Saturday, January 31, 2015

The Vegas Voice: Rana Goodman: What Would You Do?

Rana Goodman,
The Vegas Voice
There is a knock on your door and the caregiver who has stopped by to check on your wife motions you to sit. He will answer the door for you.

Two people enter; a woman and a man. They approach you and the woman says: “Mr. X, I am an officer of the court. You and your wife need to come with me.

You ask: “Why, what have I done? Go with you where?”

She responds. “You have three choices. I can have you arrested, you can go to the assisted living facility that I have chosen for you, or you can be taken to a mental facility.”

This is what happened to a couple I recently interviewed.

When the couple asked to see a warrant or legal document ordering them to go with her, she simply showed her business card (which identified her as a private guardian) and stated that legal papers would arrive within the next few hours. Those three hours stretched into weeks.

For the three days after this couple were whisked away, their adult daughter frantically tried to locate them. Eventually, a notice was taped on their front door stating that they had been moved to an assisted living facility miles away from their home.

Once the daughter’s finally locates her parents, she learns that an unknown private guardian had been assigned by the family court, without a hearing that included her parents. The court document for this action contained two blatantly false statements: that this daughter (and only child) never sees the parents and is an addict, and that the husband has dementia and can no longer care for his wife.

In my interview with this elderly couple, I found the husband (who has been the primary caregiver for his wife for the last 19 of their 50 years of marriage) to be the most articulate, soft spoken person I have met in a very long time. His only concern was her happiness and well-being knowing that she is now wheelchair bound and in the latter stages of leukemia.

Full Article and Source:
What would you do?

See Also:
A Very Dangerous Law, Part 2
The Pitfalls of Guardianship

Please sign the Petition to Correct Nevada Guardianship Law

Rana Goodman and Vegas Voice readers signing the petitions
Please clip, sign and mail or sign the petition online at

(Nevada law requires a guardian be a resident of the state.  Many retirees move to Nevada and their families, still in the workforce,  live in other states; thereby preventing family from being appointed as guardian despite being ready, willing and able to serve -- and the Alleged Incompetent Person's wishes for family to handle his/her affairs rather than a professional guardian or a Public Guardian).

Family Court Judge Charles Hoskin - Favored by Attorneys, but Maybe Not by Judges or Voters

Last year the Clark County District Court sought a new hearing master to serve in the Family Division. Duties included overseeing hearings and rendering opinions on cases that dealt with issues such as abuse and neglect, child support, domestic violence and guardianship. Over 75 applicants submitted formal requests to become a hearing master. A committee made up of Judges voted and the top three finalists included Soonhee A. Bailey, Yolanda M. Carroll and Amy M. Mastin.

Former Chief Judge Jennifer P. Togliatti issued a press release seeking the public’s vote and in turn promised transparency and fairness in the selection process in addition to hearing public comment.

“Inviting the public to give input into the process is intended to improve transparency and build public trust and confidence,” Clark County District Court Chief Judge Togliatti said in a news release. “The policy also ensures a consistent selection procedure.”

Judge Togliatti, Human Resources Manager – Ed May and 19 of the Family Court Judges listened to presentations and voted on their favorite hearing master candidate. One applicant in particular garnered 12 of the 19 votes, well over 50 percent. Immediately the results were leaked inside the legal community and they were happy with the selection. It was even divulged that one of the Family Court Judges would mentor the applicant.

Apparently Judge Hoskin was not in agreement with Soonhee A. Bailey being selected by the Judges. So he privately approached a Family Court Judge and asked her if she would support his decision to circumvent the popular vote of 19 other judges and break the promise of transparency and fairness that was promised to the public. She did not approve. About a week later Judge Hoskin called and informed Amy M. Mastin, the candidate with only four (4) votes that the Judges had selected her to for the position of Hearing Master.

Former Chief Judge Jennifer P. Togliatti was silent and did not issue a formal apology or an explanation of the sole action of Judge Hoskin. The general public was outraged and 12 Family Court Judges felt slighted and disrespected because like the public, their vote did not matter and was not recognized.

Family Court Judge Charles Hoskin - Favored by Attoneys, but Maybe Not by Judges or Votors

Friday, January 30, 2015

The Vegas Voice: Guardianship: A Legal Sham and Disgrace

Rana has been on her Don(na) Quixote crusade to protect seniors from the abuses and scandal regarding the Guardianship (Nevada Revised Statutes - Chapter 159) laws. For the past few months, she has taken me kicking and screaming into this issue.

On each and every occasion, when I told her that “it could not happen” she provided the paperwork.

As a former attorney, I learned how to read the law, petitions and court orders. More importantly,I was taught how to read between the lines.

From our research and investigation, it is clear that these “Private Guardianships” are nothing short of a racket. It gives “ambulance chasers” a good name.

Let me be very precise in our findings:
Having a private guardian appointed for a senior is like selecting a child molester to run a day care center. It is financial elder exploitation; sanctioned and approved by the Court and Nevada.

One example: According to court records filed by a private guardian, is not ready to release her name yet - but we’re real close) it listed an elderly couple’s (mentioned in Rana’s column) bank account as having approximately $23,000.

The initial court order authorized this private guardian to seize $10,000 for the husband and then an additional ten thousand for the wife (a total of $20,000) for the couple’s on-going expenses AND (of course) the expenses related to the court proceeding.

Just like that - the couple’s bank account was depleted by nearly 90%.

Just like that, the guardian was allowed “reasonable compensation and expenses.”

Just like that, the guardian was allowed to hire an attorney to represent the guardian and to have the lawyer receive “necessary compensation as well as expenses.

While the guardianship laws require an annual accounting, such filing was not done.

What did the court do over this failure? Nothing.

Where did all the money go?

Full Article and Source:
The Vegas Voice:  Guardianship:  A Legal Shame and Disgrace

Petition to Correct Nevada Guardianship Law

Please clip, sign and mail or sign the petition online at

(Nevada law requires a guardian be a resident of the state.  Many retirees move to Nevada and their families, still in the workforce,  live in other states; thereby preventing family from being appointed as guardian despite being ready, willing and able to serve -- and the Alleged Incompetent Person's wishes for family to handle his/her affairs rather than a professional guardian or a Public Guardian).

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Tonight on T.S. Radio: Journalist Mike Volpe: Corruption in Family Courts

Mike Volpe returns to discuss the abuses occurring in several states via Family Courts.

Volpe's article "Chris Christie named in two lawsuits alleging violations by Family Courts" appears on Rebel Pundit. In Connecticut, children were handed over to pedophile rings after their mothers were arbitrarily determined to be mentally ill.

In New Jersey, "in Bergen County, a lawsuit led by Karin Wolf, including more than forty women, will allege that courts ignore abuse on a widespread basis–be it sexual, physical, verbal, or emotional–and instead label women making these allegations as parental alienators or as having a variety of mental illnesses or defects." REBEL PUNDIT

Later in the show, Mike will discuss Bullied to Death: The Chris Mackney Story his new book about the stalking and harassment of Chris Mackney, a man driven to suicide by the abuses in family and divorce courts resulting in the loss of access to his children, financial ruin and repeated arrests spanning several years.

Family courts are the last place you want to end up.

7:00 pm EST

LISTEN LIVE or listen to the archive later!

Nursing Home Abuse Advocate

Nursing Home Abuse Advocates (NHAA) was formed to help individuals and family members of nursing home residents be informed about their legal rights regarding abuse and neglect of their loved ones.

Questions arise from abuse and neglect of the elderly living in nursing homes. Questions such as, why does my father or mother have bed sores or how did my mother fall and break her hip? We are here to help assist you in finding those answers and putting you in touch with someone who can help you recover and hopefully put an end to abuse and neglect of the elderly.
NHAA has compiled some common Nursing Home Abuse & Neglect situations:
  1. Malnutrition and dehydration
  2. Decubitus ulcers a/k/a bedsores or pressure sores
  3. Sexual abuse by other residents and/or employees
  4. Falls caused by mishandling and lack of attention
  5. Failure to follow medical and physical treatment plans
  6. Failure to contact physician for emergencies and non-emergencies
  7. Unexpected DEATH

"Without Conscience: The Disturbing World of the Psychopaths Among Us"

Most people are both repelled and intrigued by the images of cold-blooded, conscienceless murderers that increasingly populate our movies, television programs, and newspaper headlines. With their flagrant criminal violation of society's rules, serial killers like Ted Bundy and John Wayne Gacy are among the most dramatic examples of the psychopath.

Individuals with this personality disorder are fully aware of the consequences of their actions and know the difference between right and wrong, yet they are terrifyingly self-centered, remorseless, and unable to care about the feelings of others. Perhaps most frightening, they often seem completely normal to unsuspecting targets--and they do not always ply their trade by killing.

Presenting a compelling portrait of these dangerous men and women based on 25 years of distinguished scientific research, Dr. Robert D. Hare vividly describes a world of con artists, hustlers, rapists, and other predators who charm, lie, and manipulate their way through life. Are psychopaths mad, or simply bad? How can they be recognized? And how can we protect ourselves? This book provides solid information and surprising insights for anyone seeking to understand this devastating condition.

Avaliable through Amazon

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Prosecutors dismiss charges against Solon attorney accused of stealing from military veteran

CLEVELAND, Ohio – Cuyahoga County prosecutors dismissed charges Monday against a Solon attorney who was accused of stealing from the bank account of a disabled Army veteran.

Gary Bakst, 59, was indicted earlier this month on charges of theft and tampering with evidence in connection with what prosecutors had said was the $1,218 theft from Kevin C. Hart, 54, in October. Bakst served as Hart's guardian since 2006, as Hart suffers from schizophrenia.

"This is exactly what we had said: Mr. Bakst did not steal any money from Mr. Hart,'' said defense attorney Andrea Whitaker.

The case is the second involving Bakst's work with veterans. In December, he pleaded guilty in Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court to identity fraud and tampering with government records. He admitted to using another attorney's identity to bill for legal work in the cases of the veterans.

Prosecutors said Bakst did that to circumvent Probate Court rules that limited his ability to generate fees as both guardian and lawyer of the disabled veterans. He illegally billed $15,301 using the attorney's identity last April. Judge Pamela Barker is expected to meet with lawyers and Bakst on Thursday for a hearing in that case.

On Monday, Matthew Meyer, an assistant Cuyahoga County prosecutor, dismissed the theft charges his office brought against Bakst. Meyer said an investigation into the theft allegations began when Hart's daughter, Alisha, gave multiple statements to authorities that Bakst had failed to reimburse her for the cost of buying her father a mattress for $1,218.

Meyer said that records indicate that Bakst withdrew that amount from Kevin Hart's bank account Oct. 6 by writing a check to cash. After a Probate Court judge removed Bakst from serving as Hart's guardian Oct. 17, Alisha Hart told the new guardian, Paul Silver, that Bakst had failed to reimburse her for buying her father's mattress, Meyer said.

The prosecutor said Silver then wrote Alisha Hart a cashier's check for the $1,218, which was drawn from Kevin Hart's bank account. Last week, Alisha Hart sent an email to prosecutors that she also had received a check for a similar amount from BCH Management Group, a business owned by Bakst.

Hart told prosecutors that she had confused the check with an insurance settlement for property damage to her home and had not realized that Bakst had sent it Sept. 19 as a reimbursement for the bedding because of "the lack of any identifying information on the check or communication from Bakst.''

Hart realized the mistake when she was preparing to file her taxes, Meyer said.

"Although it is unclear why Bakst would have chosen to give money to Ms. Hart from funds that he personally controlled (instead of directly from the guardianship account) or why he would have written a check to cash from the guardianship account to reimburse himself later, the evidence does not indicate that Bakst kept the money taken from Kevin Hart's account,'' Meyer said.

Full Article & Source:
Prosecutors dismiss charges against Solon attorney accused of stealing from military veteran

Thompson Falls man convicted of elder abuse

SUPERIOR — A Thompson Falls man was convicted of neglecting an elderly man with dementia and illegally gaining ownership of his money and property.

After a three-day trial, a Mineral County jury found Daryl Enos Strang guilty on Jan. 15 of abusing or neglecting a victim and exploitation of an elderly person.

Prosecutors alleged Strang obtained power of attorney from Ben Poat and used it to take Poat’s 103-acre ranch, two Jeeps and a limited edition Harley Davidson motorcycle via quit claim deed and drain $142,000 from his bank account over the course of a year.

District Judge Ed McLean allowed Strang to remain free on a $50,000 bond until his March 9 sentencing.

One of Poat’s sisters told Mineral County authorities in September 2013 that she believed Strang was exploiting her brother. A social worker who visited Poat’s house found he had been left alone with no other food except milk and peanut butter.

In November 2013, a judge invalidated a 2012 will that left Poat’s estate to Strang, ordered the return of Poat’s personal property and revoked Strang’s power of attorney.

Attorney Lance Jasper, who was appointed as Poat’s guardian, said he was able to find someone to buy Poat’s ranch and allow him to live there until he died of cancer in August 2014 at 84. Jasper said the purchase price helped pay for Poat’s end-of-life care.

“His one wish was to die in his own house and we were able to make that happen,” Jasper said.

Full Article & Source: 
Thompson Falls man convicted of elder abuse

Legal Aid Society publishes brochure on conservatorship

NASHVILLE, Tenn., Jan. 26, 2015–Legal Aid Society of Middle Tennessee and the Cumberlands, Tennessee’s largest non-profit law firm, announced today that it has published a new free brochure on conservatorship in Tennessee. Through a conservatorship, a judge appoints a guardian to manage the affairs of another person who is incapacitated to the point that they cannot make health care or financial decisions for themselves.

The brochure primarily targets two groups: people such as family members, caregivers and friends who want to help someone by becoming their conservator and people who need or already have a conservator making their decisions. It outlines the legal basics of a conservatorship court order, including:

*What a conservatorship is
*The types of conservatorship and what they do
*The legal requirements before a conservator can be appointed for someone
*How to apply for conservatorship of a person and/or their estate
*The rights of the person for whom someone is seeking to become the conservator and their rights after a conservator is appointed for them
*How to end or change a conservatorship

“A conservatorship is a very sensitive and serious legal proceeding. That is, through a conservatorship, another person could be handling your bills, property and health care decisions,” said Steve Christopher, managing attorney for the Gallatin office of Legal Aid Society and one of the authors of the brochure. “By publishing this free brochure, our goal is for those at the crossroads of such important legal and life decisions to not be overwhelmed by jargon or a lack of knowledge, but empowered by this information.”

The free brochure is available on Legal Aid Society’s website, Each of Legal Aid Society’s eight offices will also have free hard copies of the brochure on file for those interested in learning more about conservatorship.

Funding for the brochure was provided by the West End Home Foundation.

Legal Aid Society of Middle Tennessee and the Cumberlands advocates for fairness and justice under the law. The non-profit law firm offers free civil legal representation, educational programs and advice to ensure people in its region are able to protect their livelihoods, their health and their families. It serves 48 counties from offices in Clarksville, Columbia, Cookeville, Gallatin, Murfreesboro, Nashville, Oak Ridge and Tullahoma. Legal Aid Society is funded in part by United Way. Learn more at, or by following the firm on Facebook.

Full Article & Source:
Legal Aid Society publishes brochure on conservatorship

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Steve Duin: The forlorn twilight of Dan and Joan Pyle

Joan & Dan Pyle

If every aging and unsettled family is unhappy in its own way, the twilight of Dan and Joan Pyle is especially daunting.

When the Pyles celebrate their 30th anniversary this summer at their Southeast Portland home, they will do so in the company of a court-ordered guardianship/conservatorship and its omnipresent caretakers.

They are under 24-hour guard. Their credit cards have been cancelled, their drivers' licenses removed. They are stressed and unhappy, so frustrated that when a neighbor, Peggy Gaston, received permission to take the Pyles out for dinner, Joan asked her to ditch the caregiver who was following them in another car. Gaston, quite cheerfully, did.

"We don't mean to sound melodramatic," Joan wrote in a recent email, "but you feel like jumping off of a bridge and ending the misery."

Dan & Joan Pyle
The elderly couple – Dan turns 84 in March, Joan 80 – are now "protected persons." Their anguish over the loss of autonomy is a window into the complexities of guardianship, family planning, and Multnomah County's probate court, as well as the harrowing toll of grief and loss on the elderly.

And the troubled witnesses peering through that window are sharply divided over whether the Pyles are so vulnerable – or so volatile – that they require the 24-hour supervision that costs them $369 each day.

The guardianship "isn't making them better," says Gaston, who met Dan and Joan before they married. "It's making them depressed. They're the generation that built this country. They worked hard all their lives, and they want to enjoy their retirement. And they're not able to make any decisions."

Dan Pyle is a former Portland longshoreman, dealing – court papers note – with Alzheimer's and congestive heart failure. Joan, his second wife, has long been his primary caretaker.

In 2011, Dan Pyle was hospitalized following a series of falls. "He had this huge wound on his leg that was getting infected," says Rob Pyle, Dan's oldest son. "They (doctors) took one look at him and immediately called Adult Protective Services."

When an investigator interviewed Rob and his sister, Darcy Steele, Rob says, "We told him that Joan loves my dad, but she can't take care of him. She can't stop him when he goes to fall. Their decisions together were not protecting my dad."

The state APS office agreed Dan had suffered neglect. The Pyles were in and out of assisted living and nursing facilities for the next two years while their children – from each of their first marriages – reviewed options.

Money was not an issue. As Orrin Onken, the Pyles' former attorney noted in a request for fees, "The Pyles are estimated to have a conservatorship estate of close to $1 million."

"Pop worked his butt off," says Ken Hieter, Joan's only son. "Mom invested it wisely."

But Joan was so obsessed with safeguarding those trusts, Rob Pyle says, that she added a provision saying the children would be disinherited "if we made any attempt to become guardians."

"All of the kids," Joan acknowledges, "were upset about that."

At wit's end, and concerned about Dan's safety, Hieter says he contacted Dady Blake, an elder-law attorney. She introduced him to Tiffany & O'Shea, a private fiduciary firm that provides guardian, conservator and estate services.

Dan was most in need of care. Joan, however, is the majority vote in the couple's decisions. They agreed to a guardianship, Joan says, because it allowed the Pyles to return to their home, which they did in July.

The honeymoon was brief. When Tiffany & O'Shea petitioned the Multnomah County probate court to extend the guardianship and conservatorship "for an indefinite duration," the Pyles objected.
The ensuing 10-month legal battle was revealing in a number of ways.

The Pyles quickly discovered they were paying the legal fees for both their attorneys and for the attorney – Dady Blake – representing Tiffany & O'Shea, the conservator controlling their finances.
As Melissa Starr, one of their former caregivers, put it, "Joan and Dan are paying the bill for their own demise. If that's not a story, nothing is."

What's more, Dan and Joan were footing the bill for a company that informed the court in its original petition for guardianship that the Pyles are unable to manage their finances and "unable to effectively process information to make decisions for their own safety, health and well being."

Including in the "factual information" he presents to support those conclusions about Joan Pyle, Michael O'Shea states (a) "A former avid reader, she no longer can read," and (b) "She is unable to write out numbers on a check correctly and can not balance a checkbook."

Read? "Of course she can read," Darcy Steele says. A year after O'Shea presented this "evidence," Joan read to me a stirring passage by Sydney Sheldon in her living room. She also nimbly filled out a check.

O'Shea did not respond to numerous requests for comment or clarification.

The hearing to terminate Tiffany & O'Shea as legal guardian and conservator for Joan Pyle was held Oct. 28 before Multnomah Circuit Judge Paula J. Kurshner. (Dan Pyle's request to end his protected status was withdrawn prior to the hearing.)

At the time, caregivers were spending nine hours each day with the Pyles. The two primary caregivers, Melissa Starr and Melissa Conlon, both testified on Joan's behalf, describing the couple's routine and defending their self-sufficiency.

"Joan is a bit delusional," Starr told me. "That doesn't mean she needs a guardian. This is called a difficult case is because they (the Pyles) object. And the reason they object is because they're not incapacitated."

The testimony that dominated the hearing, however, was provided by Polly Fisher, a court visitor. After several interviews, Fisher concluded that Joan's belief system "could be characterized as fixed, paranoid and delusional."

She further argued, "Joan Pyle is vulnerable undue influence and to fraud due to her inability to evaluate reality and her deficits in memory and judgment."

In her closing, Dady Blake insisted the caregivers' assessment of how well Dan and Joan get along actually argues for continuance of the present arrangement.

"It sounds like a lovely existence, quite frankly," Blake says.

Over Dan and Joan's objections, Kurshner ruled it shall endure.

"In March of this year, Mrs. Pyle, represented by counsel, stipulated that she was incapacitated," Kurshner said. "I have heard nothing to indicate anything has changed ...

"I'm glad they're back in the home. The care plan seems ideal for them. I use 'them' intentionally. This (Joan) is not someone I can look at in isolation ... They are together. That's not a fact I can ignore in totality. The care he gets is part of the care she gets."

How does Dan Pyle sum up what he heard in that decision? "Apparently, they think they own us."
In the aftermath of Kurshner's ruling, several things have happened.

Caregivers Melissa Starr and Melissa Conlon both say they were dismissed by Helena Lopes Culp, who runs the in-home care agency hired by Tiffany & O'Shea.

"When I called to tell her (Culp) I'd been subpoenaed to appear," Conlon says, "she told me, 'If you show up in court, your services will no longer be needed.' Quote, unquote."

Asked if that is true, Culp says, "They are contractors. They pick up hours, and there were no more hours."

The bills are coming due. Blake billed the protected couple's estate $19,845.99, Tiffany & O'Shea $13,651, and both of those demands – the most recent on file in a system, Blake says, where accounting is typically done on an annual basis – only cover fees and services through June 30. The Pyles' two attorneys, Onken and Cathryn Ruckle, charged the couple just under $33,000.

And the in-home care – Culp's caregivers are now at the house 24 hours each day – costs more than $11,000 per month, Dan and Joan say. (Continue reading)

Full Article & Source:
Steve Duin: The forlorn twilight of Dan and Joan Pyle

Palm Bay woman charged in exploitation of elderly

A Palm Bay woman has been arrested and charged after police say she exploited an elderly man.

According to an arrest affidavit from the Palm Bay Police Department, 45-year-old Rebecca Sue Flannery is accused of stealing several items of jewelry about Nov. 1 from a man she was hired to give hospice care. The jewelry, according to the man's wife, was valued at more than $10,000.

Police later discovered several pieces of jewelry in pawn shops that matched the description. They found that the customer received $350 for a wedding ring valued at $3,000, $310 for earrings valued at $3,100 and $400 for a man's ring valued at $3,500.

The affidavit states that Flannery confessed in an audio-recorded non-custodial statement to working for the family as a caregiver and stealing jewelry twice from the family and pawning it off at two Palm Bay shops.

Flannery faces one count of abuse/neglect/exploitation of an elderly person, two counts of grand theft from a person over 65 years of age, three counts of dealing in stolen property and three counts of false verification of ownership.

Detectives also believe there may be additional victims. They ask that anyone with information contact Palm Bay Police Department Detective Jess Suelter through the department's Communication Center at 321-952-3539.

Full Article & Source:
Palm Bay woman charged in exploitation of elderly

Monday, January 26, 2015

In fight over Tom Benson's fortune, Texas judge temporarily freezes assets

Gayle Benson, Tom Benson & Rita Benson LeBlanc

A Texas judge has ordered a temporary freeze on the money and assets in a trust controlled by New Orleans Saints and Pelicans owner Tom Benson, an order requested by his daughter, Renee Benson.

The temporary restraining order, signed by Judge Thomas E. Rickhoff of Bexar County on Wednesday (Jan. 21), prevents Benson from withdrawing, transferring or otherwise diminishing the value of the Shirley L. Benson Testamentary Trust.

Tom Benson's longtime wife Shirley died in 1980 from lupus.

On Thursday, Renee Benson and her children Rita and Ryan LeBlanc filed a lawsuit in New Orleans claiming that Tom Benson is incompetent to control the Saints and Pelicans sports empire. The move came after Tom Benson on Wednesday announced that his wife, Gayle, not his granddaughter Rita, should take over the clubs after he dies.

According to the lawsuit in Orleans Parish Civil District Court, Renee Benson has worked closely with her father in managing his business interests, including serving as president and owner of Renson Enterprises LLC in San Antonio, which manages several Benson family auto-dealerships. She has also served as vice chairman of Bensco Inc., a subsidiary that owns dealerships, the lawsuit said.

On Jan. 7, Benson "purportedly instructed" all of his auto dealerships to ban Renee Benson and her children, Rita and Ryan LeBlanc, from visiting the dealerships and asked managers to call the police if necessary, according to the lawsuit.

Under the temporary restraining order in Texas, Tom Benson cannot limit the access of Renee Benson and her children, Rita and Ryan LeBlanc, to those dealerships. He also is ordered to continue paying monthly management fees to Renson Enterprises.

The lawsuit claims that in December and January, Benson failed to perform his duties as trustee of the Shirley L. Benson Testamentary Trust, including paying management fees, property insurance and property taxes on time.

A hearing on a request for a temporary injunction extending the conditions is set for Feb. 4.

Benson spokesman Greg Bensel declined comment Thursday on the Texas proceedings and the lawsuit in New Orleans.

Full Article & Source:
In fight over Tom Benson's fortune, Texas judge temporarily freezes assets

Court system struggles with what to do with homeless man

David Olsen
BLOOMINGTON — Homeless and unemployed for more than a decade, David Olsen sits in a booking cell in the McLean County jail, waiting for the legal system to figure out what to do with him.

Six criminal cases — five misdemeanors for trespassing and a felony theft charge — have kept Olsen jailed since mid-October and he is suffering from a worsening state of dementia.

A petition filed by PATH, a local agency that provides services to the homeless, seeks a state guardianship for Olsen to provide for his care and housing.

But at 56 years of age, Olsen is opposing the petition that could place him in a nursing home. A Feb. 13 jury trial has been scheduled by McLean County Judge Rebecca Foley.

At a December hearing, Olsen explained his position to Foley and Dan Daneen and Rusty Depew, lawyers assigned to the guardianship case.

"I can take care of myself. I will find a place to go. I'm not going to a nursing home. I don't have a guardianship. I won't have a guardianship," said Olsen.

Bloomington lawyer Rob Carter has been named to represent Olsen in his challenge; a public defender is handling his criminal case.

Previously, PATH Executive Director Karen Zangerle testified that Olsen has a long history of going from shelters, to the street, to the jail. Psychiatric evaluations have deemed Olsen to be disabled, she said.

The use of guardianship petitions for homeless people with mental illness is a new option being used in McLean County. Zangerle said she filed six such petitions last year.

The McLean County State's Attorney's office cooperates with the guardianship process that recently placed two other jail inmates in nursing homes.

Depew serves as temporary guardian, while Daneen, McLean County's public guardian, handles housing, financial and other matters. 

Daneen was among other state-appointed public guardians recently removed by Gov. Bruce Rauner as part of the new administration's review of all state appointments. Rauner said the appointees may be renamed.

On a long-term basis, the Illinois Office of State Guardian looks after disabled people who need a permanent guardian.

In Olsen's case, the state guardian's office has concerns about his apparent unwillingness to comply with a move to a nursing home.

In a conference call during a hearing on Friday, a lawyer with the state suggested that placing him in a mental health facility is a better option at this time.

"Trying to get a nursing home to take someone like this is is virtually impossible. They don't have to," Pamela Connell told Foley and the lawyers.    

Long history

Olsen's criminal history in McLean County spans more than three decades, dating back to his acquittal in 1993 on sexual abuse charges. Since then, he has logged 35 misdemeanors, one felony and nine ordinance violations.

More than 24 of the misdemeanors were for trespassing on private or public property and for refusing to leave several places that have provided shelter and medical care in the past: Salvation Army's Safe Harbor, the McLean County jail and Advocate BroMenn Medical Center.

A snapshot of Olsen's life shows a man who is chronically homeless and unemployed with visible signs of the mental and physical deterioration that often comes with life on the streets. In the past seven years, Olsen has dropped more than 30 pounds and grown a long white beard that makes him look older than his 56 years.

In a majority of the cases, the state dismissed charges against him, according to a review of court records. In several other cases, Olsen pleaded guilty and served jail time.

He listed Safe Harbor and Home Sweet Home Mission as his addresses in 2008 and 2009 court documents. By 2011, he was listed as homeless.

Since 2009, Olsen has spent 569 days in the county jail.

His most recent stay of 135 days so far has put Olsen among about a dozen mentally ill inmates in the jail's booking area, a difficult situation for jail staff that improves when inmates leave for more stable environments. (Continue Reading)

Full Article & Source:

Woman accused of exploiting vulnerable adult Print Email

Jerami Culbreath
An employee of a local special needs facility has been charged with taking financial advantage of a vulnerable adult.

Bond was set during a hearing Friday on 24-year-old Jerami Culbreath at $5,000 personal recognizance. The Orangeburg woman has been charged with exploitation of a vulnerable adult, a felony that carries up to $5,000 in fines and five years in prison if she’s convicted.

Police say Culbreath turned herself in on Friday after being contacted by Orangeburg Department of Public Safety investigators. They say it is their understanding the Briarcliff Drive woman has been placed on leave. The Orangeburg County Disability and Special Needs Board could not be reached Friday afternoon.

The investigation was turned over to the ODPS in late November at the request of State Law Enforcement Division agents. SLED said they had been contacted by the disability board after allegations over financial exploitation arose.

According to a warrant, Culbreath took a resident of the Orangeburg care facility to an Edisto Village business where she used the victim’s financial cards to make purchases of more than $400 for her own use.

Investigators say the defendant applied the reward points for the purchase to her own rewards card.

Full Article & Source:
Woman accused of exploiting vulnerable adult

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Tonight on T.S. Radio: Marlena Fearing: The Corruption in Minnesota Courts and Elsewhere

Guest : Marlena Fearing, an extraordinary woman who is an accomplished land developer, real estate agent and business owner.  She has also worked tirelessly as a guardian ad litem for children and adults and knows what really goes on inside these courtrooms.  She can speak to the the back room deals that harm so many.  Marlena has also devoted much of her time to caring for the homeless.

Licensed Real Estate Broker – Minnesota since 1975
Licensed Land Developer and General Contractor            
Licensed Court Appointed Guardian Ad Litem – trained in court room proceedings     
Licensed in Mexico for Land Development (Odyssey de Mexico)  
Operation Brotherhood – A Minnesota non-profit corporation – President/CEO- A non-profit organization with a mission statement to serve as “First Call for Help” providing food, housing and shelter for homeless.
Guardian Ad Litem – Court appointed by Dakota County, MN to serve as an advocate for vulnerable adults and children in a courtroom setting. My role was to advise the court as to the best interest of the vulnerable adult/child.

MAGAL – Minnesota Chapter for Guardian Ad Litem
Women’s League of Minnesota –  Served as Vice- President
Lions Club, Garrison MN- Lioness/ Women’s Division – Providing food/ shelter
PFAW – Wrote various articles for publication/Civil Rights Violations

4:00 pm PST … 5:00 pm MST … 6:00 pm CST … 7:00 pm EST

LISTEN LIVE or listen to the archive later

Connecticut Supreme Court Sides with DCF, Girl to Remain in Custody for Forced Chemotherapy

Unsurprisingly, the Connecticut State Supreme court upheld the medical kidnapping case of Cassandra and left her in State custody where doctors are free to force chemotherapy on her against her desire, and the desire of her mother.

It should be noted that in the report below by Beau Berman of Fox News Connecticut, the same reporter who broke the Justina Pelletier medical kidnap story last year, he is reporting that attorney Michael Taylor who represented the family at this hearing is a public defender assigned to the case.

Since we have started publishing these medical kidnapping stories, we have received many emails and comments from people who have been involved in the legal process. One of them was the wife of a CPS employee who wanted us to share what she tells as many people as she can who have experienced losing their children to CPS:
I would highly recommend that you include the following information on your pages that talk about the abuse that CPS does to families by taking children away needlessly. It will help the parents tremendously if they will hire a private lawyer. Not the court-appointed lawyer, but a private lawyer, one who knows CPS.
My husband, who works for CPS, and also recently got his master’s in Social Work, said that there are virtually no children from middle and upper class families in CPS, and that the workers tremble and make sure they are careful what they do when they see a family has a private lawyer. Also, the judge is more likely to view the family favorably if he sees a private lawyer.
Many families would say or do (or neglect to say or do) things that would hurt (or help) them in their case, because they don’t know the law. They will believe what they are told, even if the information is not correct, because they don’t know better.
It is  absolutely crucial that parents get a lawyer to help them with their case, and that they sue the agencies involved (including policemen and hospitals, if necessary) if any unlawful actions were taken against them. If the parents don’t have the money, they should start a fund for friends and family and community to help them out.
We sincerely hope that a private attorney who is a true family advocate will step forward to take up this case.

It would seem that in the legal proceedings it is assumed that chemotherapy is the only viable option for Cassandra, and that without it she will die. Most mainstream media reports are stating this as fact.
It is not fact.

Last year Health Impact News reported on a case in Ohio where medical authorities wanted to take custody of an Amish girl who was refusing chemotherapy for cancer treatment. The parents took her outside the U.S. to prevent losing custody of their young daughter, and to receive alternative cancer therapy. The mainstream media was in an uproar and freely reported what doctors were claiming, that the girl would almost immediately die without treatment. And yet instead, the girl became cancer-free through alternative treatments, and is still doing well today. (See: Ohio Amish Girl Who Refused Forced Chemo Now Reported Cancer-free.) (Continue Reading)

Full Article & Source:
Connecticut Supreme Court Sides with DCF, Girl to Remain in Custody for Forced Chemotherapy

See Also:
Connecticut teen fighting state over forced chemotherapy treatments

Connecticut Supreme Court upholds ruling that teen must undergo chemo

Woman accused of beating elderly relatives with skillet

Kristi Ann Greene 43, of Morristown
A Hamblen County woman is accused of beating her elderly relatives with a skillet.

Deputies said Kristi Ann Greene, 43, of Morristown was drunk she went over to her family's house and hit two of her relatives in their heads with a skillet.

Crews took both victims, who are in their 80s, to the hospital.

Officials charged Greene with two counts of elder abuse and two counts of aggravated domestic assault. She's being held on a $100,000 bond.

Full Article & Source:
Woman accused of beating elderly relatives with skillet

El Paso state center resident died Saturday

A resident of the El Paso State Supported Living Center died Saturday while he was being taken by ambulance to Southwestern General hospital, his relatives said Tuesday.

"My sister and I received a call from the center Saturday night notifying us that my brother, Moises Sotelo, had died," Angel Sotel said. "He was 37 years old, and was our youngest sibling."

Angel Sotelo said he was told that an autopsy will be performed to determine the cause of his brother's death. "I last saw him in December, before Christmas, and he looked well," he said.

A spokesperson for the Texas Department of Aging and Disability Services in Austin, which oversees the state centers, had not returned messages late Tuesday regarding the death.

Project Amistad was Moises Sotelo's legal guardian, Project Amistad spokesman Roy Ortega said. The court-assigned wards are visited at least once a month by the guardian representatives, Ortega said.

Another state center resident, Wanda Wilson, 57, died at the center in August 2014.

Full Article & Source:
El Paso state center resident died Saturday