CONTACT 13: Another guardian charged with abuse

jason_hansonby  Darcy Spears

LAS VEGAS (KTNV) – Another private guardian was charged with abuse of a vulnerable person on Thursday.

The young victim in the case was the first to come forward and talk with Contact 13 about corruption in the guardianship system.

Jason Hanson’s guardianship case was supposed to end when he became an adult. But Contact 13 discovered the court kept it open for seven years after his 18th birthday. And during that time, several so-called professionals came in and out of his life while the money set aside for his care dwindled away.

Darcy:Did you get lost in the system or do you think it’s more sinister than that?
Jason:I don’t know if I got lost in the system or if it was more underhanded than that. But the system definitely needs to change.” 

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CONTACT 13: Another guardian charged with abuse

Forbidden: The Fool’s Challenge

harrassmentAll you people claiming to advocate for the elderly and disabled, just who do you think you are to challenge judicial decisions, facilities, attorneys, conservators, guardians and fiduciaries?  They are, after all, proven, by their positions, to be above reproach.  How dare you challenge their intent, actions and/or character!

Judges, attorneys, CEO’s and others in charge have proven by the stations they have risen to, to be of perfection… the elite of the world… the all-knowing… and the all honest.  Never do they take advantage of their positions for personal financial gain nor to have a personal agenda in play.  Never do they do anything beneath their position.  To suggest otherwise is to be singled out to be disgraced and to possibly be labelled a threat or even mentally unbalanced.

I’m not sure what has happened to common sense and healthy thought process, but some kind of virus has been on the attack, it would seem.  Facts seem to be subjective or totally irrelevant.  It’s almost as though we are living in the “mad house” out here in the everyday world.  Too many things, arguments and decisions are outright crazy.

We have various Courts that worry about individuals taking advantage of the elderly or disabled, while signing off on outrageous fees for attorneys, appointed guardians and so forth.  What is the difference between the latter and the former?  Oh, is it because the latter is condoned by the courts and protected by some carelessly written law or skillful misinterpretation?  That somehow makes one right and the other wrong?

Worse than the money drain by the courts and appointed anointed-ones is the power to isolate the victims.  (Yes, victims.  What else would you call the people, who suddenly are imprisoned and forced to be and have done unto them what they would not, and do not, want done unto them and theirs?)

How can someone that robs another of companionship, enjoyment, freedom, money, property and simply an existence called living, be considered humane?  Animals are treated better than many of the elderly and disabled thrown into the system, because they could be thrown into the system — even if by a wrongful technicality in the law or by a court that is complicit due to bias or simply doesn’t look beyond the surface or listen to the bothersome advocates or nobodies that dare speak against the supposed “perfect” attorneys, professional guardians and such?  They never lie or steal or do unethical things, now do they?

In recent news, we have heard…

“WASHINGTON — Three central Ohio nursing homes were among 33 in 11 states cited for improper care and billing practices yesterday as part of a $38 million settlement among a major nursing-home company, the U.S. Department of Justice and the state of Ohio.

“The announcement in Washington and Columbus resolved an investigation by the federal government, Ohio and seven other states into charges that Extendicare of Canada provided services at those 33 homes that were “materially substandard” or “worthless” because the company did not provide care to residents that meets federal standards, according to the settlement agreement.”  (Federal investigation finds three local nursing homes lacking )

Now wait a minute.  I thought “all” facilities provided only the best of care and that complainers were just making things up or exaggerating.  They weren’t?

More recent news…

“The Ohio Supreme Court has suspended Akron attorney Rami M. Awadallah from practicing law after ruling that he fraudulently and deceptively represented several of his clients — including some in Lorain County — during court proceedings.”  (Ohio Supreme Court suspends area attorney)

What’s that?  An attorney “fraudulently and deceptively represented several of his clients”?  But… but… but… I thought that was impossible?  I thought “all” attorneys “always” spoke nothing but the truth and “always” acted in the best interest of the client or ward.  He didn’t?  What’s up with this?

More in the news…

“Paul S. Kormanik, a Columbus attorney considered up until two months ago to be legal guardian to more incompetent people than anyone else in the nation, was indicted today on theft charges by a Franklin County grand jury.

Prosecutor Ron O’Brien and Attorney General Mike DeWine will announce the charges this afternoon after the grand jury determined there was sufficient evidence that Kormanik stole about $41,000 from two of his wards.”  (Lawyer indicted for theft from those he was supposed to protect)

An attorney — a legal guardian — was indicted for what?  Stealing?  Stealing from people he was the guardian for?  Oh my!  Bubble buster!

While we are talking about a system lacking perfection and often tilted towards the powerful, though not necessarily the righteous or side with the cleanest of hands, let’s return, for a moment, to discussion involving isolation of the wards.  What judge or guardian or facility could possibly think isolation of a non-violent, non-contagious person is a good thing?

Decades ago, researchers found there is such a thing as “failure to thrive”.  It actually exists.  There is no question.   Why then, would anyone place another person in isolation and risk that person dying due to “failure to thrive”?  Why?  How can it be justified?  It can’t!  Therefore, I believe, anyone involved in isolating a non-violent, non-contagious person, should have to answer why they should not be charged with kidnapping and abuse or even murder, should the person die as a result.

I can think of numerous cases where people have been thrown into isolation and the ironies surrounding it all is out there in a suburb of the Twilight Zone.  Yes, so amazing is it all that I’m surprised a “duh” isn’t permanently imprinted upon both the perps and the out-of-touch — can’t get it — zombie followers that go around drooling false talking points, as though it is gospel, while alleging the truth-tellers are the liars.

 When a ward is put into isolation, who is the threat?  The one that ordered the isolation or the one challenging it?

When a petition is presented to starve & dehydrate a ward, who is the threat?  The person who did the petitioning or the one that fights for life, visitation, rehabilitation and stimulation?

The answers should be quite easy to figure out, but instead, it looks as though too much power and trust has been placed where not deserved.  It would seem, according to recent news, that we can’t always assume the courts and appointed anointed-ones are of perfection and holier than thou after all.  Maybe sometimes they are up to no good and their word isn’t worth what comes out of a donkey’s rump.  And, maybe sometimes people are wrong, but without any ill-intent.  Maybe they just lost sight and are blinded by self-preservation and inability to admit error.  But how do we know?  How do we know, if we don’t inquire and investigate behind the curtain, especially a curtain pulled tightly, as if to keep any from peeking in?

Advocates are necessary in a world that seems to have lost its way.  A world with too many who have come to believe good is evil and evil is good.  People that see the lie as truth and the truth as lie.  People who often admire the wrong-doer and find fault with the victim and the victim’s advocates.  People who aren’t even aware any longer that they might be wrong, because they are somehow “entitled”.  Aren’t they supposed to get more and be treated better than those they treat so poorly?

No?  Who says?  Who dares to challenge the new rule of they who control the lives and assets of vulnerable ones ordered to be incompetent, even though they — the vulnerable — might not be as incompetent or alone as decreed by a court?

Who dares to give challenge?

The advocates, whether they be professional advocates or family or friends or even concerned citizens made aware of someone’s plight — that’s who dares give challenge!

Yes, true advocates are necessary as long as the madness and wrongness reigns.  May the war be quickly won and the vulnerable-victims placed in the hands of those who dare to truly and unselfishly care!

It’s time to challenge!  It’s time to win!  It’s time to give lives back to those who have been violated by a system gone wrong!

Elder abuse by Santa Clara County Public Guardian: PG escorted from building

by Linda Kincaid

 On September 25, 2014, Santa Clara County Public Guardian Don Moody was “escorted from his office” according to San Jose Inside.  Moody is on administrative leave following two consecutive Civil Grand Jury reports of serious deficiencies.

 A grand jury report out this summer—the second in as many years—noted that Moody fails to track the amount of work and number of clients he handles. The people he hires to manage clients’ property don’t go through a thorough background check, the report found. Instead of having a panel of experts determine whether to assume control of a person’s estate, effectively revoking their civil rights, the decision lies with one person. And for years, countless referrals from the court have reportedly fallen through the cracks.

The latest grand jury report was spurred by a complaint that the office mishandled a case in which a client died before being conserved by the county.

The 2013 Civil Grand Jury report noted that written procedures at the Public Guardian’s office were not current.  In some cases, procedures were years out of date.

The 2014 Civil Grand Jury report noted that written procedures at the Public Guardian’s office had current dates, but content was not current.  Procedure 804.0 (slideshow above) concerning “Client Visitors, Phone Calls, Personal Mail” is of special interest given Moody’s history of unlawful imprisonment and isolation of conservatees.

In 2012, the Public Guardian was isolating conservatees from family and friends.  No visitors.  No phone calls.  No mail. The 2013 Civil Grand Jury investigation was initiated in response to a complaint filed by this Examiner.

Conservatee Gisela Riordan was unlawfully imprisoned and isolated at San Jose assisted living facility Villa Fontana for over two years.  Conservatee Lillie Scalia was isolated for a year.   Both women had families who wished to visit them and to care for them.   Moody used his victims’ own funds to pay to the unlawful imprisonment and isolation.

ABC7 I-Team investigated numerous abuses by Moody’s office.  See video above.

Media coverage and citizen advocacy led to passage of Assembly Bill 937 (2013), which clarified that conservatees have the right to receive visitors, phone calls, and personal mail.   Governor Brown signed the bill on August 19, 2013.  The bill amended Probate Code 2351(a) as of January 1, 2014.

2351.  (a) Subject to subdivision (b), the guardian or conservator, but not a limited conservator, has the care, custody, and control of, and has charge of the education of, the ward or conservatee. This control shall not extend to personal rights retained by the conservatee,  including, but not limited to, the right to receive visitors, telephone calls, and personal mail, unless specifically limited by court order.

Procedure 804.0 fails to comply with the legislative intent or the plain language of AB 937.  Conservatees have an immediate right to have visitors.  The Probate Code does not modify the right such that elderly or disabled individuals can only receive visitors after a week’s delay or if the Public Guardian decides to cooperate with the visit.

The plain language of the Code is clear.  Conservatee’s have the right to receive visitors, unless specifically limited by court order.  The 2015 Civil Grand Jury might find Procedure 804.0 to be of interest.

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Elder abuse by Santa Clara County Public Guardian: PG escorted from building