Thanks for passing this along. I understand before whatever the hearing board does is made final, Ken will be able to submit more argument after learning of specific findings of fact.
Thanks again, you are a great writer and don’t be shy.
First of all, approximately 3 years ago, the attorney for the older sister (Carolyn) in the Sykes case, AND the “special” guardian ad litem called Ken in his office, within an hour of each other, each threatening to file a claim before the ARDC. They threatened to have Ken brought up on charges before the Circuit Court, as they said that the Court had ruled that there was to be no further inquiry into the Sykes case. At that time, I was in the office almost every day because of Ken’s problems with secretaries quitting and/or being sick and I was there when they called. Ken put the calls on speakerphone so I heard them. Ken was livid at this threat.
About a year to a year and a half ago, an ARDC claim was filed by the attorney for Carolyn (Peter Schmiedel), and the two guardians ad litem: the original guardian, Cynthia Farenga and the special guardian ad litem, Adam Stern. When Ken continued to investigate they filed a petition in the Circuit Court for sanctions, and Ken was eventually declared “a bad boy”. He appealed the case,and the claim was THROWN OUT FOR WANT OF JURISDICTION by the APPELLATE court.
After Ken won in the Appellate Court, the undeterred GALs (guardians ad litem) continued to press charges and filed the instant proceedings with the ARDC, with fifteen claims that Ken lied, was deceitful and was interfering with the course of justice and that he had sent emails. Ken had sent the emails, and of course admitted that. BUT he asked for specifics. You have taught law classes and you know that vague claims are not allowed. During the discovery process, the attorney for the ARDC admitted that the ARDC did not have information on what Ken had lied about or how he had interfered with the administration of justice. Of course, then Ken filed a motion to have the ARDC charges disallowed for want of knowledge, clarity and specificity. The first indication that this might not be a level ground proceeding was that Ken’s motion was denied. So he had to defend himself against essentially unknown charges.
Once he came to the hearing, the chief hearing officer sustained every motion of the ARDC to squelch any questioning that had to do with the truth or falsity of what Ken had said, calling it “trying the underlying case”. What was the underlying case? Ken has not appeared for anyone in “the underlying case”. The attorney for the ARDC administrator spent over an hour emphasizing that Ken had been sanctioned by the ARDC, and tried to ignore the actions of the Circuit and Appellate Court on the case which the appellate court had thrown out. By allowing this to proceed, was the hearing officer impartial? Well, I’m not impartial either, but I don’t think it came through as something which properly should have been allowed to occur.
The hearing officer had over-ruled Ken’s objection to telephone testimony by a physician whom Ken had contacted regarding the facts of something that Ken had written to the doctor and was supposed to be in the doctor’s files. When the telephone testimony occurred, the doctor could not find the document or the place on the document to which the ARDC attorney was referring. (All the other witnesses had the benefit of this attorney coming over to them and showing them where to look). Eventually, the hearing officer got so frustrated that he asked to speak to the court reporter at the doctor’s office. The doctor’s reply was “She’s not here”. The hearing officer let this travesty of testimony continue for several minutes before finally stating that the doctor would have to come and testify in person on Friday. If the court reporter who had been hired by the ARDC was noton the scene and recording what was happening, how could the hearing officer hear the testimony, if this was a level field hearing?
The hearing officer had allowed two days (Thursday and Friday) for the hearing and stated firmly that that was all the time allotted. He said that both sides, the ARDC and Ken, had thought it would take only one day, and he had allotted the second day only as an emergency spillover. Then he allowed the ARDC to put on its case until I think it was four o’clock on Friday afternoon. Is this a level playing field?
Nevertheless, with all the obstacles presented, Ken and his attorney were able to show that the older daughter’s attorney KNEW that money which had been frozen by the court system at his request was money involved in an insurance claim in which Gloria (the younger daughter) was the only litigant: the money had NOTHING to do with the old lady. They were able to get the “special” guardian ad litem to admit that the mother was living in Du Page county, when the statute shows that probate proceedings MUST take place in the county in which the person at risk of guardianship actually lived, which was not Cook County; that Mrs. Sykes living sisters (required specifically by the law) had never been formally notified that they had the right to be at any guardianship hearing, the mother was only told of her rights to an attorney of her choice and a six person jury in a meeting in the home of the daughter whom the mother had specifically asked for an order of protection against, by this guardian — so this did not meet the legal requirements. No one contested the claim that Ken has voiced that the mother had been admitted to the hospital for a swallowing disorder only AFTER she had lost 10% of her body weight, nor had the guardians ad litem done anything to protect their ward’s health. The guardian ad litem actually stated that “these things happen to these people” — ie, preventable illness in his ward is none of his duty as the “eyes and ears of the court”. The second guardian ad litem admitted that the only time she ever saw Mrs. Sykes was when the older daughter brought her to her office in Evanston because “Naperville was too far away” and the other guardian lived closer. That is precisely why the Statute says that the proceedings must take place in the county where the person resides. Naperville is in Du Page county, so she knew that she was not a qualified guardian under the statute. Ken and his attorney were able to bring in the transcript in which the first judge in the case clearly said that if the MD (the one with the telephone testimony travesty and Mary’s long time physician) would not sign the form which said that Mrs Sykes was incompetent , the guardians should find another doctor who would–i.e., go doctor shopping And, when he cross examined the first guardian ad litem, Ken was able to get him to admit that there were two doctors who routinely sign such documents and one of them was the doctor who signed the paper for Mrs. Sykes. Finally, Ken’s attorney, when cross-examining the Evanston guardian, got her to admit that the older daughter was allowed to drill a safety deposit box with neither guardian ad litem present, even though they had received all these emails, because they “KNEW” that the gold in the box was imaginary. When they called Ken as an adverse witness, he had the chance to give the four reasons he had to believe that the gold was real: 1) when he drew a will for Mrs. Sykes some years ago, he had properly investigated the size and type of estate he was drawing a will for; 2) Mrs. Sykes sister had told him of the way in which at least part of it had been acquired (inheritance from a specific estate), 3) he had seen one of the coins, so he was able to describe it to coin dealers and/or look up its value in coin catalogs so that he could estimate the total value at that time of the treasure, and 4) that the person accused of having taken the gold without inventory had never denied the allegation. Remember, he was under oath and he is supposed to be presumed innocent and therefore telling the truth. Ken was able to state that he had been asking for investigations by Law Enforcement of activities which did not seem to fit any definition of proper behavior, and that he had been open in all his emails so that the various complainants could not complain that he was acting behind their backs.
The only action which the ARDC attorneys took to “prove” that Ken was telling lies was having the various witnesses they call deny (of course all were under oath) that they had ever done anything illegal — but over and over and over again– clearly another time waster. Last time I studied the matter, in the U.S., a person is innocent until proven guilty — in this level of hearing, by clear and convincing evidence. Under oath these witnesses had admitted that they had not performed the duties required by the law, had not protected Mrs. Sykes interests, had trampled over the rights of others, all of the matters that Ken had been calling for an investigation of. No evidence was given that anyone had ever done anything except to ask what “he said” or “she said”. Ken’s attorney brought out that the fact that these guardians had remained active in the case for no pay was not the ordinary course of legal practice of private attorneys who have bills to pay. Ken specified exactly how much he had been paid (very very little and only at the outset) and that he had an escrow fund that includes more that what he can possibly ever be called upon to return, and that he was acting as a concerned citizen after he had been barred from representing any party in the case… and also because as a lawyer he is bound by an actual mandatory reporting law for questionable behavior of other lawyers or governmental officials. This is called the Himmel rule, after an adjudication. The behavior of the guardians’ ad Litem, the judges, the attorney for the older sister, make it clear that they believe that ONCE a malfeasance has been reported, peons cannot report it again if no investigation has been made by a third party. This is not the clear intent of the ruling of the court which promulgated this rule, nor of the baseline statute. Of course, in their opening statement, the ARDC attorneys had stated that Ken had raised the spector of the Greylord hearings just when the public was beginning to respect the Cook County courts after so many years. No doubt or question about that: most of Ken’s emails had had the word Greylord in their title!!!
Ken was under oath; having been called as an adverse witness, he was able to bring material that had previously been disallowed to the attention of the court. Since the order was apparently written before the hearing officers left for the day.. it was issued early on Monday, obviously, Ken’s exculpatory evidence had clearly never been looked at — again, the presumption of innocence was ignored. Is this a level playing field???
When the transcript is issued… and obviously, the hearing officers relied “only” on their memory of what they had heard …all of this will be part of the public record. In the meantime, the charges against Ken have been on the internet for months and no doubt the order is there now too.
In the meantime, Ken’s attorney showed that the doctor knew that the way in which Ken had phrased his questions did not make it mandatory that he respond. He also showed that the amount of time that the guardian ad litems and the attorney for the older daughter had spent was clearly optional on their part, as they had never sent their copies of the email to spam, formally requested of Ken that he stop copying them on the emails, or taken any action short of the ARDC to stop getting the emails. Meanwhile the ARDC lawyers attempted to break copyright laws by putting blogs into evidence without permission of the copyright owners of the blogs. This is one of the few things they were not allowed to do.
Interestingly, the effect of Ken’s campaign has actually allowed vulnerable people to call upon the “Sodini rule” (an appelate court case relating to the laws of guardianship which I mentioned above), get their hearings, and not be declared wards of the court without due process, have their civil liberties abrogated and the money they worked for all their lives squandered by guardians and kept from their children and grandchildren and rightful heirs. Is this interfering with justice? which was one of the fifteen counts, or is it interfering with nefarious activity?
Why should Ken need character witnesses? He was not accused of stealing from the elderly! He was accused of telling lies about public officials, and the officials under oath were forced to admit the truth of some of those accusations despite the active assistance of the chief hearing officer with the attempts of the ARDC attorneys to bar this evidence. Over the two days, about fifteen people came in to witness the hearing, and that did not include Naomi and myself. Those who could stayed the whole time. One lady who came had a family member from whom nine million dollars was extracted. In another case, I think in Colorado, a ward died under strange circumstances and her body was cremated within hours. The General Accounting Office wrote a report last year stating that elderly abuse by state officials is endemic nationwide. Was this a level playing field? I’m not unbiased, but I still think not. How was the field tilted? There has been plenty of evidence in the past few years about how such things have been done in other cases. Is it likely that what looks like a duck, quacks like a duck, swims like a duck, breaks bones like a duck is a duck??????
Ken is not playing dead by any means. Exactly how he intends to go about ordering the evidence that he has been railroaded is still being decided.
From Joanne again;
Great job and wonderful observations and summary. I only had to correct a few words and typos. You did great and raised some wonderful questions regarding the proceeding.
My question is, how did they spend soooo much time on soooo much testimony regarding what was or was not done in the Sykes probate case when it is clear from the record 95% of those actions occurred when the court had no jurisdiction?
Not having jurisdiction is like the accused who is convicted and spends 3 years in prison when he was never in fact arrested or tried. So everyone talks about the incarceration for 2 days? I don’t get that.
And it’s not like you need witnesses to prove that point. There are 3 declarations on this website from the younger daughter and two elderly sisters of Mary attesting to the fact that they never received 14 days advanced written notice from the petitioner of the date, time and place of hearing, meaning the court actually lost jurisdiction and became a nullity on December 7, 2009. It’s all in writing. The records are published on this website. 3 declarations and a court order from November 18, 2009 setting the hearing date says it all.
The rest is actually history, but I don’t understand how or why the hearing board had to go any further after that.
Working without jurisdiction incurs great liability on all the attys involved in the case and the two judges. The first judge actually sits on the Court of Appeals for the 2nd district and she could not figure out a simple case of jurisdiction? She ran the Sykes probate court from December 7, 2009 until December 23, 2010 without jurisdiction, issuing about an order per month–and all of those orders weren’t worth the Charmin they were printed on!
I guess I don’t understand the ARDC hearing process at all. They accuse Ken of misconduct while at the same time, there was an elephant pooing in their courtroom and they claim not to see the elephant or the mounds of elephant poo.
No one has explained the elephant and the elephant poop to me yet.