Saturday, January 13, 2024

Caregiver Bound Over to Face Trial in Freezing Death of Elderly Woman

Today, Colleen Kelly O’Connor, 58, of East Lansing, was bound over to face trial in the 29th Circuit Court in Clinton County on one count of Second-Degree Vulnerable Adult Abuse, announced Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel. O’Connor was charged in November in connection to the December 2022 death by exposure of an 82-year-old woman. The charge is a 4-year felony.

At the time she died, the victim was under O’Connor’s care at Vista Springs Imperial Park at Timber Ridge, an assisted living facility in Clinton County where O’Connor was employed.

“Caregivers have a responsibility to act when a vulnerable person in their care faces a dangerous, potentially fatal, situation,” said Nessel. “I want to thank the Bath Township Police Department for their partnership during the investigation of this tragic case.”

The People allege that during the very early morning hours of December 23, 2022, O’Connor twice observed the victim attempt to go outside without appropriate attire into a blizzard with single-digit temperatures, subzero windchill, and blowing and drifting snow. A snowplow driver found the victim in the parking lot around 7 a.m., partially buried in snow. It is unknown precisely how long she was outside before she was found. The victim was transported by ambulance to a nearby hospital but died due to hypothermia shortly after arrival.

The charge against O’Connor alleges that, as a caregiver, O’Connor recklessly failed to act to prevent the victim from going outdoors into the storm, resulting in her death.

Full Article and Source:
Caregiver Bound Over to Face Trial in Freezing Death of Elderly Woman

I Wouldn't Have Missed It for the World - 10 Things I Learned When My Father Had Dementia

by Fanny Johnstone

After a stroke, at 81, my clever, funny, obstinate father developed vascular dementia in November 2011. We swiftly came to understand that someone with dementia has difficulty with planning and understanding things, from breakfast choices to bigger life events. Changes to mood are inevitable, because they feel disoriented, confused and vulnerable. Balance can be challenging; memory and language fade – eventually, we were told, he would lose the ability to walk or talk …. It was unimaginable, but it happened.

My mother cared for him on her own heroically for about 18 months before my husband suggested that we move to Cornwall to help her. My dad’s prognosis was not good. He wasn’t expected to live for more than a couple of years – and he didn’t. I had 18 months with him and Mum, going back and forth from my father’s former painting studio in the garden, where my husband, daughter and I sort of camped out. My brother came home regularly, too. This is what I learned.

Writing helps

I kept a diary every day. I grieved so hard during and after his death that I wrote endlessly about that time. It was a way to hold on to him, to process things, to scream and cry on to a silent page so that my family didn’t have to cope with yet more tears. But it was also a chance to record the sweeter, lighter, funnier things about it, because our one piece of luck was that the dementia softened my father. He became much more emotionally available and was able to laugh a lot. I don’t know if this is the case for everyone, but, despite the occasional bout of anger or frustration, my dad yielded rather than fought.

Full Article and Source:
I Wouldn't Have Missed It for the World - 10 Things I Learned When My Father Had Dementia

Elder Financial Exploitation Remains a Rising Concern in New York

Financial crimes against elderly Americans increased by 84% from 2021 to 2022, according to the FBI. In the book of proposals that accompanied the State of the State address, Governor Kathy Hochul outlined a few steps her administration will take to combat elder financial exploitation.

A report by Jilenne Gunther, the National Director of AARP BankSafe Initiative, indicates exploitation may cause declines in a victim’s mental and physical health. Victims may experience poverty and negative emotions, including anger, self-blame, anxiety, and depressive symptoms.

According to the Department of Financial Services, those most vulnerable to elder abuse tend to be between 80 and 89 years old, especially those who experience cognitive decline or cognitive incapacity.

The report also claims that elder financial exploitation numbers may be higher than the data shows, as many victims do not report the crime due to shame and embarrassment. The AARP estimates Americans lose about $28.3 billion annually to elderly financial exploitation.

To combat this type of elder abuse, Hochul is planning to propose legislation allowing financial institutions to put a temporary hold on suspicious transactions involving a vulnerable adult’s account. Hochul also wants to establish a New York State Interagency Elder Justice Coordinating Council.

Full Article and Source:
Elder Financial Exploitation Remains a Rising Concern in New York

Friday, January 12, 2024

Houston Texans Owner is Fighting Son's Claims That She's Incapacitated and Needs Guardian

HOUSTON (AP) — The owner of the Houston Texans is fighting efforts by one of her sons to have her declared incapacitated and have a guardian appointed for her, according to court records.

The news of infighting among the family comes as the Texans, who won the AFC South this season, get ready to host the Cleveland Browns on Saturday in their first playoff appearance since the 2019 season.

Robert Cary McNair Jr. filed his application for appointment of a guardian for Janice McNair, 87, in November with probate court in Harris County, where Houston is located. The application, which details his reasons for why he is seeking to have her declared incapacitated, was temporarily sealed last month by a judge.

In court documents filed last month, attorneys for Janice McNair and her son Cal McNair, who is chairman and CEO of the Texans, said the McNairs were “shocked” by Cary McNair’s “drastic and unwarranted measures of alleging his mother is incapacitated, seeking to terminate her rights, and appoint himself as her guardian to control her personal, financial, and medical decisions. Ms. McNair and Cal are firmly against any allegation or implication that Ms. McNair is incapacitated or needs a guardianship.”

In a two-page affidavit, Janice McNair, who became the principal owner of the Texans after her husband, Robert “Bob” McNair, died in 2018, asked that all court records in the case be sealed to protect her confidential personal, financial and medical information.

“The details of this family dispute becoming public will have a serious impact on the Texans,” she said. “It will create a needless and baseless media stir regarding the ownership and direction of the Texans, thereby negatively affecting our employees, business partners and the team.”

Judge Jerry Simoneaux held a hearing Tuesday on the request to seal the records and on Wednesday issued an order asking for additional information before making a final ruling. The judge kept Cary McNair’s guardianship application temporarily sealed.

Attorneys for Janice McNair, Cal McNair and Cary McNair did not immediately respond to emails seeking comment Wednesday. Texans spokesman Omar Majzoub said the team had no comment on the situation.

Houston Texans Owner is Fighting Son's Claims That She's Incapacitated and Needs Guardian

San Francisco County, California, Launches Conservatorship Expansion For People With Severe Addiction Disorder

On January 1, 2024, the City and County of San Francisco became the first in the state to launch reformed policies for behavioral health conservatorship and involuntary treatment, and allow for conservatorship of people with severe addiction disorder.

The reform is due to Senate Bill (SB) 43, which was signed on October 10, 2023. It goes beyond the existing Lanterman-Petris-Short (LPS) Act Mental Health Conservatorship that allows a county mental health department to ask a court to appoint a third party to direct care for up to one year for a person with a serious mental illness . . .

San Francisco County. California, Launches Conservatorship Expansion for Severe Addiction Disorder

WI Sen. Jacque's Bill to Protect Vulnerable Adults Advances

Vulnerable members of our society that have been targeted by criminals would receive stronger protections under a proposal that cleared a State Senate committee today in a strong bipartisan 6-1 vote.

“This legislation will enhance our adult at risk legal framework by adding more protections that will help ensure safe, fulfilling lives for the defenseless ones among us,” said State Sen. AndrĂ© Jacque (R-De Pere), lead author of the measure.

Sen. Jacque said Wisconsin has a longstanding definition of “adult at risk”, which refers to any adult who has a physical or mental condition that substantially impairs his or her ability to care for his or her needs, and who has experienced, is currently experiencing, or is at risk of experiencing abuse, neglect, self-neglect, or financial exploitation. Unfortunately, there remain a number of protections currently lacking under state law for adults at risk, which Sen. Jacque’s bill will enact:

· Allowing prosecutors to request that a court freeze or seize assets from a defendant who has been charged with a financial exploitation crime when the victim is an adult at risk in order to preserve them for restitution.

· Allowing an adult at risk who is seeking a domestic violence, individual-at-risk, or harassment restraining order to appear in a court hearing by telephone or live audiovisual means.

· Increasing the penalty for forcible sexual misconduct, which is currently a second degree sexual assault, to a first degree sexual assault (going from a Class C to a Class B Felony) if the victim is an adult at risk.

· Allowing a term of imprisonment that is imposed for a criminal conviction to be increased in length if the crime victim was an adult at risk.

“Adults with disabilities are seven times more likely to be the victims of abuse, neglect, or exploitation,”
Sen. Jacque said, noting that the bill (Senate Bill 72) passed the Senate last session as 2021 SB 388 in a strong bipartisan vote of 31-2. The measure has been supported by the Alzheimer’s Association and the Wisconsin Chapter of A-TEAM, a grassroots network of families who work legislatively to advance the cause of people with disabilities in the workplace, society, and home.

This stronger adult at risk legislation is Sen. Jacque’s latest effort to protect our most vulnerable. Last session, Gov. Evers signed a Jacque bill requiring training for guardianship, the most restrictive legal arrangement for incapacitated adults, to make sure decisions are made in their best interests.

Senate Bill 72 must next clear the full Senate and Assembly, and be signed by the Governor, to become law.

Senator AndrĂ© Jacque represents Northeast Wisconsin’s First Senate District, consisting of Door and Kewaunee Counties and portions of Brown, Calumet, Manitowoc, and Outagamie counties.

Sen Jacque Bill Protecting Vulnerable Adults Advances

Thursday, January 11, 2024

Houston Texans Owner Janice McNair Fights for her Guardianship as Son Takes Her to Court

Houston Texans owner Janice McNair is fighting with family in court after one of her sons requested to declare her incapacitated and appoint her a guardian, according to Harris County probate court records.

On Nov. 27, 2023, Robert Cary McNair Jr. applied for guardianship of an adult person and estate, according to court records.

The 87-year-old and Cal McNair are opposing the application.

Cal McNair, one of Janice McNair and the late Bob McNair's sons, serves as the chairman and CEO of the Houston Texans.

On Tuesday's hearing, the McNairs' lawyers were deciding if records related to the probate case should be sealed.

According to ABC13's news partners at the Houston Chronicle, in an affidavit submitted to the court in December, Janice McNair said Cary McNair was "seeking to limit or terminate my rights and appoint himself as guardian of my estate."

Cary McNair, the CEO of McNair Interests, is accused of using his role as fiduciary in the family's companies to obtain "confidential financial and personal information."

The Houston Chronicle reported that in asking for the records to be sealed, Janice McNair called the application part of a "family dispute" and said public disclosure of more details would have a "serious impact on the Texans."

"It will create a needless and baseless media stir regarding the ownership and direction of the Texans, thereby negatively affecting our employees, business partners and the team," Janice McNair wrote.

Cal McNair's affidavit included identical statements about the family dispute and the negative effects the proceedings could have.

Judge Jerry Simoneaux issued a temporary sealing order in December.

Full Article and Source:
Houston Texans Owner Janice McNair fights for her Guardianship as Son Takes Her to Court

Webinar: North Carolina's New Guardianship Reform Law

North Carolina's New Guardianship Reform Law

Tuesday, January 9, 2024

Legislation Filed to Reform Florida’s Guardianship System

Orlando State Representative Rita Harris, a Democrat, has filed House Bill 887 to reform Florida’s guardianship system and would specify visitation and guardianship rights for court-determined incapacitated persons.

This bill, which has a Republican co-sponsor in the State Senate, takes a step to improve Florida’s guardianship system.

Kat Duesterhaus, Florida NOW Legislative Director and personal advocate for guardianship reform, supports the proposed legislation.
“If this law had already been in effect, with provisions against isolation and a structured jury review process, my grandmother might still be alive today. The proposed legislation is not just a legal remedy; it’s a lifeline for vulnerable individuals, preventing the kind of isolation, neglect, and abuse that led to my grandmother’s tragic demise last year,” said Duesterhaus. “Let our collective call for guardianship reform echo loud and clear – it’s time to protect the voiceless and ensure that no one else suffers as my grandmother did.”

HB 887/SB 48 would also require that visitation rights of a minor, ward, or incapacitated person be permitted unless there is clear and convincing evidence that visitation is not in the best interest of the minor, ward, or incapacitated person.

“The goal of this bill is to alleviate several concerns with the guardianship system that we have been hearing from parents, grandparents, and concerned family members,” said Orlando Representative Harris. “Countless advocates have come to me with personal stories of how this system has failed them, so I am proud to file this bill to clean up those problems. This bill codifies into law the practice of doing what is best for a child, incapacitated person, or elder if they require legal guardianship.”

Full Article and Souce:
Legislation filed to Reform Florida's Guardianship System


If you are in guardianship/conservatorship litigation, or about to enter litigation, the first thing to do is read and devour the guardianship and conservatorship laws of your state.* You may think it’s your attorney’s job to know, advise, and take care of you. After all, that’s what you’re paying dearly for.

But here’s the reality: attorneys get paid whether they win or lose your case. Most want to win, of course, because of dedication, compassion, pride, or ego. But, if you lose, you still pay your attorney. You both go to the bank – you to make a withdrawal, your attorney to make a deposit!

And attorneys make mega bucks by taking on lots of cases. They juggle their expanding caseload and give minimal attention to the cases in the forefront, saving maximum attention for litigation. To you, there is only one case in the world; to your attorney, you’re one of many in the stack. Because it’s your case, and because guardianship/conservatorship many times involves life and death, it’s to your advantage to know as much about guardianship/conservatorship law as your attorney. All guardianships, for instance, by law must contain certain aspects of due process, including notice to the AIP (alleged incompetent person), a hearing to determine incompetency, etc.

So, don’t totally count solely on your attorney. Count on you! 
Not all attorneys are bad. Many or most take pride in their profession and pour their heart and soul into their caseload. Still, many attorneys are members of the “good old boy’s club” or “incest club.” Sometimes, they work for the guardian – sometimes they work for you. Sometimes they work for each other by trading or referring clients. If you familiarize yourself with the state statutes, and your attorney feeds you a line, you’ll taste baloney instead of the condiments.

If your don’t know your rights, consider you’re standing in front of this tank!

NASGA website: "Know Your Rights

Monday, January 8, 2024

Elijah Blue Allman Contests Cher's Request for Conservatorship

International icon Cher has filed for a temporary legal conservatorship of her adult son Elijah Blue Allman, whose dad is the late rocker Gregg Allman. She cites the reasoning due to his alleged substance abuse issues and time in active addiction.

The petition was filed in Los Angeles Superior Court the week after Christmas and obtained by CNN. According to the petition, Cher is seeking to be the sole conservator of her son’s estate, alleging that he is “unable to manage his assets due to severe mental health and substance abuse issues.”

The petition argues that Cher is best suited to be the sole conservator and includes signed affidavits from other family members supporting the request. It specifically seeks to keep control of Allman’s finances from his estranged wife Marieangela King, with Cher writing in the petition that “their tumultuous relationship has been marked by a cycle of drug addiction and mental health crises.”

Cher alleges that King has been a destructive presence in Allman’s life and is impeding efforts to have him get the help he needs with drugs, including recently trying to check him out of a treatment center where he was receiving much-needed medical care. She concludes that if King were to be appointed conservator, Allman’s estate would suffer “the immediate loss or dissipation of Elijah’s assets for self-destructive purposes,” according to the documents.

Elijah Blue, 47, is the child of Cher and the late rocker Gregg Allman. Allman and Cher were married from 1975 – 1979. Allman passed in 2017 at the age of 69 due to liver cancer.

The petition also states that Elijah is set to receive funds from a trust by the end of the year. It also states that the 77-year-old singer and actress has “worked tirelessly to get her son into treatment and get him the help he needs. Petitioner loves Elijah immensely and has always acted with his best interests in mind,” the filing states.

Elijah doesn’t agree as, according to court documents filed this week in Los Angeles and obtained by NBC LA, Elijah is objecting “to the appointment of my mother as the proposed temporary conservator on the following grounds: a conservatorship of the estate is not necessary at this time, no reason exists for the appointment of a conservator, the proposed conservator is not entitled to priority, and proposed conservator is unfit to serve.”

“I understand that a temporary conservatorship is appropriate when an immediate appointment is required to ensure the proposed conservatee’s well-being and/or to protect the proposed conservatee’s estate during the pendency of the general conservatorship petition,” the filing states. “Immediate appointment of a conservator is not necessary in this case. There is simply no emergency that requires it.”

King previously accused Cher of hiring men to kidnap Allman in a forced intervention, claiming in a 2022 divorce filing that she was unable to contact her estranged husband and had been told by “one of the four men who took him that they were hired by his mother.”

Full Article and Source:
Elijah Blue Allman Contests Cher's Request for Conservatorship

Problems With Oversight, Staffing Contribute to Low Quality Ranking of MO Nursing Homes

by Grace Kenyon

While reading nursing home complaint reports, the last descriptor that tends to come to mind is “home.”

Instead, one resident of a St. Louis skilled nursing facility uses some other words.


The resident wished to remain anonymous but can be vouched for by St. Louis area senior advocates. She described a recent night where, having just returned from the hospital, she was unable to sleep because a resident in a nearby room was screaming for water all night.

She says the care has gotten better since she arrived last year, but that she prefers to rely on herself rather than ask the staff for help. They tend to act annoyed, roll their eyes, or talk down to the other residents, she says. Several times a week, she says she doesn’t get pain medications to manage her chronic illness symptoms.

Sometimes, it feels like “a battle trying to get them to help you.”

This story is far from unique. Nursing homes across the state have experienced chronic understaffing and can struggle to provide quality care. However, the mechanism that states use to closely monitor and penalize underperforming facilities only allows a few facilities to be scrutinized at a time, leaving other, equally poor facilities operating without adequate inspection.

This, combined with a backlog in regular health inspections, or surveys, has created an environment that allows poor care quality, and sometimes abuse, to continue for years with few consequences.

In a 2023 AARP report, Missouri was ranked 48th in the country for nursing home quality.

Full Article and Source:
Problems With Oversight,Staffing Contribute to Low Quality Ranking of MO Nursing Homes

Sunday, January 7, 2024

99 Year-Old Among Five Victims Discovered in "Deplorable Conditions"

ORANGEBURG COUNTY, S.C. (WACH) — Investigators with the Orangeburg Department of Public Safety (ODPS) say five vulnerable adults ranging in age from 99 to 52 were in imminent danger when they were found in heavily soiled undergarments in the back of a Broughton Street barbershop.

During the December 27 investigation, officials say they were told that a man inside a closet room area ate himself to death and passed away on Christmas Eve, according to the incident report.

ODPS officials say bond was set a $30,000 for 40-year-old Shaneima Montgomery of Saint George on January 5 in connection to the crimes.

The Lemon Drive woman was arrested on January 4 and is charged with five counts of neglect and financial exploitation of a vulnerable adult.

The incident reports also states:
  • The building is deemed unsafe for residential living due to the following: building is not zoned for residential, building lacks necessary fire and safety systems that are required for individuals living in an institutional occupancy to include automatic sprinkler system and fire alarm system
  • The building does not have a kitchen sink
  • The building does not have bathing facilities
  • The exterior and interior doors are not adequate, the door hardware does not allow for accessible and safe egress
  • The front door was secured by a turn latch only, the exit door from the rear of the building where the stove was located has a twist style doorknob with a turn latch above and the third exit door was through a room where storage created exiting obstacles and a narrow path to the door
  • The storage room exit door had a twist style doorknob with a turn latch above
  • The victims rooms were keyed on the exterior to allow for locking of the victims within their rooms
  • The building is unlicensed and lacking appropriate DHEC licensing, inspections, and documented staff training necessary for the care and supervision of vulnerable adults
  • The building has several fire hazards to include lack of portable fire extinguishers, lack of sufficient emergency lighting, a residential stove was installed in the rear area but not in use with intent present to eventually utilize for cooing operations without a fire suppression system in place
  • The building does not have any interior handrails installed for vulnerable adults as a travel support, medication was not properly stored
  • The exterior of the building does not have a handicap rail that would be utilized for the victims in wheelchairs to safely transport in and out of the building
  • The oxygen cylinders were stored improperly to include no posted signs stating "OXYGEN IN USE", etc.
Full Article and Source:
99 Year-Old Among Five Victims Discovered in "Deplorable Conditions"

Assistant TSA Director and Accomplice Caught in Elderly Exploitation and Forgery Case

 by Skyler Shepard
(FL) A high-ranking Transportation Security Administration official and another person were arrested in connection with an elderly exploitation and forgery case, police said.

The Port St. Lucie Police Department (PSLPD) said on December 28, U.S. Customs and Border Protection in Atlanta detained and arrested Maxine McManaman — the Assistant Federal Security Director of Transportation Security Administration (TSA) — after she returned from an international flight.

Police said McManaman was arrested for forgery — a third-degree felony.

The PSLPD said the investigation into the TSA director began in April of 2023 regarding the possible exploitation of a family member with dementia.

Police said on December 5, it was determined that a quitclaim deed — a title that transfers ownership of Florida real estate from one owner to another without needing a lawyer or other paperwork — was prepared by McManaman listing her and another person, Delroy Chambers Sr., as grantees.

Investigators said there were two signatures on the back of the document by the "grantor". One was McManaman’s with the letters “POA” in front, possibly intending to indicate she had power of attorney for the actual owner, and the other was Chambers. It was determined that the grantor could not have signed the document and police determined McManaman and Chambers Sr. had falsified the quitclaim deed.

Full Article and Source:
Assistant TSA Director and Accomplice Caught in Elderly Exploitation and Forgery Case

Cher is Denied an Immediate Conservatorship Over son's Money but the Issue Isn't Done Yet

LOS ANGELES (AP) — A judge on Friday declined to immediately put Cher's son into the legal conservatorship that she is seeking and he is opposing, but the court will take up the issue again within weeks.

Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Jessica A. Uzcategui ruled that Cher's attorneys had not given Elijah Blue Allman and his lawyers the necessary documents to give them sufficient time to make their case, and scheduled another hearing for Jan. 29.

Last week, the Oscar- and Grammy-winning singer and actor filed a petition for control of the finances of Elijah Blue Allman, 47, saying his struggles with addiction and mental health have left him unable to manage his money and potentially put his life in danger by making him able to buy drugs.

Full Article and Source:
Cher is Denied an Immediate Conservatorship Over Son's Money but the Issue Isn't Done Yet