Saturday, June 22, 2019

UPDATE | Nursing home patients moved after facility closes due to payroll issues

LAWRENCE COUNTY, Ohio (WSAZ) – UPDATE 6/21/19 @ 7:55 p.m.
The immediate and sudden closure of the River’s Bend Health Care facility in Burlington, Ohio was “directly related to the facility’s failure to fulfill payroll obligations to its staff,” according to the Ohio Department of Aging.
Kristin Bick kisses her mother Carolyn goodbye before she's
 transported to another facility after learning River’s Bend
 Health Care in Burlington was abruptly shutting down.
The nursing home closed abruptly Thursday, forcing more than 55 residents to be transferred to other facilities.

A majority of them were moved out of the facility on Thursday. The rest were moved out on Friday, according to the Department of Aging.

A caravan of ambulances helped moved the remaining residents out on Friday.

WSAZ spoke with some of the employees who were still at the facility Friday.

One worker says she was alerted to the closure of the facility Thursday morning.
“We were working, and out of nowhere they came and said, 'hey, we have to close the doors,' ” said Jennifer Thomas.

Another worker said she had come to pick up her paycheck when she found out.

“Considering I was off, it was a bit devastating,” said Heidi Matney. “Come to get my paycheck and find this out. Once I found out the doors were shutting, I wasn't worried about the money. I was more worried about where my people were going.”

Many of the employees who were there Friday were helping get the remaining patients transferred to other facilities.

Linda Marsh, whose brother was being cared for at the facility, says he was moved to a facility in Gallipolis.

“I was just so concerned for him because it's just so hard on his body,” Marsh said. “I worried about how he was going to manage the trip.”

She says her brother has been at the facility since 2014 and they had never experienced any problems before.

The Ohio Department of Aging released a statement Friday about the closure of the facility. To see that statement in full, read the article below.

The department says they will be meeting with residents who have been moved and their families to make sure their needs are being met.

Many of the families WSAZ spoke with on Friday say they are now just focused on making sure their loved ones are cared for, while employees say they will now be searching for new work.

“It’s starting to hit me,” Thomas said. “I came in this morning and most everybody was gone. But tomorrow when I wake up and don't come into work, it’ll probably hit me, you know missing working with everybody and taking care of everybody.”

Employees say they were supposed to be paid Thursday and weren’t.
The Ohio State Health Department says that is an issue that is between management and employees. Management at the facility declined to comment. 

UPDATE 6/21/19 @ 5:10 p.m.
The abrupt closure Thursday of a nursing home in Burlington, Ohio, was related to the facility not being able to meet its payroll, the Ohio Department of Aging said Friday. “Yesterday’s announcement of an immediate closure of the River’s Bend Health Care nursing facility in Lawrence County is directly related to the facility’s failure to fulfill payroll obligations to its staff," the agency said in a news release.

Nearly 55 patients were displaced Thursday from River's Bend Health Care, many of them moved to other facilities then. Nearly a dozen patients were still being moved on Friday.

“We share the concerns of many about the major disruptions this immediate action causes in the lives of residents and their loved ones," Ursel McElroy, director of the Ohio Department of Aging, said in the news release. "We are working together with community, state and federal resources to assist in the transfer of residents to other long-term care facilities or to return them to homes."

McElroy said the Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services, the Ohio Department of Veterans Services and the Ohio Department of Medicaid are also providing assistance.

“We are working in a collaborative manner with one goal -- to have all residents of River’s Bend safely relocated today. It is our practice that all residents who have been moved will have a personal meeting with an ombudsman and their families, to assure that needs and preferences are being met. The Long-Term Care Ombudsman program is available at 1-800-282-1206," McElroy said in the release.

She continued, "We are grateful to the residents’ families who have also responded quickly and assisted with identifying alternate living arrangements, helping to pack and move their loved one’s belongings. We also acknowledge that several of River’s Bend staff members are working without compensation to provide care and assist residents during this time.”

Keep checking the WSAZ app for the latest information.

UPDATE 6/21/19 @ 1:30 p.m.
More than a dozen patients at a nursing home in Burlington are still being moved out after the facility abruptly closed this week. Ambulances from all over were lined up at River's Bend Health Care again Friday moving patients to other facilities. Families were also there trying to remove their loved ones' belongings.

The Ohio Department of Health says the facility shut down abruptly Thursday because of financial issues, forcing about 55 patients out of this nursing home. The closure also forced their families to try and make plans on where to take them and what to do.

Employees say they were told Thursday morning the facility was shutting down. They also told us they were supposed to get paid that day, but didn't.

The Ohio Department of Health says they can't comment on whether the employees will get paid. They say that is up to the facility and management declined to comment.

Keep checking the WSAZ app for more information.

UPDATE 6/20/19 @ 7 p.m.
It was an emotional, frantic day at one nursing home, as workers and their patients learned it was abruptly shutting down. The Ohio Department of Health says River's Bend Health Care in Burlington shut down because of financial issues, forcing as many as 55 patients to be placed elsewhere.

Family members of patients were upset and shocked it happened so suddenly without warning.

Kristin Bick's mother Carolyn had lived at the facility a year and a half.

"It's the saddest thing I've ever seen," Kristin said. "These little people are so lost."

"It makes me mad," Kristin's husband David said. "She doesn't deserve it. It's very sad."

"I'm just a nervous wreck because she was so upset," Kristin said.

Employees say at 11 a.m., they were told the facility was shutting down, and they were doing an emergency evacuation for the patients.

"It's very upsetting," nursing assistant Christina Knisley said. "It's not even the fact that we're losing our jobs or not getting paychecks. It's the fact that this is these people's homes, and they're just being up and run out of their homes."

Several have said they were not even notified by the facility their loved ones were being moved.
"We received no phone call at all from anyone," David said. "We found out through my stepdaughter."

Employees say there'd been rumors something like this could happen, but administrators told them over the past couple weeks everything was fine. Workers and family members of patients say they haven't gotten an explanation for why this is happening.

The health department and state agencies are helping move patients to other facilities.

"They were just sending them everywhere from Huntington to Ironton to Wheelersburg to Portsmouth," Wendy Short said.

Short says she'd helped place her elderly neighbor Faye there after her husband died.

"She's upset because these people are like family to her now," Short said.

Short says Faye called her at 2 p.m. and said she was being moved. Short says she left her job early to get Faye and bring her home.

"I'm pretty upset because I just don't understand how you don't notify people," Short said.

Relatives say their hearts also go out to patients who don't have family close by to help them through this.

Employees say they were supposed to get paid Thursday, but they didn't.

Management at the facility declined to comment.

As many as 55 nursing home patients are displaced Thursday after the facility suddenly closed, the Ohio Department of Health says. River’s Bend Health Care shut down after reported financial issues, the state health department says.

The agency also reports that the facility, located in the Burlington/South Point area, should have notified the state health department 90 days ago about the closure.

The health department, along with the Ohio Department of Aging and the Ohio Department of Medicaid, are onsite working with families to help place residents into other facilities.

We have a crew at the scene. Keep checking the WSAZ app for the latest information.

Full Article & Source:
UPDATE | Nursing home patients moved after facility closes due to payroll issues

Disabled woman describes her long-stay hospital abuse ordeal

By John Pring

A young disabled woman has described the abuse she experienced in a charity-run mental health hospital, and has called for more to be done to close such long-stay institutions.

Abigail Donohoe (pictured) spent more than six years in mental health hospitals in her late teens and early 20s, including more than two years at a brain injury service run by the St Andrew’s Healthcare charity in Northampton.

Although the charity’s brain injury service was rated good (PDF) when last inspected by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) in 2016, the regulator this month placed the adolescents service on the same site into special measures (PDF).

The adolescents service for young disabled people attracted media attention last year when it was revealed that one autistic teenager called Bethany had been kept in seclusion for nearly two years and was often fed through a hatch.

The same service had already been exposed the previous year by Channel 4’s Dispatches, which featured a visit by former Liberal Democrat social care minister Norman Lamb, who described his horror at the use of segregation he found there.

Now a CQC inspection has placed the service in special measures, giving it six months to make urgent improvements, after raising serious concerns about safety, and warning that staff “did not always treat patients with kindness, dignity, compassion and respect”.

Donohoe is not autistic herself, but she says she can display “challenging behaviour with autistic traits”, which was why she was admitted to the neuropsychiatry unit.

She was originally admitted to St Andrew’s as a voluntary patient in 2013, but she was later sectioned.

She arrived during a period of crisis, having been led to believe that she would receive a thorough, six-week assessment followed by recommendations for a continuing programme of treatment.

But she did not leave for more than two years, and then spent another two years at Milton Park Therapeutic Campus, in Bedford, firstly on section for a year and then as a voluntary patient for another year because there were no community-based placements available.

Milton Park, now renamed Lakeside, was rated as “requires improvement” earlier this year by CQC, and remains in “special measures” after previously being rated “inadequate”.

This week, Donohoe described to Disability News Service how she was kept in seclusion for hours at a time at St Andrew’s.

While some staff were supportive and caring, others taunted or threatened her, and physical restraint was common and could last up to 30 minutes, including techniques such as bending her wrists, lying on top of her, or injecting her with powerful sedatives against her will.

She believes the kind of abuse she experienced is widespread in many institutions.

Donohoe, who is currently living with her family with outreach support while she tries to find a suitable supported living setting where she can live independently in the community, has now written to MPs and peers on the joint committee on human rights (JCHR) to push for wide-ranging reform.

Since leaving “high-pressure institutional settings”, she has been “so much calmer”, she said.

She said the failure to release patients from long-stay institutions is partly connected to the profits such services can make for the organisations running them because of the huge fees they are able to charge.

And they often justify the failure to release patients like her by recording every single offensive or aggressive word as a separate incident – which happened at St Andrew’s – allowing them to exaggerate how often a patient has been offensive or aggressive and demonstrate why they cannot be released.

She said: “That makes me look like an abusive monster. I can be very challenging, but not 200 separate incidents, and often it will have been caused by goading from the staff.”

The goading at St Andrew’s involved threatening her with powerful medication or telling her she will be “here forever” if she does not “shut up”.

“They do that to make it look as if you need to be in hospital,” she said.

She has spoken of her hope to speak out on behalf of fellow patients to help in the push for reform.

She contrasts the treatment of people with conditions such as diabetes and schizophrenia, who receive crisis inpatient healthcare and then receive ongoing community-based care, with the care often handed out to autistic people, and those with learning difficulties and impairments like hers, who are often “warehoused” for years on end in long-stay hospital units.

She said: “The system is completely ineffective, and it is about locking people away. It needs a complete overhaul.”

She believes that the six-week timeframe she was told to expect is the only one acceptable for someone in her position to be detained in such a setting.

After that period expires, she says, and the recommendations have been made, support should be provided in an inclusive community setting.

She points to the case of Jade Hutchings, an autistic woman and a pen pal of hers, whose own case was written about in the mainstream media last year when it emerged that she had been locked in an assessment and treatment unit for more than 13 years.

Donohoe said there needed to be more effort to hear from service-users like her, although she accepts that many patients cannot speak for themselves because of their impairments and the fear of services taking revenge on them if they do speak out.

She said: “I am extremely frustrated that it is not changing despite all the scandals.”

Only last week, she watched two senior CQC figures giving evidence to the JCHR about the regulator’s failure to halt the abuse at Whorlton Hall, later exposed by an undercover reporter working for BBC’s Panorama.

Donohoe said the whole care system was failing and CQC itself needed to do more to “take ownership” of the problems.

She said she did not trust the CQC’s ratings, and added: “There’s not a lot of point in having them if you can’t trust the ratings.”

A spokesperson for St Andrew’s said: “We support vulnerable people and have a duty of care which we take very seriously.

“An important part of this is respecting patients’ confidentiality. For this reason we never comment on whether someone is or has been a patient at St Andrew’s Healthcare.”

But she added: “Seclusion is used for the shortest possible time and only ever when other less restrictive methods have failed.

“A person is only restrained – and then only for the shortest possible time – when they have become a risk or danger to themselves, other patients or staff, and only when all other de-escalation methods have failed.

“The CQC have recently recognised the reduction in the use of restrictive practices within our services, such as prone restraint and rapid tranquilisation.

“For those patients who are referred to our hospital environments at a time when they are at their most vulnerable, our role is to provide care as best we can and proactively advocate on their behalf when we believe it is right for them to move on.”

But Donohoe said St Andrew’s had not advocated for its patients from her experience.

She said: “They are encouraging people to be kept there longer by exaggerating incidents in the way they are reported.”

She said she could not say what St Andrew’s was like now, but when she was there she was often kept in seclusion for hours, with staff making no effort to de-escalate the situation by engaging with her.

She weighs about eight-and-a-half stone and would often be physically restrained by “six big guys”.

She said the thought of what she went through while being restrained still makes her angry.

She added: “Occasionally I did get seriously hurt during the course of restraint.

“It was quite damaging to every sort of recovery. That was why I had to go to Milton Park, to recover from St Andrew’s.”

Full Article & Source:
Disabled woman describes her long-stay hospital abuse ordeal

Clerk blames turnover, human error as N.C. Auditor finds deficiencies at Pender Superior Court office

Clerk blames turnover, human error as N.C. Auditor finds deficiencies at Pender Superior Court office
(Source: HNN File)

PENDER COUNTY, N.C. (WECT) - In a routine audit of the Pender County Superior Court Clerk, the North Carolina State Auditor’s Office found notable deficiencies and examples of non-compliance with financial regulations, in some cases in the hundreds of thousands of dollars.

The audit covered the period of July 1, 2018 through Jan. 31, 2019.

In that period, auditors found two items of concern: the Clerk’s office had failed to properly transfer unclaimed funds to the state, and the office was not collecting the required level of security bonds for minors and incapacitated adults.

Government agencies are required to adhere to the accounting principles of the Government Accounting Standards Board (GASB), which dictate a variety of procedures known as “internal controls,” and require offices such as a Superior Court Clerk to conduct business in a certain way.
Pender County Superior Court Clerk Elizabeth Craver, who won re-election in 2018, said she and her office accept the findings of the audit, and have worked to remedy the issues that led to the deficiencies and non-compliance.

In her letter to the auditor’s office, Craver did not cite Hurricane Florence, which was causing backlogs of cases earlier this year.


When someone applies to become an estate guardian of a child or incapacitated adult, they are required to submit a bond of either 125 percent of the estate if the total is less than $100,000, and 110 percent of the estate is worth more than $100,000.

Of the 32 estates under guardianship within the Pender County court’s jurisdiction, five were found to have insufficient bonds.

According to the report, the combined amount for the bonds should have been $1,094,073, but Craver’s office had only collected $379,250.

Beyond being a failure to comply with state law, not collecting the correct bond amounts could cause actual financial harm to children or incapacitated adults.

“Failure to assess and collect sufficient bonds from guardians could result in financial loss to the ward if the guardian misuses the assets in the estate,” the report reads. “Additionally, the Clerk and the State may be liable for the financial loss if bonds are not sufficient.”

Craver’s office called the situation an “oversight” and said it was due to human error.

Unclaimed Funds

When someone dies and leaves property behind without a will, the Superior Court Clerk attempts to find heirs or others with a claim to it. If they can’t, that property is supposed to be transferred to the state treasurer’s office after a certain period of time.

When the audit was conducted at the end of January, the state found 121 pieces of property worth a total of $69,673 — about 56% — of what Pender Superior Court had, should have been transferred to the treasury according to state law, but the office had not done so.

“As a result, the return of unclaimed funds to the rightful owners has been delayed,” the audit report reads, adding that the earnings on the fund, which are used to fund loans and grants to North Carolina college students, would also be negatively affected.

The Craver’s office cited being short-staffed and a high turnover of employees as the reason the office was not addressing the unclaimed property in a timely manner.

Full Article & Source:
Clerk blames turnover, human error as N.C. Auditor finds deficiencies at Pender Superior Court office

Friday, June 21, 2019

Lawyer pleads guilty to thefts from estate

SALEM — A now-disbarred Andover lawyer pleaded guilty Tuesday to charges that she embezzled $170,000 from the estate of a Salisbury man, then misled the man's family and a judge.

Deborah Anthony, 68, will be formally sentenced to 18 months in jail on July 22, Salem Superior Court Judge Thomas Drechsler told her.

The plea comes two months after Drechsler rejected a plea agreement between Anthony and the Massachusetts Attorney General's office that would have resulted in a suspended jail term and probation, a sentence Drechsler called "inadequate" for the amount of the theft from the estate of John "Kip" Kavanagh of Salisbury, who died in 2011 at the age of 75.

Kavanagh, a Navy veteran, never married or had children. His chief asset was his home. In 2012, Anthony, a former criminal defense attorney who had moved her practice into probate and family court matters, was appointed to settle his affairs and divide his assets among his surviving relatives.

But, prosecutor Edward Beagan told the judge, after selling the home for $190,000 in 2013, Anthony failed to turn over the funds to the family.

Instead, she used a portion of the proceeds to replenish client accounts she had previously taken money out of, said the prosecutor; she used some of the proceeds to make payroll at what Beagan called her "failing" law firm, and she used some to make car payments and have spa treatments.

After family members asked the court to order an accounting of the estate in 2014, Anthony told a Probate and Family Court judge that there was $160,000 in the account. In fact, said Beagan, there was less than $2,000.

Under the plea agreement Drechsler rejected in April, Anthony would have avoided serving any time if she paid restitution.

But Drechsler pointed to the inability of probation officers and judges to enforce restitution orders in the wake of a Supreme Judicial Court decision in 2016 that said defendants who cannot afford restitution cannot be kept on probation indefinitely.

"You know she's not going to be able to pay it, as a practical matter," Drechsler told the lawyers again on Tuesday.

And the judge again said that sparing Anthony from serving any time for such a significant amount would be unfair to other defendants who have gone to prison for less.

"I can't treat her differently, I can't treat her better, just because she's an attorney," said Drechsler, who later said he thinks the fact that Anthony used her skills and position of trust as a lawyer "makes it worse."

The judge also rejected a suggestion from Anthony's lawyer, Daniel Reilly, that he impose a year of home confinement or a shorter, 60-day jail term. Reilly said he has concerns about Anthony's age and health.

"I do too," said Drechsler. But he said he does not believe home confinement amounts to punishment.

After taking a break to discuss the judge's proposed sentence, Anthony and Reilly returned to the courtroom and told the court they would accept it, as long as Anthony could have 30 days to settle her affairs before going into custody.

Anthony will be eligible for parole after serving nine months of the jail term. She will also spend three years on probation, with a condition that she not work in any position that requires her to handle other people's money, and will be required to make whatever restitution payments she can afford, to be determined by a probation officer after her release. 

Full Article & Source: 
Lawyer pleads guilty to thefts from estate

Lawyer charged in $400G theft from clients faces competency hearing

Gregory G. Stagliano
MEDIA COURTHOUSE — A Delaware County personal-injury attorney accused of stealing more than $400,000 in settlement funds that were supposed to go to his clients will have a competency hearing next month.

Gregory G. Stagliano, 61, of the 500 block of Chaumont Drive in Radnor, is charged with theft by unlawful taking, theft of services, theft by deception and receiving stolen property, all felonies of the third degree, as well as a misdemeanor count of unauthorized practice of law. He is additionally charged in a separate but related case involving insurance.

Stagliano has been declared incompetent, however, on the basis that he cannot remember the entire period where he allegedly pocketed money that was supposed to go to nine different victims he represented in personal-injury cases.

Former District Attorney Jack Whelan said when announcing the charges in May 2017 that investigators led by county Detective Michele Deery began looking at Stagliano in July 2016, based on a tip from the Disciplinary Board of the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania.

Investigators found a similar pattern of theft in each of the nine cases, with Stagliano allegedly depositing funds meant for clients into his own Santander Interest on Lawyers Trust Account for personal use.

Stagliano has been represented by three attorneys in the case and previously appeared before Delaware County Common Pleas Court Judge Mary Alice Brennan, but the case is now before Senior Judge Michael Coll, who handles competency cases.

Stagliano’s current attorney, John Hickey, filed the competency motion on the basis that without his memory, Stagliano cannot assist in his defense. Hickey and Assistant District Attorney William Judge appeared before Coll at the end of January on that issue.

Coll signed an order Feb. 7 directing Stagliano to seek treatment for restoration of competency, but has since been suspicious of the memory loss claims in subsequent court appearances.

“What a convenient lapse of memory, huh?” the judge asked Hickey at a prior hearing. “It looks like we’re in this position – as long as says he doesn’t remember, he’s going to be deemed to be not competent? That’s unacceptable. That’s unacceptable. How could you tell whether he’s faking it or not?”

Hickey has noted that a court-appointed psychologist, a neuropsychologist and Stagliano’s current treating psychiatrist all back up his claims of memory loss due to a combination of opioids and nerve pain medications he was taking at the time. Hickey added that a brain scan showed Stagliano has a lesion on the part of his brain that controls memory and cognition, which would lend his story some credibility.

Hickey requested a full hearing to litigate the competency issue during a status hearing Wednesday and Coll set a July 15 date. Judge said the attorneys would try to work out any stipulations and discovery issues before that date.

Coll also advised Hickey that he would revoke Stagliano’s bail if he attempted to “alienate” his assets, and that any such assets would be subject to clawbacks, similar to a bankruptcy. Hickey said his client has not attempted to do so.

Full Article & Source: 
Lawyer charged in $400G theft from clients faces competency hearing

See Also:
Lawyer accused of ripping off clients claims no memory

Lawyer heads to trial for $400G theft from clients

Pottsville Woman Charged for Being Part of a "Grandparents Scheme; Defrauding Victims of At Least $158,800

United States Attorney William M. McSwain announced Friday that Yahaira Diaz, 33, of Pottsville, Pennsylvania, was charged by Information with aggravated identity theft, mail fraud, and access device fraud. The charges against the defendant stem from her participation in what has been popularly dubbed the “Grandparents Scheme”, a type of elder financial abuse.a
The charges come one day in advance of “World Elder Abuse Awareness Day” on June 15, 2019.

As alleged in the Information, the scheme operated as follows: an individual called an elderly victim posing as the grandchild of the victim, or posing as an attorney representing the grandchild. The caller claimed that the grandchild was in a vehicular accident and was arrested for driving under the influence (or some type of legal trouble). The caller then said that the grandchild needed money for bail or legal representation, and persuaded the victim to send thousands of dollars in cash via overnight delivery service to an address where the schemers retrieved the package. The schemers then continued to call the victim and demand more money until the victim realized that he or she had been defrauded and stopped sending money.

In those telephone calls, to further convince the grandparents to send cash, the co-schemers described the grandchild’s situation as increasingly serious: claiming that the grandchild had been arrested for driving under the influence; that a pregnant woman was involved in the accident; that the pregnant woman and her unborn child were injured or killed; that the grandchild would not be released from prison without additional funds; and that legal and other fees were mounting.

Diaz allegedly played a leadership role in this scheme, which she and her co-schemers perpetrated in Allentown and Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. For example, she identified and arranged for access to residential locations where her co-schemers instructed victims to send the fraud proceeds. Diaz recruited and controlled additional participants in the scheme who allowed her to use their residences for the receipt of proceeds, and who helped retrieve the packages and shared the proceeds with other co-schemers.

Diaz engaged in numerous incidents of the Grandparents Scheme as well as credit card fraud, which is also charged in the Information. In the Grandparents Scheme, Diaz and her co-schemers defrauded at least 10 elderly victims of at least $158,800 and attempted to defraud those victims of at least an additional $69,000. If convicted, the defendant faces a maximum possible sentence of 72 years in prison, including a mandatory minimum term of two years in prison.

“Crimes against the elderly target some of the most vulnerable people in our society, and schemes like the ‘Grandparent Scheme’ are particularly heinous because they prey on a senior’s love for their family,” said U.S. Attorney McSwain. “The Department of Justice is committed to protecting our seniors from fraud, and my Office will continue to prioritize prosecuting criminals who prey on our elderly residents.”

“Trying to scam strangers out of money is criminal,” said Michael T. Harpster, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI's Philadelphia Division. “Specifically targeting elderly victims because you figure they're easy marks is cruel. The FBI will never stop working to shut down elder fraud schemes like this to protect older folks and help them hang on to their hard-earned money.”

“Crimes like these against our elderly citizens are taken very seriously by law enforcement. The Bethlehem Police Department, working with its Federal partners, will investigate, arrest and prosecute individuals involved in criminal scams like these ‘Grandparent Scams,” said Mark DiLuzio, Chief of Police, Bethlehem Police Department. “As Chief, I would like to personally thank U.S. Attorney McSwain and his Office, the FBI, U.S. Postal inspectors, the Northampton County District Attorney’s Office and Bethlehem Police Detectives who all worked collectively and brought this person and her partners to justice. On behalf of all elderly citizens in the City of Bethlehem, thank you!”

The case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the United States Postal Service, the Bethlehem Police Department, and the Northampton County District Attorney’s Office, and is being prosecuted by Deputy United States Attorney Louis D. Lappen.

An indictment, information, or criminal complaint is an accusation. A defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

The Department of Justice is committed to combating elder fraud. The Department’s historic 2018 and 2019 Elder Fraud Sweeps collectively brought criminal and civil actions against more than 500 defendants responsible for defrauding more than $1.5 billion from at least 3 million victims.

The Department of Justice also provides a variety of resources relating to elder fraud victimization through its Office of Victims of Crime (OVC), which has announced a new competitive solicitation addressing enhanced multidisciplinary teams for older victims of abuse and financial exploitation (up to $375,000 each) and funding for a National Multidisciplinary Team Technical Assistance Center (for up to $3 million), which will help facilitate the expansion of elder abuse case review across the nation. The deadline is July 7, 2019.

Full Article & Source:
Pottsville Woman Charged for Being Part of a "Grandparents Scheme; Defrauding Victims of At Least $158,800

Thursday, June 20, 2019

Death of Texas tycoon James Cotter leads to estate issues

SAN ANTONIO (AP) - Real estate tycoon and cowboy extraordinaire James F. Cotter died as he lived, sowing confusion among the people he loved.

Since his death from cardiac arrest Jan. 25, 2017, his estate has been the subject of much dispute and legal maneuvering among his surviving widow, five children, his lenders, creditors and the IRS.

The San Antonio Express-News reports Cotter died at 83 without a valid will. The bulk of his estate, valued at about $288 million 13 months before his death, comprises a vast real estate empire of 66 properties in six states. In San Antonio, it includes the twin Alamo Towers along Northeast Loop 410 and the two Petroleum Towers just around the corner on Tesoro Drive.

After Cotter’s death, Bexar County Probate Judge Tom Rickhoff appointed San Antonio attorney Marcus Rogers as the independent administrator to oversee the estate.

Rogers called it “the case of a lifetime” but would not discuss it further, saying he considered it a family matter.

The probate case is further complicated by the fact that the Cotter companies’ books were left in disarray, Rogers noted in a March court filing.

The balance sheets reflect “substantial intercompany-related accounts that did not balance and had not been reconciled for what appears to be many years,” he said.

As a result, Rogers added, “balance sheets cannot be relied upon to represent the true book value of the assets, liabilities and equity accounts.”

The loans on the real estate were personally guaranteed by Cotter, so his death “resulted in an event of default on virtually every mortgage,” one court document reads.

The companies that own Petroleum Towers, Alamo Towers and a 36-story Cotter Ranch Tower office building in Oklahoma City, considered the Cotter portfolio’s crown jewel, were put into bankruptcy after his death. The latter two bankruptcies were filed to stop lenders from foreclosing on the properties.

Other Cotter entities narrowly skirted bankruptcy themselves, a lawyer for the companies recently said in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in San Antonio. Many of Cotter’s properties have been put up for sale.

“This is a good example of how you don’t want to exit,” attorney Randall Pulman quipped. Pulman, managing partner of Pulman, Cappuccio, Pullen, Benson & Jones in San Antonio, represented Cotter in a dispute with a janitorial company that sued Cotter and some of his companies for unpaid cleaning services.

Cotter was born “from humble beginnings” in Boise, Idaho, one of his obituaries reads.

Cotter served in the 82nd Airborne Division during the Korean War and attended Walla Walla College in Washington state after leaving the Army. Before graduating, he made his foray into the real estate business by developing a 36-lot subdivision, he told the San Antonio Express-News in 2007.

He later moved to Northern California and bought his first nursing facility under the name Cotter Health Centers.

Cotter was “a self-made man and had very strong religious and Christian principles,” San Antonio attorney Richard Jenkins, who had represented the real estate magnate, said in an affidavit in the probate case last year.

BJ Corp., a cleaning company that sued Cotter and his companies to collect on allegedly unpaid bills, had a different take.

“The Cotter defendants have a reputation for failing to pay their debts when due in an effort to cheat small businesses and to gain an advantage,” BJ Corp. said in its lawsuit.

Cotter was a colorful character, often clad in a cowboy hat and boots, and even required his building security staff to wear similar western attire, The Oklahoman newspaper reported. He bought what’s now known as the 36-story Cotter Ranch Tower, his prized office tower in downtown Oklahoma City, in the 2000s. A bronze statue in front of the building depicts Cotter astride a horse.

“He always had a story, sort of like a mix between visiting with Forrest Gump and the Marlboro man,” Pulman said. “He had a story about all sorts of significant events in history and how he was a bystander.”

Cotter is survived by his third wife, Bettye “Ruth” Cotter, two daughters and three sons.

Cotter’s marriage to his first wife, Loretta, produced three children: Vivian Mueller, 61; James Val Lee Cotter, 59; and Valeri Zaharie Glauser, 53. The couple divorced in 1981 after 26 years of marriage.

Four years later, the then-53-year-old Cotter remarried to a woman more than half his age. The union lasted less than three years but produced his two youngest sons, James Adam Cotter, 31, and James Andrew Cotter, 29.

Why he gave each of his three sons the same first name is somewhat of a mystery.

“He wondered about that himself,” said Ruth Cotter, 81, his longtime companion whom he married in 2012.

For all of his accomplishments in life, Cotter apparently wasn’t much of a planner or very organized. In dying without a will, or at least one that was declared valid, his final wishes for his vast real estate portfolio are unknown.

Even the value of his estate is in dispute.

Cotter’s assets were valued at $287.9 million 13 months before his death, with his real estate holdings representing all but about $41 million as of Dec. 31, 2015, according to a Statement of Financial Condition submitted in the probate case. His liabilities were listed at $181.7 million.

Yet in April 2017, while the probate estate was being contested, Rickhoff wrote a letter to estate administrator Rogers and other attorneys in the case letting them know that he had been informed by another judge who had briefly filled in for him that the “value of this estate is somewhat speculative in nature.”

“In such cases, I often prefer to determine whether or not the estate is solvent and then after the dollar signs in the parties’ eyes disappear and they get realistic about the decisions that need to be made to resolve the real issues in the case, set relevant matters for hearings,” Rickhoff wrote.

The judge then added, “Set everything you want, but I sense a bankruptcy which will stay anything I do anyway.”

Rogers valued Cotter’s assets at $54 million in a May 1 court filing. But that doesn’t take into account what’s owed to lenders and other creditors. It also doesn’t include properties outside Texas that are being worked out in other states. A court filing from last year valued those assets at about $69 million.

Sorting things out has been time-consuming. Ryan Reed, Pulman’s law partner and attorney for Cotter’s two youngest sons, speculated that all the heirs are “slightly unhappy” about how the probate case has been proceeding.

“The family business assets are no longer Mr. Cotter’s to run as he pleases, but now have to be administered to pay taxes, debts and ultimately be distributed to the respective heirs,” Reed said. “It’s simply a different dynamic, and they are all trying to figure out how to transition.”

Cotter’s largest creditor was Loma Linda University, a Seventh-day Adventist health sciences university in California. It’s owed more than $42 million in secured debt on various properties, according to a court filing.

The IRS is owed up to $30 million in estate taxes, Reed said, adding that the agency authorized the sale of some property to pay the estate taxes and keep the real estate business running.

Rogers is “selling properties, but there’s no money coming to me,” Ruth Cotter complained in a recent phone interview. She was receiving a monthly $25,000 “family allowance” from the estate until April. In court papers seeking to continue the payments, she accused Rogers of “engaging in financial dealings” with the estate’s other beneficiaries. Rogers denied the allegations in a brief response filed with the court.

“He was strong-willed and he worked hard,” Ruth Cotter said of her late husband. “And I’d hate to see all of that hard work just go away.”

San Antonio lawyer Jason Davis, who in the probate case represents the three children from Cotter’s first marriage, didn’t respond to requests for comment.

Cotter’s death was unexpected, according to a bankruptcy court document, though he complained of various ailments in a 2014 deposition. He cited heart trouble, diabetes and neuropathy, or damage to nerves that often causes weakness, numbness and pain.

Three weeks after Cotter’s death, Ruth Cotter filed an application asking the probate court to appoint her the temporary administrator of his estate. The five children immediately contested her appointment, contending that they were the sole beneficiaries.

Daughter Valeri Glauser and second son James Adam Cotter wanted to be named the estate’s co-administrators. They also filed a handwritten will that Cotter crafted in 1981 - before his two youngest sons were even born. The will named his three oldest children and his mother, among others, as beneficiaries.

“Being of sound mind, gangled (sic) nerves, and nothing but pitie (sic) on those that read this and especially those that must carry on in my stead. Weep not for me; weep for your selves,” Cotter wrote in the disjointed document.

Ruth Cotter opposed the will. She said her husband left behind a more recent will and provided affidavits from three women who worked at Cotter companies and vouched for the document. If it exists, it has never turned up.

Last June, the parties reached a mediated “Family Settlement Agreement.” Under the plan, one-sixth of the estate - after debt, taxes and other expenses are paid - will be used to fund a trust to support Ruth Cotter for the rest of her life. An independent trustee agreed upon by the parties will administer the trust.

Ruth Cotter said documents Rogers provided during the mediation “were misleading and in retrospect were not a sound basis for a negotiation of such magnitude,” a court filing states. She also contends that other heirs have attempted, through Rogers, “to underfund (her) share with assets that have been significantly overvalued.”

Rogers disputed the allegations. The judge has yet to take up the issue.

Assets awarded to Ruth Cotter include the couple’s Dominion home, some vehicles (he had more than 120, including a 1905 Franklin Runabout), home furnishings and $126,2225 in cash, court documents show.

The Dominion estate was sold last month. It had been listed for more than $1.2 million, but Ruth Cotter said the return was “quite small.” James Cotter had purchased the property on Cotswold Lane from country music star George Strait in 1994, county records show.

“There was quite a bit of debt on it,” Ruth Cotter said, adding that she had to make a lot of repairs. She declined to say where she’s living now.

In August, Rickhoff awarded each of Cotter’s children a 20 percent interest in the property that James Cotter didn’t jointly own with his wife. The children also stand to receive 20 percent of their father’s share of the community property, subject to Ruth Cotter’s share while she’s still alive.

The actual amount each will receive isn’t known yet because the disposition of many of Cotter’s properties is still underway.

Commercial real estate brokerage firm Cushman & Wakefield is selling nine office properties totaling more than 1 million square feet in San Antonio and Houston.

At a May 16 bankruptcy court hearing involving Alamo Towers, attorney H. Anthony Hervol said there were three prospective bidders for the buildings. A sale would require court approval.

Cotter Ranch Tower, the Oklahoma City office building, is under contract to BancFirst of Oklahoma City for $23 million, Hervol said during a recent bankruptcy court hearing. A higher offer could still be submitted. Any deal also requires the court’s approval.

It’s an outcome that Cotter may not have wanted, if his 1981 handwritten will is any guide.

Cotter urged his heirs to “be careful about selling anything.”

“It did not come easy,” he wrote. “I earned it the hard way.”

Full Article & Source:
Death of Texas tycoon James Cotter leads to estate issues

Judges’ bad acts as prosecutors ignored in Nevada

who's watching the watchmen
Nevada Judges Doug Herndon, William Kephart, and Jim Shirley
They cut deals with defendants, witnesses and snitches.  They can pile on charges and strong arm plea deals, sometimes based on false confessions. 

America’s prosecutors hold inordinate power, abuse it regularly, yet have absolute immunity from being held accountable in civil court.  Criminal charges are exceedingly rare. And the oversight agencies designed to police them are failing at an alarming rate. 

Prosecutors were disciplined in less than two percent of 3,600 cases of misconduct between 1963 and 2013, according to the Center for Prosecutor Integrity. 

“It’s almost unheard of,” U.S. Ninth Circuit Judge Alex Kozinski told The Huffington Post in 2016 of professional sanctions. In 2013, Kozinski wrote that prosecutorial misconduct had reached “epidemic” levels in the U.S.

But when a judge’s alleged misconduct in his previous life as a prosecutor comes to light, who takes charge? 

In Nevada, no one is sure.  The two agencies with a likely say, the Nevada Bar Association and the Judicial Discipline Commission, are at odds over who has jurisdiction. 

“We don’t have any statute or case law that defines those boundaries for this situation,” says Nevada Bar Counsel Dan Hooge. “Once a lawyer becomes a judge we lose jurisdiction to the Nevada Commission on Judicial Discipline.”

But the Judicial Discipline Commission says it has no oversight of infractions committed by a judge while a prosecutor.

The Commission only has jurisdiction over misconduct committed while serving as a judge.  Therefore, the Commission could not pursue alleged infractions committed in a previous capacity,” an official with the Judicial Discipline Commission said in an email. “The State Bar of Nevada has jurisdiction over attorney misconduct.” 

Hooge of the Nevada Bar points to the American Bar Association’s guidance:

“…even if the misconduct occurred prior to the judge’s assumption of office, the commission should have jurisdiction since the judge’s status as a judge is at issue.”

“So, I respectfully disagree with the Commission,” Hooge says. ”If I filed charges against a judge, I would get condemned by that judge and all others for overreaching.”

“With all due respect to Bar Counsel, the ABA is not the law in Nevada,” the Commission responded. “The Judicial Discipline Commission does not have jurisdiction over such matters by law.”

Judges in Nevada’s larger counties are required to be attorneys and maintain their legal licenses while on the bench, meaning the State Bar could take action against that license, thereby disqualifying him or her from further service as a judge. 

“We are merely expressing opinions. But my opinion is that the Commission should act first.  If the judge is removed, then we could act,” says Hooge of the Bar Association. 

In the last several weeks, the Current has reported on three Nevada judges — William Kephart, Doug Herndon and Jim Shirley — who as prosecutors committed or are alleged to have engaged in misconduct.

In 1996, Kephart led the effort to put drifter Fred Steese behind bars for murder. Steese was later declared by a judge to be innocent and was released from prison after 22 years. The story has gained Kephart national exposure. 

Kephart and his second-in-command at the time, Herndon, were alleged to have buried evidence proving Steese could not have committed the murder. 

The Nevada Bar Association took no action, according to Hooge. 

“I found nothing.  It looks like the original events took place in 1992, the district court order in 2012, and the pardon in 2017,” Hooge wrote in an email.  “Our records don’t go back to 1992, but we have no record of a complaint or judicial referral in 2012 or 2017.  So, I don’t think the Bar ever reviewed the case.  Even if we had, I believe Kephart was on the bench as a District Court Judge since 2015.  This moved jurisdiction to the Commission in 2015.”

Kephart and Herndon are now Clark County District Court judges.  Kephart did not respond to requests for comment on this story.

Last month, Herndon choked back tears recalling his role in the case.

“And if you think that doesn’t weigh heavily on somebody, you’d be mistaken. I think that informs me everyday that I do my job currently about the failings that can occur through our justice system,” Herndon testified at a legislative hearing on reparations for the wrongfully convicted.

“What level of misconduct renders them ineligible as a judge?” asks Dayvid Figler, a Las Vegas defense attorney. 

“When do they pay any consequence for what they did in Steese?  The answer is never, because who has standing to bring a complaint?” Figler asks.  “It’s not a litigant. It’s not the Supreme Court. It’s not the State Bar. Who’s going to file a complaint?” 

“The problem is the procedural and jurisdictional complexities of investigating and prosecuting a judge for conduct that occurred 25 years ago as a lawyer,” Hooge says.

Nevada has a four-year statute of limitations which severely restricts the State Bar’s ability to take action against wayward prosecutors, especially in so-called Brady cases, where prosecutors violate due process by failing to turn over evidence that is helpful to the defense and material to guilt or innocence. 

“I’m not a big fan of it (the statute of limitations). The ABA recommends against it, too. But it’s what we have in Nevada,” Hooge says.

“That’s the problem with Brady,” says defense attorney Figler. “The infraction doesn’t come to light until two decades of federal litigation.  Someone finds a file that’s been laying around.”

In 2001 the Nevada Supreme Court chastised then-Clark County Deputy District Attorney Kephart for his closing argument during a murder trial — the State of Nevada v. Charles Lee Randolph.

“If you have a gut feeling he’s guilty, he’s guilty based on the feeling, that feeling in your heart and mind after comparing and considering all the evidence is what is meant by abiding conviction and proof beyond a reasonable doubt,” Kephart told jurors.

“Any prosecutor reasonably knows that a ‘gut feeling’ of guilt is not certainty beyond a reasonable doubt and that such an assertion should never be made to a jury,” the Supreme Court wrote.  “But it is apparent that some prosecutors are not taking to heart this Court’s admonishments not to supplement or rephrase the definition of reasonable doubt. … We are convinced that it has become necessary to take specific action to correct this problem, and we will therefore call the prosecutor to account in this case and in future cases where it may arise.”

In a motion, Kephart responded he was “professionally embarrassed by the court’s opinion” calling him out for his actions. 

“I can insure this Court that the opinion in the Randolph cases and the consequences flowing therefrom have already had a great impact on me, to the point that I can assure the Court that there will not be a bona fide allegation of prosecutorial misconduct against me in the future.” 

It was not the last time Kephart’s actions would be in question, as an attorney or a judge.  In 2017 Kephart was censured by the Judicial Discipline Commission for breaching judicial rules by talking with a news crew about the retrial of Kristen Lobato, a woman  Kephart prosecuted for murder.  Lobato, who maintained her innocence and won new trials during 15 years in prison, was released when a judge dismissed the charges in late December 2017.

Jim Shirley is alleged to have buried DNA evidence that may have proved a Winnemucca man is serving life in prison without the possibility of parole for a shooting he didn’t commit, while his defense attorney alleges the man who likely pulled the trigger is free. Shirley, now a judge, declined to discuss the cases, citing judicial rules. 

Prosecutorial misconduct was a factor in 70 of the 166 exonerations tracked in 2016 by The National Registry of Exonerations. About half of the cases involved Brady violations, meaning prosecutors failed to turn over potentially exculpatory evidence to the defense.

“The Nevada State Bar has had the opportunity in the past to discipline prosecutors who violate defendants rights, but they have not done so,” says Lisa Rasmussen, a defense attorney in Las Vegas.  “Reform is needed in many places, but also with the State Bar and its understanding of what constitutes prosecutorial misconduct.  In a system where there is no penalty to the individual prosecutor, we are not likely to see meaningful reform.”

Assembly Bill 292, introduced in the 2019 legislative session, would have required a prosecuting attorney to make the complete case file available to defendants.  It would have required information be turned over to the prosecutor in a timely manner and would have made willfully omitting or knowingly misrepresenting information a category E felony.

The measure did not receive a hearing in either house.

Legislative measures in 2017 to curb prosecutorial misconduct were gutted by prosecutors, according to legislative minutes. 

Assembly Bill 376 would have required prosecutors to exchange evidence with defense counsel 30 days before a trial or be at risk of having the evidence excluded at trial.  It would have required that judges toss cases in which prosecutors exhibit bad faith in turning over evidence. 

The bill would have standardized penalties in cases of Brady violations.  The Clark County District Attorney’s office testified against the measure, which was reduced to a requirement that the D.A. file charges against defendants in custody within 72 hours of arrest.

Full Article & Source:
Judges’ bad acts as prosecutors ignored in Nevada

Is your loved one in a nursing home? Here's why you should be alarmed

Editor’s note: The opinions in this article are the author’s, as published by our content partner, and do not necessarily represent the views of MSN or Microsoft.

All Americans should be deeply troubled by news that hundreds of nursing homes with a "persistent record of poor care" were kept secret by government authorities.

They should be equally alarmed that, although the Trump administration says it really cares about this issue, the reality is that it has relaxed oversight of the industry, potentially placing seniors in jeopardy.

It's a matter that goes way beyond the estimated 1.3 million people now in nursing homes. As the median age of the U.S. population steadily rises, more and more of us will be turning to senior care facilities for aging parents and, eventually, ourselves.

"You'd like to think you could expect high-quality care, but that's not the case," said Eric Carlson, an attorney with Justice in Aging, a nonprofit organization focused on senior poverty.

"People should be worried - not sky-is-falling worried, but I-need-to-do-my-homework worried," he told me. "You can't take anything for granted."

A report issued last week by Pennsylvania Sens. Bob Casey (a Democrat) and Patrick J. Toomey (a Republican) listed nearly 400 nursing homes that the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services had cited for substandard care but had never named publicly.

Twenty-eight such nursing homes are in California, many in the Southland. I reached out to a few of them.

Some, such as Long Beach Healthcare Center, took a message but never got back to me. Others, such as Santa Anita Convalescent Hospital, offered a brisk "no comment" and hung up.

You can see the full list in the report, "Uncovering Poor Care in America's Nursing Homes."

"In such facilities, some residents have experienced outright neglect, such as going without proper nutrition or languishing in filthy conditions," the report says. "Some older adults and people with disabilities have even experienced physical abuse, sexual assault and premature death."

Lori Smetanka, executive director of the National Consumer Voice for Quality Long-Term Care, an advocacy group, said it shouldn't have taken congressional action for the names of questionable nursing homes to be revealed.

"The fact that this information wasn't reported before is concerning," she said. "Consumers need the full range of information available to make the best decisions."

Only a few months after President Trump took office in 2017, his administration announced it was acceding to requests from the nursing home industry and changing how fines are levied for regulatory violations.

Rather than fining a nursing home for each day it was out of compliance, which was typically how things worked under a tightening of rules under the Obama administration, Trump's White House said a single fine would be imposed for any infractions.

This softened the blow of regulatory crackdowns and minimized a key incentive for nursing homes to quickly remedy troubles.

Nevertheless, Dr. Kate Goodrich, director of Medicare's Center for Clinical Standards and Quality, issued a statement last week insisting that "improving safety and quality in America's nursing homes is one of CMS' top priorities."

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services oversees all such facilities that receive public funds.

In response to the nursing home report, Goodrich said the agency "welcomes the recent attention on nursing home quality of care that has amplified the important national dialogue." She said CMS Administrator Seema Verma, a Trump appointee, "has made ensuring quality care in nursing facilities a priority."

If this report reflects Verma's best efforts, old folks are in serious trouble.

While CMS discloses the names of about 80 nursing homes with documented problems - the agency's so-called Special Focus Facility program - it has for years kept under wraps hundreds of other facilities considered "candidates" for closer scrutiny.

Casey's and Toomey's report names the nearly 400 candidate nursing homes and says they were "indistinguishable" in terms of quality of care from identified "special focus" homes as of April.

An appendix to the report cites a number of instances of nursing home residents being endangered in candidate facilities. In Georgia, for example, a nursing home resident "was able to climb out her window and escape. This same resident was found on train tracks with a train approaching."

A Kansas facility "failed to give a resident their prescribed medication for 12 days after the person was admitted." A resident of a Michigan nursing home "who had his catheter removed bled through the night, and when he was finally taken to the hospital the next morning, he passed away."

A nursing home in Texas "did not prevent the septic system from backing up, causing a foul-smelling black substance to come through the drains, seeping into the kitchen floor in close proximity to food preparation areas. The facility continued to serve food to the residents from the kitchen."

Again, the identities of these nursing homes were kept secret from the public, meaning that families seeking care for elderly loved ones wouldn't have known of the incidents regardless of how much due diligence they performed.

In response to last week's report, CMS said it would start releasing the names of candidate nursing homes along with special focus facilities. It said the greater transparency would begin "soon."

That's a step in the right direction. Other resources to keep in mind:
  • Start your search for a qualified nursing home with CMS' Nursing Home Compare site, which provides information and ratings for all Medicare- and Medicaid-certified facilities. Presumably this will incorporate the agency's newfound openness.
  • Check out other online rankings, such as listings offered by U.S. News and World Report and Yelp.
  • Don't be shy about seeking advice from your doctor or friends. Contact social workers in your area and ask what they've heard about various facilities.
  • Schedule visits to homes you're interested in and meet with senior staff. Ask to speak with residents and to see any recent citations. Reputable facilities won't hesitate to share such information.
"Visiting in person is the best way to learn about a center and be sure it's the right fit for the consumer's care needs," said Dr. David Gifford, senior vice president of quality and regulatory affairs for the American Health Care Assn., a trade group for the long-term care industry.

Smetanka at the National Consumer Voice for Quality Long-Term Care said it's a matter of trust. "You need to be able to trust that the places you're looking at for loved ones will provide the care you require," she said.

Such as keeping Grandma off the train tracks.

David Lazarus is an award-winning business columnist for the Los Angeles Times, focusing on consumer affairs. He also appears daily on KTLA-TV Channel 5 and is a part-time radio host. His work appears in newspapers across the country and has resulted in a variety of laws protecting consumers.

Full Article & Source:
Is your loved one in a nursing home? Here's why you should be alarmed

Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Tonight on Marti Oakley's TS Radio Network: EDITH+EDDIE - how the story ended

7:00 pm CST

Remember the documentary Edith+Eddie? Edith's daughter will be our guest this evening to talk about how this all ended. Rebecca Wright will be talking about the documentary and how it exposed this corrupt system of guardianship. Produced by Laura Checkoway, the documentary revealed the devastating effects of the system of guardianship. Treated like property, no regard is given to the crushing pain and devastation that results from tearing people away from those they love and who love them.

When they took Edith away, they promised Eddie she would be back in two weeks. Separated from his precious Edith, Eddie collapsed when he realized she would not be coming home as promised. Please tune in to hear how this all ended, and what happened to Edith after Eddie's death.

LISTEN to the show LIVE or listen to the archive later

Directed, produced and edited by Laura Checkoway Produced by Thomas Lee Wright Co-producers Karina Rotenstein and P. Corwin Lamm Executive Producers: Steve James, Gordon Quinn, Betsy Steinberg, and Cher A production of Kartemquin Films and Heart is Red

Watch YouTube Video

The healthcare facility where a severely disabled woman gave birth may close after maggots were found on another resident

By Hollie Silverman and Chris Boyette

(CNN)The healthcare facility where a severely disabled Arizona woman delivered a baby after being raped by a staff member may have its licensed revoked by the health department after maggots were found on another resident. 

The Arizona Department of Health Services announced Friday that it has issued a Notice of Intent to Revoke the license of the Hacienda De Los Angeles' Intermediate Care Facility for Individuals with Intellectual Disabilities in Phoenix.
"Based on findings from a recent survery and an extremely disturbing incident involving inadequate patient care that was reported to and investigated by ADHS this week, the Department has determined strong and immediate further action is necessary to protect the Hacienda ICF-IID residents," the notice read. 
Hacienda HealthCare spokesman David Leibowitz told AZ Central that staff discovered a "small number of maggots" under a patient's bandage for a surgical incision. 
Leibowitz would not confirm those comments to CNN and the ADHS would not specify the nature of the "extremely disturbing incident" referenced in their notice.
The notice does not mean that Hacienda will immediately close and does not impact any other Hacienda facilities, according to a statement from ADHS. 
Instead, the notice will allow the health department to have increased oversight and accountability at the facility, the statement said. 
The facility came to an agreement with the ADHS last year to remain open after the agency ordered it to close. 
Nathan Sutherland was charged in the rape of a woman in a vegitative state that gave birth.
In December 2018, a severely disabled woman gave birth to a full-term baby after being raped by an employee of the facility. 
The woman had been a patient at Hacienda since 1992 after suffering significant intellectual disabilities as a result of childhood seizures, her family told CNN. 
A doctor who gave her a yearly checkup about 37 weeks before she gave birth wrote that there were no major changes in her health, according to medical records sent to the court. During an external exam in April 2018, a doctor noted her "firm belly."
Nathan Sutherland, a former nurse at the facility since 2011, pleaded not guilty to multiple charges of sexual assault and vulnerable adult abuse in February after a DNA test confirmed he was the father of the child.

Full Article & Source:
The healthcare facility where a severely disabled woman gave birth may close after maggots were found on another resident

See Also:
Maggots found under patient's bandage in Arizona