Saturday, February 12, 2022

SHOCK CLAIMS Wendy Williams’ bank calls her an ‘incapacitated person’ who is possible ‘victim of financial exploitation’ in lawsuit

by Jessica Finn

WENDY Williams’ bank called her an “incapacitated person” who is the possible “victim of financial exploitation” in an ongoing lawsuit, The Sun can exclusively report. 

Wendy's legal team filed for an emergency petition last week demanding Wells Fargo allow her access to her bank accounts, which they alleged had been frozen for more than two weeks. 

Wendy Williams' bank called her an 'alleged incapacitated person'
Wendy Williams' bank called her an 'alleged incapacitated person'Credit: Mega
Wells Fargo has filed a petition for a guardianship hearing for the ailing host
Wells Fargo has filed a petition for a guardianship hearing for the ailing hostCredit: Fox

The Wendy Williams Show host's financial advisor had allegedly alerted the bank that the host appeared to be “of unsound mind,” and the bank further believed she was the victim of “exploitation, dementia or undue influence,” according to her team’s petition seeking to reopen the accounts. 

The Sun can now exclusively reveal that Wells Fargo has responded to Wendy’s team, and told the court that they have filed a petition for a guardianship hearing, “concerning the client’s capacity." 

The bank’s attorney further alleged “Wells Fargo has strong reason to believe that the petitioner is the victim of undue influence and financial exploitation.” 

Wells Fargo's team also suggests the guardianship proceedings continue under seal, as they would like “to preserve the confidential interests of the alleged incapacitated person.” 

The bank's response also claimed that Wendy has been a client of the financial advisor for the past 15 years and that her financial advisor has an “unblemished record in 23 years in the industry."

In their determination to freeze Wendy’s accounts, Wells Fargo claimed they relied on reports of the financial advisor, “who has recently witnessed tell-tale signs of exploitation, including the petitioner’s own expressed apprehension.

The bank also claimed to have spoken to "independent third parties who know the petitioner well and share these concerns.” 

Wendy’s team filed their response, and denied Wells Fargo’s claims that “Wendy is the victim of undue influence and financial exploitation.” 


As The Sun previously exclusively reported, Wendy says she has been frozen out of her accounts containing millions of dollars for over two weeks. 

The host of The Wendy Williams Show - who has not appeared on the daytime series in several months as she suffers from multiple health problems- said in the lawsuit's latest filings that her frozen accounts have caused her “irreparable financial harm."  

Wendy and her representatives claimed that Wells Fargo had told them they would be given a ruling after she provided them with a “properly executed, witnessed, and notarized Power of Attorney and signed letter of representation." 

A power of attorney gives a designated individual the right to make decisions about another person's property, finances, or medical care when the person is unable to do so.  

The court papers do not specify who is authorized to act on her behalf or what powers were assigned to that person. 

Wendy argued in the papers that the bank “repeatedly denied" her requests to access her financial assets, which total over "several million dollars.”  

She wrote: “I have submitted multiple written requests to Wells Fargo and I have visited various Wells Fargo branches in the South Florida area in an effort to resolve this matter outside of the courtroom. 

“I have defaulted and I am at risk of defaulting on several billing and financial obligations, including, but not limited to, mortgage payments and employee payroll.”  


As The Sun previously reported, Wendy claimed that Wells Fargo officials had justified their decision to keep Wendy’s accounts frozen by referencing their authority to “pause or reject instructions for a proposed transaction, pending judicial or administrative remedies, should they suspect financial exploitation, dementia, or undue influence."  

The host’s legal team claimed that the bank had overreached in its authority, in part because Wendy had not proposed any transaction which should give the bank the discretion to stop her access to the accounts.    

Her attorney has sought court orders to allow her “access to her financial accounts, assets, and statements," while her dispute with Wells Fargo is resolved in arbitration, but since Friday, the case has escalated with the temporary restraining order filed Wednesday.   

The legal battle with Wells Fargo has emerged as the ailing talk show host’s show has found a “permanent guest host” with fan favorite Sherri Shepherd, 54.  

After a rotating roster of guest hosts, TMZ first reported that Sherri will be a permanent replacement barring a recovery and potential return from Wendy.   


As The Sun previously reported, the daytime presenter has been battling a health crisis for some time.    

Sources said the once witty, sharp host of The Wendy Williams Show isn't the same as she used to be as she battles multiple medical problems.   

A source close to the show told The Sun: “The spark is gone. That Wendy, who for ten years had that spark in her eyes, that cheeky grin and that little wink is not the same now.”    

The insider added some days are better than others for the once feisty daytime diva.     

“She’s not always functioning like she used to be. She has days where she needs help eating, getting out of bed and getting dressed.   

Even more heartbreaking, the source added, she doesn’t always recognize people whom she’s known for years.     

“There are people who Wendy knows- who have worked closely with her- and there are days that she has no idea who they are.”    


The Sun was first to report that Wendy had been transported to a New York hospital in September of 2021 following a 911 call for a person in need of psychiatric services.        

Soon after, the daytime talk show host quietly hired a crisis public relations manager.    

Meanwhile, The Wendy Williams Show released four statements between September 9 and October 12, blaming her absence from her show and any promotional duties on a breakthrough COVID case, “ongoing medical issues,” and symptoms from Graves' disease.      

On November 8, the show’s Instagram released a statement from Wendy saying she was still coping with health issues, and as a “woman of a certain age” she knew to listen to her doctors and that “right now, Wendy has to focus on Wendy.”        

It was the only statement that purportedly came from Wendy since the start of the season.         


The Sun exclusively reported that at the start of the pandemic lockdown in 2020, the host allegedly struggled with her addiction issues which spiraled into a dark and troubling incident in May of that year.       

Just before the host's team claimed she was hospitalized for Graves' disease that month, Wendy experienced a disturbing episode with a handful of people present as she was working from home.        

According to sources, Wendy’s manager was summoned to her penthouse apartment after she had appeared unwell during a Zoom show taping earlier in the week.        

Her manager and a small group of confidants arrived at the host’s home to lend support to the struggling talk show queen.        

According to multiple sources, Wendy had stripped naked in her room and was shouting vulgar comments.       

The host was eventually taken to the hospital, where she would remain for weeks.        

Reps for Wendy and The Wendy Williams Show did not respond to The Sun's multiple requests for comment.
Full Article & Source: 

Tennessee bill calls for required conservatorship training| Opinion

To prevent future abuse of the elderly and people with disabilities state-wide, professionals including the OCM and the Conservatorship Association of Tennessee are pushing for the inclusion of mandatory training in the conservatorship process.


Amy Bryant
by Amy Bryant

Would you hire a financial planner with zero experience or education? Probably not. However, it is estimated that hundreds of millions of dollars and thousands of individuals are under the care of conservators throughout Tennessee who are not required by the state to complete any form of training.

Conservators need to be trained before being entrusted with the lives and finances of some of the state’s most vulnerable individuals. There is a need for change and change is on the horizon. 

Recently brought into the spotlight by the movement to free Britney Spears, a conservatorship is the appointment of a protector by a judge to manage a disabled individuals finances and/or daily life but is defined differently throughout the country. In Tennessee, the terms used to describe a person who has been appointed by the Court to have authority for an adult person deemed to have a disability is called “conservator of the person,” “conservator of the property (or estate)” or “conservator of the person and property.” 

Conservatorship in Tennessee

In Tennessee, the term “guardianship” is used to describe persons under the age of 18. To establish a conservatorship in Tennessee, you must prove the individual is disabled by presenting clear and convincing evidence including a sworn statement from a medical professional.

An individual with a disability for purposes of a conservatorship is one for whom autonomy has become either partially or totally impaired. While most conservatorships operate in good faith, there continues to be abuse of the system.

In 2013, the conviction of former attorney John Clemmons sparked change in Davidson County and lead to the creation of the Davidson County Office of Conservatorship Management (OCM). Clemmons, a Nashville attorney, was disbarred and sentenced to 18 years after stealing $1.3 million from three conservatorship clients.

The OCM now provides an extra layer of protection in Davidson County, but the other 94 counties in Tennessee remain unprotected. Current Tennessee law requires mandatory annual reporting from conservators and annual accounting— with additional requirements based on a case by case basis. This is overseen by the Probate Court.

In Davidson County, the OCM provides a second layer of oversight and protection of adults under conservatorships by completing welfare visits and financial reviews.

Improving the conservatorship process

The OCM offers free training on their website. The training includes informative videos accompanied with quizzes on different subject matters including what is expected of conservators in Tennessee. For more information please visit to take advantage of these resources.

To prevent future abuse of the elderly and people with disabilities state-wide, professionals including the OCM and the Conservatorship Association of Tennessee are pushing for the inclusion of mandatory training in the conservatorship process.

Tennessee SB 2095 and HB 2286 are bills in this 2022 legislative session that as introduced, authorizes a court or clerk to waive an in-person fiduciary oath if certain conditions are met; requires appointed conservators to complete court-approved training; requires that certain documents be signed and notarized. 

This requirement will help provide competent conservators who are capable to perform the necessary duties to protect the interests of the disabled adult. Training will be free and accessible via internet access.

Full Article & Source:

Prison, probation for Marion caretaker accused of stealing money from elderly resident

by Austin L. Miller

A Marion Oaks caretaker accused of stealing thousands of dollars from an elderly resident has accepted a plea bargain that calls for an 18-month prison term and 10 years of probation.

Local court records show Ruth Oumarjeet, 51, was adjudicated guilty of grand theft by Circuit Judge Lisa Herndon during a hearing on Wednesday.

When she was arrested, Oumarjeet was charged with two counts of grand theft and one count of felony fraudulent use of a credit card. The credit card and one of the grand theft offenses were eventually dropped by prosecutors. 

The plea bargain also says that she cannot have contact with the victim, cannot go within 100 feet of any vehicle occupied by the victim or within 50 feet of the victim's residence, and may not go to Harbour House Assisted Living, where she once worked.

Oumarjeet was ordered to pay $27,006.41 in restitution to the victim, with payments of $500 a month.

In June 2019 law enforcement was notified about a caregiver at the assisted living facility allegedly stealing thousands of dollars from a then-88-year-old man. 

A Marion County Sheriff's Office report states the victim had $67,000 in his bank account. When deputies began their investigation, the man only had $10,000.

According to Oumarjeet's arrest report, she reportedly used the money to pay for personal expenses.

The report also states that the victim was a resident of Harbour House, but left after an injury. Oumarjeet, who was an employee at the facility, was fired, according to assisted living officials.

Full Article & Source:

Friday, February 11, 2022

Price of Protection: Woman loses Seffner home after father's guardian sues her for libel

Former guardian faces felony charges

As our ongoing series “The Price of Protection” continues, the ABC Action News I-Team uncovers how the daughter of a man in guardianship lost her home after speaking out about what she believed was her father’s poor care.
By: Adam Walser 

SEFFNER, Fla. — As our ongoing series “The Price of Protection” continues, the ABC Action News I-Team uncovers how the daughter of a man in guardianship lost her home after speaking out about what she believed was her father’s poor care.

The same guardian who sued her for libel and won is currently awaiting trial for exploitation, perjury and grand theft.

“I’ve got my four dogs in my car right now and I don’t even know where I’m going to sleep tonight,” said Lesa Martino.

The sign taped to what used to be her door was delivered by deputies carrying a court order, with a locksmith in tow.

That order said Martino can’t return to the home she’s lived in for the past eight years.

lisa martino as trash is loaded.png
Lesa Martino watches as trash haulers load her belongings into a trailer.

A $480,000 house… the price of speaking out 

Martino, a licensed pharmacist, bought the house for $295,000 in 2014.

It's located in a quiet Seffner subdivision.

“This is unbelievable,” she said. “My home that I worked for and paid cash for because I had worked so hard.”

The new owner is Gainesville attorney John Hayter, who obtained the four-bedroom, three-bath, 2,900 square foot house at a court-ordered levy sale with a bid of $100,000.

“He used ‘judgment credit’ so he didn’t actually dish out $100,000 at the bidding,” Martino said.

Zillow estimates the home’s value at $480,000.

Police have found the teen accused of a shooting in Sarasota

That judgment credit came from Hayter’s client, disgraced former professional guardian Traci Hudson. She's currently awaiting trial on 20 felony counts after being charged with stealing from elderly people under her care.

Martino’s trouble started when Hudson, then known as Traci Samuel, was appointed guardian of her father Roland Martino.

Roland is a retired pharmacist with dementia.

“When she became the guardian, within a month, my father had bruises on him and he seemed like he was being drugged,” Lesa Martino said.

lesa and roland martino.png
Lesa and her father Roland Martino in 2017
roland martino.png
Lesa complained to state agencies and in court documents that her father appeared drugged under Traci Samuel's care.

Martino repeatedly complained about her father’s care which led to the guardian obtaining a gag order and later a “no contact order” preventing Martino from communicating with her father and his guardian.

In 2018, Martino filed complaints about her father’s care with multiple agencies, according to the lawsuit.

Those agencies included the Florida Department of Children and Families, the Florida Department of Elder Affairs and the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office.

Those complaints didn’t result in any charges.

“It’s just so unfair … I was a whistle blower to the corruption and then I get punished,” Martino said.

According to the lawsuit, Martino also left remarks on social media and reviews on websites referring to Samuel as a “liar,” “exploiter,” “vulture” and “witch.”

“I end up getting a surprise lawsuit of libel-slander, saying the things I said were slanderous,” Martino said.

In August 2018, a judge issued a default judgment, writing in the order that Martino “failed to file a response or introduce any evidence.”

Martino said she didn’t receive notice of the hearing.

The judge awarded the guardian $160,000 in damages.

Guardian who won libel case charged with felonies

Fifteen months later, Hudson was arrested after prosecutors say she stole more than $500,000 from another senior under her care.

Last year, Hudson was indicted on additional charges involving two additional victims.

traci hudson arrest in 2019.png
Traci Hudson being booked in 2019 for felony charge of exploitation of a senior citizen.

The investigating agencies were the same ones Martino contacted about her concerns.

As Hudson prepared for trial on the criminal charges, attorney Hayter started foreclosure proceedings against Martino, adding an additional $80,000 for attorney fees.

Hayter argued Martino’s house, which was deeded to a limited liability corporation comprised of Martino and her two children, should be sold to satisfy the judgment.

“There was nothing about the house because the house was in an LLC. The LLC was not the one being sued,” Martino said.

But the judge disagreed.

Martino spent thousands on attorneys.

After running out of money, she represented herself and filed dozens of motions and multiple appeals.

On January 25, Martino argued to the Florida Court of Appeals that her home should be protected under Florida’s Homestead Law.

lesa Martino addresses court of appeals.png
Lesa Martino argues to the Florida Court of Appeals in late January, arguing that her home should be saved from foreclosure. Attorney John Hayter argued she had no standing under Florida's Homestead Law.

Article X, Section 4 of the Florida Constitution says, “There shall be exempt from forced sale under process of any court, and no judgment, decree or execution shall be a lien thereon.”

“I have been living in this home consistently since March 2014. There’s no other homestead. There’s been no proof I’ve lived anywhere else,” Martino said.

Hayter argued during the hearing that the property was not in her name, so didn’t qualify for protection.

“Until sometime right around the levy, the property was either held in the name of the LLC or the name of the appellant’s daughter,” Hayter said.

Martino also argued the original judgment shouldn’t stand, since there was no proof her statements were untrue or harmed the reputation of the guardian.

“The case involves an alleged felon. And the law’s the law. I’m entitled to equal protection under the law,” Martino said.

Appeals exhausted, owner evicted, home’s contents hauled away  

The day after that hearing, before the Florida Court of Appeals ruled, Hayter bought the property.

The judge in the original libel suit signed an order allowing the sale to move forward.

Eight days later, Martino was locked out of the home.

She said she didn’t have time to arrange for movers to remove her personal items.

The next day, Hayter came to the house and immediately called the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s office requesting that our news team be removed from a public sidewalk beside a county-owned road.

Deputies did not respond while we were there.

When we asked Hayter about the case, he responded “No comment, period.”

Employees of a trash-hauling company then cleared out the contents of Martino’s home and loaded them into a trailer.

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Attorney John Hayter oversees a crew cleaning out Lesa Martino's former home.
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Note left on Lesa Martino's car which appeared to come from attorney John Hayter warning her she would be prosecuted if she was found at her former home.

They did not tell Martino where they were taking her things

“All I know is it belongs to me, it doesn’t belong to them,” she said. “This is really just unbelievable that this can even happen in our country.”

She filed an emergency motion to try to keep her possessions from being thrown into the dump, but no immediate action was taken by the court.

Martino is staying in a hotel and has no idea where she’s going to live next. She said she’s exhausted all of her savings on litigation and doesn’t even have enough money to pay a deposit on an apartment.

If you have a story you think the I-Team should investigate, email us at

Full Article & Source:

Woman facing numerous charges for allegedly taking advantage of elderly residents where she worked

by Zoe Brown, Emily Rittman

A woman is facing numerous charges for allegedly taking advantage of elderly people in Johnson County while she was working at two facilities.

OLATHE, KS (KCTV) -- A woman is facing numerous charges for allegedly taking advantage of elderly people in Johnson County.

According to a release from District Attorney Steve Howe's office, 39-year-old Patricia Ann Myler has been charged with: 

  • Seven counts of mistreatment of an elder person
  • Six counts of identity theft
  • Three counts of computer crime targeting elderly residents at Villa St. Francis Nursing Home in Olathe while employed there

Court records show she is accused of stealing more than $25,000 but less than $100,000 from three victims, and more than $1,500 but less than $25,000 from three other victims. In one incident, she is accused of stealing less than $1,500 from one victim.

According to the release, Myler was identified as having worked at: 

  • The AdventHealth Care Center located at 6501 W. 75th St. in Overland Park from June 2018 until February 2019
  • Villa St. Francis located at 16600 W. 126th St in Olathe from March 2019 to December 2020

Her bond has been set at $15,000 cash or surety.

A spokesperson for the Villa St. Francis nursing homes said Myler resigned from her job. After her resignation, staff made concerning discoveries and contacted state authorities including the Kansas Attorney General’s Office. The spokesperson said through insurance and company policies they were able to make the residents and their families whole. They added the nursing home has policies in place including background checks and audits to protect residents.

A spokesperson for AdventHealth sent a written statement that said, “This individual is not employed by our organization.”

Anyone who has a friend or family member who was a resident at either of the facilities mentioned during the aforementioned time periods, and who noticed financial irregularities, is asked to contact the DA's White Collar Crime hotline 913-715-3140. 

Full Article & Source:

Thursday, February 10, 2022

How to Keep Your Estate Plan from Jeopardizing a Disabled Heir’s Benefits

by James J. Ferraro, JD, Vice President/Legal Counsel

A mom tosses her smiling toddler in the air. He has Down Syndrome. Getty Images

Estate planning is not a requirement. No one can force you to make your will, create a power of attorney or to own your property in a way to avoid probate. As a result, people too often let common estate planning excuses stand in their way.

For those who fail to plan, states have default laws for managing the transfer of their property and assets at death or for controlling their property if they lose this ability because they’re critically injured or at an advanced age.

However, these laws should be viewed as a backup plan, not an ideal arrangement — especially if you have a family member with a disability. By relying solely on the default laws in the probate or guardianship code of your state without considering your heirs’ current or potential eligibility for certain benefits, you might unintentionally disqualify your disabled child or grandchild from receiving public benefits, or these benefits may be substantially reduced. Thoughtful planning on your part can create additional benefits for your heirs by preserving resources made available through private or public sources.

A person with a physical or cognitive disability may qualify for taxpayer-sponsored public benefits or privately funded benefits to support his or her living expenses, since he or she may be unable to work or to gain full employment due to a disability. These public benefits, called Supplemental Security Income (SSI) are “means tested,” meaning that to apply (or re-apply) for them, a person must utilize, or “spend down,” most of their savings or funds that are available without restriction.

Grandpa’s problematic old estate plan

I was recently introduced to a widower who has five grandchildren. His grandson suffered a severe head injury and compound fractures to his leg in an automobile accident when he was 16. He will have difficulty with fine motor skills for the remainder of this life and can’t stand for extended periods. He is now 22 and qualifies for SSI to supplement his earned income. His grandparents had a typical estate plan created before the accident. It provided that at the death of the first spouse, the balance of that person’s estate would pass to the surviving spouse. Upon the surviving spouse’s death, the balance of the remaining joint estate would be divided, leaving shares directly to their surviving children and grandchildren.

This plan would have caused an unintended consequence for this grandfather’s disabled grandson. Since his grandson would receive this inheritance directly, the Department of Human Services in his state would have considered his inheritance an available resource, disqualifying him from continuing to receive full governmental benefits, including Medicaid health insurance, until these funds were fully used. His problems would have been compounded if his father wasn’t living at his grandfather’s death, because he would have also been entitled to the share set aside for his father.

Thankfully, the grandfather updated his estate plan (described in detail below). Had he not, it still would have been possible for his grandson to continue receiving public benefits, but this would have required the state to be reimbursed for the benefits paid during his lifetime before any remaining funds could be distributed to other family members. The grandfather was resolute in his decision to change his estate plan when he became aware of the likelihood that the state would be paid a portion, if not all, of his legacy.

How supplemental needs trusts work

After collaborating with an estate planning attorney experienced in the complicated arena of public benefits planning, we explained to the grandfather that funds can be held in a trust that won’t reduce his grandson’s present benefits or disqualify him or other heirs from future benefits. These trusts are known as supplemental needs trusts or special needs trusts (SNT).

An SNT can be either a first-party trust created by a parent, grandparent, guardian or a court using the beneficiary’s own funds or a third-party trust funded with assets belonging to the trust’s creator. Because the beneficiary’s assets are used, a first-party SNT requires that the state benefits provider be reimbursed for lifetime benefits paid by it on behalf of the beneficiary. A first-party SNT could have been created by the court had the grandfather not changed his original plan, but state reimbursement would have been required.

The grandfather’s new plan created a third-party SNT for the primary benefit of his grandson that will supplement, but not supplant, his public benefits. Upon his grandson’s death, the remaining balance of the trust will be distributed to his grandson’s descendants or his other grandchildren.

Since the trust is funded with the grandfather’s money, and not his grandson’s, there is no need to reimburse any state for public benefits received. The grandfather also made similar provisions for any of his other children or grandchildren who are not presently receiving public benefits but may qualify in the future.

Alternatives to special needs trusts

Special needs trusts are one of several solutions that can be used to plan for descendants who currently receive disability benefits or may in the future. Choosing an experienced trustee to oversee a special needs trust for his grandson’s benefit was a good solution for this client, based upon the overall size of his estate and the nature of his assets. Under different circumstances, he may have considered other alternatives, such as an ABLE account, a pooled trust or purchasing exempt resources (such as a car or house) for his grandson.

ABLE accounts

ABLE accounts were created with the passage of the Stephen Beck Jr. Achieving a Better Life Experience Act of 2014. An ABLE account is a savings accounts for individuals with disabilities. They are like 529 education savings accounts with similar tax advantages. There is a limited amount that can be held in an ABLE account, but the balance will not be considered an available resource. The maximum amount that can be contributed to an ABLE account annually is set by the federal government and is adjusted for inflation each year. In 2022 this amount was increased to $16,000. The balance held in ABLE accounts can increase from year to year as long as it doesn’t exceed the maximum amount permitted in the state where the disabled person resides. This limit currently ranges from $235,000 to $550,000, with many states allowing more than $500,000 to be held in an ABLE account.

Pooled trusts

A pooled trust can be a first-party or third-party special needs trust. This type of trust is managed by a nonprofit organization and is often a cost-effective solution, because the funds of many beneficiaries are combined into one master trust for administrative and investment purposes. Sub-accounts are then created for each beneficiary, with the disabled person’s account receiving a proportionate share of the entire fund’s earnings.

Distributions may be made by the nonprofit trustee from the beneficiary’s share and used for his needs. One important thing to note: Pooled trust providers typically can’t hold a house for a disabled beneficiary, unlike a trust created for a single beneficiary.

Purchasing exempt resources

When determining a disabled person’s resources in calculating his or her benefits, the value of personal property and household goods, one automobile and a home occupied by the person will not be counted. Purchasing exempt resources, such as an automobile or residence, can be an effective strategy for some people, particularly when combined with a pooled trust or ABLE account.

It is a good idea for everyone to review their estate plan from time to time, particularly because beneficiaries’ personal circumstances can change or there might be developments in state laws that could be advantageous to them or their beneficiaries. The time you take to carefully plan with a qualified estate and benefits planning attorney can improve your beneficiaries’ quality of life and provide additional public resources for a disabled child, grandchild or other family member.

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Chicago Divorce Attorney Russell Knight Discusses Divorce for A Mentally Disabled Person in Illinois

Chicago divorce attorney Russell Knight posts a new blog post ( that explains how divorce works for a mentally disabled person in Illinois. The lawyer mentions that there will be a time when a loved one’s health will start to fail during the course of the marriage. Sometimes, these illnesses may become too much for the other spouse to bear and divorce may become necessary.

According to the Chicago divorce attorney, “Dementia, stroke or late-onset mental illness can render a person unable to handle their affairs…even their marriage. If someone is truly mentally disabled, they will not have the mental capacity to fully understand the meaning and effect of their petition. A truly disabled person is not filing their own divorce in Illinois.”

Chicago divorce attorney

The lawyer explains that before, guardians used to be not allowed to start a divorce on behalf of a disabled person in Illinois. The spouse of the divorced person can always file a motion for lack of standing because the spouse is NOT married to the guardian. The disabled person will have to have to file and sign their own Petition For Dissolution Of Marriage.

In the article, the lawyer also says that if a person became incapable of pursuing their divorce, a guardian may be able to step in and finish the divorce on behalf of the disabled person. However, a guardian may only be able to start a divorce on behalf of the disabled person if they ask the court for permission.

Attorney Knight mentions that if the guardian is to continue the divorce process on behalf of the disabled person, they will have to convince the guardianship/probate court that the divorce is in the disabled person’s best interests. They may need to do a big speech to the court about the disabled person’s best interests and why they may need the divorce.

Furthermore, the lawyer adds that if someone is a guardian for a person who is disabled and needs a divorce, they have to take very specific steps. Also, if someone married a disabled person, they can’t let their guardian ask for a divorce without a cause.

Lastly, attorney Knight mentions that marrying someone who is disabled or being a guardian for one may not be easy, especially in cases of a divorce. He also emphasizes the importance of having a skilled divorce lawyer who may be able to make all the difference in a case like this.

Full Article & Source:

Woman wanted for financial exploitation of the elderly

by WICS/WRSP Staff

Rachel Rowden is wanted on an outstanding warrant for financial exploitation of the elderly. (Springfield Police Department)

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (WICS/WRSP) — Springfield Police are searching for a woman wanted for financial exploitation of the elderly.

Rachel Rowden, 37, is described as being 5 feet 3 inches tall and weighing 185 pounds.

If you have information as to where Rowden may be, you're asked to call the Springfield Police Department at 217-788-8325 or CrimeStoppers at 217-788-8427.  

Full Article & Source:

Wednesday, February 9, 2022

Kelly Price Says Her Sister Tried To Put Her In A Conservatorship While She Was Battling COVID-19: ‘I Almost Got Britney Speared’

During her interview with comedian Luenell, Kelly says her sister allegedly tried to put her in a conservatorship last summer. Around that time, Kelly couldn’t be found because she was recovering from COVID-19.

“I almost got ‘Britney Speared,’ this summer. There was a conservatorship in play by a specific family member. And some of the family did fall out about it. I had a great aunt who did have something to say to my sister about that and said, ‘Why would you do that,’” Kelly says.

The singer mentions that her aunt asked her sister her reason for conservatorship. According to Price’s sister, she did not want Kelly’s husband to take everything if she, unfortunately, died from her Covid complications. However, Kelly says she and her husband did not sign a pre-nuptial agreement, but they do “have an understanding.”

Kelly’s family may not have liked the conservatorship idea, but it was probably a good idea since Kelly went flatlined while in the hospital.

“When I went into the hospital, they shut down visitation. Men were not allowed to come to the hospital with their wives having babies when I was in the hospital. I was unconscious for days, actually. My heart did stop. I was medically dead. They were able to resuscitate me,” she said.

Watch Kelly’s complete response below. 

Full Article & Source:

Homosassa-based attorney disbarred following child-porn conviction

By Buster Thompson

An attorney based out of Homosassa can no longer practice law in the state after news broke of his conviction for having illicit pornography.

Basil Von Lashley, 50, was disbarred immediately following a Jan. 20 order from the Florida Supreme Court, The Florida Bar announced Tuesday, Feb. 1.

Lashley was admitted to practice law in November 2011, and his address on record with The Florida Bar is off of West Chelsea Court in Homosassa.

According to Florida Supreme Court records, The Florida Bar filed a notice in November about Lashley’s adjudication of guilt from August on eight counts of possessing child pornography.

Following his September 2019 arrest in Lake County, Lashley pleaded no contest to his felony charges in exchange for a four-year prison sentence followed by a year of sex-offender probation. He was also ordered to register as a sex offender.

At the time he was taken into custody, Lashley had a mailing address out of Clermont.

Disbarred lawyers can apply for readmission to The Florida Bar after five years, but are required to go through a rigorous background check before passing the Bar exam again.

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Man caught on video kicking 89-year-old woman to the ground in New York City

Police are asking for help identifying a man who was caught on camera kicking an 89-year-old woman to the ground in broad daylight in New York City.

The incident unfolded in the Midwood neighborhood of Brooklyn around 7:20 a.m. Friday.

The woman, who has not been identified, was on Avenue P and East 17th Street when a man came up from behind and kicked her in the back, police said.

She falls to the ground after the blow, the video shows. The man then appears to walk around her, holding a coffee cup. Police said he left on foot in an unknown direction. 

"The victim suffered pain and bruising to her head and body," police said.

She was taken by EMS to Maimonides Medical Center, where she was stable. 

Police said it was a random attack and that the man and the victim did not know each other. 

Police are asking anyone with information about the identity of the man to come forward. He is described as 20 to 30 years old and was last seen wearing dark clothing. 

Neighbors were shocked.

"That's scary. I have an elderly mother, too," a woman told NBC New York.

Another said: "This neighborhood is really good, you know. I live right behind this church. It's always good, but seeing this ... it's horrible."

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Tuesday, February 8, 2022

Legislative Roundup, Feb. 6

by Daniel J. Chacón

Feb. 6—Days remaining in session: 12

Temporary guardians: A bill designed to provide additional protections to New Mexicans vulnerable to exploitation received unanimous support Saturday from the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Senate Bill 35 revises procedures for the appointment of temporary guardians and conservators for "alleged incapacitated people."

Changes include prohibiting a temporary guardian and conservator from selling or disposing of any property belonging to the person or from making a change to their housing or placement without explicit court authorization.

The bill also would impose a 10-day deadline to have a hearing on the appointment of a temporary guardian.

Supreme Court Justice C. Shannon Bacon said the judiciary is averse to time constraints but called hearing requirement "really important."

"This is meant to be the exception to the process, not the rule, and what happens now is, it's treated as the rule," she said, referring to temporary guardianships and conservatorships.

"This is meant to be an emergency proceeding where the regular process can't work, so with tightening up these rules related to the process, we believe that the courts can meet the moment of the 10-day rule and having the hearing quickly."

Bill stays in Judiciary: The Senate rejected a motion for a bill to bypass the Senate Judiciary Committee, where legislation has stalled or died in the past amid a backlog.

"We should respect the process," Sen. Joe Cervantes, D-Las Cruces, who chairs the committee, said before the vote to remove Senate Bill 12 from one of its committee assignments.

The motion was rejected on a 23-12 vote.

The bill would, among other things, create a "missing Indigenous-persons specialist" within the state Attorney General's Office. The bill also would grant the AG's Office jurisdiction to investigate or prosecute cases involving missing Indigenous victims, according to a bill analysis.

In addition, the legislation proposes to appropriate $2 million into a fund where the AG's Office "would be entitled to give grants on a noncompetitive basis," Cervantes said.

"When a piece of legislation empowers the attorney general, it has legal implications," he said.

Mining bill goes forward: Members of the House Energy, Environment and Natural Resources Committee unanimously voted to approve legislation addressing toxic waste left at uranium mine sites in the state.

House Bill 164 would require the state Environment Department to coordinate efforts among various agencies to clean up and reclaim legacy uranium mine and mill sites. The bill appropriates $350,000 for first-year cleanup efforts.

D. Wonda Johnson, D-Crownpoint, told committee members about a "horrific" uranium spill that destroyed her grandparents' farm on the Navajo Nation when she was a child.

Quote of the day: "Are we going to arrest the Ayatollah with this bill?" — Sen. Bill Sharer, R-Farmington, reacting to legislation that would add election officials to an already existing law that makes it a fourth-degree felony to intimidate election workers. The bill's sponsor, Sen. Katy Duhigg, D-Albuquerque, told lawmakers Secretary of State Maggie Toulouse Oliver had received online threats linked to Iran after the 2020 election.

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Iowa lawyer faces disbarment after 'long history of misconduct'

by Clark Kauffman

A state panel is recommending that a western Iowa lawyer be disbarred for a “long history of misconduct” that includes a dozen admonishments, reprimands or license suspensions.

The Grievance Commission of the Iowa Supreme Court is recommending the court revoke the Iowa law license of Sioux City lawyer Brien P. O’Brien.

Court records indicate O’Brien has been licensed to practice law in Iowa since 1996. During that time, he has been repeatedly disciplined for violating the rules of professional conduct in Iowa and other states.

In 1998, the Iowa Supreme Court Attorney Disciplinary Board admonished O’Brien for advertising specific, primary practice areas of personal injury law, automobile accidents, work accidents, and slip-and-fall accidents without having filed a certificate of eligibility as to those areas of practice.

In 2001, the board admonished O’Brien for discussing a legal matter with a client in front of others inside his office waiting room.

In 2002, the board admonished O’Brien for cashing a check made payable to O’Brien and another individual without securing the endorsement of that individual.

Also in 2002, O’Brien was disbarred in Nebraska for violating that state’s rules governing client trust accounts and the practice of law.

In 2003, as a result of the Nebraska action, the Iowa Supreme Court suspended O’Brien’s Iowa law license indefinitely, with no possibility of reinstatement for at least three years.

In 2004, O’Brien was criminally convicted of fraudulent practices — charges that stemmed from his failure to file Iowa income tax returns. That conviction resulted in the court suspending his Iowa law license for six months, but the suspension ran concurrent with the 2003 suspension already in place.

In 2011, the board admonished O’Brien for failing to respond to a client’s request for an itemized statement of the legal services for which the client was paying.

In 2012, the board admonished O’Brien for emailing coarse remarks to another attorney, including threats to take actions that would serve no purpose other than to embarrass or burden the opposing party and third-party witnesses in the case.

In 2013, the board admonished O’Brien for failing to file a petition to modify a child-custody and visitation order after accepting $2,240 from the client to do so.

In 2017, the Iowa Supreme Court reprimanded O’Brien for neglecting a client’s divorce case, which resulted in the case being dismissed.

In 2018, the board admonished O’Brien for failing to take action in a client’s divorce, resulting in the case being dismissed.

Board: O’Brien has not learned from past sanctions

The most recent complaint against O’Brien involves his representation of Damon Krull of Woodbury County in a 2019 child-custody dispute. Krull paid O’Brien $2,750 as a retainer. After making his initial appearance in the case, according to the board, O’Brien never filed any paperwork in the matter and never communicated again with Krull, despite the client’s numerous phone calls and visits to his office.

Krull eventually hired another attorney but O’Brien never refunded the $2,750 or provided an invoice for any services.

O’Brien also failed to respond to the Attorney Disciplinary Board’s inquiries about the case and presented no defense when the board brought the case before the Grievance Commission for a hearing. The board recommended the commission ask the court to suspend O’Brien’s license for 18 months.

The commission, citing O’Brien’s extensive history of past violations, rejected the board’s recommendation.

With regard to the Krull case, the commission found that “O’Brien’s involvement in Krull’s case caused more harm than good to Krull’s interest … O’Brien never returned any of Krull’s retainer, and Krull had to borrow money to retain a new attorney to represent him.”

The larger issue, the commission found, was O’Brien’s “long history of misconduct with no mitigating factors,” and it recommended the court revoke O’Brien’s license to practice law in Iowa.

“O’Brien’s actions affected Krull’s mental health and led him to lose his job,” the commission stated in its recommendation to the court. “The Grievance Commission has serious doubts that O’Brien will change his behavior when he has not learned from his many previous mistakes. O’Brien should not be given the opportunity to further harm future clients in the way that his actions harmed Mr. Krull.”

After the board issued its recommendation to the court, the Attorney Disciplinary Board altered its position on the matter and filed a statement in support of the proposed license revocation. “His license has been suspended three times, he has been reprimanded once, and he has been admonished seven times,” the board said of O’Brien. “It is clear that O’Brien has not learned from his previous warnings.”

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Indiana legislation could prevent unnecessary guardianships

by Carter Barrett

On the tails of Britney Spears’ release from her father’s conservatorship, Indiana lawmakers are considering legislation that could prevent people with disabilities from unnecessarily entering into similar arrangements.

House Bill 1107 addresses the “school-to-guardianship pipeline,” which references when school staff counsel parents to place their soon-to-be adult child into a guardianship.

Guardianships most often involve people with disabilities, the elderly, people recovering from an injury or medical condition, and people with severe mental illness. The person in a guardianship loses legal control of their financial and medical decisions.

Advocates say schools often warn parents that this step is necessary to remain privy to their child’s education and medical care.

But Indiana Disability Rights’ legal director Tom Crishon disagrees.

“That’s kind of an ill-informed statement,” Crishons said. “Given that there are a number of less restrictive alternatives, where the families can be involved still, but you're not removing all rights of the individual through a guardianship process.”

The wide-ranging bill would require schools to counsel parents on less restrictive alternatives, in addition to providing information about guardianships.

In recent years, there has been a growing shift toward less restrictive options that allow adults with physical or intellectual impairments more independence while providing them support for making decisions.

These supports can include parents, friends, social workers or paid support. The primary distinction is that the person with a disability retains the ability to make the final decisions.

In 2019, Indiana joined a handful of other states, including Delaware, Texas, Ohio and Wisconsin, to pass a law requiring judges to consider less restrictive alternatives to guardianships. However, it remains unclear how widely this has been implemented.

“People with significant disabilities have long been discriminated against, because people think that they [lack] the ability to make decisions,” said Derek Nord, director of the Indiana Institute on Disability and Community.

Dismantling the school-to-guardianship pipeline is a primary agenda item for disability rights advocates this legislative session, Kim Dodson, CEO of the Arc of Indiana, said in a November interview.

“Families come into the educational setting, very trusting that [schools are] going to do everything right by their students. And unfortunately, we have seen too many times where schools don't,” Dodson said. “And sometimes it can lead to very bad situations; and guardianship is one of those.”

The House Education Committee unanimously passed HB1107 on Wednesday. It now heads to the full House for potential amendments and a vote.

WFYI education reporter Lee Gaines contributed to this report.

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Monday, February 7, 2022

'GET ME OUT!' Hank Williams Jr’s son Sam, 24, claims he’s in a ‘conservatorship’ as singer begs to be ‘free’ like Britney Spears

by Katherine Schaffstall

HANK Williams Jr.’s son Sam claimed he’s in a conservatorship as the singer begged to be "freed" like Britney Spears.

The 24-year-old made the allegations in a silent YouTube video earlier this week.

Sam Williams claimed he's in a conservatorship
Sam Williams claimed he's in a conservatorshipCredit: YouTube
He is the song of famous country singer Hank Williams Jr.
He is the song of famous country singer Hank Williams Jr.Credit: Getty

In the video, Sam held up handwritten signs sharing information about the alleged conservatorship.

He claimed his famous father Hank, 72, and half-sister, Holly, put him under a conservatorship in August 2020.

The alleged conservatorship began 55 days after his sister, Katie, was tragically killed in a car accident.

Sam appeared nervous in the video, which ended with the country singer holding up a sign that read: “I want out.”

Alongside the video, he wrote: “I've been quiet a long time now. I want out of this, and I don't mind people knowing. They took my grief process, my spirit, my money, my car, my home, and everything possible in order to 'protect me.' Well, I need protection from them.”

The video has since been deleted.

In addition to sharing the video, Sam made the same claims in a series of tweets.

The musician wrote: "I am in a conservatorship.”

He also responded to a tweet from one fan celebrating Britney's "first February" being out of her conservatorship.

Sam shared the post as he wrote: "It's my second one not free."

Reps for Hank and Sam did not respond immediately to the Sun’s request for comment.


Days after Sam made the claims, TMZ confirmed through court records that Hank filed a petition for an emergency conservatorship in August 2020 for Sam.

The outlet has not been able to confirm the current status of the conservatorship.

Sam made the claims against his family shortly after he and Hank were photographed together at Nashville's Country Music Hall of Fame in November 2021.

The father-son duo were celebrating Hank's induction, though Sam donned a serious expression while posing on the red carpet.


It's possible that the conservatorship was linked to the passing of Katie, who was just 27 at the time of the fatal car accident.

Her husband, Tyler Dunning, was also in the car and was airlifted to Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, Tennessee.

Sam revealed news of the accident on Facebook, writing: "My sister and brother in law have been in a terrible accident.

"Please pray for them so hard! Katie Williams and Tyler Dunning."

Sam later spoke about how Katie's passing impacted him during an interview with People in August 2021.

He said: "I definitely broke and went through a really, really, really hard time. I'm still climbing out of it. But, it's the 'still climbing' part that is the most important. That'll just always be a big part of my story."


Sam opened up about his alleged conservatorship just months after Britney, 40, was released from her own.

Following months in court, Judge Brenda Penny made her final ruling regarding the role of Britney's father, Jamie Spears, as the singer's conservator in November 2021.

At the time, the judge decided Jamie would no longer have legal control over Britney as serving as her conservator for 13 years.

Then in December, the judge ruled ruled that Britney's conservatorship was to be terminated without requiring any further mental evaluation.

The decision gave the hitmaker control of her life for the first time since 2008.

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