mama’s bills are being paid. 3. What do I have to do to get out of this “rat hole”? He asked us the same things over and over every time we visited and that is why I called the guardian. We knew the answers to his questions, but felt that they should answer so that we were not stepping on toes. They said that he was incapacitated and could not care for himself. If this was the case why and how did he have the memory and the sense to worry about these things and more?

I have found out that there have been articles written about this judge and his longtime friends and his personal attorneys and C.P.A. I have also found out that he was married to the lady who was head of Denton County Guardianship Services. These same people listed in all the articles, including the attorney that my father-in-law saw in Nov.2004 and that we hired off the list of 6. They are all on our case where they have all pocketed over $200,000.00 of my in-laws cash and now to put even more in their pockets they are selling the home and land, and are going to put them on Medicaid so the state can pay for them.

As I said, my family has always lived together. They did not want my husband to work outside the home so that he would be there for them. The courts lied and said that we were stealing from them so they could take all my in-laws money and put well over half in their pockets and put little towards their care and that of the family home. I have an expenditure sheet showing he had annuities, pensions, mineral rights and IRAs. The last month only shows their Social Security income. What happened to the rest of the income? They had enough to pay all medical, and household bills for a long time had this court and its friends not raped and robbed them of their life-long work.

I also have a paper showing that the judge and the court appointed guardian of the person were married. The judge is Denton County Probate Judge Don Windle.

McClure was the guardian of my in-laws---- the judge's ex-wife. Roy Anderson is the guardian of my father-in-laws part of the estate---- the judge's personal C.P.A. The judge's personal attorney is paid from the estate to represent Anderson-----same who handled McClure and the judge's divorce. Duane Coker was court appointed temporary guardian of my father-in-law. There are more involved, but all of these are mentioned in the articles and it is strange they have been involved in the injustice and nightmare our family has been going through. My mother-in-law passed away on May 2nd, the day after my father-in-laws birthday.

The judge has now recused himself from our case. However the judge sitting in is just as corrupt as Windle and the rest. McClure's company has been closed down since Jan. or Feb. of 2007. The county refused to sign a new contract with her.

What happened to civil rights? What happened to being able to give to your family what you have worked hard for? What happened to live and let live? What happened to freedom?

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Guardians and Guardianships

Guardians and Guardianships:

• Hundreds of thousands of Americans who have been declared incapable of handling their own affairs are placed under the supervision of court appointed guardians.

• The principle of limited guardianship, which requires that a guardian “should be appointed only when necessary, only for as long as necessary, and with only those powers as are necessary,” has been adopted in many states.

• To be wrongfully subjected to guardianship may be the greatest loss of rights a person can experience short of being sent to prison. Although you can usually respond to a guardianship petition or challenge an existing guardianship informally, professional representation increases your chances of being taken seriously by the court.

• A for-profit guardian acts principally out of economic motives, not from affection or family obligation, and an unscrupulous for-profit guardian is uniquely positioned to exploit you and your assets given the scope of a guardian’s powers.

• Fighting an unwanted guardianship is not easy. To begin with, your loved ones will be petitioning the same court that originally declared you incompetent.

• To contest an existing guardianship arrangement, your relatives or loved one may file a formal legal petition asking that the guardian be removed or replaced by the local court that established the guardianship.

• While most people establish trusts to transfer property to loved ones after they die, another popular reason for setting one up is to provide for the continual management of your financial affairs if you become disabled or incapacitated.

Warning Signs of Guardianship Abuse:

• The guardian “forgets” to file regular reports with the supervising court, or submits dubious ones.

• The guardian fails to file prompt and accurate tax returns.

• The guardian becomes the ward’s sole trustee or attorney-in-fact, thus avoiding court supervision.

• The guardian bills at professional rates for performing ordinary tasks, or seems to look for excuses to generate fees.

• The guardian deposits money from the ward’s funds into his own account.

• The ward seems to have lost a lot of money since the guardianship began.

• The guardian hires cronies, perhaps as attorneys and money-managers, on the ward’s behalf.

• The guardian sells real estate or other property at unusually low prices.

• The ward receives an eviction or foreclosure notice even though the ward owned the house.

• The guardian refuses to keep the ward’s family informed of the ward’s condition or attempts to stop them from visiting the ward.

• The guardian cannot explain why the ward has signed legal documents.

• The guardian seems to spend very little time with the ward.

Source: HALT: Guardians & Guardianships: A Primer

HALT is an organization of Americans for legal reform.
Phone: 1-888-FOR-HALT
(202) 887-8255
Fax: (202) 887-9699
1612 K Street, NW Suite 510
Washington, DC 20006

See also:
Red Flag Warning Signs
Ten Dirty Tricks of Guardians

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Less Rights than a Criminal


1. The right to marry – STRIPPED

2. The right to vote – STRIPPED

3. The right to apply for government benefits – STRIPPED

4. The right to have a driver’s license – STRIPPED

5. The right to travel – STRIPPED

6. The right to seek or retain employment – STRIPPED

7. The right to contract – STRIPPED

8. The right to sue and defend lawsuits – STRIPPED

9. The right to manage property or to make any gift or disposition
of property – STRIPPED

10. The right to determine his or her residence – STRIPPED

11. The right to consent to medical and mental health
treatment – STRIPPED

12. The right to make decisions about his or her social environment or other social aspects of his or her life – STRIPPED

* Each right stripped is determined on a case by case basis by the sitting judge. His/her decision is based on testimony from the court appointed examining committee. Usually, and unfortunately, the judge and the examining committee rubber stamp what the petitioner alleges.

“Seniors have become victims of the legal process. When you become old, you should not, by the action of a court, automatically lose your rights just because some family member or impersonal administrator calls you incompetent.”
— Senator Larry Craig, Chairman, U.S. Senate’s Special Committee on Aging

Quote from: Stolen Lives By: Barry Yeoman Source: AARP The Magazine

See also: People in the Know

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Denton County Judge and Guardian

"A judge shall not allow any relationship to influence judicial conduct or judgment. A judge shall not lend the prestige of judicial office to advance the private interests of the judge or others."
–Texas Code of Judicial Conduct, Canon 2, Section B

In eight lawyerly canons, the Texas Code of Judicial Conduct outlines basic ethical guidelines for our state's judges, from justices of the peace to justices on our highest courts. That includes Denton County Probate Court Judge Don Windle, although he apparently doesn't see it that way. His disregard of these standards is breathtaking.
Source: A Broken Trust: Denton County judge fails another ethics test

Denton County Probate Judge Don Windle relies on a small circle of professionals - several with ties to him and to one another - for key appointments and services in his court.
Source: A closer look at probate

People appointed by probate court turn up on woman's will - Probate Court Judge Don Windle immediately placed both sisters under court-appointed guardianships, moved them to a Denton nursing home and restricted access to them. By early 2002, Veatch was rewriting her will — which had not been updated since 1960 — with the help of her court-appointed guardians and attorney.
Source: Concerns arise over guardians

The Dallas Morning News reported that among the 10 beneficiaries in the will were Denton County Probate Judge Don Windle, who presided over the Veatches' probate case; Beverly McClure, Ms. Veatch's court-appointed guardian and Judge Windle's ex-wife; Duane Coker, a court-appointed attorney who represented Ms. Veatch's interests; and Roy Anderson, court-appointed guardian of the Veatch estate and Judge Windle's personal accountant.
Source: Cousin: 2 sisters weren't without heirs

See also: Beneficiaries of will

It is in the administration of such guardianships that Judge Windle has failed, and he has failed spectacularly. After a series of revealing newspaper reports, the State Commission on Judicial Conduct officially chastised him in September for a system of appointing guardians and trustees that seem to inordinately reward close friends, business associates and even his own former wife. The same small group kept being appointed to important and sometimes lucrative positions as guardians, and the commission came to the conclusion that the practice was beyond the pale of permissible judicial action. It issued an official reprimand, the strongest action at its disposal.

A case during the same period reviewed by the commission in which a court-appointed guardian (the judge’s former wife), a court-appointed attorney, the guardian of the estate and the judge himself were bequeathed almost a third of the estate of an elderly woman who had been declared incompetent by Judge Windle three years before.
Source: Time for Don Windle to leave the bench

Denton County's probate judge compromised his impartiality by using his judicial office to advance the interests of one of his former investigators, whom he married, and a former Denton school board president who is his business partner, the State Commission on Judicial Conduct has ruled.
Source: Judge compromised impartiality, panel says

The commission found that Windle used his office and his influence to help win a contract for his former wife to provide services in guardianship cases, and that he appointed a friend and business associate to a paid position on a panel that hears disputes over eminent domain cases. The commission also ruled that Windle had provided “false and misleading information” while it was conducting its investigation.
Source: Time overtakes the good ol' boys

Beverly McClure is a registered with Center for Guardianship Certification

Monday, March 10, 2008

Guardian Recipe for Abuse


Note: The author is not stating these abuses occur in every court in the US; yet, these cases are actually very common. It is not necessary to be under guardianship to be victimized by abusive authority; guardianship is simply the most effective, efficient, common vehicle to attain the profiteering goal. Human rights and judicial violations are the means.

1.) PREDATORS CIRCLE- can be: govt. agencies, APS (Adult Protection Services) and their contract agencies, County Area Agency on Aging, State Dept. of Aging, social workers, nursing facility corporations, care providers, care givers, law enforcement, attorneys (including guardian ad litem), courts (judges, court reporters), and their associates, such as medical doctor, psychiatrist, other professionals or greedy family members/in-laws. Litigation is the slaughterhouse. The predators co-operate (collude) with each other for mutual benefit: financial gain, real estate, Fed. funding stream, favors, job security, political agenda, etc.

2.) PREY (TARGETED WARD and ADVOCATE) - elders and disabled who are victims of crime, accident, friendly neighbor’s call to APS (Adult Protective Services), family disagreement that’s litigated, health crisis, family crisis, any event that results in litigation; you can be advised, intimidated into believing you need a lawyer, hence, litigation. Also, targeted: elder property owner (especially if property is wanted by state/corporation or connected others), widows, more common targets than male elders, those with small families especially living out of state, no doctors/attorneys in immediate family. The target has something of value financial, real estate, political(funding stream, precedent case, etc.) to be gained by the predators the “takings”. Targeted ward and family advocate do not need to be rich; assets of some kind between $100,000 and millions of $$ are sufficient.

3.) Unbeknown to you, you are rapidly encircled by “predators” before the guardianship is granted which guarantees the guardianship outcome without accountability. The circle is like strangulation; you are very unlikely to get out; you are completely surrounded by the predators which includes your own attorney and/or appointed guardian ad litem ( Bar attorneys first allegiance, generally, is to the court; not their client; its “job security”, etc.)

4.) If you are daughter or anyone acting in behalf, defense of the targeted ward; have a DPOA (Durable Power of Attorney); are legitimately entitled to information, etc.; YOU ARE AN OBSTACLE TO THE STRATAGEM. You will be demonized; accused of the exploitation the predators are perpetrating or the criminal actions of those who victimized you. Accusations of mental illness (ordered to get psychological testing from predator’s associate fairly common tactic); drug addiction, etc.; no proof is necessary. Maybe the (covered) criminal will testify against you. You are not charged with anything; therefore you have no right to face your accuser and get evidence in your defense. Accusations are made off the court record, in the court hallway. Remember; it is a kangaroo court proceeding. The judge makes the decisions, issues the orders and ignores the laws with impunity and no remedy. Elders are ‘expected’ to get ill and die, hence; this stratagem has been practiced on them for years. Death Terri style is without a court order; no public exposure; disabled now publicly initiated.

5.) APS (Adult Protective Services) are often one entity in the circle of predators

6.) Intimidation and deception are always tools of the predator’s trade.

7.) The “circle of predators“, usually thru intimidation, makes sure (while treating you as a criminal), there are no witnesses; no written, verbal, uncensored communication; demands severe unnecessary restrictions; refuses to write them down(avoid any possibility of proof of abuse and liability), such as, no visitors; only one visitor at a time, no video cameras; telephone access, audio recorders, no vitamins, nothing from home. Family may be allowed “supervised visits”. The targeted ward’s assets will pay for the “visit supervisor’s” time. Family/advocate needs no record of abuse whatsoever; no verifiable evidence of abuse; you may even have proof of good care giving (obstacle to predators recipe), which will never be entered into the court record. Supervision is required without cause part of demonizing process.

8.) The targeted “ward” and later declared “ward” is denied specialized medical treatment even when she can pay for it herself. She is denied contact with medical professionals outside of the predators’ circle, of associates. She is not supposed to improve; that is an obstacle to squeezing every penny (possible benefit) from the ward and avoiding any possibility of liability. No independent medical evaluation is allowed though law requires it. The predators’ doctor examines the targeted ward and that is her ‘independent med evaluation’. The ward is expected to be and almost always is_ a ward until death. The ward is sentenced to enforced health decline. The family has NO SAY AT ALL. If the ward is dying, the family member (“obstacle” to predator’s profit) is often not told. THE GUARDIAN OWNS THE WARD and the fruits of her and her husbands lifetime of labor. Wards (not humans) are owned as a result of JUDICIAL IMMUNITY, NO ACCOUNTABILITY, POSSIBLE REMEDY A FACADE, just as in the Terri Schlindler display of corruption, major media disinformation and murder.

9.) Deception and no honest exposure; two essential keys of success. (media will not print the real story if they print anything at all). Notice; most people think Terri’s case is uncommon, a right to die case, not a corrupted guardianship case; if truthfully exposed, the supply of prey would diminish.

10.) Felony crimes committed against you are suppressed, covered up, authorities will not prosecute the crimes against you because the predators are likely to use alleged criminal against you as witness(es), etc. The acknowledgment of crime might be obstacle to gaining guardianship over the targeted ward, which is the lock down of the “takings”. Any and all ‘obstacles’ are removed with no regard for laws, crimes, human rights, abuse and exploitation. Obstruction of justice is a predator specialty. No law enforcement, remedy, recovery from the crimes committed against you allowed.

11.) An “emergency temporary plenary guardianship of the person and estate” may be granted to one of the PREDATORS without a hearing, in the judges chambers. Your lawyer will play dumb or fabricate an explanation “it’s just temporary until things can be investigated.... (its normal)”. NO ! It is the initial stage of OWNERSHIP (GUARDIANSHIP) of the “ward” and the beginning of HELL.

12.) The ward’s mail, finances, health care or lack, complete existence is taken over by the emergency temporary guardian/permanent guardian. Her family advocate, will be allowed no information at all. Family advocate becomes non-existent. The ward has no family, for all practical purposes. If family makes a complaint about the facility; they are not allowed to know the results, etc.; all information goes to the guardian. Family has rights on paper; in reality, must know them; your attorney probably won’t tell you. When you exercise them, you will be considered angry, aggressive or something equally negative. Sometimes you are punished and can never see your beloved ‘ward’ again.

13.) If family seeks help thru govt. agencies, state govt., federal govt., legislative representatives you will get a run around, shut down, and told to leave. The more grievous the violations, the more of a closed door, ‘get out’ reaction you get. (the greater the wrong committed toward you; the more impossible to get any help) No state grievance process exists except a facade on paper.

14.) Most attorneys seem to equate “guardianship” cases with leprosy untouchable. If you have $20,000 or more remaining, an attorney may take your case; that has nothing to do with the outcome. Contingency does not exist for guardianship. Public interest law groups will not ‘touch’ it.

15.) Your attorney does not make a good record for appeal since he must be favorable to the probate judge. If you can still afford an attorney, you are most likely to appeal and lose. If you can’t; you can try to find remedy as a “pro per” litigant. I have been more successful learning from experienced “pro per” litigants and representing my self. The State Supreme Courts: Pa., Fl., Nev., Ma., Ore., Va. and more; have a negative reputation; are not known for “upholding the rule of law”.

16.) If you try federal court, bankruptcy court (both fed), you may delay some of the confiscation of property. Remedy is unlikely; exposing corruption in high (govt.) places is taboo. Then the excuse of “abstention doctrines” (abstention doctrines are not in the Constitution) covers for the “taboo”. Federal courts do not take jurisdiction of cases litigated in state court, if the outcome would trump a state court decision, even in matters of Constitutional violations. It is possible to get past the abstention doctrines, though much more likely; no remedy, as seen in Terri’s case.

17.) The ward and advocating family member pay for your own involuntary institutionalization, abuse and exploitation. After the guardianship is permanent, involuntary institutionalization may be paid by Medicare fraud; the predators want as much as possible of the “takings” to divvy among themselves.

18.) This “war” goes on for years if you persist toward remedy. Your health is negatively effected from the constant stress and you have difficulty functioning as well as you did before HELL, which compounds the stress. Depression, anxiety, ulcers, cancer, or other chronic illnesses affect the ward and family. Your financial losses are not recovered and you can easily become totally broke. A great deal of time is required for “pro per” litigation. Your family relations are difficult or shredded, due to abuse, loss, despair, extreme disillusionment, etc. This recipe is from my experience and many others; life changing.

19.) The ward (your mother, daughter, family member) is held hostage while you spend most of your time and resources attempting to free her/him.

20.) If you cannot free the ward, when she/he is no longer a profit producer (about the time limited medical treatment produces diminished health/illness) she/he will have a “duty to die”. First, no food or water, when organs start to fail, some morphine, which hastens death by reducing respiration.“The above stratagem without truthful media exposure is silencing of the lambs”.

Note: Without forewarning of this entire stratagem; the predators almost always succeed; family and the ‘ward’ pay, as victim(s) of crime and corruption with unimaginable loss, abuse and exploitation without remedy - an epidemic practice.