Archive for the ‘Veterans Affairs’ Category

91-Year-Old Man Raised Money to Prevent Eviction by Daughter

May 20, 2013
A 91-year-old man wants to stop his daughter from evicting him from the home he built 56 years ago in Zaleski, Ohio, a small community south of Columbus.
 

In 2004, John Potter and his wife, who has since died, gave the general power of attorney to his daughter for future matters if they declined in health, including to take care of her autistic adult brother, now 63.

But unbeknownst to Potter, his daughter Janice Cottrill eventually used that power to convey the deed to the one-story home to herself. In 2010, Potter said he learned of the deed transfer and switched power of attorney to his granddaughter, Jaclyn Fraley, now 35.

Potter, a World War II veteran and retired train dispatcher for the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad, sued to get the home back, arguing that his daughter had transferred the deed to herself illegally because those with the power of attorney are not permitted to transfer assets to themselves from the estate they oversee.

Potter won in Vinton County Court, but an appeals court ruled last year that the statute of limitations of four years had passed on the accusation of fraud and thus the deed could not be handed back to Potter.

Early this year, his daughter and her husband sent Potter an eviction notice, saying they had terminated his “existing lease.” An eviction hearing will take place on June 12, during which the judge will have no choice but to evict Potter, Fraley told ABC News.

When asked how he feels about being evicted by his daughter and son-in-law, Potter was at a loss for words.

“I just cannot believe my daughter would ever do anything like that to me,” he said.

Full Article and Source:
91-Year-Old Man Raised Money to Prevent Eviction by Daughter

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Disabled Veterans Fight VA Appointed Fiduciaries

February 25, 2013

Across the country, disabled veterans’ families are in bitter battles with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, trying to oust VA-appointed fiduciaries from their lives.

Two attorneys, Doug Rosinski of Columbia, S.C., and Katrina Eagle of San Diego, have taken on VA in cases involving allegations of bureaucratic mistreatment. Both said regional program managers sometimes overlook the misdeeds of paid fiduciaries while coming down hard on veterans’ relatives who do the work for nothing.

The agency’s policy is that family members get priority in fiduciary appointments, but it does not always work that way. And while many family members serve successfully as fiduciaries for disabled veterans, some get into trouble, often because of a lack of training or knowledge of the rules, R.Dean Slicer, a top regional program manager in Indiana, boasted in a November 2010 email to an Indianapolis bank official that they would have “fun” battling with a war veteran’s daughter. Carolyn Stump, a registered nurse, was trying to free her seriously ailing 81-year-old dad, William Evans, from a fiduciary at the bank who had tangled with the family and had recently been slow paying some bills, according to court records.

Slicer, who last year was promoted to oversee the fiduciary program in 13 states, declined to comment.

“It is very unfortunate that the VA gives any one person that much power,” said Stump, who is also her father’s medical caretaker and state court-appointed guardian.

Source:
Disabled Veterans Fight VA Appointed Fiduciaries

Ben Alfano is Still Footing the Bill

December 16, 2012

While Ben Alfano will be much with his children this week, if only in memory, Thanksgiving eve would seem a callous time to render “final” judgment on the draining of the veteran’s estate.

But as Washington County Circuit Judge Rita Batz Cobb has scheduled the hearing for 11 a.m. Wednesday, let’s review the charade that has brought us this far.

Twenty-seven months ago, Cobb dismissed the pleas of Alfano, his four doctors, four of his five children and Cobb’s own court visitor, and awarded control of the veteran’s life to Chris Farley, a professional guardian.

Farley — like Alfano’s court-appointed attorney, Richard Pagnano — was enlisted by the Oregon Department of Veteran Affairs, the conservator of Alfano’s sizable estate.

Alfano, a 72-year-old amputee with full benefits, would survive only another six months.

As I wrote in a series of February columns, Farley moved the veteran out of the Raleigh Hills Assisted Living facility he loved and eventually into a locked-door dementia-care unit in Gresham, and strenuously isolated him from his children.

Alfano’s heart burst, literally, in February 2011, and he died at the VA Medical Center.

As Judy Bridges, the Raleigh Hills administrator, submitted in an affidavit, “I believe with all my heart that the move killed him.”

Full Article and Source:
Steve Duin: Ben Alfano is Still Footing the Bill

Linda Kincaid Reports: North Carolina war hero: Victim of elder abuse by predatory guardian

October 11, 2012

Captain Hugh Johnson led the 303rd Bomber Group on 26 missions against Nazi forces. Known as Hell’s Angels, the 303rd earned the Distinguished Unit Citation. Hugh’s B-17 was shot down near the Rhine River in 1945. The crew was captured by German soldiers.

Horrors of war and POW camps did not prepare Hugh for the horrors of guardianship in Wake County, North Carolina. A healthy active man who still enjoyed golf at 95, Hugh deteriorated rapidly under Guardian Cheryl Theriault of Raleigh based Aging Family Services.

Theriault immediately removed Hugh from the upscale home he shared with Ginny, isolated him from family, and chemically restrained him with the anti-psychotic drug Seroquel. “Help me, Ginny, help me,” Hugh begged. “I want to go home.”

Five months later, Hugh was frail, bedridden, and incontinent. His limbs were covered with sores. Hugh asked, “Are they trying to kill me?”

Hugh languished at The Covington, which advertises “truly affordable assisted living.” OurParents website gives The Covington 2 out of 5 stars. Ginny called it, “NASTY. NASTY.”

Hugh compared guardianship to his time as a POW, “My German captors were better to me than these guardians.” Meals were missed. Rooms were filthy. Hugh suffered 28 falls, a broken rib, and he lost 35 pounds.

Theriault moved Hugh to Blue Ridge Nursing Home. That facility lost its eligibility for federal funding in spring 2012. Blue Ridge was assessed a $4,550-a-day civil penalty for 6 weeks.

Full Article and Source:
North Carolina war hero: Victim of elder abuse by predatory guardian

The Oregon Attorney General’s Race and Veteran/Conservatorship Ward Ben Alfano

April 28, 2012

Most of us, I believe, confront the ballot with prism in hand, the imperfect lens through which we measure the quality of the candidates and the relevance of the election.

In the Oregon attorney general’s race between Ellen Rosenblum and Dwight Holton, your prism may be marijuana, prosecutorial passion or John Kroger.

My prism is  Ben Alfano.

In the last two months of the veteran’s life, which I chronicled in February, Alfano was wrenched from the assisted-living facility he loved and dumped in a Gresham dementia-care unit. Alfano died there on Feb. 26, 2011, an especially bitter turn for four of his children, who had complained about conservator and guardianship issues for years.

Those objections were typically met with smug disdain, or worse, by the Oregon Department of Veterans’ Affairs, and its well-paid bodyguard at the Department of Justice.

When Alfano’s two sons sought a change in conservators, ODVA Director Jim Willis wrote a letter to Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., saying Steven Alfano had no legal status in his father’s case, when he, in fact, had Ben’s legal medical power of attorney, and accusing him of a “financial conflict of interest.”

When Alfano’s children sought help from state Rep. Mike Schaufler, D-Happy Valley, Kathy Andreas — ODVA’s conservatorship manager — responded to Steven Alfano’s meticulous detailing of the family’s problems with the agency as follows:

“It obviously took Steven many hours to organize and document his findings. That could explain why he has been spending less time lately with his father.”

There’s more where that came from, believe me.

When the four children looked to the state for help, they discovered that D. Kevin Carlson, one of Kroger’s senior assistants, was not only defending ODVA but billing Ben Alfano’s estate for his legal muscle and expertise.

Over the last two years, Carlson billed the estate more than $45,000. He also recommended in March that a Washington County judge reserve “at least $150,000” of what remains in the veteran’s estate to deal with the children’s federal civil rights’ claims against ODVA and the guardian, Chris Farley.

We have, then, another glaring example of the AG’s office defending state agencies to the extreme even when they’re in the wrong.

Full Article and Source:
Justice and the Oregon Attorney General’s Race Between Dwight Holton and Ellen Rosenblum

See Also:
Following Benjamin Alfano’s Money