Saturday, April 14, 2012

'Pity the Poor Judges'

'There’s a growing pay gap in our country that is alarming both national and state officials, who say it raises a fundamental question of American justice.

No, Bucko, it’s not about the yawning, ever-growing chasm separating your sad paycheck from the heavy haul of the executive swells at corporate headquarters. Indeed, the “injustice worrying our leaders is literally about justices — as in state and federal judges. More and more of them are wailing that they’re grossly underpaid at about $150,000 a year.

One judge in New York says she’s so strapped she had to sell a summer home in the Hamptons. “I’m working to achieve justice for other people,” she complains, yet “I don’t feel that I’m experiencing justice.”

Let me pause a moment so you can reach for a hanky and sob with her about… well, the raw injustice of $150,000 judicial paychecks. It’s embarrassing, they sniff, to sit on the judge’s throne across from a big-firm lawyer who banks 10 times what you’re paid.

Good grief, get a grip! Maybe you haven’t noticed, your honor, but millions of people can’t get any kind of job, middle-class wages are evaporating, health coverage is a fantasy, and poverty is on the march.

Besides, as my friend Jim Harrington puts it, being a judge is a public service, and doing that job should not depend on how closely your pay “matches the extravagant earnings of attorneys at elite law firms.”

Jim is a lifelong public interest lawyer in Texas who makes maybe a third of what judges do, but he notes that this is more than most folks get.

Judges’ pay should be moderate, Harrington argues, because that puts them in the position to “understand the problems of the day-to-day life” of regular Americans who come into their courts seeking a small measure of justice.

Now that’s judiciously put.

Pity the Poor Judges

NH Man Allegedly Assults Uncle While Leaving Probate Hearing

A Hopkinton school counselor leaving a probate hearing in Manchester Friday regarding an ongoing battle over guardianship of his father allegedly assaulted his 75-year-old uncle, according to police.

In documents filed by police, the incident allegedly occurred in the Vine Street Garage in Manchester as Eugene Fox, 63, the co-director of guidance at Hopkinton Middle/High School, was leaving the third of a three-day hearing regarding issues surrounding guardianship of his father, Alden Fox. It is not known if the assault was connected to the probate case.

The guardianship issue has been in court for about two years.

Fox and his brother, Wayne, had petitioned for an emergency preliminary injunction to remove and replace Dawn Whiting, court-appointed guardian of Alden and Esther Fox's estate. Esther Fox died in July 2011. The petition claims that Whiting is bleeding the assets of the estate by incurring more than $200,000 in legal fees and is not sufficiently bonded to handle several million dollars worth of Massachusetts real estate. Whiting does not visit Alden Fox or provide funds for his daily care, the affidavit states.

Alden Fox, 92, lives on a retirement income of about $40,000 annually, and the affidavit submitted with the petition states that amassing $200,000 in legal fees is not prudent management of the estate. The court affidavit claims the legal fees were for Whiting's interest and did not benefit the estate.

The documents claim that Whiting presented to the court plans to sell waterfront property to pay creditors as if the debt belonged to Alden Fox, when she intended to use the funds to pay legal fees she created.

The parties in the probate case agreed to mediation, and the case will be taken up in early May.

Full Article and Source:
Man Allegedly Assults Uncle While Leaving Probate Hearing

Woman Ordered to Pay $10K Restitution to Victim

Ann Marie LaCourse, 48, of Sleepy Eye, appeared in court Friday (March 30) to plead guilty to financial exploitation of a vulnerable adult.

In the plea bargain, LaCourse will pay restitution to the victim in the amount of $10,000 within one year, be on supervised probation for one year, spend six days in jail over the course of three weekends with an additional 30 days with an at-home monitoring system.

LaCourse was fined $1,000 and faces additional impositions at her sentencing May 11 at the Brown County Court House.

She will undergo a psychological evaluation before sentencing and has already completed a compulsive gambling program.

She had been charged with four counts of financial exploitation of a vulnerable adult and four counts of theft after an investigation began in April 2011, when an officer with the Sleepy Eye Police Department (SEPD) was contacted by Brown County Family Services (BCFS).

Full Article and Source:
LaCourse Pleads Guilty to Financial Exploitation of a Vulnerable Adult

Friday, April 13, 2012

Editorial: The Trust Must Be Restored

There is a maddening irony in the fact that those who lost money entrusted to an “officer of the court” must now turn to the courts to try to recover some portion of their devastated estates.

Gulfport attorney Woodrow W. Pringle III may have stolen almost $2.4 million from bank accounts he managed for children and adults unable to handle their own affairs.

Summoned to Gulfport, where he was born and raised and still practiced law, the 56-year-old Pringle left his home in Windemere, Fla., and checked into a luxury hotel in Orlando in December 2010. There, according to a medical examiner’s ruling, he committed suicide.

On the morning of his death, Pringle emailed Harrison County Chancery Clerk John McAdams, saying: “I want to apologize for abusing your trust. I abused the trust of my family, friends, judges and so many others. I was able to do this for so long because people trusted me and believed in me. I am truly sorry and want you and everyone else to know that no one ever knew this was happening.”

Since then, one lawsuit has been filed against Harrison County and two against McAdams over Pringle’s misdeeds. McAdams also is suing Pringle’s widow on behalf of seven victims whose money allegedly went to buy the Pringles’ house.

The purpose of these lawsuits is to recover money, not to uncover how Pringle was able to dupe so many for so long.

What is certain is that chancery clerks, including McAdams, have for years failed to follow a state law that requires them to compose a list each year of guardians or conservators who are delinquent in filing accountings of the money they manage for children and vulnerable adults. Chancery Court judges then have the authority to demand those accountings from delinquent filers, the law says.

Pringle managed such accounts for McAdams and the chancery judges of Harrison County. Hours before his death, Pringle acknowledged betraying the trust those officials placed in him. But more than a year later, it is still unclear why those officials did not do more -- or at the very least, what the law requires -- to verify that trust.

The lawyer for McAdams, Donald Dornan of Biloxi, said: “We were all shocked … when Woody Pringle had embezzled funds from all these vulnerable adults and minors over a period of years. Now that we’ve investigated it, we know that he was very meticulous in presenting falsified accountings to the chancery judges and secretly depositing guardianship and conservatorship funds into his own trust account. Nobody knew what he was doing.”

Pringle started stealing as early as 2004, according to the forensic accounting undertaken after his death. He kept getting by with it with “some song and dance … something he made up,” as one attorney put it.

“He seemed to know what he was doing,” McAdams said of Pringle.

But why didn’t anyone else know?

Full Editorial and Source:
The Trust That Pringle Stole Must Be Restored

AL State Bar Rejects Complaint Against Lawyer Richard Horne in Fake Will Case

The Alabama State Bar has determined that there is insufficient evidence to discipline lawyer Richard Horne, whom a local insurance agent had accused of ethical lapses related to a will that a jury determined was a fake.

A one-page letter from the general counsel’s office of the State Bar informed the complainant, David Stroecker, that it was not taking action.

“The Disciplinary Commission has completed its review and consideration of this matter, and has determined that there is insufficient basis for a finding that there has been a violation of the Rules of Professional Conduct,” the letter states. “Accordingly, the Disciplinary Commission has dismissed the complaint.”

Stroecker, a Mobile insurance agent whose stepdaughters contested the will, said he was surprised and disappointed by the bar’s decision. He said he plans to appeal and added that State Bar officials told him they would consider an appeal if he had new evidence. He said he plans to present the Alabama Supreme Court ruling upholding the Probate Court judgment.

Full Article and Source:
State Bar Rejects Complaint Against Lawyer Richard Horne in Fake Will Case

See Also:
Allegations of Faked Will, Crumbling Finances, Dog Prominent Lawyer

GA: Bill Allows Judges More Power to Search Criminal Histories

House Bill 850 didn’t make it out of the state Senate before the 2012 legislative session ended.

But that’s OK with Forsyth County Probate Court Judge Lynwood “Woody” Jordan Jr., who helped author the bill, because the language still made it through the legislative process.

“It didn’t make any difference, because what happened was they did a little bit of horse trading there at the end,” Jordan said. “There was another bill, House Bill 257, which was on the floor. And Renee Unterman, a senator from Gwinnett who was handling that bill for me in the Senate, offered an amendment which included my language. That was added and it passed.

“The name of the game is to go ahead and get it through. ... It doesn’t really matter how it gets there, just that it does.”

If signed by the governor, Jordan’s portion of the bill would allow judges to request national background checks on individuals seeking to be guardians or conservators.

Currently, probate judges can request a background check. That check, however, covers only criminal history in Georgia.

Full Article and Source:
Bill Allows Judges More Power to Search Criminal Histories

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Abolishing Judicial Immunity

I realize that abolishing judicial immunity opens up an entire new “can of worms”, but this must be accomplished.

(I am busy “holding the wolves at bay” in all the various suits, etc. I face as a result of my ill-founded and illegal conservatorship)

When I have more time to consider this topic, I will present to you how we can effectively abolish judicial immunity and control the “tsunami” of law suits that would tend to follow.

Abolishing judicial immunity would have an immediate and definitive impact on judicial conduct, and do more for correcting the now-listing ship of our judiciary than any new form of “COJ” [Court of the Judiciary] could accomplish, though I do believe I’ve offered a substantial proposal of composition for a new governing body that represents Constitutional intent, and we would still need a judicial governing “watch dog” body.

I believe abolishing judicial immunity is consistent with the founding father’s intent [TN Constitution Judicial Election and Selection], and would ultimately stream-line government as well as bring immediate correction, governed by conscience as opposed to rule.

Full Article and Source:
Pauper v Probate: Abolishing Judicial Immunity

Documents Uncovered by Judicial Watch Detail Big Pharma Campaign Access to Democratic Governors During 2012 National Governors Association Meeting

Press Release: Judicial Watch, the public interest group that investigates and prosecutes government corruption, announced today that it has uncovered documents detailing private events involving Democratic governors during the February 2012 winter meeting of the National Governors Association (NGA). These events were widely attended by unions, drug companies and other health concerns.

The events included a Pfizer-sponsored evening reception and dinner for members of the Democratic Governors Association (DGA) Chairman’s Board, which include donors of $100,000 or more to the organization. The reception provided attendees with personal access to the Democratic governors. A second, private reception held the following night included donors of $250,000 or more to the DGA, as well as members of the chairman’s board. Both events were closed to the press.

The documents, obtained by Judicial Watch pursuant to a March 7, 2012, request submitted to the office of Vermont Governor Peter Shumlin under the Vermont Public Records Law, were received on March 16, 2012. The records show:
•Pharmaceutical companies attending both of the privately held events for major donors to the DGA included Allergan, AstraZeneca, GlaxoSmithKline, Novartis, and Pfizer. Amgen, Lilly, and Merck attended only the first event. Bristol-Myers Squibb attended the second reception open to donors of $250,000 and above.
•Donors attending both receptions from the health care industry included Aflac, Amerigroup, Norvo Nordisk, and the United Health Group. American Health Care Association and eHealth attended only the first event. Blue Cross Blue Shield attended the second reception.
•Union organizations and trade associations attending both receptions included International Council of Shopping Centers, International Union of Painters and Allied Trades, National Education Association, and the United Food and Commercial Workers.

Full Press Release and Source:
Documents Uncovered by Judicial Watch Detail Big Pharma Campaign Access to Democratic Governors during 2012 National Governors Association Meeting

OK Insurance Agent Accused of Defrauding Elderly

A former Collinsville, Okla., insurance agent was arrested March 28 in Florida for allegedly exploiting a group of senior citizens in Oklahoma for money.

Marshall Virden, 54, allegedly convinced senior citizens in Broken Arrow, Okla., during an investors’ seminar, to cash in their annuities and invest it in gold. Instead of purchasing gold, Virden allegedly embezzled the victims’ money, according to a report.

Authorities said there could be dozens of victims and many may not yet know they’ve been scammed.

Virden allegedly convinced at least one elderly couple to cash out their annuities and buy more than $20,000 worth of gold before pocketing the cash, according to media reports.

Full Article and Source:

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

In Major Victory for Adult Protective Services Lawsuit Judge Allows Case to Move Forward

In the case alleging ongoing failures in Adult Protective Services brought by representatives of the elderly and disabled community, Judge Kupersmith ruled that can go forward in part, and rejected the state’s attempt to have the case thrown out. The Judge found that the plaintiffs raised serious concerns about whether Adult Protective Services is meeting the plain requirements of the law. Furthermore, Judge Kupersmith found that concerns about Adult Protective Services’ failure to do its duty to respond to allegations of abuse neglect and exploitation warrant review by the Court.

“This is a major victory for the Plaintiffs and for vulnerable Vermonters that are at risk of abuse, neglect or exploitation,” said Barbara Prine, Vermont Legal Aid, lead counsel for the Plaintiffs. “The Court sent a clear message that the allegations in this case deserve judicial scrutiny and that the State should not be allowed to rely on procedural technicalities to deny judicial review of the important issues raised by this lawsuit.”

While the case will move forward, the Judge did dismiss Plaintiffs on a second claim regarding the failure of the Department of Disabilities, Aging, and Independent Living to fix the problem in May of 2011, through the signed Corrective Action Plan. Although the Department had agreed to the terms of plan, the Court ruled that this was not an enforceable contract.

The Judge also did not allow the Plaintiffs to bring the case solely as citizens of Vermont. Instead, the judge ruled that Plaintiffs Disability Rights Vermont and Community of Vermont Elders will have 30 days to amend their original complaint to describe how the failure of Adult Protective Services impedes their ability to fulfill their organizational mission, and forces them to devote significant resources to identify and counteract APS’s deficiencies.

Full Article and Source:
In Major Victory for Adult Protective Services Lawsuit Judge Allows Case to Move Forward

TN Legislature Enacts New Discipline System for Judges

After years of sometimes heated argument, the House sent to the governor Monday night compromise legislation that puts into place a new system for disciplining judges for misdeeds on the bench.

Final approval came on an 88-5 House vote without any debate. The Senate had approved SB2671 unanimously earlier.

Though the votes came with virtually no discussion, the debate over the past three years has included repeated charges that the present Court of the Judiciary ignored judicial misdeeds and operated in unwarranted secrecy. Former Knox County Criminal Court Judge Richard Baumgartner was offered by critics of the current system as a prime example of its shortcomings.

Legislature Enacts New Discipline System for Tenn. Judges

Court Upends 9-Year Fight on Housing Mentally Ill

A federal appeals court, ruling on procedural grounds, struck down on Friday a judge’s order that New York State transfer thousands of mentally ill adults in New York City from institutional group homes into their own homes and apartments. In doing so, the court brought a nine-year legal battle to an abrupt end without resolving the underlying issues of how the state cares for such patients.

Though the lower court judge had ruled the current system violated federal law by warehousing people with mental illness in far more restrictive conditions than necessary, the appellate panel said the nonprofit organization that began the litigation, Disability Advocates, did not have legal standing to sue.

The panel, comprising three judges of the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, acknowledged that its decision essentially reset the long-running battle to its starting point.

“We are not unsympathetic to the concern that our disposition will delay the resolution of this controversy and impose substantial burdens and transaction costs on the parties, their counsel and the courts,” the opinion said.

Cliff Zucker, the executive director of Disability Advocates, who less than two years ago was celebrating the lower court’s order for immediate changes to the system, said he would now seek to reach a settlement with state officials. “We are hopeful that this administration has recognized that this is a problem that needs to be solved and we’ll be able to solve it without recommencing litigation,” he said.

Barring such a deal, it is also possible that the Justice Department, which intervened late in the case on behalf of the plaintiffs, could file a new lawsuit, Mr. Zucker said.

Disability Advocates brought the lawsuit in 2003 after a series of articles in The New York Times described a system in which residents were poorly monitored and barely cared for, left to swelter in the summer and sometimes subjected to needless medical treatment and operations for Medicaid reimbursement.

Full Article and Source:
Court Upends 9-Year Fight on Housing Mentally Ill

KY: Women Ordered to Pay $118K Restitution

Two women from Hardin County paid $118,000 restitution and were sentenced for their roles in financial exploitation of an elderly woman from Clinton County.

Hazel F. Martin, 74, and Iris Hodge, 63, both of Radcliff, were sentenced in Hardin Circuit Court to serve weekends in jail for the next year for their roles in taking money from the accounts of Marie Farmer, who was at the time of the thefts hospitalized or living in a nursing home, according to a news release from the state attorney general's office.

Martin, who had power of attorney for Farmer, admitted that she had used her position to take more than $100,000 from Farmer's accounts. She pleaded guilty in August to four counts of knowing exploitation of an adult, over $300.

Hodge admitted she had facilitated the thefts by letting Martin deposit checks drawn on Farmer's accounts into her own account. She pleaded guilty to one count of receiving stolen property, under $10,000, and four counts of facilitation to exploitation of an adult, over $300.

Farmer died while the case was pending. Martin and Hodge paid full restitution to her family, the attorney general said.

Hardin County Women Pay $118,000 in Restitution for Exploitation

See Also:
Women Plead Guilty to Exploitation

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

The Case of Gary Harvey: An Unsolved Mystery

In January of 2006, Gary Harvey, of Horseheads, NY, fell down his basement steps. It was an accident that would forever change his life, the life of ...... his wife and even people who then didn't know him or Sara at the time. He suffered a traumatic brain injury. The world suffered the loss of his presence and the loss of innocence. Soon, trusting people would find themselves faced with the harsh reality they had thought to be mere extremists chatter.

The bubble burst. The fantasies dismantled. It was time to see the realities of how it really works, or can really work. (Some get waivers from the new mindset rules or procedure -- many don't -- Gary Harvey was one of the don'ts.)

From what it appears, an attorney that was suppose to represent Sara (and therefore Gary) bailed just before the hearing. One would think this would call for one of those continuances that can be given out and often is. Instead, Sara stood alone before the court and with challengers who were well versed in the way the court and system works. She hadn't a chance. Gary became a ward and it wasn't Sara that was to be the guardian.

Long story short...

Six years and bit later, here we are and there Gary is.

Guardianship abuses can even involve the courts and system once setup to protect the vulnerable but that have become too powerful and without true accountability.

Sara has spent hours upon hours trying to find a way to get her husband home, where he would want to be, yet she is treated as the bad guy by the system. This makes sense how?

The system peoples petitioned the court to kill off Gary by starving and dehydrating him to death. With this in mind, they feel what need to protect Gary and from what? What is it that they think Sara could possibly do to her husband that is far worse than starving and dehydrating him to death?

Perhaps none of this is a matter of caring well for Gary or protecting him from potential outside harm. Perhaps, instead, the need for the system people to hold on to Gary is something we should all wonder about and demand an answer to.

Simply put... why can't he go home to live or die? It doesn't make sense that he can't! It simply doesn't!

Full Article and Source:
The Case of Gary Harvey: An Unsolved Mystery

See Also:
Help Bring Gary Home

Man Accused of Stealing Over $379K From Elderly Great Aunt

The Dauphin County Elder Abuse Task Force announced an arrest in one of its largest cases since it formed in 2004. Investigators say Kevin Marcy stole $379,132.62 from his 89 year old great aunt, a retired teacher. He was her only relative, lived with her and had her power of attorney. Authorities say Marcy cashed his great aunt's pension and social security checks. The woman is suffering from Alzheimer's. Marcy is being charged with theft.

"I'd put this up there as one of the higher cases of theft regardless of who the victim was in the last several years that I've seen in Dauphin County from a pure monetary perspective," says Dauphin County District Attorney Ed Marsico.

Full Article and Source:
One of the Largest Cases of Financial Abuse in Dauphin County

Monday, April 9, 2012

'Eccentric Multimillionaires Living in Poverty'

It’s a Santa Barbara story out of a Charles Dickens novel: an eccentric brother and sister living a life of poverty for decades while turning their backs on an English estate worth millions.

It’s been one of the most novel, complicated, long-running cases in Santa Barbara Superior Court conservatorship history, piling up thousands of pages of documents — and thousands of dollars of legal fees on both sides of the Atlantic.

Before John died last June at 85, his Cornwall property was locked in the centuries-old “entail” system, whereby the eldest male heir inherited everything. It was one of the last of England’s entailed estates.

That meant that upon his death, it would have gone to a California cousin, John Westropp Figg-Hoblyn, leaving his sisters, Margaret and Anne Auld, out in the cold.

And that is where Margaret, now 78, has been living off and on in recent years. Attorneys and courts here and in England made legal history by managing to end the entail by creating a will before John Paget’s death. As a result, the estate, now estimated at $4,760,310 and under court administration in England, will go to Margaret and Anne. John Westropp, who unsuccessfully contested the action, gets $200,000.

Margaret (like John Paget, a Stanford University graduate) “has a long history of homelessness and tent-living,” and a few months ago, she “was discovered in a starved and disheveled state,” according to a county conservator’s report.

She was being evicted from her latest place, and the next stop was out on the street, conservators said. So they stepped in. Now, she’s a multimillionaire, on paper at least.

Although part of the property, considered prime farm land, has been sold to benefit the estate, much of it is still tied up, awaiting sales, according to a conservator report.

Full Article and Source:
Eccentric Multimillionaires Living in Poverty

See Also:
John Figg Hoblyn, California Victim

TX: Biggest Medicare Fraud in History Busted in February, Says Feds

Federal officials say they have taken down the largest Medicare fraud scheme investigators have ever discovered: a $375 million dollar home healthcare scam operating in the Dallas, Texas area.

The alleged "mastermind" of the fraud, Dr. Jacques Roy, is charged with certifying hundreds of fraudulent claims for Medicare reimbursement, and pocketing millions in payments for services not needed, or never delivered. Prosecutors say the 54-year-old Dr. Roy, who was arrested today and could be sentenced to life in prison, operated a "boiler room" to churn out thousands of phony Medicare claims and recruited homeless people as fake patients

"Today, the Medicare Fraud Strike Force is taking aim at the largest alleged home health fraud scheme ever committed," said Assistant Attorney General Lanny Breuer. "According to the indictment, Dr. Roy and his co-conspirators, for years, ran a well-oiled fraudulent enterprise in the Dallas area, making millions by recruiting thousands of patients for unnecessary services, and billing Medicare for those services."

Full Article and Source:
Biggest Medicare Fraud in History Busted, Says Feds

See Also:
NASGA's Open Letter to Congress: The Fleecing of Medicaid and the Taxpayer

Quincy Woman Gets Probation and Ordered to Pay $32K Restitution

A Quincy woman found guilty of financially exploiting her stepmother was ordered Monday to pay $32,266 in restitution and serve four years probation.

Barbara Chenoweth, 67, was indicted in 2009 of felony exploitation of an elderly person after investigators said she wrote checks from her stepmother's bank account after selling the woman's house. Her stepmother lives in an area nursing home, and Chenoweth had financial power of attorney when the checks were written, investigators said.

Chenoweth was found guilty a year ago by Judge William Mays after a bench trial. She was eligible for up to 15 years in prison, but Assistant State's Attorney Anita Rodriguez asked for probation, saying the issues were restitution and Chenoweth's medical issues.

Public Defender Todd Nelson said Chenoweth, who wore a neck brace in court, is scheduled to have major back surgery soon.

"The goal is to restore the victim as much as possible and to make her whole," Rodriguez said. "But the difficulty in this case is that no matter what we do, there's no way to make the victim whole."

Mays stayed 180 days of jail time for Chenoweth, who was accused of draining her stepmother's account.

"I don't think you went into it to take the money," the judge said to Chenoweth. "It was an opportunity that presented itself to you, and you used that opportunity."

Full Article and Source:
Quincy Woman, 67, Gets Probation for Financially Exploiting Stepmother

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Dr. Richard Fine from 2010 and 2011

Full Disclosure Network presents a four-minute preview of hour long interview recorded in the L A County Central Men's jail with political prisoner Richard I Fine who has never been charged or conviced of a crime but has been held in solitary, "Coercive Confinement" for over a year. Dr. Fine holds a PhD in International Law and was an anti-trust attorney with the DOJ in Washington D.C. before he was ordered to jail in civil contempt of court. Listen to him describe the corruption in L A County and the Justice System is a threat to our American Democratic process and to the nation. Then he reveals his simple solution to ridding the corruption from our government.

YouTube: California Justice System on Brink of Collapse

Void Court Orders and judgments result when a Judge does not have jurisdiction to be able to enter the order. In Judge Yaffe's case it was to due to taking $850,000 in payments from the County of Los Angeles, a party to the case. Under CCP Section 473 (d) a motion can be brought at any time to set aside the void judgment or order. So far four other Judges have been disqualified from sitting on Fine's Motion to Null and Void Judge Yaffe's Orders. They are Ann Jones, Robert O'Brien, Elihu Berle, and Carolyn B. Kuhl.

Why Disqualified Judges Orders are Null and Void

Britney Spears' Fiance to Share in Her Conservatorship

First comes the engagement, then comes...conservatorship?

Singer Britney Spears' father, Jamie Spears, who holds conservatorship over his daughter and her fortune, has asked a court to add future son-in-law Jason Trawick as a co-conservator, People reports.

Trawick, 40, Britney's former agent, asked her to marry him in December in Las Vegas. He will be Husband No. 3 for Brit, 30, who has been under the legal control of her father since 2008 when she suffered a psychological breakdown.

Trawick will help look after Spears' general well-being - is she eating properly, getting medical care and so forth - not her finances, People reports.

Full Article and Source:
Britney Spears' Finance to Share Conservatorship Over Her

TX: Effort to Bankrupt Autistic Student's Family Continues

The allegation is pure, mean-spirited revenge. It's how critics describe the Alief Independent School District’s nearly six-year, six-figure legal war against the immigrant parents of special-needs student Chuka Chibuogwu.

"For what purpose? They can't get any money from them," Alief taxpayer Bob Hermann said.

Hermann said he's followed the ongoing effort to bankrupt the Chibuogwus with mounting anger and utter frustration.

"Some adult should step in and say, ‘This is just wrong. Let’s just drop it and forget about it’," he said.

The facts: Way back in 2007, Chuka's parents objected to the way the district was educating their autistic son and fought for changes. The district said "no."

When the Chibuogwu's dropped their battle and pulled their son out of school, then Alief Superintendent Louis Stoerner and attorney Erik Nichols concocted a strategy for retribution, accusing Chuka's parents and their advisors of harassment and demanding the family pay the district's legal expenses.

"There is an honesty issue here and a harassment issue here and I think the parents have been harassed," insisted Jimmy Kilpatrick, a special-education advocate who represented the Chibuogwus.

But for attorney Nichols, the Chibuogwu case was an opportunity to test the tactics he had promoted in a legal seminar entitled "Show Me the Money" - a how to guide for extracting cash penalties from parents who challenge their public schools.

Full Article and Source:
Alief's Revenge: Effort to Bankrupt Autistic Student's Family Continues