Saturday, March 2, 2024

‘Bad Guardian’: Lifetime to Tackle Guardianship Debate With Melissa Joan Hart, La La Anthony

THR exclusively reveals that the pair will star in a film inspired by real-life guardianship controversies for the network that just aired 'Where is Wendy Williams?'

By James Hibberd

Melissa Joan Hart, La La Anthony Elyse Jankowski/Getty Images; Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images

Lifetime is wading into the guardianship debate by greenlighting a fictional movie with the working title The Bad Guardian.

Following the headlines and debate surrounding the guardianships of Wendy Williams and Britney Spears, the network has ordered a movie about a court-appointed guardianship gone wrong.

The Bad Guardian will star Melissa Joan Hart (Sabrina the Teenage Witch) and La La Anthony (La La’s Full Court Life) and “is inspired by countless true stories of individuals who have been put in the care of a guardian by the courts and raises the question — are these caretakers helpful or harmful?” 

The official (and a bit spoiler-filled) description: The Bad Guardian is “about one woman’s fight to save her father from the clutches of a corrupt and greedy court-appointed guardian. When Leigh’s (Melissa Joan Hart) father Jason (Eric Pierpoint) suffers a fall while she’s out of town, the courts assign Jason a guardian, Janet (La La Anthony). At first Janet seems to be a big help to Jason, but things quickly take a terrible turn. Janet is legally in charge of every aspect of Jason’s life, and doesn’t waste any time placing him in a nursing home, auctioning off his house, all worldly possessions, and using the excuse that the proceeds are needed for his care. As Leigh continues to challenge Janet’s efforts, the guardian ultimately uses her power to prevent the family from visiting. In Janet’s care, Jason’s health deteriorates, to the point that he needs a life saving treatment which Janet decides is too expensive. As the whistleblowers around Jason meet untimely ends, Leigh finds the strength to take down the guardian and the corrupt system that supports her.”  

Lifetime also cited Diane Dimond, journalist and author We’re Here to Help – When Guardianship Goes Wrong, to point out that more than 2 million Americans are currently living under a guardian or conservatorship and its estimated that state courts confiscate over $50 billion from their wards each year and that 98 percent of people placed into state care, never get out. “There are zero federal laws to regulate the guardianship/conservatorship system,” she said.

Dimond recently spoke to The Hollywood Reporter to explain the process of court-ordered guardianships following Lifetime’s release of the four-part documentary Where is Wendy Williams?, which centered around the former talk show host amid her health and alcoholism struggles. Two days before the series released, Williams’ team shared that in 2023, she was diagnosed with primary progressive aphasia and frontotemporal dementia (FTD). 

The eOne and Creature Films project filmed with Williams over roughly seven months, beginning after the June 2022 cancellation of her hit daytime talk show. They stopped filming Williams in April 2023, when she checked into an undisclosed facility where she supposedly remains today, largely cut off from the public and her family. Williams was placed under a court-appointed guardianship in May 2022, which the family cited in the documentary as a turning point to their access to her. The producers recently told THR, “If we had known that Wendy had dementia going into it, no one would’ve rolled a camera.”

The doc pulled in strong ratings for Lifetime, bringing in more viewers than the network’s recent docuseries The Prison Confessions of Gypsy Rose Blanchard.

The Bad Guardian will air later this year and is written by Ashley Gable and directed by Claudia Myers and produced by Allegheny Image Factory with Jeffrey Tinnell and Robert Tinnell serving as producers; Elizabeth Stephen as executive producer.

Full Article & Source:
‘Bad Guardian’: Lifetime to Tackle Guardianship Debate With Melissa Joan Hart, La La Anthony

Panel recommends censure, unpaid suspension for PG judge who refused training

By Madeleine O'Neill

A judicial oversight panel has voted unanimously that Judge April T. Ademiluyi committed sanctionable conduct, according to a 60-page report issued last week. (Courtesy of the Ademiluyi campaign.)
Judge April T. Ademiluyi

A judicial discipline panel has recommended a censure and at least two months of unpaid suspension against a Prince George’s County circuit judge accused of repeatedly refusing training, showing bias toward criminal defendants and antagonizing staff and colleagues.

The Commission on Judicial Disabilities agreed unanimously that the judge, April T. Ademiluyi, committed sanctionable conduct, according to a 60-page report issued last week. The commission’s findings and recommended sanctions have been forwarded to the Maryland Supreme Court for expedited consideration.

The recommendation includes a censure and six months’ suspension without pay, though four months of that time would be suspended if Ademiuyi successfully completes a one-year probationary period.

During the probation, Ademiluyi would be required to cooperate with a mentor judge and a probation monitor, both of whom would be required to provide monthly updates to the commission. Ademiluyi would also be required to submit to a health care evaluation “for a complete emotional, behavioral and prosocial assessment,” the commission recommended.

The findings arrived after a lengthy and emotional hearing in December, where seven current or former judges testified at the request of the commission’s investigative counsel, according to the report. Ademiluyi also testified on her own behalf, though the commission found that her assertions were contradicted by documentary evidence at times.

The allegations against Ademiluyi are wide-ranging and center on her refusal to participate in new judge’s training when she joined the Prince George’s County Circuit Court in late 2020. Ademiluyi had no experience handling criminal or civil jury trials and was supposed to train with other judges to learn how to do the job before taking on cases of her own.

Instead, investigative counsel charged, Ademiluyi failed to show up at the courthouse when assigned, was often late to proceedings, and pushed back against her training requirements, including challenging supervisory judges’ authority to oversee her.

The commission found that Ademiluyi refused to cooperate with her training judges, which extended her training far beyond the intended time frame. The commission issued a Letter of Cautionary Advice to January 2022 warning Ademiluyi to comply with “reasonable directives” and conduct the dockets she was assigned.

Ademiluyi continued to challenge the training requirements, emailing a training judge in March 2022, “I don’t need any more judges observing and giving me feedback, while I preside over a jury trial.”

Later that month, Ademiluyi emailed the training judge and the county’s administrative judge, “I am not interested in your advice throughout the course of the proceeding or anytime concerning any case.”

The commission also found that Ademiluyi made improper statements when she ran for a seat on the bench. Ademiluyi campaigned to become a judge on a platform that she was a sexual assault survivor who would give a voice to women and the Me Too movement.

“Women need more than a movement,” Ademiluyi said in one campaign ad. “People need more than protests in the streets. We need power, a judge’s power.”

The commission found that Ademiluyi’s campaign comments suggested Ademiluyi would not be impartial as a judge

“These statements … could reasonably be perceived as promising to help victims of, and those alleging that they are victims of, sexual violence, that (Ademiluyi) may not be impartial in sexual violence cases, and that she would use her power as a judge to ‘make it work for all of us,’ i.e. make particular results happen for alleged victims of sexual violence,” the commission wrote.

The allegations of bias followed Ademiluyi once she took the bench. In her first criminal jury trial, involving a defendant accused of rape, Ademiluyi undertook her own investigation into technology introduced at the case — despite receiving no request to do so from the defense or prosecution.

Ademiluyi then took the unusual step of putting the trial on hold in order to hold an evidentiary hearing, again without any request from the parties. She decided to revisit an earlier ruling on the evidence while her training judge, who was sitting in on the trial to offer guidance, was absent from the courtroom, according to the commission’s report.

“Taken together, these decisions are those of a judge bound to reach the result she wanted, not merely one legal ruling, whether correct or not,” the commission wrote.

The commission also found that Ademiluyi demeaned members of her staff and other jurists. Two former court staffers who worked for Ademiluyi both testified in December that they sought medical attention for stress and anxiety as a result of working with the judge, according to the report.

Ademiluyi also unilaterally cancelled meetings with the county’s administrative judge, emailing ““I don’t look forward to meeting you or communicating with you at anytime …” and, “You are extremely untrustworthy and disrespectful.”

In an exchange with a training judge who warned that criminal jury selection could be “difficult and complex,” Ademiluyi responded, “It’s not that complicated but everyone makes mistakes. Is there an issue you struggle with that I should pay close attention to?”

Investigative counsel recommended that Ademiluyi receive a censure from the Maryland Supreme Court and a three-month suspension.

The commission concluded that Ademiluyi’s conduct “raised a substantial question” about her fitness for office and recommended the six-month unpaid suspension with four months suspended.

Ademiluyi’s lawyer in the disciplinary case, Craig Brodsky, declined to comment Monday.

In court papers, Ademiluyi has denied that her behavior was sanctionable and portrayed herself as a whistleblower who faced retaliation after filing complaints against fellow judges. She argued that she faced pushback because she ran as an outsider and unseated a popular incumbent when she won a seat on the bench.

She is also facing a second set of disciplinary charges that accuse her of  “repeated, non-consensual harassing communications of a personal nature with a judicial colleague.”

Those charges allege that Ademiluyi repeatedly contacted a fellow judge, identified only as “Individual 1,” on the judge’s personal cellphone. The judge had previously emailed Ademiluyi to address her lateness to a Zoom hearing, according to the charges.

Ademiluyi allegedly texted the judge that there was “only one way for us to let go of all this kind of tension. Not that quickly though but we will eventually get there. You can call me anytime. I’m always up late. Let’s have fun? Do you want to hang out?”

The judge she was texting responded “Please do not contact me any further on my cellphone. To be VERY clear, I have no interest in a personal relationship,” according to the charging document.

In Ademiulyi’s written response, she claimed that the unnamed judge referenced in the charges became hostile toward her after she rejected his sexual advances.

Ademiluyi has also filed a lawsuit against three fellow judges in federal court. None of the defendants named in the lawsuit have responded.

Full Article & Source:
Panel recommends censure, unpaid suspension for PG judge who refused training

Friday, March 1, 2024

Wendy Williams' financial guardianship raises 'red flags' after adviser attempted to block documentary: expert

Talk show host Wendy Williams was placed under a court order in 2022 after a Wells Fargo petition claimed she was a 'victim of undue influence and financial exploitation'

By Tracy Wright

Wendy Williams' return to television last weekend raised concerns among fans about their favorite television talk show host.

Last week, a representative with Williams' care team issued a statement on Wendy's behalf to "correct inaccurate and hurtful rumors about her health," saying the former talk show host was diagnosed with "primary progressive aphasia and frontotemporal dementia (FTD)" in 2023.

While Williams has largely remained out of the spotlight the last few years, a new Lifetime documentary revealed she still has no direct access to her money after a legal guardian was appointed over her finances in 2022. Prior to the release of the documentary, a legal guardian attempted to block the project from airing, a move denied in court.

Benazeer "Benny" Roshan, partner at Greenberg Glusker and chair of the Trust and Probate Litigation Practice Group, questioned why Williams' guardian would attempt to prohibit income for the unemployed star.


"From the press accounts, Wendy’s guardianship situation sounds a little like the Netflix hit, ‘I Care a Lot.’ Media accounts appear to suggest red flags that should not be ignored if we are to learn anything from the Britney Spears conservatorship saga," Roshan said.

"A question that’s top of mind for me is, why would Williams’ guardian purportedly try to block the documentary from airing? Without disclosing the exact underlying reason, the public is left with many questions. 

"Why block a project that will inure to Wendy’s financial benefit? After all, aren’t guardians charged with safeguarding (not to mention, maximizing) their ward’s financial well-being? Time will tell whether a ‘Free Wendy’ movement is ripe here."

A Lifetime representative confirmed to Fox News Digital last week that the network was still moving forward with the release of the two-part docuseries.

Wendy Williams wears off the shoulder grey blouse.

A Williams representative released a statement last week saying she was diagnosed with frontotemporal dementia. (Getty Images / Getty Images)

"Lifetime appeared in court today, and the documentary ‘Where is Wendy Williams?’ will air this weekend as planned," a spokesperson wrote in a statement.

Morrissey did not immediately respond to Fox News Digital's request for comment.

In 2022, a legal guardian was appointed for her finances and health, and court documents were sealed. Williams later filed a temporary restraining order against Wells Fargo, asking the court to "reopen any frozen accounts or assets" and grant Williams "access to any and all accompanying statements."

"After all, aren’t guardians charged with safeguarding (not to mention, maximizing) their ward’s financial well-being?"

- Benny Roshan, partner at Greenberg Glusker

According to Williams' filings to the court, the bank's move reportedly came after Williams' former financial adviser claimed Williams "was of unsound mind." The filing did not "specify who or what is exploiting or unduly influencing Williams," according to People magazine.

The bank reportedly maintained that Williams' financial adviser "witnessed telltale signs of exploitation, including [Williams'] own expressed apprehensions, but also upon other independent third-parties who know [Williams] well and share these concerns."

"One judge and three doctors say my money is still stuck at Wells Fargo, and I’m going to tell you something. If it happens to me, it could happen to you," Williams said in the documentary.

Talk show host Wendy Williams wears blue blazer with white blouse at Seth Meyers.

Williams' self-titled show was canceled in June 2022. (Lloyd Bishop/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank / Getty Images)

"Wendy appears to be under a financial guardianship, which means all of her financial decisions are made by a third-party, court-appointed person who makes all the financial decisions on behalf of Ms. Williams and owes her a panoply of fiduciary obligations," Roshan told Fox News Digital.

She noted that guardianships are "fairly common in cases where the impacted individual suffers from obvious cognitive impairments, as in Ms. Williams' case, and do not have a designated person such as a power of attorney or successor trustee to step up to the plate when needed to assist."

Williams' son, Kevin Jr., was scrutinized for spending her money but, in the documentary, denied he ever exploited her. 

"I've never taken [money] without her consent," he said.

"My mom made me power of attorney because, at that time, the banks started accusing the family of doing things that weren’t true and saying that my mom wasn’t fit to make choices." 

Her nephew, Travis Finnie, who was also helping with her care in Florida, said the bank questioned a $100,000 purchase amount. He recalled Kevin's birthday party that Williams booked totaling more than $100,000, Kevin's rent was $80,000 and his UberEats bill "probably exceeded $100,000."

"For them to have a court case and rip him away from taking care of his mother, it’s very questionable," Travis said.

Wendy Williams chats via Zoom wearing red blazer and strappy black top.

In 2022, a legal guardian was appointed for her finances and health, and court documents were sealed.  (Bravo/NBCU Photo Bank  / Getty Images)

When a producer asked if Williams still supported Kevin Jr., Wendy became emotional and said, "I’ve got so much money. I want it for my son."

"This matter was conducted under seal. Any claims against Wells Fargo have been dismissed," representatives for Wells Fargo told Fox News Digital.

There's still hope for Williams to regain her independence from the guardianship, according to Roshan.

"Cognitive impairment comes in many forms, and from litigated precedent (in California), cognition may be restored with treatment and care in some cases. For instance, in Britney Spears’ case, it appeared from court files that she had arguably regained her cognitive capacity long before her conservatorship was terminated," Roshan said.

The 59-year-old television personality was diagnosed with the conditions in 2023, her representatives confirmed in a statement Thursday. Last week, Williams' representatives shared a personal statement from the talk show host that was facilitated by her care team. 

"I want to say I have immense gratitude for the love and kind words I have received after sharing my diagnosis of Aphasia and Frontotemporal Dementia (FTD)," Williams wrote. "Let me say, wow!  Your response has been overwhelming.

Wendy Williams sports yellow coat with black tank top

Williams strayed from the public eye and is reportedly under the care of a court-appointed guardian. (Ilya S. Savenok / Getty Images)

"I continue to need personal space and peace to thrive. Please just know that your positivity and encouragement are deeply appreciated." 

Williams' brother, Tommy Williams Jr., told Us Weekly his sister is on the mend now that she's living in an undisclosed treatment center. 

"When I speak to Wendy, she sounds fine. Wendy has improved," he said. "I know my sister from where she was to where she is now, and she has a substantial amount of improvement. It’s dialogue and conversation, topics, content, speech pattern, everything.

"The past was obvious. We saw it. She was in a worse state, and the [documentary] depicted it. Now [she is in] a different state."

Full Article & Source:
Wendy Williams' financial guardianship raises 'red flags' after adviser attempted to block documentary: expert

See Also:
Wendy Williams top 5 documentary bombshells

Inside Wendy Williams' Family's Fight to Free Her from Her Guardianship: 'This System Is Broken' (Exclusive)

Wendy Williams diagnosed with aphasia, frontotemporal dementia: What to know ahead of documentary release

Wendy Williams Seen for First Time in a Year in Devastating Lifetime Documentary Trailer

What's happening with Wendy Williams? From talk show no-show to 'incapacitated person'

 
 

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

Wendy Williams had to be told several times her show had been canceled, execs say

Wendy Williams’ Ex Sells House Amid Big Money Troubles

Missing 87-Year-Old Man with Dementia Found in Mass. Woods After Hourslong Search

The man was taken to a nearby hospital "for treatment of cold exposure injuries" after the ordeal, police said

By Brian Brant

The 87-year-old man with dementia was found in the woods on Feb. 21, Massachusetts State Police said. Photo:
Massachusetts State Police

  • An 87-year-old man with dementia was discovered in the woods last week after he disappeared for nearly eight hours, Massachussets State Police said
  • Amid the search, Massachusetts State Police Air Wing and K-9 unit helped find the victim
  • His condition remains unknown as of Tuesday morning

An 87-year-old man with dementia was found in the woods thanks to the Massachusetts State Police Air Wing and a K-9 unit after he vanished for nearly eight hours, police said. 

State police said in a release on Monday that troopers from the State Police-Russell Barracks and members of the Massachusetts State Police K9 Unit, Special Emergency Response Team (SERT) and Air Wing responded on the afternoon of Feb. 21 to help Russell Police search for the missing man. 

The man, who has not been identified, was last seen just after 12 p.m. local time in the area of Blandford Road.

As state and local patrols checked local homes and businesses, state police K9 teams "observed several footprints in the snow leading eastward from a nearby residential driveway down a steep embankment into the woods," authorities said. 

"MSP K9 Unit Trooper Ken Hanchett deployed his partner, Orry, who quickly acquired a scent and began to pull down the hill," state police added. "Upon reaching the bottom, Trooper Hanchett and Orry tracked across a flooded and frozen stretch of ground into a clearing."

In the clearing, police say Orry showed a "proximity alert" and "pulled intensely across another overgrown and frozen area to a large tree." K9 Trooper John Areche and SERT Trooper Timothy Fanion assisted in the search.

At the same time, MSP Air 4, one of the helicopters in the Department’s Air Wing, conducted "an aerial search and observed a heat signature in the vicinity of the K9 team."

"As Orry pulled toward the tree, Trooper Hanchett observed the elderly man lying on the ground," the release said. "By this point it was approximately 8 PM, nearly eight hours after the man was last seen."

Troopers Hanchett, Areche and Fanion rendered emergency aid as additional SERT troopers responded to the scene. 

Troopers carried the man, who was unable to walk, to an ambulance. He was transported to a nearby hospital "for treatment of cold exposure injuries," authorities added.

His condition at this time remains unclear.

Full Article & Source:
Missing 87-Year-Old Man with Dementia Found in Mass. Woods After Hourslong Search

Thursday, February 29, 2024

Tristan Thompson Granted Legal Guardianship Over Younger Brother Amari After Their Mother’s Death

By Natasha Dye

Tristan Thompson poses with his little brother Amari Thompson at The Amari Thompson Soiree 2019 in support of Epilepsy Toronto on August 01, 2019 in Toronto, Canada. Photo:

George Pimentel/Getty

  • Tristan Thompson has been granted guardianship of his younger brother, Amari
  • The NBA star will also manage Amari's inheritance from their mother, Andrea
  • Andrea died in January 2023 following a heart attack

Tristan Thompson is now the legal guardian of his younger brother, Amari. The court ruling comes just over one year after the January 2023 death of their mother, Andrea.

On Monday, the Los Angeles County Superior Court granted Thompson, 32, sole guardianship of his 17-year-old brother, according to court documents obtained by PEOPLE.

Thompson filed for full guardianship on Sept. 8., claiming that their father, Trevor Thompson, has been absent from his younger brother's life since 2014. The NBA star also asserted that he is Amari's closest living family member.

According to the docs, "The Court finds that it is not in the Minor best interest to be returned to his/her parents' previous country of nationality" of Canada, where Amari was born. The court also found "reunification" between Amari and Trevor is "not viable due to neglect, abandonment under California law." 

Andrea Thompson, Tristan Thompson, and Amari Thompson attend The Amari Thompson Soiree in support of Epilepsy Toronto on August 9, 2018 in Toronto, Canada.

George Pimentel/Getty 


Amari has epilepsy as well as other medical conditions that require around-the-clock support, which led to Thompson's request for guardianship. Per the initial Sept. 8 filing, "Amari is a minor and has medical conditions that render him unable to take care of himself or seek gainful employment." 

"Appointing a guardian for Amari would be in his best interest because it would ensure that someone would be responsible for providing and fulfilling his basic needs,” Thompson said, per the docs.

He also told the court he would like to assist his brother in managing and investing the $103,475 he received from their mother’s inheritance.  

Tristan Thompson and his mother Andrea Thompson attend The Amari Thompson Soiree in support of Epilepsy on August 9, 2018 in Toronto, Canada.

George Pimentel/Getty


Per the court's ruling, Thompson was granted the authority to “manage ward’s finances and assets, travel with the ward within the United States of America and internationally, enroll ward in social and other extracurricular activities, decide living arrangements of the ward [and] obtain legal counsel on behalf of the ward."

According to the initial filing, Amari lives with the NBA player in Hidden Hills, California. Prior to being in Hidden Hills, the brothers stayed with Khlo√© Kardashian after extreme weather damaged Thompson's home. 

Following the death of their mother, Andrea, on Jan. 5, Thompson flew with Kardashian, 39, to Toronto to join his family. The Hulu reality star and Thompson share a son, Tatum, 1, and a daughter True, 5.

Full Article & Source:
Tristan Thompson Granted Legal Guardianship Over Younger Brother Amari After Their Mother’s Death

See Also:
NBA star Tristan Thompson seeks sole custody of disabled brother, cannot locate their father

Tristan Thompson Slams Estranged Father Trevor For ‘Abandoning’ Disabled Brother as NBA Star Fights for Guardianship of 17-Year-Old

Parma attorney who took clients’ money but did no work is disbarred

Parma attorney Gary A. Vick Jr., left, shown here in Lake County Common Pleas Court in 2014, was permanently disbarred after the Ohio Supreme Court found he stole from several clients and then failed to cooperate in the disciplinary process.Duncan Scott, The News-Herald

CLEVELAND, Ohio -- The Ohio Supreme Court on Tuesday permanently disbarred a Parma attorney who pleaded guilty in 2022 to stealing from six clients.

Gary A. Vick Jr., 49, of Strongsville also failed to file paperwork with the high court to show he was complying with the indefinite suspension he received after clients said he took their money but didn’t do any legal work for them.

The court’s unanimous opinion said Vick must pay the ultimate professional price for not only the multiple ethical violations but also a “complete failure to cooperate in the resulting disciplinary proceedings.”

Justices first placed Vick on an interim suspension in July 2022 after finding that he took money from a woman who needed a lawyer for child support case and a man who was charged with drunken driving. He then stopped responding to them.

The court extended its suspension in December 2022, when Vick pleaded guilty to grand theft, a fifth-degree felony, in Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court. In addition to his two clients who filed disciplinary complaints, prosecutors said Vick stole money from four more people. Judge Kathleen Sutula sentenced Vick to five years on probation and ordered him to pay $19,000 in restitution to his former clients.

Bank records showed that Vick deposited the fees he charged two of the clients into his business checking account and then used the account for personal expenses. In August 2021, Vick’s business account had a balance of just $88, when it should have had more than $6,000 in legal deposits it, the court found.

After his suspension, Vick failed to file an affidavit saying that he had informed his clients of his suspension and otherwise was complying with the terms of his suspension.

Vick earned his law license in 1997 after he graduated from Cleveland State University’s law school. In addition to private practice, Vick also worked as an assistant Cuyahoga County prosecutor from 2003 to 2006.

Vick represented a Parma man who was arrested and accused of creating a parody Facebook account of the Parma Police Department in 2016. The man was found not guilty, and the case garnered national attention for its First Amendment implications.

He also represented former Cleveland Browns wide receiver Josh Gordon in a speeding ticket case in 2014, as well as a former Fairview Park High School principal who stole more than $60,000 from the district and used it on personal expenses in 2012.

Full Article & Source:
Parma attorney who took clients’ money but did no work is disbarred

Wednesday, February 28, 2024

Son drops guardian case vs. Texans owner, mom Janice McNair

Associated Press


HOUSTON -- A lawsuit filed by one of the sons of the owner of the Houston Texans that had sought to have her declared incapacitated and have a guardian appointed for her was dropped Monday.

Robert Cary McNair Jr. had filed his application for appointment of a guardian for Janice McNair, 87, in November with a probate court in Harris County, where Houston is located.

But on Monday, lawyers for Cary McNair, along with others involved in the case, filed a motion in which they agreed to jointly drop the lawsuit.

News of the end of the case was first reported by the Houston Chronicle. Jeremy Fielding, an attorney for Cary McNair, told the newspaper the family made the joint decision to address these issues privately.

Fielding said Cary McNair is concerned about his mother's health and that he filed the lawsuit to protect her and not to "control her estate, as his brother Cal has incorrectly suggested."

Attorneys for Janice McNair and her son Cal McNair, who is chairman and CEO of the Texans, had previously pushed back on Cary McNair's claims that the elder McNair was incapacitated or needed a guardian to control her personal, financial and medical decisions. Janice McNair became the principal owner of the Texans after her husband, Robert "Bob" McNair, died in 2018.

"Cal McNair is delighted that the frivolous lawsuit against his mother, Janice McNair, was dismissed today," Paul Dobrowski, Cal McNair's attorney, said in a statement. "He is relieved that she will not be burdened by an unnecessary medical examination nor placed under a repressive guardianship that would restrict her rights. She will continue to be actively involved as founder and senior chairperson of the Houston Texans."

The decision to end the lawsuit came after Judge Jerry Simoneaux ruled earlier this month that Janice McNair would not have to undergo an independent exam to evaluate her mental capacity. Cary McNair's attorneys had asked for the exam, arguing in court that her abilities to conduct business had been affected by a stroke she had in January 2022.

Details of what had prompted the guardianship effort had mostly remained private after some records in the lawsuit were previously ordered sealed by Simoneaux.

Full Article & Source:
Son drops guardian case vs. Texans owner, mom Janice McNair

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

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

Houston Texans owner Janice McNair's son testifies she couldn't remember names of grandchildren

Judge rules in favor of Texans owner Janice McNair, denies older son's request for cognitive exam

Her air-ambulance ride wasn't covered by Medicare. It will cost her family $81,739

By Tony Leys, Emily Siner 

The $81,739.40 bill for her mother's air-ambulance ride arrived less than two weeks after she died, Alicia Wieberg said.

Lisa Krantz/KFF Health News

Debra Prichard was a retired factory worker who was careful with her money, including what she spent on medical care, said her daughter, Alicia Wieberg. "She was the kind of person who didn't go to the doctor for anything."

That ended last year, when the rural Tennessee resident suffered a devastating stroke and several aneurysms. She twice was rushed from her local hospital to Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, 79 miles away, where she was treated by brain specialists. She died Oct. 31 at age 70.

One of Prichard's trips to the Nashville hospital was via helicopter ambulance. Wieberg said she had heard such flights could be pricey, but she didn't realize how extraordinary the charge would be — or how her mother's skimping on Medicare coverage could leave the family on the hook.

Then the bill came.

The patient: Debra Prichard, who had Medicare Part A insurance before she died.

Medical service: An air-ambulance flight to Vanderbilt University Medical Center.

Service provider: Med-Trans Corp., a medical transportation service that is part of Global Medical Response, an industry giant backed by private equity investors. The larger company operates in all 50 states and says it has a total of 498 helicopters and airplanes.

Total bill: $81,739.40, none of which was covered by insurance.

What gives: Sky-high bills from air-ambulance providers have sparked complaints and federal action in recent years.

For patients with private insurance coverage, the 2020 No Surprises Act bars air-ambulance companies from billing people more than they would pay if the service were considered "in-network" with their health insurers. For patients with public coverage, such as Medicare or Medicaid, the government sets payment rates at much lower levels than the companies charge.

But Prichard had opted out of the portion of Medicare that covers ambulance services.

That meant when the bill arrived less than two weeks after her death, her estate was expected to pay the full air-ambulance fee of nearly $82,000. The main assets are 12 acres of land and her home in Decherd, Tenn., where she lived 48 years and raised two children. The bill for a single helicopter ride could eat up roughly a third of the estate's value, said Wieberg, who is executor.

The family's predicament stems from the complicated nature of Medicare coverage.

Prichard was enrolled only in Medicare Part A, which is free to most Americans 65 or older. That section of the federal insurance program covers inpatient care, and it paid most of her hospital bills, her daughter said.

But Prichard declined other Medicare coverage, including Part B, which handles such things as doctor visits, outpatient treatment, and ambulance rides. Her daughter suspects she skipped that coverage to avoid the premiums most recipients pay, which currently are about $175 a month.

Loren Adler, a health economist for the Brookings Institution who studies ambulance bills, estimated the maximum charge that Medicare would have allowed for Prichard's flight would have been less than $10,000 if she'd signed up for Part B. The patient's share of that would have been less than $2,000. Her estate might have owed nothing if she'd also purchased supplemental "Medigap" coverage, as many Medicare members do to cover things like co-insurance, he said.

Nicole Michel, a spokesperson for Global Medical Response, the ambulance provider, agreed with Adler's estimate that Medicare would have limited the charge for the flight to less than $10,000. But she said the federal program's payment rates don't cover the cost of providing air ambulance services.

"Our patient advocacy team is actively engaged with Ms. Wieberg's attorney to determine if there was any other applicable medical coverage on the date of service that we could bill to," Michel wrote in an email to KFF Health News. "If not, we are fully committed to working with Ms. Wieberg, as we do with all our patients, to find an equitable solution."

The resolution: In mid-February, Wieberg said the company had not offered to reduce the bill.

Wieberg said she and the attorney handling her mother's estate both contacted the company, seeking a reduction in the bill. She said she also contacted Medicare officials, filled out a form on the No Surprises Act website, and filed a complaint with Tennessee regulators who oversee ambulance services. She said she was notified Feb. 12 that the company filed a legal claim against the estate for the entire amount.

Wieberg said other health care providers, including ground ambulance services and the Vanderbilt hospital, wound up waiving several thousand dollars in unpaid fees for services they provided to Prichard that are normally covered by Medicare Part B.

But as it stands, Prichard's estate owes about $81,740 to the air-ambulance company.

The takeaway: People who are eligible for Medicare are encouraged to sign up for Part B, unless they have private health insurance through an employer or spouse.

"If someone with Medicare finds that they are having difficulty paying the Medicare Part B premiums, there are resources available to help compare Medicare coverage choices and learn about options to help pay for Medicare costs," Meena Seshamani, director of the federal Center for Medicare, said in an email to KFF Health News.

She noted that every state offers free counseling to help people navigate Medicare.

In Tennessee, that counseling is offered by the State Health Insurance Assistance Program. Its director, Lori Galbreath, told KFF Health News she wishes more seniors would discuss their health coverage options with trained counselors like hers.

"Every Medicare recipient's experience is different," she said. "We can look at their different situations and give them an unbiased view of what their next best steps could be."

Counselors advise that many people with modest incomes enroll in a Medicare Savings Program, which can cover their Part B premiums. In 2023, Tennessee residents could qualify for such assistance if they made less than $1,660 monthly as a single person or $2,239 as a married couple. Many people also could obtain help with other out-of-pocket expenses, such as copays for medical services.

Wieberg, who lives in Missouri, has been preparing the family home for sale.

She said the struggle over her mother's air-ambulance bill makes her wonder why Medicare is split into pieces, with free coverage for inpatient care under Part A, but premiums for coverage of other crucial services under Part B.

"Anybody past the age of 70 is likely going to need both," she said. "And so why make it a decision of what you can afford or not afford, or what you think you're going to use or not use?"

KFF Health News, formerly known as Kaiser Health News (KHN), is a national newsroom that produces in-depth journalism about health issues and is one of the core operating programs at KFF — the independent source for health policy research, polling, and journalism.

Emmarie Huetteman of KFF Health News edited the digital story, and Taunya English of KFF Health News edited the audio story. NPR's Will Stone edited the audio and digital story.

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Her air-ambulance ride wasn't covered by Medicare. It will cost her family $81,739

Tuesday, February 27, 2024

Texas advocate warns about the signs of elder abuse, after Port Neches man kills his 69-year-old father

According to Port Neches Police, Birdsong said he had struck his father before out of frustration from dealing with his father's struggle with Parkinson's.

Brett Strahan, Kyle Orr  

PORT NECHES, Texas — 25-year-old Logan Birdsong was arrested and charged with murder Thursday. He admitted to hitting his father three times resulting in the death of 69-year-old Roy Allen Birdsong.  

According to Port Neches Police, Birdsong said he had struck his father before out of frustration from dealing with his father's struggle with Parkinson's. Which is something Media Relations Director of the Department of Family and Protective Services, Melissa Gonzales says happens all too often.  

"People can see the physical signs of what's been happening, so bruises, cuts or scratches or maybe they're afraid, or they're agitated or anxious when they're around a certain person. There is stress added to meeting another person's daily needs," Gonzales told 12News. 

Gonzales says that elderly abuse isn't only restricted to physical violence. It's often neglect that is the most common form of elder mistreatment. 

"Neglect is a lack of necessities they need. Food, clean water, safe shelter, clean clothing. Signs of neglect can be the adult not having the appropriate medication, if their living area is extremely dirty, if their hygiene is very poor or they appear to be losing weight or are very underweight," Gonzales said. 

Financial exploitation is also a common danger in cases such as these. 

"that can look like sudden, unexplained large expenses, or changes to banking habits that are unusual." said Gonzales 

Gonzales says it is important to recognize these signs and know when to get help. 

"You report your suspicions to the Texas abuse hotline and you can reach it 24 hours a day. we don't recommend not taking action because of the what-if's." 


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Texas advocate warns about the signs of elder abuse, after Port Neches man kills his 69-year-old father

62-year-old man charged with elder abuse in Haralson County, sheriff’s office says

Kenneth Wayne Kimball(ANF)

By Atlanta News First staff

HARALSON COUNTY, Ga. (Atlanta News First) - A 62-year-old man is facing multiple charges after abusing an elder person, according to the Haralson County Sheriff’s Office.

62-year-old Kenneth Wayne Kimball was charged with exploitation of an elder person, identity theft and financial transaction card fraud, the sheriff’s office said.

Deputies opened an investigation following a report of financial exploitation and identity theft targeting an elderly person in September 2023. The victim’s family provided evidence to authorities, including financial records, showing a consistent pattern of unauthorized credit card usage and purchases made in the victim’s name without consent from their power of attorney, the sheriff’s office said.

“I commend the family for being so proactive and protective of their loved one. Crimes against the elderly are a bane to our society. Those who prey on our seniors’ citizens must be held accountable for their actions,” said Sheriff Stacy Williams.

Kimball is facing multiple charges including exploitation of an elder person, identity theft, and financial transaction card fraud, the sheriff’s office said.

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62-year-old man charged with elder abuse in Haralson County, sheriff’s office says

Woman pleads guilty to elder abuse charges

UNION COUNTY, Pa. — A woman pleaded guilty Tuesday to elder abuse charges in Union County.

Madison Cox admitted to taking disturbing images of at least 15 patients when she worked at Heritage Springs Memory Care near Lewisburg.

Police say the photos show the residents, most of whom suffer from Alzheimer's or dementia, partially clothed or nude.

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Woman pleads guilty to elder abuse charges

Monday, February 26, 2024

Wendy Williams top 5 documentary bombshells

Former talk show host Wendy Williams was diagnosed with frontotemporal dementia (FTD)

By Tracy Wright

Wendy Williams has largely remained out of the spotlight since her self-titled show was canceled in June 2022, but a new Lifetime documentary attempted to capture Wendy's comeback as she launched a podcast career, only to witness her struggles with alcohol addiction and additional health concerns.

The first two episodes of "Where is Wendy Williams" debuted on Saturday, just days after it was revealed that Wendy was diagnosed with "primary progressive aphasia and frontotemporal dementia (FTD)" in 2023, according to a representative.

Here are five of the biggest revelations from Wendy's documentary:

Wendy Williams documentary explores the rise and fall of the iconic talk show host. (Getty Images)

Wendy's struggle with alcohol addiction: ‘I love vodka’

Throughout the documentary, Wendy's history with alcoholism is apparent. When production asked if she still had a "substance abuse issue," she was candid in her response.

"Well, I love Tito Puente. I love vodka," Wendy said. "And the problem with Wanda is she's my sister. I love Wanda, but she hates that I love alcohol."

Williams noted that her son, Kevin Jr., also disliked that she drank alcohol.

Her longtime friend, Regina Shell, claimed that Wendy's alcohol dependency peaked during the end of her marriage to ex-husband, Kevin Hunter, who fathered a child with another woman while he was still married to Wendy.

wendy williams against a dark background

Williams entered a treatment facility in 2019, but returned to New York for her show and lived in a sober home while filming.  (lya S. Savenok)

Williams entered a treatment facility in 2019, but returned to New York for her show and lived in a sober home while filming. She entered a wellness center for two months during filming for the documentary, but wasn't sure why she was admitted.

Her manager, Will Selby, would search her home and attempt to throw out bottles of alcohol hidden around her apartment. 

Wendy returned to the public eye for one night in February 2023, and had dinner at Fresco by Scotto in Manhattan with Selby. She ordered alcohol, but Selby privately told the server to change her order to a non-alcoholic version.

When producers asked Williams why she liked to drink, Wendy said, "Because I can. Just because I care for it."

Williams' almost died in 2020

DJ Boof, who starred on "The Wendy Williams Show," remembered being worried about her health when Wendy began filming the talk show from her New York City apartment in 2020 due to the pandemic.

Wendy Williams flashes pink glasses

She once lived in a sober home while working on "The Wendy Williams Show" to treat addiction issues. (Getty Images)

Wendy Williams poses next to star on Hollywood Walk of Fame

Williams received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2019. (Getty Images)

Boof recalled Wendy taking strict quarantine measures and isolating herself from the outside world. He would hold up her cue cards behind her ring lights, but said at times she "showed no emotion" while filming. 

"This is not COVID doing this," he remembered of her delayed reactions.

Williams' nephew, Travis Finnie, said that it was DJ Boof who found Wendy unresponsive in her home in May 2020. She was rushed to the hospital where she received three blood transfusions. 

"DJ Boof was there, and he called us crying saying that she was going to die, and she needs help," Wendy's nephew, Travis Finnie said in the documentary. "We called Kevin, who at the time was her medical proxy. He called the ambulance. The ambulance came. My auntie had three blood transfusions and that's the only reason she's alive today."

"From what DJ Boof said, it's the combination of them just letting her sit in bed and drink liquor, and then thinking she's gonna be ready to go."

Boof added, "I just felt like she wasn't the same person anymore."

Wendy's battle with lymphedema 

The former talk show host disclosed her lymphedema diagnosis in 2019. 

The chronic condition refers to tissue swelling caused by an accumulation of protein-rich fluid that's usually drained through the body's lymphatic system, according to the Mayo Clinic. Lymphedema most commonly "affects the arms or legs, but can also occur in the chest wall, abdomen, neck and genitals."

Wendy Williams steps out in New York wearing fur coat

The former talk show host disclosed her lymphedema diagnosis in 2019.  (Getty Images)

Wendy's feet are swollen and she admits she "should be in a wheelchair."

She tried to work out with a personal trainer friend of Selby's, but adamantly disengaged throughout the session and continued to say "no thank you" as he attempted to help her in the gym.

Wendy then reiterated that she can only feel approximately "6 percent" of each foot due to her condition.

Health problems have plagued Wendy for years. In October 2017, Williams fainted during her show after she "overheated" in a Halloween costume. Then, in February 2018, she took three weeks off to deal with issues related to her Graves’ disease and hyperthyroidism.

Wendy can't access any of her money

In 2022, a legal guardian was appointed over her finances and health, and court documents were sealed. Wendy later filed a temporary restraining order against Wells Fargo asking the court to "reopen any frozen accounts or assets" and grant Williams "access to any and all accompanying statements."

wendy williams on andy cohen's show

In 2022, a legal guardian was appointed over her finances and health, and court documents were sealed. (Bravo/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)

According to Williams' filings to the court, the bank's move reportedly came after Williams' former financial adviser alleged that Williams "was of unsound mind."

"One judge and three doctors say my money is still stuck at Wells Fargo and I’m going to tell you something, if it happens to me, it could happen to you," Williams said in the documentary.

Williams' son, Kevin Jr. was scrutinized for spending her money but, in the documentary, denied that he ever exploited her. "I've never taken [money] without her consent," he said.

"My mom made me power of attorney because at that time the banks started accusing the family of doing things that weren’t true and saying that my mom wasn’t fit to make choices," he said. 

Wendy Williams and ex husband Kevin Hunter pose together

Williams was married to Kevin Hunter for 21 years before they divorced in 2019 after she found out he fathered another child while they were married. (Getty Images)

Wendy Williams and son Kevin Jr at Hollywood walk of fame

Wendy has one son, Kevin Jr., with her ex-husband. (Getty Images)

Her nephew, Travis Finnie, who was also helping with her care in Florida, said the bank questioned a $100,000 purchase amount. He recalled Kevin's birthday party that Wendy booked totaling more than $100,000, Kevin's rent was $80,000, and his UberEats bill "probably exceeded $100,000."

"For them to have a court case and rip him away from taking care of his mother, it’s very questionable," Travis said.

When a producer asked if Wendy still supported Kevin Jr., Wendy became emotional and said, "I’ve got so much money. I want it for my son."

Wendy's becoming ‘more aggressive,’ her manager says

Williams' erratic personality is displayed throughout the documentary via simple interactions with her team.

"There are some times when Wendy is just a little bit more aggressive, she's just a little bit more demanding," Selby said. "I don't know what it is. I don't know if there's something special in the water. At the end of the day, she's probably one of the biggest personalities we've seen in quite some time."

He later said, "Wendy being pissed off is normal. She changes her mind all the time.

During one scene, Wendy berated a nail technician while receiving an at-home manicure. After the tech acknowledged that Williams only wanted one coat of polish, Wendy yelled at her to "take that off" of her nails. "Are you stupid," Wendy asked the nail technician. 

Wendy Williams blue denim blazer with Seth Meyers

Wendy's self-titled show was canceled in June 2022 (Lloyd Bishop)

The talk show host faced the production crew and said, "She's disgusted with me. It's OK. Young, you learn."

In another scene, she barked at her publicist Shawn Zanotti and called her a "dumba--" before telling Zanotti that she needed liposuction.

Moments later, Williams argued with Zanotti about which smoke shop she should purchase her specific vape pen. Zanotti was ordered to return the vape pen multiple times, only for the documentary crew producers to step in and stop filming due to Wendy's erratic behavior.

The 59-year-old television personality was diagnosed with the conditions in 2023, her representatives confirmed in a statement Thursday. On Friday, Williams' representatives shared a personal statement from the talk show host that was facilitated by her care team. 

"I want to say I have immense gratitude for the love and kind words I have received after sharing my diagnosis of Aphasia and Frontotemporal Dementia (FTD)," Williams wrote. "Let me say, wow!  Your response has been overwhelming."

She added, "I continue to need personal space and peace to thrive. Please just know that your positivity and encouragement are deeply appreciated." 

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Wendy Williams top 5 documentary bombshells