Archive for March, 2010

Son Pleads for Help for Veteran Father

March 31, 2010

Dear Americans! Help!

My Father, a Vietnam Vet with a Purple Heart, is having his estate stolen by New Jersey’s Government Courts.

I am begging for your help on behalf of a Vietnam Vet who did three tours of duty and earned a purple heart. He is currently being robbed by the Office for the Public Guardian in Ocean County NJ

His name is Vincent Stanley Blasco and he is my Dad. He has Alzheimer’s and is in their care where they refuse to give any of his 3 children here in Georgia custody of him. Instead they continue to sell off dozens of plots of my Dad’s property and continue hiding thousands and thousands of dollars in false expenses. Now they are trying to sale his 19 acre farm off East Veterans Hwy.

The courts have allowed OPG to already sale 7 properties of his in Berkley NJ and they claimed it was for medical bills. We received accounting after 4 years of requests only to find out my dad by himself racked up $800 per month in Grocery bills, $2,000 a month in landscaping bills. $500 per day about 3 days a week in Home Depot bills, etc… I have a stack of accounting 2 inches thick of frivolous spending.

I am contacting News Agencies or whatever it takes to get this to quit. We deserve to have our father in Georgia where all 3 of his children live. Not tucked away in a nursing home in NJ to have his Army Pension and Social Security bilked as his farm goes on the market to cover thousands of bogus expenses and invented expenses.

Full Article and Source:
Vietnam Vet’s Estate Stolen by New Jersey Gov Courts, Son Says

See Also:
NASGA: Veterans in Peril

AG Charges Woman With Theft

March 31, 2010

The state Attorney General’s Office said Karen Gagne, 55, of Sanbornton, was arrested for allegedly stealing more than $23,000 from an elderly resident of the Pleasant View Retirement home in Concord. Gagne, a friend of the victim, allegedly took the money in March 2009 from a Citizens Bank account belonging to the victim and used the money for her own purposes, the Attorney General’s Office announced Wednesday.

Gagne has been released on personal recognizance bail and has been ordered not to have no contact with the victim. She is scheduled to be arraigned in Concord District Court on May 4.

The case is being prosecuted by the Medicaid Fraud and Resident Abuse Unit of the Attorney General’s Office, which investigates allegations of health care provider fraud and the financial exploitation and physical abuse of long-term care residents.

AG Charges Sanbornton Woman with Theft

Attorney Explains Amendments in MA Guardianship Laws

March 31, 2010

The new UPC [Universal Probate Code] laws have changed several facets of the guardianship and conservatorship laws in Massachusetts. Gary Zalkin, Counselor at law, shares the nine notable changes made to the guardianship and conservatorship laws:

1. Guardianship of the estate
2. Spendthrift guardianship
3. Authority to admit or commit to a mental health facility
4. Authority to admit to a skilled nursing facility
5. Appointment of counsel
6. “Ward”
7. Health care proxy
8. Reports
9. Accounting requirement

Full Press Release With Explanation of All Nine Changes, and Source:
Attorney Gary Zalkin Explains Amendments Made to Massachusettes Guardianship Law

See Also:
General Laws of Massachusetts – Chapter 201. Guardians and Conservators

NASGA’s “An Open Letter to Congress and the White House”

Outrage: ‘Family Guy’ Mocks Terri Schiavo

March 30, 2010

Since the Sunday prime time airing of FOX’s, ‘Family Guy’, and their mocking of Terri Schiavo and other disabled people in the opening scene of the program, Terri’s Foundation has been inundated with emotionally charged emails and phone calls.

These supportive communications have been two-fold: sympathetic to the deep wounds that have been opened by this vulgar episode; and to express their anger and outrage at FOX Network for allowing this program to openly display prejudice towards people with cognitive disabilities. The intent of the people contacting us now is to cease their patronage of advertisers who support ‘Family Guy’.

We are asking other disability rights groups and pro-family organizations to consider joining us in sending a message to Fox that programs which promote prejudice against disabled human beings will be boycotted along with their advertisers.

If you would like to contact FOX, here is their information:

Ms. Gail Berman, President
FOX Broadcasting Company
P.O. Box 900
Beverly Hills, CA 90213
(310) 369-1000

Gaude Lydia Paez, Vice President Communications
FOX Broadcasting Company
Phone: (310) 369-3276
Fax: (310) 369-1283

FOX Broadcasting Company
10201 West Pico Blvd.,
Los Angeles, CA 90035
Phone: (310) 369-3553


Full Article and Source:
Outcry from Across the Country Continues Over Fox’s ‘Family Guy’ Attack on Terri Schiavo

See Also
Watch the Family Guy Episode, Season 8, Episode 14

Terri Schiavo Foundation

Former DA Gives Talk on Ethics

March 30, 2010

Former Rockdale County District Attorney Cheryl Custer spoke about her work as director of the Georgia Judicial Qualifications Commission to a local group Wednesday and of the challenges facing her office in enforcing judicial ethics across the state.

Custer was the guest speaker of the Rotary Club of Rockdale County as part of the club’s recognition of March as National Women’s History Month. Custer was the first woman to serve as a district attorney in Georgia when she was appointed by Gov. Zell Miller in 1991. She has served as director of the Judicial Qualifications Commission since 1999. Custer was among those considered for the Georgia Supreme Court to replace retiring Chief Justice Leah Sears Ward.

Custer explained the job of the commission is to enforce the cannons of conduct for all judges in Georgia. Anyone can file a complaint against a judge which can be challenging for her office. The commission is comprised of a seven-member volunteer board of judges, attorneys and non-lawyer residents charged with investigating judicial misconduct.

The commission has two employees — Custer and an assistant — to handle the case load that covers 1,800 sitting judges across the state. The most recent case of the commission removing a sitting judge involved Twiggs County Probate Judge Kenneth Fowler, who was accused of abusing his office on 16 counts, including establishing a higher set of fines for out-of-county residents and insinuating that a female defendant on traffic charges provided sexual favors to a Georgia state trooper.

Custer said those examples of bad behavior are rare on the bench but cause damage to the reputation of all who serve as a judge from traffic court to Superior Court.

Full Article and Source:
Former DA Gives Talk on Ethics

Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act

March 30, 2010

It took almost 100 years to reform the nation’s health care system. But although the campaign for long-term care reforms also seemed endless at times, it took a relatively short three years to enact Nursing Home Transparency and Improvement, seven to pass the Elder Justice Act, and a dozen to create a national program of criminal background checks on long-term care workers. [T]hey all became law when President Obama signed the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

Full Article and Source:
Nursing Home Transparency, Elder Justice Act Swept into Law with Health Care Reform Bill

Ravenscroft Denied Freedom

March 29, 2010

The courtroom was ablaze in blue suits. Lawyers packed the place along with their bag handlers. A psychiatrist was there and his conservator and a forensic accountant put in an appearance.

There’s no telling how much Wednesday’s emergency hearing cost Edward Abbott Ravenscroft. I figure at least $3,000 an hour for a hearing that lasted six hours – not counting three or four hours the next day when Ravenscroft’s various court-appointed protectors met yet again.

All this to determine how to prevent him from being exploited.

To date, Ravenscroft has no clue how much all this court-ordered protection has cost him. He asked several months ago and says he was told then that they’d already spent over $500,000. He figures the tab is now nearing a million dollars but there’s no way to know. Court rules allow those billing Ravenscroft – a cast of thousands, it seems — to put off disclosing just how much they’ve collected from him for more than a year.

The 49-year-old Scottsdale millionaire has been under the watchful eye of Maricopa County Probate Court since January 2009 after a series of drug arrests raised questions about his mental health and his vulnerability given the size of his bank account.

No doubt Ravenscoft needed help last year. Now, he’s been clean for seven months and he wants to regain control over his life and his bankbook.

The operative word, being his.

Probate court’s hold over Ravenscroft was set to expire on Friday which was the reason for Wednesday’s emergency hearing.

Sun Valley Group requested the hearing, asking to continue as Ravenscroft’s conservator. Attorney Alisa Gray explained that the millionaire’s complex finances – and the possibility that he’s been exploited by a bank and a real-estate firm — warrants Sun Valley’s continued oversight.

But the driving force behind Wednesday’s hearing was the fact that Ravenscroft went out and hired himself an attorney who then filed a federal RICO suit against Sun Valley and several of his former probate protectors. (With the exception of Sun Valley, all of those being sued have withdrawn from his probate case.) The lawsuit was filed despite the fact that he was deemed “incapacitated” by a probate judge and thus shouldn’t have been able to sue his protectors without the permission of his protectors.

Full Article and Source:
Probate Court Extends Its Hold Over Scottsdale Millionnaire

See Also:
Scottsdale Millionnaire to be Freed Friday, Maybe

See Also:

Review of Probate Court Ordered

March 29, 2010

The old lady can speak barely above a whisper but it seems her voice has been heard at the Arizona Supreme Court.

Chief Justice Rebecca White Berch, in her State of the Judiciary speech last week, announced a plan to review how the state’s Probate Court is operating and whether vulnerable people are being adequately protected.

In an interview this week, Berch told me the idea has been percolating for a year but that the stories of 88-year-old Marie Long and others have raised additional questions.

“I live in the real world,” she said. “I’ve read your columns. They cause concern, and I just think that any system, it’s a good idea to take a look at all of your processes and make sure things are working the way they’re supposed to work.”

Arizona was one of the first states to begin licensing fiduciaries in 1994 after a scandal involving an attorney and fiduciary who looted the estates of 24 elderly people they were appointed by the court to protect. It’s been 16 years since those regulations were adopted and David Byers, director of the Administrative Office of the Courts, says that some courts may have slipped in enforcing safeguards that were put into place.

“Exactly what you’re describing was the culture then,” he said.

That culture involves a cozy group of fiduciaries and attorneys who work together on case after case and depend upon each other for contracts, making them unlikely to challenge each other’s legal bills. The result is that they who are appointed to help vulnerable people also manage to help themselves to a sizable pile of cash unless a judge stops it.

Full Article and Source:
Review of Probate Court Ordered

See Also:
Judge Rules $576K to Probate Attorneys Justified

Saving Our Parents: Nursing Home Scandals

March 28, 2010

Solutions to Keep Your Loved Ones Safe and Inspirations for Healthy Aging

Featuring real-life events, Saving our Parents is a startling demonstration of the potential pitfalls facing today’s aging adults. Exposing scams and the devious crooks that may have us or our parents in their cross-hairs, this compelling documentary delivers a message that will both empower and motivate.

Professionals, experts and “victims” share life-saving knowledge and inspirational insights with candor, their heartfelt message guiding us, our parents and our loved ones safely into the golden years.

YouTube – Saving Our Parents – Nursing Home Scandals

Visit Saving Our Parents and purchase a DVD

Ohio Legal Rights Service Comments on Proposed Standards in Governing Attorney Guardians

March 28, 2010

Legal Rights Service (LRS) submitted comments on proposed standards governing attorney guardians in Franklin County. Probate Judge Eric Brown had asked for the public’s opinion on these standards. LRS recommended that the court require a prospective ward be given the opportunity to participate in the written plan identifying his or her personal goals and needs, thus creating a more person-driven plan. LRS also made suggestions to protect the liberty and privacy interests of a prospective ward.

LRS has been closely involved with the development of statewide standards for non-family guardians as part of the Adult Guardianship Subcommittee of the Ohio Supreme Court’s Advisory Committee on Children, Families and Courts. Standards, both at the state level and through local standards are necessary to ensure that the rights of individuals are not compromised by professional guardians, many of whom are attorneys.

Read LRS’s Comments

Full Article and Source:
LRS Comments on Proposed Attorney Guardian Standards to be Adopted in Franklin County

See Also:
OH Standards of Practice for Attorney Guardians