As you are aware, when I was engaged by the Friends and family of Mary Sykes to investigate the unusual circumstances that surrounded her being isolated (by Court order) and her assets being removed from her possession, I ran into a ‘fire storm.’ The promulgators were the two guardian ad litem and the attorney for the plenary guardian. Well knowing that if my investigation of what appeared to be gross ‘elder abuse’ and unconscionable financial exploitation of Mary Sykes was unethical under the rules that govern the practice of law in Illinois then the place to bring a request for an inquiry was the Attorney Registration and Discipline Commission.
Mr. Stern, Ms Farenga, and Mr. Schmiedel however filed in the Circuit Court of Cook County a Motion to sanction me in what was in my opinion a blatant attempt to intimidate me and end my investigation. The fact that Illinois Statutes 735 ILCS 110/1 et seq. (Citizen Participation Act) prohibits the very conduct that was being perpetrated against me was of no concern to anyone, least of all the Circuit Court. Most seriously the Court and the Court appointed guardians were totally disinterested in the fact that there were protections afforded Mary Sykes that had been ignored. The Appellate Court had previously ruled that these basic protections were ‘jurisdictional.’
When the Circuit Court rejected my arguments that it lacked jurisdiction on several basis, the Court awarded almost $5000.00 in sanctions against me. I took an appeal and then did a more comprehensive investigation as to why there should an effort to prevent me from doing the due diligence that Supreme Court Rule 137 , and FRCP 11 mandated as necessary before an attorney can agree to becoming engaged in litigation. I soon found out! The tip of the iceberg was the fact that Mary Sykes owned a safety deposit box and therein were fungible ‘gold (Au) coins,’ fungible United States Dollars, ‘ jewelry, and other valuables. Today with the rise in the value of gold it is estimated that the ‘loot’ had a street value of more than a million dollars.
My appeal addressed two major legal concepts. 1) the sanction motion was brought under Supreme Court Rule 137 which was directed at false pleadings filed in pending court proceedings, and 2) jurisdiction. As I was at best a stranger to Mary’s estate litigation, until I filed an appearance for someone the Court lacked jurisdiction over me. I had not done so – all I did was start the inquiry process. In addition, it appeared to me that the Court was over-reaching in its claim of any jurisdiction. The case of In re: Sodini required that Mary be protected from a ‘railroad job!’ The statute required that 14 days notice to close relatives. Mr. Schmiedel is not shy in admitting that no notice was given to close relatives! Sodini points out that the failure to give this notice is not a casual requirement that can be ignored – it is jurisdictional. Thus, without the Sodini notice it is respectfully suggested the guardians are acting without Court authority. The judge sitting on the bench may be wearing a ‘robe’ but the judge might just as well be sitting his/her basement dispensing justice to the neighborhood children – the proceeding without jurisdiction has not binding force and effect.
Unfortunately, the Appellate Court was not interested in the more sophisticated jurisdictional deficiency. (It would have been a surprise if it had been). However, even though all that would have to be done would be for the plenary guardian (or the GALs) to request a proper hearing and give the close relatives 14 day notice the Court would have been clothe with jurisdiction and then *****. It is respectfully suggested that Stern, Farenga, and Schmiedel were interested in thwarting my investigation because it was reasonable to assume that a scintilla of due diligence would unearth this jurisdictional deficiency.
As the Courts appear to not be interested in addressing in the Sykes case the Sodini issues, the sanction award was vacated upon the more basic jurisdictional deficiency – I was and always have been a stranger to the Mary Sykes case. Thus, I am not subject to Court sanctions. That is not to say that the Supreme Court of Illinois will not investigate to determine if questioning the conduct of such august persons as Farenga, Stern, Troepe, and Schmiedel is unethical – Indeed, the ARDC is investigating me! All of the above persons have been reported to have made frantic pleas to the Attorney Registration and Discipline Commission to investigate me! It is interesting that no investigation is going on to ascertain why the plenary guardian denies Mary Sykes visitation with her (Mary’s) siblings, her younger daughter, her friends, her neighbors. Indeed there is no investigation in the ‘looting’ of the safety deposit box, etc. The investigation is whether on not is it unethical to inquire as to the foregoing!
All that said, as the guardians have discovered even a cloutless attorney with a neighborhood office has ‘teeth!’ The sanction motion is ‘garden variety’ malicious prosecution. 735 ILCS 110/1 et seq. (Citizen Participation Act) provides a State of Illinois claim to sue to recover the lost remuneration, anxiety, etc that I suffered as the result of the sanction motion. 42 USCA 1983 provides a remedy to sue in the Federal Court based upon the fact that Mr. Stern and Mr. Schmiedel (and possibly Farenga) used their office to attempt to deny me my First Amendment Rights. (Right of Association).
All that said, I would trade these causes of action for Justice for Mary Sykes. All that is required is for Mr. Stern, and Ms. Farenga to do their jobs. Turning a blind eye to the financial exploitation, spoliation of evidence, isolation and abuse of Mary Sykes may be the MO that is the current vogue, but Mary Sykes and Gloria Sykes are innocents – the fact that Mary Sykes has a few coins (worth a million plus dollars) should not be the focus – the focus should be honesty, honor, integrity, and good will toward all men.
This is the Christmas Season. America needs a Christmas present – giving Mary Sykes back her life and whatever property that has not been dissipated would be ‘good start!’
Legal Disclaimer (added because the ARDC is on my butt)!
Although this is obvious, no person in this blog has been accused of any wrongdoing, crime or even arrested unless stated otherwise from a website reporting actual arrests and convictions. We are stating our opinions and we have the right to do this. Only the particular author is responsible for his or her content. (So don’t blame me if you dislike some posts from someone else). This site is newsworthy because it is picked up automatically by many other blogs and is therefore protected by the First Amendment of the US Constitution and the Illinois State Constution and violations will be taken serious with charges under the Illinos Citizens Participation Act. We ARE participating in government here–we are lawyers trying to make a difference to make things better for grandma and grandpa. We don’t care how much money you’re making–directly or indirectly from Probate or a nursing home or home health care wired-in business. Do yourself a favor and get a different job, it’s not worth it.