There probably are some "good" and decent guardians, but I have been communicating with victims and victims' families all over the nation, and I haven't heard about an honest, compassionate, helpful "professional" guardianship yet. Not one. If you or a loved one have experienced a decent and honest guardian, please let me know. I will include your story or your site right here.
The first link will take you to the recent four part investigative report series of the LA Times, www.latimes.com.
This report detailed the horrors and the greed of the guardianship programs in California. They are no worse than those in Washington State. The judges and commissioners in California are as corrupt and lacking in dignity as those in Washington State. The report generated an enormous public response of outrage that made the CA legislature hustle to redesign the program. It made many of us realize that we had to put more effort into attracting media attention.
The next link will take you to a book I found invaluable, The Retirement Nightmare by Diane Armstrong, Ph.D.This book provides a cogent look at guardianships nation-wide. It examines the parameters and components of the guardianship morass and illustrates those components with horrifying true stories. Dr. Armstrong was motivated to write this book by her own mother's experience with the nightmarish guardianship program. She provides a state by state analysis of guardianship legislation. Most importantly, she offers a variety of ways to protect yourself and your loved ones from predatory guardianships.
Since the guardianship problem was created by dysfunctional (euphemistically speaking) courts, here are some additional books that deal with court reform:
Out of Order by Max Boot
Death of Common Sense by Phillip K. Howard
Slouching toward Gomorrah by Robert Bork
The Case against Lawyers by Catherine Crier
Who Will Tell the People by William Greider
THE GUARDIANSHIP BOARD IN OLYMPIA:
This link http://www.courts.wa.gov will take you to the Washington State Guardianship Board in Olympia. There you can examine the carefully thought out standards designed to guide the behavior of the guardians. Many of the writings, nation-wide, refer to this program with praise. As I discover that this board has been touted as a part of the solution, I write or call to correct them. This board is a farce! Nothing more.
Their existence is kept quiet, so it receives very few complaints. The complaints that it does receive are dismissed with alarming alacrity. For the year 2005, no complaints were investigated. None! The board is staffed by a shameless collection of volunteer judges, commissioners, attorneys, and guardians. It is the fox guarding the henhouse all over again. The standards are great, but if unapplied, worthless. In case you accidentally stumble upon the board's existence and so submit a complaint, you will find that they have written the rules for filing a grievance so ambiguously that they can and will dismiss your complaint for any ludicrous excuse. Their interpretation of their own deliberate ambiguity so that they can refuse the hard work of monitoring, is an exercise in the ridiculous. It would be hilarious if you didn't know that it gives a pass to the predators who are victimizing our loved ones.
Even with intervention from Supreme Court Justice Bobbe Bridge, who tried to clarify the morass they have created, they couldn't be persuaded to investigate my grievance. I quit trying after the board attorney, in response to my complaint about the 100 or so mismatched charges, replied "I asked the discipline committee. They said, 'Well, maybe the guardians just didn't keep track of their times.'" Of course, one of the major reasons for keeping track of times is so that you can charge for them. To just make them up is fraud. A subtlety too refined for clowns, I think. They meet monthly, drink coffee, gossip, tweak a line or two of the program and go home. This is a "for show" only board.
In February of 2006, I received an e-mail suggestion to add a section of my bill (see legislature section) for improving the training and certification process. My bill deals only with monitoring. I also think it is critical that our legislators tackle the "incapacitation" process ASAP. However, the more I think about CPA, its directors, workers, and attorney - that no class, low class swarm - the more I think that somehow the training and certification process should be able to pick up on the dishonesty, the greed, the horrific disregard for the vulnerable and make sure they don't get in to begin with. Of course, if the program were monitored and they knew they couldn't get away with looting and plundering the defenseless, people like that would never apply.
I had originally intended to keep track of what the guardianship board was doing in Olympia. But I have gone through two administrations, and have found each time that they are doing what amuses them and not the hard work that applying the standards involves. I've decided that they are little more than clowns and simply not worth my time. I can't say why they took a position on the board, but it definitely wasn't to make sure that the program was what it was intended to be. If you would like to check in on how they are using their time, please use the link above. They may work gratis, but they take up space in the building, use electricity, gas, janitorial services, have an attorney and secretarial help who are all presumably paid. So far as I'm concerned, it's a total waste.
October, 2006 Update: We've all been watching the show in the "other" Washington. We've heard and read how Congressman Foley has stalked the congressional pages, flirted with them, groomed them, chased after them with e mails and phone calls, and had phone sex with them. It is not surprising, I guess, that such people exist and are capable of using their position and authority to satisfy their own personal, perverse needs even while heading a committee designed to prevent the exploitation of our children. But what is surprising is that Foley conducted this show right under the noses of other congress men and women, their aides, the media, the people of the capitol, both highly placed and lowly placed. He stalked and attempted to exploit the children of those who pay his salary and those who gave him their vote. Now that he has been outed, there are all kinds of outcries, indignation, even "shock." But the fact is, it was well known. The kids knew it, the aides, the peripheral workers, and other congress men and women. It speaks very poorly for the people we choose to represent us.
It struck me that we have the same situation here. We have a group of people, the Guardianship Board. Their job, among other things, is to certify, apply standards, and oversee the guardianship program. When I was trying to get them to look at Care Planning Associates' and Henry Judson's theft of my 87 year old mother, they hid behind broad, baggy language, language that permitted them to take just a few cases and tell the others to, in effect, "eat the theft"or "learn to live with court supported criminals." Now the board has refined their complaint procedure. They take complaints that are referred to them by the court. The catch is that the courts don't refer and the board knows it. This leaves them free to meet, tweak the words in the guardianship writings, and have coffee and cookies while looking as if they are doing something other than accepting perversion just as Washington DC had done. They know the courts are rubber stamping guardianship theft of the vulnerable (just look at Veletegui's acceptance of the theft of my mother if that doesn't seem possible. They know that unscrupulous guardians and their sleazy attorneys are stalking, preying upon, and stealing both the lives and the assets of those too weak to stop them. When it is exposed as it will be, they will do as our congress men and women are doing and pass the buck or claim lack of knowledge, anything but take responsibility.They are cowards and their behavior is immoral, at best. The teenage pages are vulnerable, but not, I suspect anywhere near as vulnerable as our elderly and incapacitated loved ones.
The men and women on the Guardianship Board who are members of the judiciary need to be vote out. They are contributing to horrendous crimes. I will post their names here and will follow their "judicial" careers. The voters need to be informed as to what they are doing - or more importantly, what they are not doing. In the year 2005, no complaints were investigated. Our tax dollars pay their salaries, and they are causing great harm to our most vulnerable citizens. Their names will go on the national site also and hopefully be picked up by court watch groups.
LINKS TO WEBSITES ALL ACROSS AMERICA :
The creators of these websites are the brave and hardworking people who will eventually bring the guardianship program to its knees, disinfect it, remove the maggots and cockroaches, and make this program be what the people and the legislators intended it to be - a helping hand to those who can no longer help themselves. The sites are listed in no particular order.
www.freenancy.com - this site details the heartbreaking story of Nancy's family's attempts to free her from an unwanted guardianship. This battle has taken them all to the U.S.Supreme Court, and it's not finished yet. http://ravenwest.net- Raven West is an author, columnist, and third year law student. She has a book coming out in August detailing her father's experience with a guardianship. The title of her book is Blood Tastes Lousy with Scotch. www.victimsofguardians.net - Just when you think it can't get any worse than it is, you read about what has happened in New York. Go this site and read about Judge Lebedeff's give-away to criminal guardians. Needless to say, the money she gave away didn't come from her pocket. It's absolutely unbelievable. http://www.justiceforfloridaseniors.org/ Justice for Florida Seniors I was fascinated by the "Dirty Guardian Tricks." It wouldn't paste, or I would have it here. I was especially interested in Number 2 - selling houses to a land trust for lowball prices then reselling later at a much higher price. Care Planning Associates was terribly interested in my mother's home. When I checked property transfers for the guardianships, CPA and GSS had a disproportionately high number. This alone would be well worth an investigation. Also, Number 6 and 9 were techniques used by CPA. They twisted and distorted the flimsiest facts to try to stay in the picture to steal the remainder of my mother's assets. She, of course, was charged for their deceit. Number 9 refers to the use of attorneys. CPA let their attorney charge for everything under the sun - non legal things, ludicrous things, things no business in its right mind would pay for - but they knew my mom would foot the bill. All they had to do was find a tacky, low class, out of work attorney, put him on the payroll and he was set for life -he could rip off every helpless human being placed into their "care" and recycled to him after they filled their pockets. And he could do it with the approval, support, and encouragement of a corrupt court. Unbelievable! But true! Check out the other dirty tricks at this site.
courts. The Seattle Ex Parte department has a lot of equally dirty company.
the story of her mother's experience with corrupt guardians and shares information
about other corrupt guardianships.
http://www.elderabusehelp.org - Visit this excellent and informative site to see what Ray is doing to save his mother from another unnecessary guardianship. Dr. Vernon Sinn is a physician with a law degree and a researcher in Illinois. He took ill and wasn't expected to survive. A guardianship slithered in and when Dr. Sinn recovered, he found that the guardians had taken everything he had - his money, his home, his possessions, and even his cat. To date, Dr. Sinn has not been able to get any of his possessions back, nor has the state held the guardians accountable for the theft. Dr. Sinn can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org The Washington Post: The investigative series can be found at this link - A Broken System. I guess I will never become blase about the level to which the human race can fall. In WA D.C. the loathsome attorneys have been able to cut the guardians out of the picture. Thus, the attorneys can neglect and destroy what is left of the victims' lives while emptying the assets into their pockets without having to share with the guardians. This sleazy theft of the powerless has the whole hearted approval of the D.C.court system - more judicial giveaway. I'd rather dine on road kill (and I'm terribly, terribly squeamish) than have to know that this sickness - found in Seattle, in D,C., in Los Angeles, in Indiana, in Florida, in New York,(the list is endless). is the state of our "justice system"
A national campaign has begun - the goal, of course, is to clean up the program, take out the trash, etc. But I hope also, that some day we will see the faces of Miller, Ayana, Judson, Velategui on the front page of one of the Seattle papers right next to all of the pages of their greedy theft of vulnerable victims alongside Velategui's sick, sick "ruling." I hope we'll see the creation of a National Hall of Shame with the pictures and deeds posted of all the depraved guardians, attorneys, and judges - nationwide - so that we can never forget the degradation of our justice system and the depravity to which those we trusted can fall. This Hall of Shame could serve as a registry of those who should never be permitted near a vulnerable person or unattended money. This National Hall of Shame could also serve as a reminder that vigilance is required - for all people and for all programs that (like our government) were designed to serve us - not to victimize us, not to exploit, not to provide farcical relief, and certainly not to bring shame on a system for which we paid and gave our support and trust.
The New York Post tells the story of a beloved judge who has become the victim of a greedy guardianship Hospice Patients Alliance - Apparently even dying won't save you from guardianship greed. This link shows how the hospice workers are trying to protect the dying from predatory guardianships. Probate link - this link was sent by a reader. At this site many people share their awful experiences with probate courts. Jasper County Justice - This site details how a child who wanted to care for a mother, instead became a target. Dee's Dad - An absolutely disgusting example of self-dealing and due process in Connecticut. The AARP Guardianship Survey - This is the first survey done in the last fifteen years. It is sixty some pages of information on the guardianship program across the nation.
JOIN the National Association to Stop Guardianship Abuse
Join the discussion - Share your ideas - Lets change the laws and Stop the Predators!