CT: Probate Fight Over Southington Farm Continues

In a nearly empty courtroom in Hartford on Monday, a half-dozen lawyers continued to fight over the dying wishes of a Southington woman who wanted to give her farm to the man who helped her care for the place for decades.

Incredibly, Sam Manzo, the caretaker, is still the loser in the Smoron Farm controversy. He lives in an unheated trailer on a farm he was supposed to inherit three years ago.

Instead of the probate court system making sure Manzo inherited the farm – what Josephine Smoron explicitly stated in her 2004 will – the controversy drags on, bouncing about dreary courtrooms, waiting for a judge to take charge and right a monumental wrong.

“My client is in desperate need to have this go forward,” Eliot Gersten, one of Manzo’s lawyers, told Superior Court Judge William H. Bright on Monday morning, complaining that bills aren’t getting paid. “This delay is hurting my client. He is living without heat.”

The case has landed in Judge Bright’s courtroom because the man appointed as conservator for Smoron, Southington lawyer John Nugent, has refused to step aside and admit his error. Nugent still controls two trusts that he set up in 2009 — unbeknownst to the dying Smoron or Manzo — that contain the estate’s assets.

The plan might have gone unchallenged if Manzo hadn’t complained to court authorities, who eventually ruled that Nugent abused his position as conservator. The Southington probate judge who appointed him, Bryan Meccariello, was censured by the Council on Probate Judicial Conduct for allowing Nugent to set up the trusts, which circumvent Smoron’s will. Meccariello did not run for re-election in 2010.

The trusts remain, and efforts to restore Manzo’s inheritance have stalled.

Full Article and Source:
Probate Fight Over Southington Farm Continues

See Also:
Rick Green: Probate Court Mess Continues

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6 Responses to “CT: Probate Fight Over Southington Farm Continues”

  1. helma Says:

    The system is very sick. I first learned about problems there many "sending little old ladies to the funny farm" and debenched bu tnot disbarred.Why hasn't the whole system been dismantled and replaced with a mandated jury system, when judges like Meccariello can freely convert a will to a trust?

  2. Thelma Says:

    What a sick joke!How can these courts still be allowed to operate?

  3. StandUp Says:

    This case is so blatantly wrong, one would think it would be settled quickly so as to avoid publicity.

  4. Betty Says:

    Shame on everyone involved in the case who is hell bent on delay, delay, delay. The farm was left to Sam Manzo. That's all that needs to be said. The judge on this case should dispense with it now.

  5. Barbara Says:

    The lawyers always benefit. Delay is their best game. A good judge woudldn't allow it to happen.

  6. Anonymous Says:

    Why is Nugent still practicing?

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