ABC I-Team Investigation: Family Members Raise New Questions About Guardianship Program in Florida

In September, the I-Team introduced you to Patricia Johnson, a Pinellas Park City Council woman who serves as a professional guardian for 50 wards.

Now, there are new questions about how she handles her cases.

Family members of other wards are now speaking out about their experiences with the professional guardianship program.

“Birthday parties, Christmases, everything. My grandmother raised me for a good section of my life,” said Amy Eldridge.

[In] 2008, Amy’s grandmother Rita was declared incapacitated by the court.

Amy says she doesn’t know why.

Rita was removed from her house and Patricia Johnson became her court-appointed professional guardian.

Amy’s father James took care of his mother in her house at the time.

“There was no family that they knew of when they were going through the process,” Amy said, describing how it was reported to the judge that Rita Eldridge had no one to care for her, even though her father was living in the house with his mother at that time.

Johnson evicted James on Rita’s behalf and obtained a nearly $5,000 judgment to pay the legal bill.
Rita Eldridge was moved to a nursing home.

Her own home was sold for less than half its appraised value.

“We were told that, basically, we were stealing if we took anything from the house,” said Amy Eldridge.

As for the sentimental things left in the home, “They were all taken from the house and thrown away. There was no ‘hey, we’ve gotten everything of value out of this house, if you would like to come rummage through this, you can get what’s left. It was ‘everything in the house needs to stay, you just need to go and everything’s ours now.’”

Everything was sold for $295 to the same man court records show bought several wards’ possessions, including those of Rebie Jimenez for $100.

“I was never allowed into the house to go through any of my mom’s belongings or even our items as we were growing up as kids,” said Cindy Lee, Jimenez’s daughter.

Before being incapacitated, Jimenez lived with her husband Fernando, who Patricia Johnson also evicted immediately.

Lee said that her mother’s husband Fernando, who lived in the home for 25 years, was locked out of his residence by Johnson.

He died several days after his wife was taken away.

“I was like wow, how can this have happened? They removed her, then a total stranger came in and took over and then next thing I know, immediately, there was a for sale sign up,” said Lee.

The home sold for $85,000 to an investor, who resold it for $170,000 four months later.

Rebie Jimenez is now in the memory unit at Grand Villa.

Rita Eldridge passed away last November.

“I felt like my grandmother was in prison. I had to go to her warden to make sure everything was ok. So that I could see her,” said Amy Eldridge.

Johnson refused multiple requests for an interview.

Full Article, Video and Source:
Family members raise new questions about guardianship program in Florida

See Also:
ABC Action News:  Questionable Guardianship Real Estate Transactions

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32 Responses to “ABC I-Team Investigation: Family Members Raise New Questions About Guardianship Program in Florida”

  1. Kathleen Says:

    Patricia Johnson is a thief and an abuser she should be released as a guardian she should be investigated more. How many more of her wards are being abused by her? She is suppose to be working in their best interest …. it looks like she is only interested in her own interest which includes stealing from these vulnerable people.

  2. Kathleen Says:

    Patricia Johnson is a thief and an abuser she should be released as a guardian she should be investigated more. How many more of her wards are being abused by her? She is suppose to be working in their best interest …. it looks like she is only interested in her own interest which includes stealing from these vulnerable people.

  3. Anonymous Says:

    wow — what a good job abc is doing!

  4. Anonymous Says:

    wow — what a good job abc is doing!

  5. Jim Riley Says:

    Thank you ABC Action News for showing us what is really going on! Hopefully, the politicians, attorney general, etc will pay attention and DO something!

  6. Jim Riley Says:

    Thank you ABC Action News for showing us what is really going on! Hopefully, the politicians, attorney general, etc will pay attention and DO something!

  7. Darlene Says:

    Thank you, ABC! We are so glad that the media is finally reporting on this horrid situation. The program brought out how Patricia Johnson had her own little "committee" for selling the house and even a funeral home. No report is given to the children of the expenses the guardian is charged. Of course the judge and Johnson's own attorney are all in this secret group of thieves. Please keep up the great job, ABC!

  8. Darlene Says:

    Thank you, ABC! We are so glad that the media is finally reporting on this horrid situation. The program brought out how Patricia Johnson had her own little "committee" for selling the house and even a funeral home. No report is given to the children of the expenses the guardian is charged. Of course the judge and Johnson's own attorney are all in this secret group of thieves. Please keep up the great job, ABC!

  9. Darlene Says:

    Thank you, ABC! We are so glad that the media is finally reporting on this terrible situation. The program brought out how Patricia Johnson had her own little "committee" for selling the house and even a funeral home. No report is given to the children of the expenses the guardian is charged, nor where the treasured belongings go. Of course the judge and Johnson's own attorney are all in this secret group of thieves. Please keep up the great job, ABC!

  10. Darlene Says:

    Thank you, ABC! We are so glad that the media is finally reporting on this terrible situation. The program brought out how Patricia Johnson had her own little "committee" for selling the house and even a funeral home. No report is given to the children of the expenses the guardian is charged, nor where the treasured belongings go. Of course the judge and Johnson's own attorney are all in this secret group of thieves. Please keep up the great job, ABC!

  11. Anonymous Says:

    Go ABC! So glad you are educating the public! These people abusing and exploiting the elderly need to go to jail! How can you protect yourself from them?

  12. Anonymous Says:

    Go ABC! So glad you are educating the public! These people abusing and exploiting the elderly need to go to jail! How can you protect yourself from them?

  13. Anonymous Says:

    ABC in Florida is indeed doing a good job. And that news office should be joined by every other news office across the United States, and none of them should quit until abusive guardians, and their crooked lawyers, and the judges who appoint them are behind bars. It is about time somebody notices this is not a matter for disbarment, and then reinstatement of legal licenses, this is a criminal matter. But police forces across the country do not even investigate, since these criminals are court appointed.

  14. Anonymous Says:

    ABC in Florida is indeed doing a good job. And that news office should be joined by every other news office across the United States, and none of them should quit until abusive guardians, and their crooked lawyers, and the judges who appoint them are behind bars. It is about time somebody notices this is not a matter for disbarment, and then reinstatement of legal licenses, this is a criminal matter. But police forces across the country do not even investigate, since these criminals are court appointed.

  15. Anonymous Says:

    Who is giving them the licence to do this? Do they have a four year degree in Guardianship/elderly care and finance? Because it looks like they have no clue what they are doing and they are actually tormenting the elderly and wasting the elderly's assets. Thank you, ABC! I hope someone can fix the problem. Or just get rid of guardianship all together, it does not look like something anyone needs.

  16. Anonymous Says:

    Who is giving them the licence to do this? Do they have a four year degree in Guardianship/elderly care and finance? Because it looks like they have no clue what they are doing and they are actually tormenting the elderly and wasting the elderly's assets. Thank you, ABC! I hope someone can fix the problem. Or just get rid of guardianship all together, it does not look like something anyone needs.

  17. StandUp Says:

    What Patricia Johnson sent around is coming back around to her: karma!

  18. StandUp Says:

    What Patricia Johnson sent around is coming back around to her: karma!

  19. Ron Says:

    You might send this latest ABC coverage of 'Elder Abuse at it criminal worst' to local newspapers–even the free ones. Having watched several examples of Probate Judges, Attorneys, Guardians and even family members take away the freedom and the money of elderly citizens, we need a whole new set of laws that protect the elderly. I watched, helpless, as the Bank of America in Santa Barbara and a crooked Probate Judge take away a healthy, mentally fit senior citizen's freedom and money. (See NASGA article on John Figg-Hoblyn) I openly accused both the bank and judge of criminal acts, hoping they would sue me so I could get them into court. They knew better of course and John's last two years were spent: drugged and with all the normal human rights removed. One of just many cases I know of. ABC in Florida is to be commended for exposing this on-going atrocity. Signs should be appearing everywhere, warning the public by naming the attorneys, judges, Guardians, care givers, nursing and 'guest' homes that are committing these crimes. Hopefully other ABC stations will do similar investigations.Ron Libert

  20. Ron Says:

    You might send this latest ABC coverage of 'Elder Abuse at it criminal worst' to local newspapers–even the free ones. Having watched several examples of Probate Judges, Attorneys, Guardians and even family members take away the freedom and the money of elderly citizens, we need a whole new set of laws that protect the elderly. I watched, helpless, as the Bank of America in Santa Barbara and a crooked Probate Judge take away a healthy, mentally fit senior citizen's freedom and money. (See NASGA article on John Figg-Hoblyn) I openly accused both the bank and judge of criminal acts, hoping they would sue me so I could get them into court. They knew better of course and John's last two years were spent: drugged and with all the normal human rights removed. One of just many cases I know of. ABC in Florida is to be commended for exposing this on-going atrocity. Signs should be appearing everywhere, warning the public by naming the attorneys, judges, Guardians, care givers, nursing and 'guest' homes that are committing these crimes. Hopefully other ABC stations will do similar investigations.Ron Libert

  21. Anonymous Says:

    The entire guardianship program needs looked into. If someone becomes incompactitated they should be able to live with their family if the family wants to care for them. Why would the judge deny someone the right to live with their family provided they family is competent. MONEY that is the only reason it is al about MONEY. Thanks ABC Action I-team

  22. Anonymous Says:

    The entire guardianship program needs looked into. If someone becomes incompactitated they should be able to live with their family if the family wants to care for them. Why would the judge deny someone the right to live with their family provided they family is competent. MONEY that is the only reason it is al about MONEY. Thanks ABC Action I-team

  23. Anonymous Says:

    Patricia Johnson is part of a three ring circus. Her whole family is involved. It's happening on a larger scale in Las Vegas. Same time same place here. Both of my parents fell into a situation that one doctor deemed my father incompetent and than they the public guardian came in and got them. This is modern day holocaust and needs to looked into deeper and until senior citizens and disabled people don't fear for their lives that Hitler/Guardian is coming to take away their civil rights and all belongings.. Disgusting and thank you ABC I-Team keep up the Great Coverage…

  24. Anonymous Says:

    Patricia Johnson is part of a three ring circus. Her whole family is involved. It's happening on a larger scale in Las Vegas. Same time same place here. Both of my parents fell into a situation that one doctor deemed my father incompetent and than they the public guardian came in and got them. This is modern day holocaust and needs to looked into deeper and until senior citizens and disabled people don't fear for their lives that Hitler/Guardian is coming to take away their civil rights and all belongings.. Disgusting and thank you ABC I-Team keep up the Great Coverage…

  25. Anonymous Says:

    The same exact thing is happening here in Las Vegas. Both of my Parents were taken. It all started with one doctor writing a letter that my father was deemed incapable of taking care of himself and wife. They have no family. Funny,not really I'm on their emergency contact and wasn't even notified when they took them. The Public Guardian or Professional Guardian has her whole family involved too. This must stop now and be fully investigated. This is Modern Day Holocaust. Seniors and Disabled People are beautiful souls being stripped of their civil rights and isolated away from their families. Guardianship 101 Medicate, Isolate, Take Away Estate! Thank You to ABC I-Team!! Keep Up the Fantastic Work.

  26. Anonymous Says:

    The same exact thing is happening here in Las Vegas. Both of my Parents were taken. It all started with one doctor writing a letter that my father was deemed incapable of taking care of himself and wife. They have no family. Funny,not really I'm on their emergency contact and wasn't even notified when they took them. The Public Guardian or Professional Guardian has her whole family involved too. This must stop now and be fully investigated. This is Modern Day Holocaust. Seniors and Disabled People are beautiful souls being stripped of their civil rights and isolated away from their families. Guardianship 101 Medicate, Isolate, Take Away Estate! Thank You to ABC I-Team!! Keep Up the Fantastic Work.

  27. Thelma Says:

    ABC is doing a dynamite job!The public needs to know what's wrong with our government "protection" systems.

  28. Thelma Says:

    ABC is doing a dynamite job!The public needs to know what's wrong with our government "protection" systems.

  29. Sylvia Says:

    Do You Remember Adele Fletcher?Dear Gus Bilirakis:To help refresh your memory, as a Tampa area attorney you assisted your client with improperly guardianizing Adele Fletcher, which resulted in yourclient's conviction for felony scheming to defraud.You did not come to your client's aid during her criminal trial. Below are your documents that facilitated this fraud, which may assist in refreshing your recall of events: The document at right provides a summary of the closing days in Adele Fletcher's' life. Please review the information for accuracy and let us know if you have any questions. Pdf: SummaryThe two documents below reveal what turned out to be implausible reasons for your claimed need to take away a senior citizen's freedom to live. Pdf: Incapacity page 1 / Incapacity page 2The next two documents below reflect your "investigation" attested to under penalty of perjury that Adele Fletcher had no money or assets. You may recall that your meeting with Adele, in her home, to discuss what to do with her inheritance, that added an additional tax liability, to her existing income, and existing accounts with her stock broker, was arranged for you and Fran Lang by Adele's stock broker. A reasonable assumption that you did not raise during your investigation is that the mere existence of a stock broker in Adele's life points to the presence of assets. Pdf: Indigent page 1 / Indigent page 2The document below shows that eventually you found Adele Fletcher indeed had money and assets, but by that time the assets previously hidden from the court's knowledge were securely under your control by way of your client Fran Lang. Pdf: Terminate Insolvency For additional reading about your client's conviction you can review a news article at this web site: http://www.sptimes.com/…/Pasco/Ex_guardian_gets_prob.shtml You can also watch a short video at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JQ5GrH5aPMg The Friends of Adele FletcherIf you need further assistance please email us at: AdeleRemembered@gmail.comhttp://adeleremembered.mynetworksolutions.com/Pasco: Ex-guardian gets probation http://www.sptimes.com"She's a despicable person," Pittman said of Lang. "When you steal the money of people who can't even help themselves, what is that?"

  30. Sylvia Says:

    Do You Remember Adele Fletcher?Dear Gus Bilirakis:To help refresh your memory, as a Tampa area attorney you assisted your client with improperly guardianizing Adele Fletcher, which resulted in yourclient's conviction for felony scheming to defraud.You did not come to your client's aid during her criminal trial. Below are your documents that facilitated this fraud, which may assist in refreshing your recall of events: The document at right provides a summary of the closing days in Adele Fletcher's' life. Please review the information for accuracy and let us know if you have any questions. Pdf: SummaryThe two documents below reveal what turned out to be implausible reasons for your claimed need to take away a senior citizen's freedom to live. Pdf: Incapacity page 1 / Incapacity page 2The next two documents below reflect your "investigation" attested to under penalty of perjury that Adele Fletcher had no money or assets. You may recall that your meeting with Adele, in her home, to discuss what to do with her inheritance, that added an additional tax liability, to her existing income, and existing accounts with her stock broker, was arranged for you and Fran Lang by Adele's stock broker. A reasonable assumption that you did not raise during your investigation is that the mere existence of a stock broker in Adele's life points to the presence of assets. Pdf: Indigent page 1 / Indigent page 2The document below shows that eventually you found Adele Fletcher indeed had money and assets, but by that time the assets previously hidden from the court's knowledge were securely under your control by way of your client Fran Lang. Pdf: Terminate Insolvency For additional reading about your client's conviction you can review a news article at this web site: http://www.sptimes.com/…/Pasco/Ex_guardian_gets_prob.shtml You can also watch a short video at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JQ5GrH5aPMg The Friends of Adele FletcherIf you need further assistance please email us at: AdeleRemembered@gmail.comhttp://adeleremembered.mynetworksolutions.com/Pasco: Ex-guardian gets probation http://www.sptimes.com"She's a despicable person," Pittman said of Lang. "When you steal the money of people who can't even help themselves, what is that?"

  31. Anonymous Says:

    Pay close attention Teri St. Hilaire! You're now under scrutiny; under the microscope for guardianship abuse… Godwilling, you will live to regret every insidious, disgusting, evil act you've committed out of your heartless greed. Hopefully, the same goes for DCF's Cathy Christmas for her lies. Audra Ackerman for running a secret Care Home that houses innocent victoms that are now nothing more than property on death row. Lawyer Elizibeth Walls; partner in crime, who makes tons of loot to help you continue to make tons of loot. Let's not forget the Pinellas County Judges: Jack St.Arnold and Laurin Laughlin who either turn their heads, or are just outright inhumane and sadistic while they play God warehousing poeple's loved ones for profit. Just a few weeks before my precious loved one was sentenced to her horrible demise, she was going to the gym on a regular basis. Doing her cardiac workouts, swimming 15 or more laps in the pool, enjoying the benefits of the sauna, dancing in our living room with me; planning our wedding… Now, I would assume her hope and dreams of rescue are exausted. She has likely been feeling abandoned because you haven"t told her about the countless letters of love and encouragement I wrote her, or the fact when I tried to call, you threatened me and called the police based on a huge LIE that the officer saw through after he heard the TRUTH from me. Due process was never followed as you and your team of fake legal vultures went in for the kill. You used the legal advance directives my fiance had drawn up like toilet paper!!! What about the ward's long term health insurance policy when you had her deemed indigent as you waited for her annuity to mature? Did you mention that to the judges? If it's not about the money, then why did'nt you give me a call or return any of my calls? If it's not about the loot, then why did you move her to a high priced secret home after the annuity matured? Why did you disregard her brother as the back-up Power of Attorney/Health Care Surrogate when you had her determined incapacited? These were legal documents for God's sake!What about her son? He could have been considered too… Funny thing is…if it wasn't for the antipsychotic drugs she was on, or the rape by a staff member at Largo Rehab & Spa that needed covered up, DCF might have let this one slip through the cracks and you would have missed this golden egg. How many players are in this pigfest Teri? How can you putrid excuses of scum sleep at night? When you stole her life and made her your property, you forgot there is a God. Tell yourself all the lies you tell the others until God's wrath finds you. Ask yourself if you would want your loved one's life owned by a perfect stranger under these exact circumstances. Your ward wants to be buried in her red dress in the cemetary on Indian Rocks Road when you finish up with her, okay? …Maybe then I can finally visit her…May YOU and YOUR KIND get all that you deserve!

  32. Anonymous Says:

    Pay close attention Teri St. Hilaire! You're now under scrutiny; under the microscope for guardianship abuse… Godwilling, you will live to regret every insidious, disgusting, evil act you've committed out of your heartless greed. Hopefully, the same goes for DCF's Cathy Christmas for her lies. Audra Ackerman for running a secret Care Home that houses innocent victoms that are now nothing more than property on death row. Lawyer Elizibeth Walls; partner in crime, who makes tons of loot to help you continue to make tons of loot. Let's not forget the Pinellas County Judges: Jack St.Arnold and Laurin Laughlin who either turn their heads, or are just outright inhumane and sadistic while they play God warehousing poeple's loved ones for profit. Just a few weeks before my precious loved one was sentenced to her horrible demise, she was going to the gym on a regular basis. Doing her cardiac workouts, swimming 15 or more laps in the pool, enjoying the benefits of the sauna, dancing in our living room with me; planning our wedding… Now, I would assume her hope and dreams of rescue are exausted. She has likely been feeling abandoned because you haven"t told her about the countless letters of love and encouragement I wrote her, or the fact when I tried to call, you threatened me and called the police based on a huge LIE that the officer saw through after he heard the TRUTH from me. Due process was never followed as you and your team of fake legal vultures went in for the kill. You used the legal advance directives my fiance had drawn up like toilet paper!!! What about the ward's long term health insurance policy when you had her deemed indigent as you waited for her annuity to mature? Did you mention that to the judges? If it's not about the money, then why did'nt you give me a call or return any of my calls? If it's not about the loot, then why did you move her to a high priced secret home after the annuity matured? Why did you disregard her brother as the back-up Power of Attorney/Health Care Surrogate when you had her determined incapacited? These were legal documents for God's sake!What about her son? He could have been considered too… Funny thing is…if it wasn't for the antipsychotic drugs she was on, or the rape by a staff member at Largo Rehab & Spa that needed covered up, DCF might have let this one slip through the cracks and you would have missed this golden egg. How many players are in this pigfest Teri? How can you putrid excuses of scum sleep at night? When you stole her life and made her your property, you forgot there is a God. Tell yourself all the lies you tell the others until God's wrath finds you. Ask yourself if you would want your loved one's life owned by a perfect stranger under these exact circumstances. Your ward wants to be buried in her red dress in the cemetary on Indian Rocks Road when you finish up with her, okay? …Maybe then I can finally visit her…May YOU and YOUR KIND get all that you deserve!

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