The county plans to spend $45,000 to investigate allegations that one of its agencies is unnecessarily taking control over people’s estates to pad its own coffers, including taking aim at the $15 million estate of Charles "Mask" Lewis Jr., the co-founder of Tapout, a mixed-martial arts clothing line.
Public Administrator/Public Guardian John S. Williams and his agency, which oversees $38 million in estates and the lives and deaths of more than 1,000 people every year, is the target of the county’s review.
Criticized in two Orange County grand jury reports in 2009, the Public Administrator/Public Guardian’s Office was back in the spotlight in August when then-Assistant District Attorney Todd Spitzer, thought by many to be in line to become the next district attorney, was fired after he began looking into allegations a conservatorship case was being mishandled by the agency.Supervisor Pat Bates, who last year allowed Williams a little breathing room to correct the critiques of his office, has now asked for a county review of how the once little-known county agency liquidates the assets of large estates.
Williams, who blames the complaints on disgruntled employees who were either fired or not promoted, then upped the ante, asking for a complete review of his office’s policies and procedures.
The review, being done by Tim Kay, a local attorney with expertise in conservatorship issues, is under way, but the board of supervisors will consider his contract at Tuesday’s meeting.
Kay's report, which will be confidential, will be handed over to Orange County Chief Executive Officer Mauk by Oct. 29 with any necessary revisions, according to the proposed contract.
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$45,000 to Review Public Guardian, Tapout Sale
Orange Co. California: Investigator Will Review Public Guardian