Advocates for the elderly are claiming that Public Administrator Lynn EnEarl's failure to file an inventory or provide annual reports on the status of her wards' welfare is a pattern for her nearly two dozen clients.
Three more cases brought to the attention of Douglas County District Court by Special Advocates for the Elderly are expected to be heard on Tuesday.
Last week, EnEarl relinquished her four-year guardianship over an 83-year-old Gardnerville woman, saying in court documents filed by her attorney Mike Rowe, that ward Sharon Hicks' clear desire to have another guardian prompted the move. Rowe objected to the accusations included in a July 1 petition filed by the advocates, and that EnEarl's willingness to transfer Hicks' guardianship was not an admission.
Douglas District Judge Michael Gibbons said he didn't understand why Public Administrator Lynn EnEarl and her attorney failed to file reports and an inventory required by law.
“It's a total surprise to me to find all this out,” Gibbons said. “I'm somewhat mystified as to how this happened.”
Special Advocate For the Elderly Coordinator John Giomi, who sought removal of EnEarl as Hicks' guardian, told Gibbons that EnEarl failed to file an annual accounting, a report on Hicks' welfare or to perform her other duties as required by law.
In a July 1 filing, Giomi said Hicks was transferred to Mountain View Health and Rehabilitation Center without any clothing or her belongings.
Special Advocate Dana Jantos called Hicks' questions about what happened to her property heartbreaking.
“Mrs. Hicks has an excellent memory,” she said. “She has asked about her belongings many times.”
EnEarl told Gibbons she didn't find any family photos or valuables when she entered the apartment.
“Even people who are incompetent have a right to have their property,” he said. “Not everything has to be disposed of. If they have jewelry and things just put them in a bag and give it to them. People are still going to want their things for some reason.”
Gibbons said the advocates are there to work with the public administrator.
“Despite the conflict here, all three of the people are here to help,” he said. “In the long run I think you'll find the SAFEs will help you.”
Gibbons did not approve the accounting submitted by EnEarl and Rowe. He asked them to supplement the inventory they submitted with more information.
“You have submitted an accounting, but it's not complete,” he said.
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More Public Administrator Cases Coming to Court