Archive for April, 2011

>Aunt Helen, Gone Too Soon, 10 Years Today

April 30, 2011


Helen T. Fabis
March 1, 1914 – April 30, 2001

April 30, 2011

Dear Aunt Helen,
You inspire me! You always did, even when I was quite young. I looked at you as someone “professional” and so different than my mother and other Aunts. I didn’t quite know exactly what it was back then, but I think I do now.

I remember when you took me downtown to shop and have lunch. Oh my, you cannot imagine how important that made me feel! I remember my mother saying something like “big deal”…..well it was! Thank you for showing me a slice of life I didn’t know about. As it turned out, I advocated to that life. Working downtown was so glamorous.

Then you bought the farm in Sobieski, WI !!! How much fun is that! How lucky we were to experience yet another slice of life that most city kids would never know. How I loved collecting eggs, and feeding the chickens even though it smelled! Pumping our own water at the well, bathing in a jumbo wash tub, in the kitchen no less, was such an experience! Thank you for making all this possible for us.

Your interest in my early sewing adventures, especially all the wonderful fabrics you gave me, kept me wanting to learn more. And so I did, and you were right there to answer any questions and keep me supplied with much appreciated wonderful fabrics.

Remember when Kim and Shawn were two and three years old? You were involved in the pattern making of little girls Spring coats. You gave me the most beautiful off white wool coats and fabrics with deep pink rosebuds appliquéd on the yoke/collar and hat. They were so beautiful! Something I could never afford. I miss our sewing “talk” and your quiet way of giving advice.

You and Uncle Wally were a loved fixture at Mom’s kitchen table. I took all those visits for granted. What I wouldn’t give to have you sit at my kitchen table and set your hair with beer! What a delight that would be.

When Mom and Dad moved to Wisconsin, and you stayed behind in Chicago, I was honored to drive you up to see them. What great talks we had.

I am grateful all four of my children were able to know you, and even my grandchildren were lucky enough to have a bit of time with you. I remember how terrified you would get if they were climbing or hanging upside down from a tree or something, I would laugh, because I was so conditioned to their antics, but you were not and worried so! I loved that.

I love that Dean used to come up and play Scrabble with you and Mom, those were very precious moments for him. Thank you for all the wonderful memories that my entire family has, especially me. You were a lady far ahead of her time, I see that now.

Thank you for being my mother’s devoted friend and sister through all those years of widowhood. Without you, I cannot imagine how she would have survived. You kept her alive, even if it was to argue a Scrabble rule or what TV show to watch! You were the “spark” that she needed, and helped her to become more sociable with the few neighbors you had. It could have been very isolated for her, but not with you there!

You are a great lady, and we have all been blessed to have some time with you starting at birth in my case. We miss you and love you.

You are loved and missed so much.

Love and admiration,

>Arizona Governor Signs HB2424!

April 29, 2011

>Yesterday, Governor Brewer used her mighty pen to sign HB 2424, a key probate reform bill. The Bill, which will become law 90 days from April 20, passed unanimously just nine days ago.

HB 2424 establishes a landmark “Probate Advisory Panel.” To read the engrossed version of the bill, click here.

No word yet on the companion reform bill, SB 1499.

Governor Brewer Signs HB2424 – Probate Advisory Panel Becomes Law

>Marie Long One Step Away From Getting Her Wish

April 29, 2011

>At long last, Marie Long is one simple signature away from getting her wish. Well, one of her wishes anyway.

Undoubtedly, she would wish to have some of her money back, the $821,000 sucked up by guardians and lawyers appointed to protect her from unscrupulous types who might come after an old lady’s life savings.

Marie’s attorneys, who for years have worked for free, are appealing her case. They hope to force Maricopa County’s probate court to reconsider Commissioner Lindsay Ellis’ decision that it was “reasonable” for Marie’s so-called protectors to basically drain an estate once worth $1.3 million, leaving her penniless and dependent on taxpayers for support.

But Marie is 89. She can’t wait forever to see justice. She knows that, which brings me to wish No. 2.

“I would like,” she told me last fall, “that this doesn’t happen to anybody else.”

This week or next, Marie’s wish could be granted, assuming Gov. Jan Brewer signs Senate Bill 1499 – and assuming the county’s probate judges burn their well-worn rubber stamps and remember who it is that they are there to protect.

Credit the Arizona Legislature. In between birther bills and tea party license plates, when they weren’t belatedly disclosing Fiesta Bowl junkets or lopping poor people off the state’s health care rolls, our leaders did a really good thing last week.

They passed a probate bill aimed at better protecting vulnerable people and giving them a voice in what happens to them and their money. The vote was unanimous.

Full Article and Source:
Marie Long One Step Away From Getting Her Wish

>Aide Accused of Preying on Elderly Widow

April 29, 2011

>A heartless home aide is accused of preying on an elderly widow – turning her Queens apartment into a flophouse and plundering $800,000 to bankroll shopping sprees.

The 85-year-old victim, who is practically bedridden, said her savings were stolen right under her nose by a woman she trusted for seven years.

“She robbed me,” Renee Fuld told the Daily News yesterday. “The only thing I could figure out is I gave her money to buy things and she kept it. I’m just sorry I didn’t see her taking money. She would lie to me with a straight face.”

Fuld said the aide, Jackie Pokuwaah, turned the Forest Hills apartment into a virtual boarding house, moving in at least seven friends and relatives – rent-free.

Pokuwaah, 52, is now locked up on charges of grand larceny and stolen property for the check-writing scheme, which went on for almost three years.

The fleecing ended when Pokuwaah’s twice-weekly visits to a TD Bank – often carrying $800 checks with “laundry” written on the memo line – raised red flags with employees, officials said.

“Thank God for the bank,” said Fuld, who is in the care of a new aide. “If they hadn’t noticed the activity, she would still be roaming around here.”

Full Article and Source:
Heartless Home Aide Accused of Swiping $800G From Elderly Queens Widow

>Nebraska LB157: Debate Over Background Checks for Guardians

April 28, 2011

>Legislative debate has begun on a measure that would requiring background checks for guardians and conservators and creating a central database of those guardians and conservators, among other things.

The bill (LB157) by state Sen. Colby Coash of Lincoln was borne of his work last year on a joint review committee to study the status of adult guardianships and conservatorships in the Nebraska court system.

His bill would require background checks for guardians and conservators and creating a central database that would include the status of guardian and conservatorships.

It would also require bonds for conservators when wards’ assets are greater than $10,000. Much of Wednesday’s debate centered on the bill’s call to allow interested third parties to request more oversight when physical or mental health is in jeopardy.

Debate Over Background Checks for Guardians

>VT Nursing Home Worker Charged With Exploitation

April 28, 2011

>Vermont authorities say a nursing home worker who allegedly exploited a resident has been arrested in New Hampshire.

Thirty-six-year-old Jodi LaClaire is charged with 16 counts of financial exploitation of a vulnerable adult and attempted financial exploitation of a vulnerable adult.

Assistant Attorney General Linda Purdy says LaClaire made cash withdrawals and attempted other withdrawals using the credit card of a resident at the Thompson House Nursing Facility in Brattleboro, where she worked as a licensed nursing assistant.

If convicted, she could face up to 10 years in prison.

Full Article and Source:
VT Nursing Home Worker Charged With Exploitation

>F. Robert LaSaracina’s Atty Seeks Withdrawal

April 28, 2011

>Mark Block, the Norwich attorney representing accountant F. Robert LaSaracina in several civil cases alleging fraud and default on LaSaracina’s part, is asking the Superior Court for permission to withdraw as counsel, citing a potential claim that he has a conflict of interest.

In motions filed Thursday, Block seeks to withdraw from nearly a half-dozen cases in which he is representing LaSaracina and LaSaracina’s business, F. Robert LaSaracina, CPA, LLC. The cases include two that stem from LaSaracina’s alleged mishandling of a Norwich estate while serving as its trustee. In one, a conservator for one of the estate’s beneficiaries accuses LaSaracina of malpractice and in the other LaSaracina is appealing a probate court judge’s ruling that LaSaracina owes the estate $4.2 million.

Contacted Friday, Block indicated he had no comment on his request to withdraw.

Full Article and Source;
LaSaracina Attorney Seeks to Withdraw

Court Rules Against V.A. on Fiduciaries

April 27, 2011

A federal appeals court has told the Department of Veteran’s Affairs to loosen its grip on benefits decisions for veterans who have been declared incompetent.

The department appoints fiduciaries to manage the benefits of veterans who are no longer able to take care of themselves. There are 110,000 veterans’ accounts under fiduciary management, and the total value is about $3.2 billion.

Veterans’ families have argued in several recent cases that they do not want the financial minders appointed by the department, as an article in The New York Times reported earlier this month.

When families have sued, however, the department has generally argued that while families may have input in the decision to appoint a fiduciary, once the minder is in place the relationship is solely within the jurisdiction of the Department of Veterans Affairs and is not subject to judicial review.

On Tuesday, the United States Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims in Washington ordered the secretary of Veterans Affairs and his department to take a second look at that argument.

In a 20-page opinion, the three-judge panel approved a request to force the department to accept a “notice of disagreement” with the appointment of a fiduciary. The request was made on behalf of the family of William E. Freeman, a veteran with schizophrenia whose sister, Debora C. Allen, wants to manage his affairs. Families should not be shut out of fiduciary decisions, the court found: the laws, regulations and court decisions governing the issue “provide legally meaningful standards by which to evaluate the appointment of a fiduciary,” and the Freemans should be heard.

A spokesman for the Department of Veterans Affairs said that the department could not comment on individual cases, but stated: “The purpose of the Fiduciary Program is to protect the benefits paid to the most vulnerable veterans and beneficiaries who are unable to manage their own financial affairs. It is the Department of Veterans Affairs’ policy to ensure fiduciary decisions, made after careful and appropriate investigations, are based on what is determined to be in the veterans’ best interests.”

Douglas J. Rosinski, the lawyer for Mr. Freeman and several other veterans’ families seeking to take back control of benefits, said that instead of protecting “the most vulnerable veterans,” the department had allowed the process “to operate for the benefit of the V.A. and the so-called fiduciaries it enables to ignore, abuse and steal from the veterans that it ensnares.”

He said the federal court’s decision could be “one of the most important in some time because it opens up a previously impenetrable and arrogant part of the V.A. to judicial oversight.” The department needs to take the lead in reforming its processes, Mr. Rosinksi said, “instead of continuing to litigate these issues one by one.”

Court Rules Against V.A. on Fiduciaries

>Judge Backs Grandson’s Healthcare Proxy

April 27, 2011

>An Essex County judge has upheld the validity of a health-care proxy for the grandson of an 83-year-old Gloucester man who became gravely ill while under the supervision of SeniorCare, Inc. at the McPherson Park housing complex.

The court action was rooted in SeniorCare’s challenge to the right of Vito Loiacono, 38, grandson of Joseph Judd, to obtain Judd’s medical records from SeniorCare, a Gloucester-based health services.

While SeniorCare has no role in Judd’s care at present, it challenged the validity of Loicono’s durable power of attorney (DPOA) and healthcare proxy (HCP).

Echoing the finding of a court-appointed “guardian ad litem” requested by SeniorCare in January, Judge Mary Ann Sahagian indicated Loiacono’s DPOA was invalid because it had been executed after – although almost simultaneously to — the healthcare proxy, which proffered that Judd, who is illiterate, had dementia, according to court observers.

Technically, that made Judd unable to authorize subsequent legal documents.

But the judge concurred with the appointed guardian that the proxy was valid, and legal experts say should enable Loiacono to obtain the records he has sought from SeniorCare since June.

The guardian, Michelle Azzari, a family law specialist from Saugus, investigated Judd, Loiacono and the case during the past two months.

Announcing her rejection of the SeniorCare argument, Judge Sahagian told the company’s attorney, Lawrence Varn, “you have no horse in this race,” according to court observers.

Loiacono said he will pursue obtaining the medical records, and will formally seek guardianship of his grandfather.

“It’s just one step at a time,” he said.

Full Article and Source:
Judge Backs Grandson’s Proxy of SeniorCare Challenge

>Report Contradicts Priest’s Claim About Parishioner’s Competency

April 27, 2011

>A new medical study challenges the account of a Northwest Side Catholic priest who says a 93-year-old parishioner was mentally competent when she made him trustee of her home last year.

The widow “suffered from dementia from as early as January 2008,” according to an examination of her hospital records requested by Cook County Public Guardian Robert Harris.

The Rev. Thaddeus Dzieszko, of St. Constance Roman Catholic Church, has vigorously defended his actions, saying he became trustee of Waleria Krzemien’s home to ensure she could continue to live there. But Dzieszko relinquished his interest in the property last fall after the public guardian raised questions about the deed during a probate court case.

The Archdiocese of Chicago and the Cook County state’s attorney’s office are conducting separate investigations into the land transaction. Dzieszko remains the pastor of St. Constance, but he has stepped aside from parish duties while authorities examine the disputed property transaction.

Full Article and Source:
Report Contradicts Pastor’s Claim About Parishioner’s Competency

See Also:
Priest Scrutinized in Property Transaction