We are facing a growing epidemic of unlawful and abusive guardianships. If we don't stop the predatory practice, then the same fate awaits each and every one of us.
Guardians and their attorneys are getting rich off the backs of the vulnerable and helpless -- and they're doing it "legally."
Wards are forced into nursing homes against their will --- property sold, personal possessions sold or destroyed, investments seized and all rights stripped from them, including the all important right to complain about being exploited by their court-appointed "protectors."
Families are threatened with bankruptcy from the constant litigation efforts to free their loved one, sadly in vain.
The guardians and attorneys just get richer by giving their Wards the shaft.
When there's no money left, the guardians move on to their next victim, leaving Mr. and Mrs. Taxpayer with the Medicaid tab. No one's keeping track of how much each state loses in needless Medicaid dollars spent because of the intentional pauperizing of the Wards in this "legalized" lawyer welfare program.
Their biggest windfall is yet to come: the Baby Boomers.
After a lifetime of saving for their old age and making all the needed financial arrangements for themselves, my parents "called in" my 30-year-old promise to care for them in their own home the final years of their lives. I became their sole care provider in June 1998.
A month after dad’s death in May, 1999, we received an urgent phone call informing us we were "required to appear in probate court" within 32 hours, no reason given.
On arriving, we learned that a fabricated claim had been lodged against me alleging that I "may" be misappropriating my mother’s financial assets. Even though I turned over copies of all financial records – mother’s, mine, those of my business – no evidence in support of such a claim was found. None existed. Yet the probate judge seized control then and there of all mother’s assets, denied her access to funds for an attorney, paid out $5,200 of her money to a psychologist to write a "mental evaluation" of mother, though he never met her! Two of mother’s primary care physicians and an M.D.-Ph.D. exert on dementia, to whom I took mother for evaluation, all read and refuted the court’s "evaluation", but their statements were refused admission by the court.
In October, 1999, there was a five-hour "hearing" which mother was not allowed to attend in violation of state law. Two attorneys and three estranged cousins testified against me with identical charges using the same words and phrases – proof of a pre-planned conspiracy. On November 1, 1999, an attorney – James M. Tingle, who hired the attorney who brought the court action against us -- was appointed "conservator" over mother’s estate. In the first six months he embezzled over $93,000 from mother’s trust fund, plus other assets.
Five attempts were made to take mother from my care. When I blocked the first one, my $1.7 million small business was seized and shut down, my assets seized and my livelihood destroyed. We were also locked out of our own home for the next 27 months with only the clothes on our backs. Over the next five years we were subjected to over 65 legal actions. To this day we’ve never been granted a due process hearing. The legal actions against us ended only when I filed suit in Federal District Court against the probate court, judges, attorneys, conservator and relatives.
In eight years mother has been granted access to a total of one-half of one percent of her money, being denied funds for food, healthcare and other essentials. Two-thirds of her assets have vanished without a trace. Forty-plus requests under Alabama law for an accounting of the assets under "conservatorship" have been denied. This bogus conservatorship has been a "black box" operation from the start and violates state and federal fraud, conspiracy and criminal racketeering laws.
An audit report about Macomb County Probate Court produced a scathing memo of the court that blames the judges for ongoing problems and has resulted in the suspension of the court administrator and an investigation into a guardianship and conservator company.
Carl Gromek, director of the State Court Administrative Office, wrote a May 16 three-page memo to the Supreme Court justices two days after The Whall Group of Auburn Hills issued its 113-page audit report.
Gromek blames many of the problems on the inability of the two judges -- Judge George and Judge Pamela Gilbert O'Sullivan -- to get along, and has resulted in low morale among the more than 40 employees at the Mount Clemens courthouse.
"The court has become dysfunctional"
"Staff morale has been destroyed by the acrimony and lack of communication between Judge George and Judge O'Sullivan"
"The acrimony between Judge George and Judge O'Sullivan eliminates any hope of these two judges correcting the problems that continue in the MCPC"
Gromek points out that O'Sullivan, when she was chief judge, and Administrator Donald Housey failed to implement recommendations made by the Whall Group in 2006 following a 2005 audit report.
"Many of the same conditions found in 2005 persist, and some conditions appear to have gotten worse"
"O'Sullivan demonstrated poor oversight of the Probate Court"
"George demonstrated poor oversight in appointing ADDMS Guardianship Services"
Because of the audit report, ADDMS will be suspended from handling any more cases, and its workload of 85 pending cases are being handed over to a group of 10 attorneys, who will work mostly pro bono. Attorney John Chase Jr. was named as a "special fiduciary" to oversee the group's handling of the cases and investigating any wrongdoing.
The head of the State Court Administrative Office has recommended the removal of Macomb County Chief Probate Judge Kathryn George as chief judge, in the wake of an audit that found "flagrant violations of both law and practice" and "outrageous conduct committed against the individuals that need protection the most" in conservator appointments by the judge.
Macomb Probate Court policy calls for the court's two judges to appoint guardians and conservators from a list of approved agencies on a rotating basis. But a Detroit News report in November found that George sent far more cases to Shelby Township-based ADDMS Guardianship Services than to the other agencies in the past two years.
"The responsibility for the problems with appointments lies with both judges"
The audit found that ADDMS charged exorbitant fees for its services and made questionable sales of the property owned by people for whom the firm was caring.
My Grandma, Jean McKee Blackwell, was stolen from me when I was 11 years old.
I am now 15 and want to speak out about what the conservator and guardian in Tucson Arizona did to my family.
My whole family lived together and we were very happy. Janice Bernardini came in and separated my Mom and Dad. My Dad was sick and needed Mom to take care of him. He died because they did not care. He was only 43 and was supposed to meet my kids someday. Now I am the man of my family and I will not let them take anymore from me.
I love my Grandma and want her back. I am not allowed to call her or visit her without “permission” or supervision. My Mom and Grandma Jean were best friends and they won’t ever let them talk again.
My Grandma has money and they like to use it. They threw my Mom, sister and me on the street with no place to go. They spent over 1million dollars to ruin my Mom. We had to leave Arizona just so Mom could raise us in peace. Mom is not allowed to talk about what they did to our family. They made her sign a paper promising not to speak. Judge Clark Munger called my Mom a bad mother. HE WAS WRONG. He may have hurt my family but he will be stopped. I will get my Grandma free so she can watch me and my sister make Dad proud.
I love you Grandma Jean and I will never stop fighting for you!