CONFIRMED BY ILL. SUPREME COURT– YOU ARE VIEWING THE MOST DANGEROUS BLOG IN ILLINOIS. This blog warranted a 3 year suspension by the ARDC/Jerome Larkin! Mottos: "Sunlight is the best disinfectant". Justice Louis Brandeis ; "If the truth can destroy something, then it deserves to be destroyed" Carl Sagan; "Justice is Truth in Action" Benjamin Disraeli. Illinois uses the ARDC to quash dissenting attorney activist blogs ; "The freedom of the press is one of the greatest bulwarks of liberty, and can never be restrained but by despotic Governments" — (1776-First Amendment preamble adopted by 8 US colonies)
A Qui Tam is the “false claims act” or “king’s suit” against anyone stealing from the kind (state or federal government).
More details surface in nursing home case
David Jackson and Gary Marx, Tribune reporters
Court documents filed this week add new details to a whistle-blower lawsuit alleging that the giant pharmaceutical firm Omnicare Inc. paid kickbacks to one of Illinois’ most prominent nursing home families.
The new filing, which contains 164 pages of internal company records and other documents, is intended to bolster pending civil allegations that Omnicare significantly inflated the purchase price it paid in 2004 for a pharmacy company purportedly controlled by Chicago nursing home operators Philip Esformes and his father, Morris Esformes.
Omnicare’s $32 million purchase of that company, Total Pharmacy, included roughly $16 million that was a kickback to secure long-term pharmacy contracts with nearly three dozen nursing homes the Esformeses operated or influenced, the lawsuit alleges. Federal anti-kickback laws prohibit pharmacies from paying nursing home owners to induce them to buy that pharmacy’s products with Medicaid or Medicare dollars.
The new documents include copies of handwritten notes from a March 2004 meeting at Morris Esformes’ Lincolnwood headquarters between Omnicare CEO Joel Gemunder and Morris Esformes to discuss the sale of Total Pharmacy to Omnicare.
The lawsuit alleges that Gemunder offered to pay $15 million for Total Pharmacy if three-year contracts were in place with Esformes-controlled homes, $20 million if there were five-year contracts and $25 million if there were 10-year contracts. In the final sale, Omnicare paid the $25 million and let Total Pharmacy keep $7 million worth of accounts receivable, making the sale worth $32 million, according to the lawsuit.
The new court filing also includes other handwritten notes taken two days after the meeting that allegedly show Morris Esformes agreed to backdate nursing home pharmacy contracts “in order to avoid the appearance of impropriety,” according to the lawsuit.
Philip and Morris Esformes, who are listed as part-owners of 28 nursing homes in Illinois and Florida, and allegedly had ties to others in Missouri, declined to comment but denied wrongdoing through their attorneys. They have not been charged with any crime in the sale of Total Pharmacy.
Omnicare — which supplies medicine to roughly 1.4 million nursing home residents in facilities across the U.S. and enjoys an 85 percent share of this market — also declined comment but has told the Tribune the allegations are without merit and that the company “intends to vigorously defend itself.”
Daniel Purdom, an attorney for Total Pharmacy, said there was no wrongdoing in the sale. Purdom also denied that Morris Esformes was involved in the sale to Omnicare, saying Esformes had no ownership or control of Total Pharmacy.
The lawsuit was brought by two industry insiders: pharmacy executive Maureen Nehls, who served as vice president of pharmacy operations for Total Pharmacy, and former health care dealmaker Adam Resnick, a self-described addicted gambler who recently served a 25-month federal prison sentence for his role in a $10 million check-kiting scheme that led to the collapse of Universal Federal Savings Bank in Chicago’s Pilsen community. Resnick was a consultant to Total Pharmacy at the time of the sale.
The Esformeses own some of the best-known and most troubled nursing homes in the Chicago area, including Presidential Pavilion in Chicago and south suburban Burnham Healthcare, and have been the subject of law enforcement investigations in Florida, Missouri and Illinois.
The Tribune in April reported that the Esformeses were embroiled in what prosecutors called a “horrific” patient-brokering scheme in which unsuspecting nursing home residents were shuttled to and from a local psychiatric hospital for unnecessary treatments. The Esformeses have denied wrongdoing in that case and were not charged.
Government authorities in Boston have won settlements in federal court based on Resnick’s information about other deals involving Omnicare and separate East Coast nursing home chains.
The False Claims Act allows private citizens to file lawsuits against companies and individuals defrauding the government and recover funds on the government’s behalf.
The Omnicare kickback allegations — first filed under seal in 2007 — became public in March, when Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan followed the U.S. Justice Department’s lead and declined to intervene in the case after a three-year investigation.
The government’s decision to decline to intervene in a False Claims Act does not mean the case has no merits, experts say, as government authorities often lack the resources to prosecute complex white-collar cases and can intervene at a later date.
Omnicare provides drugs to my mother at the Sunrise facility in Issaquah, WA. I have in fact questioned a number of times the number and quantity of drugs my mother is given day after day. When we were visiting her earlier this year in WA we questioned what medications she was being given. Sheila was tracked down and verbally assaulted for inquiring what the drugs were that my mother was being given in the middle of day. After my father passed, my mother was denied the right to attend his funeral and instead of being provided grief counseling was loaded up even more on drugs. I formally objected and got the meds reduced. It appears Omnicare was involved in the ongoing “drugging” of the grandmas in Sunrise facilities. I would like to pursue. It appears that Ohana has been paying Omnicare for a number of questionable drugs. If you find anything more about Omnicare and additional information about their “activities” including specific assisted living facilities also involved please advise. And if you can just send the actual Omnicare/CVS article I would appreciate it. This is also pertinent in that it appears that this investigation was conducted by HHS while another part of HHS is defending their denial of our elderly the protections of the HIPPA laws. If you recall I had challenged HHS regarding Ohana and Northwest Geriactrics refusal to provide medical information despite mom signing HIPPA forms that provided my access to her medical information. If families are blocked from receiving medical information this type of fraud goes unchecked–we simply don’t know it is occurring. When we ask we are chastised for “interfering” I would like to restate my objections to HHS and push the matter higher up the chain of command within HHS.
As we all know, gaining control of medical information allows these b…..ds to take over our families lives. Take the HIPPA tool away and I suspect much of the abuse would at least be more difficult. Thank you for distributing this kind of information. We never know when information like this has value.
Omnicare and the Esformes group have been accused before of Pharmaceutical Frauds. The Company is now owned by CVS Health – and it makes a ton of money. I ran across the following article quite by accident, to wit:
This article explains clearly how nursing home residents rarely see a doctor but are billed for thousands of dollars in prescription drugs–many of which may no longer be needed, or different drugs may be needed, but all Omnicare/CVS wants to do is make money. The nursing homes want to bill for doctors that are never seen and drugs illegally dispensed and used. How does this go on when the courts force our elderly and disabled into nursing homes when they can be cared for at home by family? (Sykes, Gore, Hopkins, etc.?)
From Kenneth Ditkowsky:
Omnicare and the Esformes group have been accused before of Pharmaceutical Frauds. The Company is now owned by CVS Health – and it makes a ton of money. I ran across the following article quite by accident, to wit:
CVS acquired Omnicare in May 2015, and shortly thereafter assumed an active role in overseeing its operations, including pharmacy dispensing practices and systems, according to the AG’s office.
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Omnicare allegedly fraudulently billed federal healthcare programs for hundreds of thousands of non-controlled prescription drugs dispensed based on stale, invalid prescriptions to elderly and disabled individuals in assisted living facilities, group homes, independent living communities and other non-skilled residential long-term care facilities, according to the Government’s Complaint that seeks damages and civil penalties under the False Claims Act.
Senior Omnicare and CVS management allegedly knew that pharmacies were routinely dispensing drugs without valid prescriptions, but they failed to begin to address the problem until after they found out about the investigation, according to Geoffrey S. Berman, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, and Scott J. Lampert, Special Agent in Charge of the New York Regional Office of the HHS-OIG.
In addition, Omnicare knowingly transmitted false information to Medicare, Medicaid and TRICARE that made it appear that drug dispensations were supported by current, valid prescriptions from physicians when in fact they were not, the complaint said.
WHY THIS MATTERS
Omnicare’s practice exposed vulnerable individuals to a significant risk of harm, the complaint said.
Many of the drugs treat serious, chronic conditions, such as dementia, depression, and heart disease. They include antipsychotics, anticonvulsants, cardiovascular medications, and antidepressants.
Omnicare jeopardized the health of thousands of individuals who continued to take the same drugs for months, and sometimes years, without consulting their doctors to determine whether the medications were still clinically appropriate, the complaint said.
In contrast to traditional skilled nursing homes, where residents have access to 24-hour medical care supervised by doctors, assisted living and other non-skilled residential facilities generally do not have doctors on staff to oversee and monitor residents’ drug therapy.
The lawsuit alleges that Omnicare failed to obtain new prescriptions from patients’ doctors after the old ones had expired or run out of refills. Instead, Omnicare assigned a new number to the old prescription. Omnicare internally referred to these as “rollover” prescriptions. The company sometimes allegedly assigned a fake number of authorized refills to a prescription – usually 99 allowable refills for Medicare patients – to allow for continuous refilling. Many pharmacies had to process and dispense thousands of orders each day.
THE LARGER TREND
Omnicare is the country’s largest provider of pharmacy services to long-term care facilities, operating approximately 160 pharmacies in 47 states across the country, according to the complaint.
Every year, Omnicare dispenses tens of millions of prescription drugs to long-term care and other facilities.
The government intervened in two private whistleblower lawsuits that had previously been filed under seal pursuant to the False Claims Act.
ON THE RECORD
Manhattan U.S. Attorney Geoffrey S. Berman said: “A pharmacy’s fundamental obligation is to ensure that drugs are dispensed only under the supervision of treating doctors who monitor patients’ drug therapies. Omnicare blatantly ignored this obligation in favor of pushing drugs out the door as quickly as possible to make more money.”
· This lawsuit against Omnicare is part of a series of charges by the Federal Government of criminal conduct by the supplier of Pharmaceuticals. Everyone has heard of the Opioid crisis in the ‘sheltered care homes.’ The media beats its head in pretended rage and covers up the cause. The political elite and Law Enforcement cry loudly that they are frustrated and are in tears over their alleged inability to address the problem. The Medical profession et al similarly cry out in horror and demand a solution, and the public buys into the one act play and it also dons sack cloth and ashes.
In Truth everyone is laughing at the ‘great unwashed.’ The laugh all the way to the Bank at how gullible we are in the same manner they laugh at us as we allow the HUMAN TRAFFICKING IN THE ELDERLY (ELDER CLEANSING) crimes to continue unabated. We buy into the whole scenario! All we have to do is search on the net for the Words “Esformes” and Omnicare and our vulnerability is exposed. For example:
Omnicare Agrees To Settle Suit Over Reimbursement Claims
Omnicare, Inc., based in Covington, Kentucky, agreed to settle a lawsuit alleging it submitted false claims for reimbursement to government health insurers and paid a “kickback” when it bought the pharmacy company, Total Pharmacy Services, LLC. Omnicare is a company that supplies drugs to nursing homes. The 2007 lawsuit was filed by whistleblower, Maureen Nehls. A hearing is set on September 25, 2012 by U.S. District Judge John J. Tharp, Jr. A complaint was initially filed in 2006 by Nehls and an additional whistleblower, Adam Resnick. Resnick plead guilty and was sentenced in 2007 to 42 months in prison for “siphoning $10.2 million from Universal Federal Savings Bank in 2001 and 2002.” As a result, Universal had to fold and Resnick was eventually paid a settlement of 19.9 million for this suit.
Omnicare, Nehls claimed, purchased Total Pharmacy Services LLC in 2004 for $25 million which included a kickback to Philip Esformes, one of the owners, and Morris Esformes, Philip’s father.According to the complaint, the payment provided Omnicare with thousands of elderly and disabled clients through successful contracts with nursing homes controlled by Morris Esformes. Omnicare was also accused of supplying nursing home residents medicine without prescriptions or with missing prescription documentation. On May 11, the case was settled with the Justice Department for $50 million. The DOJ stated it was the “largest controlled substance settlement in history.” Furthermore, Omnicare agreed to pay $98 million, in November 2009, to settle the civil claims by the U.S. government and assorted states that it received kickbacks from Johnson and Johnson.
For the record, last December (2019) Philip Esformes was found guilty of stealing 1.3 billion dollars from Medicare.
Where is Law Enforcement? Where is the public outrage? Why are our elected officials – including Judges et al ignoring this scandal and its profound and outrageous toll on the ELDERLY? This ELDER CLEANSING COTTAGE INDUSTRY is not a fly by night operation – it is a major financial operation even though its illegality is legendary.
Each of the Enron style operation is integrated into the HUMAN TRAFFICKING OF THE ELDERLY (Elder cleansing). The human flotsam (i.e., you and me) who pass through the Elder Cleansing Cottage Industry perpetuate the “tax free” (because no one demands that the INCOME TAXES be paid) bilking of the United States Treasury. This criminal activity is slated to bankrupt Medicare, the Social Security system and maybe our children in a few years. Yet we are lulled by the propaganda and the censorship imposed by the American ‘ruling class!’
Amelia Sallas (07 P 5360) being one of the victims means that as you read this e-mail Dean Sallas, naked, sans his life savings, sans a lawyer, **** is all that prevents you and me from being kidnapped, appointed a guardian, incarcerated in a ‘sheltered care facility,’ placed on a feeding tube, and reduced to a zombie by opioids and other chemicals supplied by Omnicare. There is at this point in time no-one interested in Grandma, you, or me.
When a guardian places an elder charge in a sheltered care facility, the monthly cost always appears to equal the pension payment, minus a few dollars for the guardian’s fee – unless there are other funds to access. It has always amazed me how the cost of the ‘sheltered care’ seemed to correspond to the net cash flow.
During one of the ‘accounting suits’ I filed for certain unhappy nursing home investors I was granted access to the actual books and records of one of these facilities. I appeared with a forensic accountant who had knowledge as to how to address financial data that is prepared by experts to address uncomfortable situations. The financials were enlightening and very revealing. An inspection of a facility managed by the same management revealed even more interesting revelations. Any doubts I had as to the actual state of affairs was dissipated. If I were naïve such a state of mind no longer existed, and I could recognize a spade from a club.
Viewing individual accounts was quite revealing and a bit scary. I would have to be deaf, blind, and very disabled not to observe what was actually occurring. The Enron style labyrinth of corporations was also revealing. It presented a serious question as to what, if anything, State and Federal regulation actually accomplished and/or was intending to accomplish. My own opinion, while not relevant or having meaning, was ‘cover up!’ Indeed, the Philip Esformes criminal trial for stealing 1.3 billion dollars of Medicare money verified my suppositions and opinions. Watching the ‘residents’ in their filthy garments slouching in their wheelchairs (this is Physical therapy in many facilities) in the hallways and imbibing the smell of urine did not make me warm and fuzzy.
When Covid 19 struck the death toll in these ‘sheltered care facilities’ was only a surprise to certain high raking political types, the media, and the promulgators of the NARRATIVE! Emboldened by the retention in places like Illinois of the status quo it appears that the miscreants have gotten bolder. They will need more money because of the Pandemic. Indeed, the following article appeared, to wit:
December 3, 2020
COVID-19 linked to ‘substantial cost increases’ in assisted living: survey
The COVID-19 pandemic contributed to substantial eldercare cost hikes, especially for assisted living and in-home care. That is according to the results of Genworth’s 2020 Cost of Care Survey, announced Wednesday.
Over the course of a single year, assisted living community rates increased by 6.15% to an annual national median cost of $51,600 annually. From 2004 to 2020, assisted living costs have increased an average of 3.8% annually, or 79.17% over time. This compares with a 62.38% increase for a private nursing home room and a 30.22% increase for home health aides in that time period.
Annual assisted living costs ranged from a low of $36,000 in Missouri to a high of $80,280 in Delaware.
In a supplemental study on why costs are increasing, owners and senior administrators of 79 long-term care providers cited a workforce shortage (54%), personal protective equipment costs, wage pressures, higher recruiting, and retention costs, and regulatory, licensing and employee certification costs are forcing them to increase the cost of care they are providing under “extraordinary circumstances.”
“Providers have been competing with higher-paying, less-demanding jobs for years, but with COVID-19, they told us it has become much more difficult to recruit and retain care professionals because of factors such as concerns about exposure to COVID-19 and parents needing to stay home with school-aged children,” said Gordon Saunders, Genworth senior brand marketing manager. For consumers, he said, “COVID-19 has underscored the need to plan ahead for long-term care, considering both where we want to receive care, as well as how we will pay for it.”
Study participants said they had to increase wages — in some cases offering hazard pay up to 50% more for workers in COVID-19 units — and increase spending for training on new safety procedures, testing, PPE and cleaning supplies, and benefits. Many operators (84%) said they were trying to absorb these new costs, but 62% predicted they would need to raise rates in the next six months, and 43% said those increases would top 5% or more. About 25% said their companies offered options to residents to reduce costs, including reduced flat rates, reduced care levels and rate discounts.
Less than half of facility care providers said the demand for their care setting had increased, with more than a fourth saying that demand decreased. This compares with 78% of home care providers indicating that demand for their services had increased. And although a preference for home care is expected to continue among consumers, 67% of survey respondents said they see the demand increasing for assisted living.
Operators also said they anticipate that future residents will have high standards.
“Future residents will continue to look at the same things when choosing a facility — reputation quality of care, access to care, and proximity to their current living situation,” one respondent said. “What will change is how the pandemic affects a facility’s ability to provide those things. The financial constraints providers are going through is going to make it difficult to maintain a higher quality of care.”
The 2020 study results came from about 15,000 surveys completed by key decision makers in assisted living communities, nursing homes, adult day health facilities and home care providers contacted by CareScout, a Genworth Financial company.
I have pointed out previously that diversion is the MO of the miscreants and it is gobbled up with gusto by many of the advocates fighting against ‘ELDER CLEANSING’ and the HUMAN TRAFFICKING IN THE ELDERLY cottage industry. We are essentially “babes in the woods!” We are mollified when we are offered meaningless legislation that goes unenforced as it is duplicitous of other statutes and the Uniform Legislation enacted by 41 states and has jurisdictional mandates such as 755 ILCS 5/11a – 3. The straightforward words and phrases are ignored. Simple requirements are tortured with deceptive orders and actions designed to deceive. The Sallas is a prime example. The statute states in simple words and phrases, to wit:
Sec. 11a-3. Adjudication of disability; Power to appoint guardian. (a) Upon the filing of a petition by a reputable person or by the alleged person with a disability himself or on its own motion, the court may adjudge a person to be a person with a disability, but only if it has been demonstrated by clear and convincing evidence that the person is a person with a disability as defined in Section 11a-2. If the court adjudges a person to be a person with a disability, the court may appoint (1) a guardian of his person, if it has been demonstrated by clear and convincing evidence that because of his disability he lacks sufficient understanding or capacity to make or communicate responsible decisions concerning the care of his person, or (2) a guardian of his estate, if it has been demonstrated by clear and convincing evidence that because of his disability he is unable to manage his estate or financial affairs, or (3) a guardian of his person and of his estate. (b) Guardianship shall be utilized only as is necessary to promote the well-being of the person with a disability, to protect him from neglect, exploitation, or abuse, and to encourage development of his maximum self-reliance and independence. Guardianship shall be ordered only to the extent necessitated by the individual's actual mental, physical, and adaptive limitations. (Source: P.A. 99-143, eff. 7-27-15.)
In the aforesaid SALLAS case any due diligence by the Guardian ad Litem, the Court, the Petitioner, the attorney for the Petition, or any other living person in the Courtroom would have revealed that Amelia Sallas was currently married to Dean Sallas and had been for almost ½ a Century at that time. Observing Amelia Sallas would have negated any ability of any competent trier of fact to find by a scintilla of the evidence, much less by CLEAR AND CONVINCING EVIDENCE that Amelia was even remotely eligible for the appointment of a guardian.
Nevertheless, over the objections of all who were not intimidated, misled, or worse a guardian of Amelia’s person was appointed. This guardian attempted a diversion to obviate the misuse of the Court but he continued to not interfere with the then living arrangements of Amelia and Dean, her husband. This arrangement continued until Amelia felt sick and exercised openly and notoriously her right and signed herself into a hospital. She did not seek the non-functioning guardian’s permission. (It also appears that Dean himself had started to raise the issue of the fact that the plenary guardian’s interference and domination of the family savings was not only Unconstitutional but a felony! Almost a decade after the guardian was appointed by the Court, he actually took control of Amelia – BUT HE COULD NOT SILENCE DEAN.
Dean has not been silenced but he has been harassed. He has even received DEATH THREATS! At this point in time Dean should be suspicious of everything and anything that might smack of one of miscreants doing something that could be believed to be appropriate.
Let me explain. The guardian of Amelia’s person over-reacted to Amelia’s quest at independence and Dean’s recognition of the overt violation of his personal Civil Rights created a major attack on America’s core values.
1) Everyone knew on day one that the marriage relationship (at that point 40 years in duration) created a MARITAL PROPERTY INTEREST in every dollar of savings independently for Dean and independently for Amelia. This interest was vested indefeasibly! No cause or basis of any kind existed or could exist for the devastation or forfeiture of this vested interest. OneDrive
2) As the savings could not be partitioned any action by the guardian authorized by 755 ILCS 5/11a – 3b would have a material effect on the interests of Dean and would qualify as a ‘taking’ under the 5th and 14th Amendment. No court could without obtaining jurisdiction and providing Dean with all the clothing of due process have SUBJECT MATTER jurisdiction to execute such an order. This lack of SUBJECT MATTER jurisdiction (and personal jurisdiction) is the basis for Dean’s motions to vacate the guardianships nunc pro tunc.
3) The Guardian’s unauthorized but effective by force domination of the Sallas family savings was made clear when the guardian prevented Dean from refinancing during the ‘great recession!’ This domination (theft) cost the ‘marital estate’ over 8 million dollars. The guardian is still engaged in this clearly criminal conduct as illustrated by the case of ByLine Bank vs. Amelia Sallas 2019 CH 13960.
The cry for the need for more money for the ‘death camp’ ‘sheltered care facilities is a diversion. The weak sister facilities will close their doors forever or be gobbled up by more proficient facilities. There might even be another crisis – their just will not be enough nursing homes UNLESS government subsidies them. Horror of horrors will scream the media. By the time they are done with disseminating the “word” as decreed by the HUMAN TRAFFICKERS in the elderly tears will be shed by every knee jerk bleeding heart including but not limited to many who are appalled by the felonies committed against the elderly and the disabled by public officials such as disclosed herein.
You, I , Dean Sallas and everyone reading this e-mail can be deceived by the very clever scenarios that the miscreants can devise. For instance, on the table – after the guardian of the person quit in terror that he might have to face up to Sallas’ awakening that every court proceeding was designed to deny him his Civil and Human Rights and cover-up the fact that without either the consent of he or his wife an ex-parte, involuntary, and de facto dissolution of his marriage of 50 years had secretly been consummated. Of course, no actual order had been entered – the guardian of the person illegally had accomplished that fact. By placing Amelia Sallas in a ‘nursing home’ she was exposed to Covid 19 and more importantly she was averred to have become infected with it. Dean’s inquiries as to the health of his wife were met with “HIPPA!” As the GAL pointed out Dean did not have standing in his wife’s ‘elder cleansing’ proceeding. He was an outsider.
With the resignation the Guardianship of the person was laid bare on the table for the taking. With Dean’s Motions to Dismiss the guardianships for violation of 755 ILCS 5/11a – 3 criteria and jurisdictional requirements if Dean could be induced to apply for the guardianship of the person of his wife he could be totally compromised. A hearing was scheduled for December 1, 2020. Dean smelled the ‘rat’ and telegraphed that he was not walking into the trap. He wanted the case dismissed for the total lack of the “Court” to comply with the Constitution and 755 ILCS 5/11a – 3.
At the time of the hearing, Dean could not connect with the Zoom proceeding. Maybe this was a co=incidence, but he was shut out entirely. He recognized that mischief was afoot. He called one of the Cook County Public Guardian’s attorneys and made contact with her. In his contact with her he tried to get her to convey to the Court his predicament and the fact that under no circumstances did he want anything to be addressed other than the JURISDICTIONAL question. He was not present at the Zoom hearing, but he would have been if he had not been locked out!
Nevertheless, the order states:
“ this matter coming to be heard before this Honorable Court via Zoom video and telephone conference, Dawn Lawkowsky-Keller and Lisa Casanova appearing for the public guardian, Eve Epstein, Guardian ad litem, appearing, Dimitros Trivizas appearing for Tom Sallas (son), Dean Sallas (husband) present, the Court having jurisdiction and being fully advised in the premises: *** “If the Court were indeed fully advised in the premises or even was concerned as to appropriateness of the proceedings the Court would have noted that Dean not only was not “present”, but he was attempting to let the Court know that he was locked out of the Zoom proceeding. The Guardian’s attorney did take his telephone call and did allow him minimum contact – but it is another material misrepresentation of fact to say he was “present.” No matter how it is sliced he (Dean Sallas) was not present. The Court could not have jurisdiction unless the Illinois and the Federal Constitution were abrogated! In case 07 P 5360 integrity and honor are absent in too many of the Court orders entered!
As reiterated in Dean’s pending Motions before the Court detailing some extremely serious law violations on behalf of the Guardian and the Presiding Judge it is not surprising that another order would be entered that is materially misleading in this guardianship proceeding. Of course, I am referring to the proceedings of July 28, 2020.Included in the package that Dean after the fact received was a 2nd order. This was a form order appointing the very same Public Guardian who has been exposed by Court filings in the case of ByLine Bank vs. Amelia Sallas 2019 CH 13960 – Circuit Court of Cook County, to have engaged in a criminal conspiracy with the ByLIne Bank to violate 755 ILCS 5/11a – 22 and in my opinion the Federal Mail and Wire Fraud statutes. The facts are laid out in Dean’s pending Motions. NB Use of a form order that is not based upon substance does nto cure Constitutional violations. It just envokes the need for Grand Jury investigations.
What is significant concerning the Court orders dated December 1, 2020 is that fact that once again the Judge is unconcerned with the obvious and prior overt breaches of Fiduciary Relationship by the Guardian she appointed and who she now appoints as Guardian of person of Amelia Sallas. This Guardian flaunts the RULE OF LAW and any semblance of priority as the Public Guardian of Cook County certainly is aware of the remedial criminal prohibition of 755 ILCS 5/11a – 22 and the jurisdictional limits of 755 ILCS 5/11a – 3b. Ditto for the Presiding Judge who signed the orders. The Court acknowledging that she was “fully advised in the premises” acknowledges her disrespect for the Rule of Law and the limitations of the 1st, 4th, 5th, and 14th Amendments to the UNITED STATES CONSTITUTION
Diversion is the not a rare occasion it is the rule. If it were not, Criminal proceedings would be pending in State and Federal Court concerning this overt flaunting of the basic and core principles of American Law. There is absolutely no excuse that the Judges in the Sallas’ cases can put forth for allowing the travesty that has been recorded. Every judge involved sua sponde is aware that:
1) The Guardianship act is by definition a serious invasion of basic Human and Civil Rights.
2) Because of the interference with CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHTS the uniform act (which is enacted in Illinois) limits very strictly the authority of the Court to invade the 1st, 4th , 5th, and 14th Amendment of the United States Constitution and in particular requires the Court
“(b) Guardianship shall be utilized only as is necessary to promote the well-being of the person with a disability, to protect him from neglect, exploitation, or abuse, and to encourage development of his maximum self-reliance and independence. Guardianship shall be ordered only to the extent necessitated by the individual's actual mental, physical, and adaptive limitations. (Source: P.A. 99-143, eff. 7-27-15.
This section obviates the gambit of a judge just signing a form order handed to him/her by a miscreant/corrupt party and aiding and abetting the kidnapping of a disabled person such as Amelia Sallas.
3) The First responsibility of a Judge is to determine what, if any jurisdiction he/she might have and to protect not only the litigants but the public. Allow the Public Guardian of Cook County, Illinois to run roughshod over the lives of Dean and Amelia Sallas is clearly wrongful. The exercise of wrongful dominion over the MARITAL ESTATE ½ of which is vested in Dean Sallas is Felony Theft.
The long and short is we as citizens have a responsibility by 18 USCA 4 to report criminal conduct to law enforcement so that they can immediately act to thwart the same. The even longer fact is that we have been doing so and NOTHING occurs. The RULE OF LAW is ignored, and the government makes certain that the miscreants are well funded so as to prey on the elderly and disabled. Indeed – ELDER CLEANSING is the “TESLA” of public officials lacking integrity and respect for the RULE OF LAW and the Public trust.
 Net cash flow usually consists of social security, pension, savings income, Medicare, savings, long term care etc.
 A guardian can within the authorization of 755 ILCS 5/11a – 3b spend the assets of his ward – but he cannot interfere with the rights, privileges, and immunities of 3rd party interests.
 The proceedings of July 28, 2020 were replete with statements of the Court and the Guardian’s attorney that clearly shed light on the intentional violation of the 5th and 14th Amendment rights by Court, counsel, and the guardian in these proceedings, and the total breach of Fiduciary responsibility by the guardian. It is my understanding that no order of Court was entered as to the July 28, 2020 proceeding. It is further my understanding that subsequent an ordered was entered and stamped July 29, 2020 and that order made no reference to the July 28, 2020 proceeding. OneDrive
It is time for the American People to rise up and demand that the RULE OF LAW actually mean something AND BE ENFORCED in accordance with the first paragraph of the 14th Amendment. More laws are un=necessary when they are not going to be enforced!Government spends a fortune on setting up agencies and commissions to study problems. Then we get bureaus such as the CONSUMER FINANCIAL PROTECTION BUREAU whose mission appears not to protect consumers but create the illusion of doing so. We have all sorts of agencies to protect the elderly – BUT THEY ARE ALL MISSING IN ACTION! The human trafficking in the elderly (elder cleansing) is one of the fastest growing industries in America. It is fueled by the savings of the elderly, social security, medicare, obama care etc – and our elected officials, media, law enforcement, et talking up a storm BUT DOING NOTHING!Covid 19 is eliminating the need for Gas Chambers! Grandma needs action – not more talk and more legislation. Herein in Illinois rests the vehicle for action! The Amelia Sallas case 07 P 5360 is a perfect vehicle for CRIMINAL PROSECUTION! All the elements are present, to wit: 1) The orders of Court ignore 755 ILCS 5/11a – 3 (the enablement). The actions of the guardian provide proof beyond any reasonable doubt. Amelia was placed back in her home under the same conditions as before without anything but token supervision. Her ultimate removal from the home – almost a decade later – was due to the fact that she signed herself into a hospital without notifying her guardian. 2) In direct violation of the 5th Amendment the Guardian a lawyer unlawfully without any authority whatsoever exercised dominion over the lawfully vest property of Amelia’s husband (Dean). This is pure felony theft! The Court orders required by 755 ILCS 5/11a – 3b were silent – indicating beyond a shadow of a doubt that both the guardian and the Judge knew of the criminal action. 3) The guardian’s conspiratorial violation of 755 ILCS 5/11a – 22 and 18 USCA 1341 are disclosed in the mortgage foreclosure law suit entitled ByLine Bank vs.Amelia Sallas 2019 CH 13960 pending in the Circuit Court of Cook County, Illinois. Talk is cheap! The time for action is now! Criminal prosecutions of political and judicial criminals sends a strong message! Amelia Sallas was reported to have been infected by Covid 19. HIPPA was used by the miscreants as an excuse to keep her lawful husband out of the loop. Let me be candid – the miscreants were so anxious to obtain control of Dean and Amelia Sallas’ savings and divert it to themselves that they ignored Illinois Law and in particular the fact that under Illinois Law a long term marriage – such as the 50 plus year marriage of Sallas = has legal boundaries designed to protect both spouses. One is MARITAL PROPERTY. The guardian and the Court have no legal authority to forfeit the property of Dean Sallas – no matter how you slice it, IT IS THEFT! AND A VIOLATION OF THE 5TH AND 14TH AMENDMENT. There is no excuse for any prosecution to be delayed! Unless the United States of America and the State of Illinois under our present leadership is disinterested in EQUAL PRORECTION OF THE LAW for the elderly! We need enforcement of the RULE OF LAW – not more meaningless legislation. Ken Ditkowsky
This case is where Miriam S and her siblings inserted themselves into an Estate where there is no real evidence any of them were related to Irving (Isaac) Fisk (Faskowitz) but they filed two affidavits stating they were related to this individual in order to claim over $500,000
Please note that that Isaac Mordecai Faskowitz was conveniently forgotten in not one but two affidavits of heirship, and in the deposition the mother remembers that daughter Miriam has an Isaac (didn’t recall who he was named for) and she forgot her son Mordecai Isaac. Of course, none of this lines up.
Here is a table of contents for this file:
TABLE OF CONTENTS FOIA FROM FLORIDA ATG
PAGE DATE DESCRIPTION 1-45 Misc. Emails 46 Per curiam order re ½ of estate to be held with county clerk 53 to 87 not Fisk Docts 91 to 97 not Fisk 99 Per curiam order Fisk 169 Bev Cooper calls Fla ATG repeatedly 183 Ken Ditkowsky calls ATG repeatedly 194 Ken Ditkowsky letter/memo to ATG 218 Fisk docket 236 ATG states affts are false 245 details/history of case by ATG 247 Braverman does not believe false affts 262 assertions Faskowitz aka Foskowitz 267 False afft of heriship stipulation leaving out Mordechai 278 Census page listing Faskowitz family: Harry Husband, Annie wife, Irving, Samuel and David as sons 294 Passport copy of Isaac Faskowitz 295 Sophia Cortes Faskowitz from Puerto Rico, DOB 10/14/1902 and 10/2/14; Parents of Isaac F were Harry and Annie 308 no proof Irving Fisk is Isaac Faskowitz 319 Birth Certificate of Irving Faskowitz NY 333 Braverman Genology Report 336 Marriage Cert Harry and Anna 4-1-14 346 Passport App for Isaac Fisk Faskowitz; Father Harry Faskowitz, Mother Annie Schacker, 100 Harmony Ave, Lake Placid 367 Miriam Greenfiled afft. Harry had sister Miriam? 4 children claimed, Belia, Chiam, Mordecai and Breina, Notary Gladys Medina 378 Afft of Rose, born in Kiev Russia in 1924. Para. 9. decedent’s father is not Isaac 382 Death Cert Chaim Faskowitz. Born 8/31/16 in Poland, died 8/1/98; Mother Miriam Faskowitz; Father Moshe Aron Faskowitz 383** need translation hebrew synagogue announcement 432 update family tree, new bs affidavit 515 Marriage cert Harry Faskowich and Annie Solomon 4/26/14 541 Decedent had brother Sam Faskowitz, died 8/20/47 at age of 40; Uncle Willaim Faskowitz died in Brooklyn on 6/11/59, age 65 439 Affidavit of Braverman including Sam Faskowitz, 96 Pitt St, NYC 551 Willie Faskowitz, brother to Harry but wife Charone says they had no children 594 Death Cert Sam Faskowitz; DOB 4/7/17, 90 Pitt St, DOD 8/20/57, says he is SINGLE; Parets Harry and Anne Faskowitz 619 Death Cert Annie Faskowitz. Father Henry Schecker 9/3/73, age 80, 91 Pitt St, Widow 661 David Faskowitz, court order for birth cert 670 Annie F’s parents are either Schacker or Solomon; Mother Betty Fried and Father Harry Schcker 678 Mother to oppose finding David F’s birth certificate 688 Order granting David F’s birth certificate DOB 12/2/25 709 Birth Cert for David or Arthur Foskowitz, DOB 12/2/25 parents Harry Foskowitz and Annie Solomon 716 Appln for SSN Parents Harry F and Annie Schkar 735 Death Cert David Forskowitz. DOD 7/23/81, age 56 years, says “never married”; DOB 12/21/24 747 Harry F; USCIS records, says he came to US circa 1905 with mother Minnie Faskowitz, age 16 or 18 755 Harry F alien registration. DOB Aug 1883 762 Annie F; Appln for SSN; FASKOWITCH, Father Harry Sochen; Mother Sarah Pritt 764 Braverman Afft; more maiden names for Annie F: Schack/Soloman/Pritt. Braverman suggest discrepancies are because Harry and Annie were illiterate and the form fillers they used were likely not much more literate than they were; Annie could be Hanah or Anne or Annie 819 list of names of spellings 866 Robert Livingston appointed GAL to rep interests of “unknown heirs” (can they spend any more money on this?) Blank pages 914-924 1059 Petition re homestead status and why home has not be sold yet 1063 yet another family tree chart adding in Harry Soloman (or Schneck) and Beckie Fried 1065 another Braverman Report did anyone check the phone books, PI databases? What the freak? What about the phone books in Warsaw Poland 1143 7/10/2002 deposition of braverman; she is not a certified genealogist, she just watched youtube videos. Has a degree in psych; a masters in psych; a masters in “health care planning”. Not certified, has not even started the process of certification as a genealogist. This is actually a fairly decent deposition. Amazing. 1179 Braverman blames the fact that Irving F was not part of the Solo group because he may have been an apostate and apostates in the Orthodox community are shunned. What a load of horse manure/gross speculation. Even if a relative is shunned, there must be detailed documentation and other relatives will know what is going on. Nonsense. Even Braverman states this is gross speculaton. 1193 case docket 1207 record on appeal index 1223 opening brief appeal 1282 response brief by appellee 1319 reply brief by appellant 1367 reply brief appellant 1379 Assuming an appropriate search was done for maternal heris, and there is no reason to doubt this…..yeah right 1389 page missing? Where is page 1? 1394 depn of Braverman, again? She said she searched for passenger manifests of Harry and Louis but what about Minnie Faskowitz, the mother, Harry said he came with his mother 1441 Depn of Rose Faskowitz
moral of the story: if you throw enough incompetent people at an issue and spend a lot of money on “professional fees” and service, the probate court will rubber stamp any BS nonsense.
Please note that this case is related to the Madoff cases as news articles show:
The new COVID-19 surge is hitting Illinois’ most vulnerable residents harder than ever, with a record 480 deaths recorded in the past week among people living in long-term care facilities.A Tribune analysis found the surge in deaths was particularly steep outside the greater Chicago area, underscoring the challenges of keeping the virus out of nursing homes and assisted living facilities when infections are spreading in the surrounding communities.Gov. J.B. Pritzker offered a deep sigh Friday when asked what more could be done to tamp down the surge in long-term care deaths.“This is frankly the same challenge that exists in all the other populations, and even more so, when we’re at the highest levels of the pandemic,” he told reporters.The latest weekly death tally was nearly double that recorded in the prior week, part of a sizable increase in deaths from earlier in the fall. The latest toll was slightly more than the number seen in the previous worst week for such deaths, during the spring surge, in early May.
Weekly long-term care deaths at highest-ever level
Each week, the state releases updated figures of deaths of residents at long-term care facilities. The latest statewide tally was the highest weekly figure recorded in the pandemic.The Illinois Department of Public Health culls the figures each Friday from a database that local health departments add to throughout the week, and at times there can be delays in reporting by local officials, particularly around weekends and holidays. The department did not immediately respond to questions Friday about whether lags connected to the Thanksgiving holiday affected the new number.Regardless, it is clear that the second COVID-19 surge has been ripping through long-term care facilities again this fall. New case counts have risen dramatically for these facilities, with roughly 4,500 new infections noted among residents in the past week — another record. That’s about 500 more new cases uncovered than in the worst week of the spring surge.Researchers have pointed out how difficult it can be to stop the virus from entering facilities when it’s raging in nearby communities, especially with a disease that can leave people infectious without showing symptoms. The virus can then wreak havoc not only on elderly and frail residents but also at times on the workers who care for them.Early in the pandemic, state officials split Illinois into four regions for tracking purposes. The northeast region, which includes Chicago and its suburbs, initially had the highest rate of deaths relative to its population size; in the spring, the region saw nearly five weekly deaths of long-term care residents per 100,000 people in the general population.That rate dropped in the summer and then crept back up to nearly two long-term care deaths per 100,000 residents. But the more massive increases have been elsewhere, the Tribune found in its analysis of state data. In the past week, the rate for the southern region topped six deaths per 100,000 residents; for the central region, it was more than seven; and for the north-central part of the state, more than eight.While researchers and advocates blame much of the problem on the prevalence of the virus near these facilities, there are also questions about government oversight.Those issues surfaced most recently with a state Senate committee hearing and a state investigation into an outbreak at the state-run veterans home in LaSalle last month, where as of Friday the virus had infected 209 veterans and staffers, and killed 30.But the question of state oversightgoes beyond state-run facilities; some nursing homes run by for-profit firms have also seen cases in the triple digits. At a dozen of these homes, the death toll exceeds the number seen at LaSalle, with one facility recording more than 50 COVID-19 deaths. AARP Illinois, which has called for broader public hearings on what went wrong in those facilities, said Friday that not enough is being done to protect residents and staff. “The loss of life is appalling and unacceptable. After nine months of dealing with COVID-19, nursing homes and other long-term care facilities should have been better prepared for this second wave,” Bob Gallo, AARP Illinois’ state director, said in a statement. “Seniors remain in grave danger as the virus reenters these facilities at an alarming pace.” As the virus raced through facilities this spring, IDPH cut back inspections that are required by state law. Four months ago, IDPH forced out two top administrators and announced it had hired a consulting firm to conduct a “top to bottom review” of its oversight practices. The agency has yet to release records related to that review. The Tribune filed a public records request for them Sept. 4. IDPH has yet to respond, and the Tribune has appealed to the attorney general’s office for assistance. Asked what more the state could do now to limit the virus’s spread in long-term care facilities, Pritzker on Friday told reporters that the state had stopped allowing outdoor visits, that it is mandating more testing and “certainly infection control is better overall now than it was at the very beginning because there’s a greater understanding of what needs to be done.” Representatives of long-term care facilities have said they need more government aid, while advocates and a union representing the largely low-wage workforce has portrayed the industry as focused more on profits than care. The latter complaints became a flashpoint in a strike at 11 facilities that lasted 12 days until the workers reached a tentative deal Friday with the chain’s owner, Infinity Healthcare. Among the chain’s facilities is Niles Nursing & Rehabilitation Center, which leads the state in the number of COVID-19 deaths, with 54 during an earlier outbreak. The home is now enduring another outbreak with 12 cases, according to state firstname.lastname@example.org https://www.chicagotribune.com/coronavirus/ct-coronavirus-long-term-care-deaths-break-record-20201205-ptvgynri3bfvdp36tsxsuqndg4-htmlstory.html#rt=chartbeat-fltAttachments area
Florida woman escapes guardianship using secret phone and Facebook to contact media
By: Adam WalserPosted at 8:03 AM, Nov 16, 2020 and last updated 5:42 PM, Nov 16, 2020
LONGWOOD, Fla. — A Florida senior citizen speaks out after she was released from court-ordered guardianship and had her rights restored.
“It’s very scary to think that we’re in the United States, and this is happening to us,” said Jan Garwood, who was placed in professional guardianship in 2017 after she was involved in a car crash while grieving the death of her son.
Garwood, 70, was found to be incapacitated and stripped of her rights. That included her right to vote, choose her home and social environment, and control her money and property.
A new guardian took over Garwood’s case. Garwood said when the woman wouldn’t help her get her rights restored, she took to social media.
“I put my ad on Facebook and said ‘somebody help me,’” Garwood said.
Guardianship reform advocate Hillary Hogue responded and visited her at the assisted living facility where her guardian had placed her. Believing Garwood didn’t belong in guardianship, Hogue helped Garwood get in touch with attorney Vito Roppo.
Lawyer and doctor help get rights restored
“I filed a motion to be appointed as her counsel at her request, and I put in there that I thought she should be re-examined,” said Roppo.
Garwood’s guardian’s attorney fought back, demanding that Roppo withdraw his motion. He also threatened to seek financial sanctions against Roppo, quoting a Florida statute intended to prevent frivolous lawsuits.
“I was being threatened personally. My own individual finances were at stake,” Roppo said.
A judge granted Roppo’s motion and ordered a doctor to evaluate Garwood’s mental capacity.
The doctor gave Garwood a nearly perfect score, writing in his report, “She is fully capable of handling and executing her own personal, medical and financial day-to-day affairs.”
The judge released Garwood from guardianship in late August.
“I never gave up that eventually, sooner or later, something would have to happen that I’d be able to get away from her,” Garwood said.
Home sold to ALF employee, belongings nowhere to be found
After her release, Garwood couldn’t return to the home where she raised her children and cared for her elderly parents before their deaths.
Her guardian had sold the house to an employee of Palms of Longwood, the facility where Garwood lived.
“It was sold for substantially less than the other homes in the area were going for, and we know that the house was never placed on the market for sale,” Roppo said.
“When you lose a house like that, you lose your memories,” said Garwood.
The proceeds went into a family trust Garwood can’t access, which was set up by her late uncle to benefit Garwood and her 103-year-old aunt.
Roppo is currently trying to help her access the money.
What happened to Garwood’s belongings that were in the home remains a mystery.
“I had or have… over $300,000 worth of old furniture, jewelry, collectibles,” Garwood said, adding that she’s “still keeping my fingers crossed.”
Missing items include multiple signed original oil paintings Garwood bought while working at a high-end art gallery, she said.
Records show the guardian billed Garwood to pack and store her items.
“At this point, we’re told they have no personal property of hers at all. No pictures. Nothing. They have zero,” Roppo said.
We contacted the guardian and her attorney each twice, but neither responded.
Getting food from charity, living in a garage
Garwood, who lived in a 2,735 square foot home before guardianship, now lives in a friend’s garage.
“We went to the food pantry and stood in line for four hours to get a couple of boxes of old food, and that’s what we’ve been eating,” Garwood said a short time after her release.
Roppo has now arranged for Garwood to receive her Social Security check instead of her guardian.
“You lose more rights in a guardianship, in most guardianships, than you do if you go to federal prison,” Roppo said.
By Dr. Terri Kennedy, ContributorPresident, Power Living Enterprises, Inc.09/13/2016 01:25pm EDT | Updated September 13, 2017This post was published on the now-closed HuffPost Contributor platform. Contributors control their own work and posted freely to our site. If you need to flag this entry as abusive, send us an email.
As the 71st session of the General Assembly of the United Nations begins this week to discuss international issues that affect the lives of millions throughout the world, the United States needs to step up its commitment to safeguard human rights and promote the rule of law in its own backyard — specifically, escalating abuse in the U.S. Elder Guardianship system.
It’s legal, but is it right?
Imagine you’ve worked hard all of your life and suddenly you are deemed incapacitated and are stripped of your dignity and basic individual rights. You have been abducted from your home, isolated from your family, and “placed” somewhere to be medicated while your assets are being pillaged. The authorities that should be protecting you are the ones committing these heinous acts. It sounds like Nazi Germany, but this is happening in the United States today.
The victims are seniors. The partners in crime are financial predators and agents of the Elder Guardianship system — attorneys, professional guardians, medical experts, and others who are paid out of the senior’s assets. There are some good judges but many are overworked and some are actively aiding the exploitation. Anyone can file to deem you incapacitated. The entire process from filing an incapacity petition to plenary guardianship where all rights are removed can happen within days. Yet, once you’re caught in the web, it’s almost impossible to break free… AND you are forced to pay your abusers in the process.
A 2013 AARP report gave a “best guess” estimate of the number of adults under guardianship nationally at 1.5 million. Idaho and Minnesota are the only states that track the amount of money being controlled by guardians or conservators; the combined total for just two states is over $1 billion. Guardianship is supposed to protect older citizens. However, what happens when the system is broken? A 2010 federal study by the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) identified hundreds of allegations of physical abuse, neglect and financial exploitation by guardians in 45 states and the District of Columbia between 1990 and 2010. In 20 cases, the GAO found that guardians stole or improperly obtained $5.4 million in assets from 158 incapacitated victims.THE ESSENTIAL GUIDE TO TAKING CARE OF YOUR MIND AND BODYSubscribe to HuffPost’s wellness emailSuccessfully Subscribed!Wellness delivered to your inbox
The Abduction of Lillie
Tuesday, September 6, 2016 was Lillie’s 88th birthday and her family didn’t know where she was. A week earlier, on August 30, the court-appointed Emergency Temporary Guardian abducted her from a doctor’s office while her niece was in the other room filling out papers. Although Lillie was happy and safe in her Palm Coast home of twenty years, the guardian “placed” her into assisted living and refused to tell her family the location. Lillie was not in danger and there was no emergency situation or other credible justification of such extreme and deceptive action. Video of Lillie from July 30, 2016 — just a month before — shows a vibrant African-American woman enjoying her home and family, and vocal about her financial affairs and this case. In fact, she does not seem incapacitated at all.
Since the case started in 2012, three good doctor’s reports that could have given Lillie her rights back went stale through a legal shell game of loopholes, frivolous objections and unethical behavior. Now, while she is sequestered and possibly sedated, they are pushing hard for plenary guardianship, which would take away her last two remaining rights: the right to vote (she is a registered Democrat excited about voting for Hillary Clinton) and the right to choose with whom she socializes. Over a dozen attorneys and others have been invoicing against Lillie’s assets, while the temporary guardian has not paid Lillie’s basic bills or given her a penny of her own money for food or personal living expenses. The temporary guardian has been neglecting her fiduciary responsibilities and violating standards of practice, but Lillie’s sister and over 50 nieces and nephews are the ones being shut out.
The sudden manner by which Lillie was involuntarily placed in an anonymous location and isolated from her family and support system was likely traumatizing to her particularly given her past victimization. The initial evaluation for incapacity happened in 2012 when she was held captive for eight months at the home of a family friend. She eventually called 911 and escaped. Now, after five years of systemic abuse, Lillie is being violated again — this time by the temporary guardian who is supposed to be her advocate. Getting old is not a crime, yet Lillie is being treated like a criminal. Tonight, she is somewhere alone in assisted living probably wondering why her family has abandoned her.
Captors use social isolation to torture prisoners of war. Social isolation of otherwise healthy, well-functioning individuals eventually results in psychological and physical disintegration, and even death. Nevertheless, the Emergency Motions filed in court to get Lillie returned to her home and family have been ignored.
Florida’s “Liquidate, Isolate, Medicate”
In Florida, there are 5 million people age 60 and older and that demographic is expected to account for most of the state’s population growth in the next 15 years. Yet, seniors who have come to this retirement haven are actively being deprived of life, liberty and property without due process of law. The guardianship system oversteps constitutional rights and goes against the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment that forbids states from discriminating invidiously against some of their citizens.
Professional guardianship is considered a “growth business,” with the number increasing from 12 registered professional guardians in 2003 to 456 in 2015, according to the Florida Department of Elder Affairs. The abuse is so rampant that the process itself has been called “Liquidate, Isolate, Medicate.” With 40 hours of training and a modest background check, a professional guardian can start earning $85 an hour and have control over a ward’s property, finances, medical decisions, housing and social relationships. In other words, the guardian has the ability to: liquidate your assets by selling your home, car, etc.; isolate you from your family as guardian of “your person;” and put you in a nursing home to medicate you until you die. All of this is supposed to be in your “best interest.” An ABC13 Investigates report dubbed it “The Grey Prison.”
For example, 89-year-old Marie, featured in the Sarasota Herald-Tribune‘s Elder guardianship: A well-oiled machine, had her rights removed at the request of her stepson-in law. The court ordered a trust company to pay out some $635,000 to attorneys, guardians and other involved in her case. She survived wartime Poland and said even Hitler’s Germany failed to prepare her for this travesty. Republican member of the Florida House of Representatives Larry Ahern said, “In extreme cases, the wards are sometimes prevented from regaining their competency and remain, in effect, prisoners of guardians.” How many seniors, like Lillie and Marie, are being exploited in this cruel and systemic manner?
Due to a string of horror stories and rising complaints, on March 10, 2016 Governor Rick Scott signed into law Senate Bill 232 creating the Office of Public & Professional Guardians to replace the Statewide Public Guardianship Office within the Florida Department of Elder Affairs. In April, they initiated rule making procedures to address the regulation of professional guardians, including standards of practice and disciplinary guidelines. These are expected to be in place October 2016. While these necessary changes are underway, what happens to seniors, like Lillie and Marie, who are being victimized this moment in Florida? Will they get a pardon and be set free?
A New Form of Human Trafficking?
According to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, Article 3, paragraph (a) of the Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons defines Trafficking in Persons as the “recruitment, transportation, transfer, harbouring or receipt of persons, by means of the threat or use of force or other forms of coercion, of abduction, of fraud, of deception, of the abuse of power or of a position of vulnerability or of the giving or receiving of payments or benefits to achieve the consent of a person having control over another person, for the purpose of exploitation. Exploitation shall include, at a minimum, the exploitation of the prostitution of others or other forms of sexual exploitation, forced labour or services, slavery or practices similar to slavery, servitude or the removal of organs.”
Trafficking involves psychological coercion to render someone a slave. To do this, perpetrators employ “tactics that can lead to the psychological consequence of learned helplessness for the victims, where they sense that they no longer have any autonomy or control over their lives. Traffickers may hold their victims captive, expose them to large amounts of alcohol or use drugs, keep them in isolation, or withhold food or sleep. During this time the victim often begins to feel the onset of depression, guilt and self-blame, anger and rage, and sleep disturbances, PTSD, numbing, and extreme stress. Under these pressures, the victim can fall into the hopeless mental state of learned helplessness.”
An argument can be made that the “Liquidate, Isolate, Medicate” Elder Guardianship process in Florida at its worse is a form of human trafficking. On the basis of the definition, it is evident that trafficking in persons has three constituent elements: a) The Act (What is done) — In this case, the transfer and harbouring of a person, b) The Means (How it is done) — Abduction, deception, abuse of power or vulnerability, and c) The Purpose (Why it is done) – In the case of guardianships, the purpose is financial exploitation — a form of servitude. Seniors are sedated in locked assisted living facilities while their assets are spent down.
The Right to be Protected & Respected
Probably the most famous case of financial elder abuse is that of one-time New York socialite Brooke Astor when she was more than 100 years old. Her grandson Philip C. Marshall testified against his father and helped put him in jail. In his 2015 testimony to the Senate’s Special Committee on Aging, Mr. Marshall said, “To be complacent about elder justice is to be complicit in elder abuse.”
Awareness is good, but immediate action is needed. If states are not doing their jobs, the federal government needs to step in. It’s time to reform the Elder Guardianship system in the U.S., prosecute predators and hold legal agents — judges, attorneys, evaluators, professional guardians, etc. — to a higher standard. As Vice President Hubert Humphrey said, “The moral test of government is how that government treats those who are in the dawn of life, the children; those who are in the twilight of life, the elderly; those who are in the shadows of life — the sick, the needy and the handicapped.”
Just as we continue to make strides with human rights issues around the world, we need to shine a brighter light on elder abuse on our soil — particularly this type of vicious and systemic financial exploitation. To be an elder is a privilege, not a condition causing you to be tossed aside and abused. Our elders need to be protected and respected. If we’re lucky, we will all get old. Let’s create a society where we can age with grace and dignity.
Teresa Kay-Aba Kennedy is a Harvard Business School-trained strategist and President of Power Living Enterprises, Inc. Her mission is to raise the consciousness of the planet and create a more sustainable world by releasing the potential in individuals. A seasoned life coach/speaker and founder of the first yoga studio in Harlem, she has been featured on the cover of Yoga Journal, in Oprah’s book, Live Your Best Life!, and was selected as a World Economic Forum Young Global Leader. An early Internet pioneer and TV executive, she has advised billion-dollar companies on their multi-platform engagement strategies. Her latest award-winning book — co-authored with her mother Columbia University-trained journalist Janie Sykes-Kennedy — is Dancing Light: The Spiritual Side of Being Through the Eyes of a Modern Yoga Master on her teacher/mentor 98-year-old yoga master Tao Porchon-Lynch.
On June 20, 2016, Kennedy moderated a conversation with Tao Porchon-Lynch at the United Nations for International Day of Yoga on “Yoga for the Achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals.” On October 3, 2016, for International Day of Non-Violence, she will facilitate a conversation with Ms. Porchon-Lynch on Mahatma Gandhi and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. hosted by the Indian Consulate in New York. On November 19, 2016, she will moderate another discussion with Ms. Porchon-Lynch at the United Nations for Women’s Entrepreneurship Day.
Note: Kennedy is the niece of Lillie featured in this article. As of September 13, 2016, Lillie’s family still does not know where she is and the temporary guardian refuses to tell them. For more, go to www.elderdignity.org. Watch the video and let us know what you think. For specific questions or suggestions, email email@example.com.
Just when you thought corruption in probate in Cook County could not get worse, along comes another case
attorney creates “estate planning” for Grandma Marlynn. POAs for property and health care name long term care taker Pier Hopkins as grandma’s agent and named her to be guardian if one is to be appointed. The successor POA? the attorney’s wife
Kidnap grandma and put her in Symphony Beverly, LLC nursing home on a ruse. Grandma needs rehab. Synphony Beverly, a for profit nursing home, promises rehab. No rehab is provided after one month and grandma wants to leave. she signed herself in, she should be able to sign herself out. Symphony Beverly comes up with excuse after excuse as to why grandma cannot leave. For many long months.
In Feb of 2020, Symphony Beverly files a Petition for Guardianship. Judge Jesse Outlaw is assigned to the gship case. Illinois Probate law says that Symphony Beverly cannot serve as guardian because it’s not a Not for Profit, but the case continues and the Judge does not dismiss or strike the peitition.
Symphony then (falsely) alleges Pier Hopkins, a long term caretaker of Grandma is stealing from the estate and attaches copies of bank statements. Where did they get those? Either grandma is competent and she can give them permission to get those, or as the nursing home alleges, she is incompetent and they must get a subpoena from the court. No subpoena issuance is shown on the docket for the case. The other grandchildren are very pleased with the way Pier has knocked herself out to care for grandma and they are behind Pier 1000%.
Symphony does not notify any next of kin (5 grandchildren, Grandma has no living siblings or children) and appears to know nothing about the family in their pleadings. Symphony must legally provide Grandma with a copy of all their pleadings, and esp. their Petition for gship.
Granddaughter alleges she has spent thousands on caring for Grandma in her pleadings, grandma paid one $1500 bill for granddaughter’s gas bill to avoid a shut off. Grandma insisted and presumably was competent. Grandma uses an I phone and can talk, text ad use other complicated cell phone features. She does not appear to be incompetent.
GAL files report the allegations of incompetency (in form CCP 211) are thin at best. When asked, other litigants refuse to turn over CCP 211 to Granddaughter Pier when requested. They say she needs a court order, but that is not in the Illinois Probate act. what are they covering up?
Grandma writes her own checks and pays her own bills, bank statements attached to a Petition to Revoke Granddaughter’s POAs shows bank statements with Grandma’s own utility bills on them, but nothing else. Apparently Pier and other relatives have in fact been paying for grandma’s food, clothing and other essentials.
A reverse mortgage was put on Grandma’s home and that appears to be highly suspect. Who was involved in that? What was the fair market value of the property? Who arranged for that?
Judge O holds a hearing on Nov. 4, 2020 regarding Granddaughter’s Motion for Substitution as a Right. Strangely, the GAL cites a case. Judge O says that “Pier does not like him “because he suspended her POA and it’s too late.” This is despite the fact she just recently filed her appearance, has not been served by the sheriff with a summons and complaint, but her POAs were already suspended. How did that happen? Why does Judge O want to hold onto this case if a litigant does not want him? What is going on here.
If anyone has any information regarding the following individuals involved in this highly suspect case, please call me and I will pass on information to Pier Hopkins. Thanks
Tracey B. Johnson, wife of attorney Ziegler, GAL Ellen Douglass, Symphony Beverly, LLC, Petitioner Daniel Johnson (“Petitioner”) administrator of Synphony Beverly LLC, his attorneys Stone Pogrund & Korey LLC
Even if you do not have time to watch, log in so the court knows that they have a large viewing audience. Pass onto to your friends. This is court – taxpayer funded … You watching public officials doing their public duties.
OPINION – No Amount of Money is Going Incentivize a Morally Bankrupt and Profit Centric Nursing Home Owner/Operator/ Manager to Improve Care to Patients – More Oversight is Required
Whomever thought up the idea that shelling out MORE money to nursing homes, their owners, managers, wealthy entrepreneurs and magnates to reduce Covid-19 numbers doesn’t seem to understand the dynamics of the nursing home industry. In fact, that idea represents an utter and complete disregard for the entire history of the nursing home industry, the coining of money that occurs and the harrowing lack of oversight that lead to Covid-19 deaths.
It was not about a lack of funding for appropriate care. The deaths were caused by greed. The stockpiling of PPE (and respirators) so they could be traded or sold on a secondary market, represented greed.
The obscene amounts of money that has already been given to fabulously wealthy owners, operators and magnates in the form of PPP and EIDL loans has only allowed the wealthy to get wealthier. It has improved nothing else. And, you cannot buy a conscience with that money, which would be what is required to stop improve the quality of life of every individual currently residing in nursing homes and to prevent further death when Covid-19 ravages these homes again.
To many of the owners, operators and managers in for-profit care nursing and rehabilitation centers, a patient represents an equity interest in a financial gain, whether that gain is in the form of Medicare/Medicaid or private insurance, or in the form of a life insurance policy after a patient has died. Nursing care is not about improving the lives for human beings, the vulnerable and the most in need of care and compassion. It is not about preventing a spread of a deadly virus.
For every person who died from Covid-19, the owners, operators and magnates made money on life insurance policies where they didn’t on some other death benefit or healthcare payment. The owners, operators and managers are all but printing money in the basements of some of these homes, coining it. They DO NOT need more money. What they need is oversight.
For many of these nursing home owners, operators, managers and the equity interested individuals, providing additional access to money is like giving an opiate to an addict. You cannot instill in many of these individuals a sense of moral obligation to do right by their patients, clients and families. These people are not morally challenged they are morally bankrupt and the money only feeds into an ability to obtain more equity on human life and death.As the scandal perpetuate (but are covered up by the media) it is apparent that an HONEST INVESTIGATION by a specially impaneled GRAND JURY is required. The miscreants can and have purchased justice to the detriment of population they are supposed to service. Our trusted public servants cannot and/or will not do the tasks that they were elected to do. In certain situations the failure is due to incompetence, but in too many circumstances it is pure greed. If anyone needs a reminder of just how ‘dirty’ the HUMAN TRAFFICKING IN GRANDMA is, all they have to do is look at some of the cases. The Sallas case 07 P 5360 is a clear example. The public guardian certain knows all about 755 ILCS 5/11a – 22, yet he acted allegedly in concert with the ByLine Bank in a scheme to have Amelia Sallas sign loan documents that the Illinois Legislature made it a crime for the Bank to have Amelia sign them How will the criminal action descried in 755 ILCS 5/11a – 22 be addressed? Given the current pattern of ‘cover up’ in the Illinois Courts – it will be swept under the rug. If enough storm and drama is generated we will be offered more useless legislation. The miscreants will take their booty hide it and not be bothered to pay the INCOME TAXES due. In fact the Illinois Attorney Registration and Disciplinary commission will hurry to the aid of the miscreants and ignore their collective duties and their ethical considerations mandated by ABA Rule 8.3. The FIX IS IN! Dean Sallas’ life was threatened for speaking up for himself. What will happen to him if he is successful in seeking Justice? The death threat to Sallas has been ignored by the authorities!
Nursing home mogul Philip Esformes sentenced to 20 years for $1.3 billion Medicaid fraud
By DAVID JACKSON and MARIO ARIZASOUTH FLORIDA SUN SENTINEL |SEP 12, 2019 AT 7:57 PMChicago Tribune reporter David Jackson explains how wealthy nursing home operator Philip Esformes allegedly became the orchestrator of a $1 billion Medicaid and Medicare bribery and kickback scheme. Oct. 4, 2016.
Former Illinois and Florida nursing home mogul Philip Esformes wept and pleaded for mercy Thursday before being sentenced to 20 years in prison for what the U.S. Justice Department called the largest single health care bribery and kickback scheme in American history.
A separate hearing will be held in November to determine the amount of money and property Esformes may be required to forfeit.
Esformes, who once controlled a network of more than two dozen health care facilities that stretched from Chicago to Miami, garnered $1.3 billion Medicaid revenues by bribing medical professionals who referred patients to his Florida facilities then paid off government regulators as vulnerable residents were injured by their peers, prosecutors said.
Philip Esformes, shown in 2015, once controlled a network of more than two dozen health care facilities that stretched from Chicago to Miami, (Rob Latour / Rob Latour/Invision/AP)
He housed elderly patients alongside younger adults who suffered from mental illness and drug addiction — sometimes with fatal results. In Esformes’ Oceanside Extended Care Center in Miami Beach, “an elderly patient was attacked and beaten to death by a younger mental health patient who never should have been at (a nursing facility) in the first place,” prosecutors wrote in a pre-sentencing memo.
As he handed down the sentence, Judge Robert N. Scola Jr. said the length and scope of Esformes’ criminal conduct were “unmatched in our community. … Mr. Esformes violated the trust of Medicare and Medicaid in epic proportions.”
But Scola meted out a punishment significantly less than the 30 years prosecutors requested, saying Esformes also had an extraordinary history of helping people in need. Attorneys for Esformes had described him as a selfless philanthropist who had donated more than $15 million to synagogues, schools and needy individuals, often anonymously.Said Scola: “I think he should get some consideration for his philanthropy, although it’s dangerous to say because he was stealing money from Medicare, so people might say he was giving that money to charity. But the vast majority of the money he made, he made legitimately. More importantly he was a true friend to people known and unknown to him, and that is worthy of mitigation.” (comment – pure BS! It has been suggested that when money was given to a charity the charity had to kick back under the table. The Omnicare scandal also is an interesting situation.)
In arguing for a 30-year sentence, prosecutors said his yearslong bribes-for-patients schemes involved the corruption of medical professionals and government regulators, and entailed grievous injuries to a massive number of elderly patients.
“Miami is the epicenter of health care fraud, there was no one like Philip Esformes, he was king,” prosecutor Allan J. Medina told the judge in court Thursday.
Many of his younger, drug-addicted patients spent the daylight hours wandering the streets of Miami while he collected government payments for services that were never delivered, prosecutors said.
“Phillip Esformes used deceptive and calculated means to orchestrate a fraud of the magnitude that we have not seen before,” Medina said. “People who needed to get better, who wanted to get better, they had no shot.”
“His fraud involved thousands of patients, 16 nursing homes, the systematic payment of bribes, a complex web of bank accounts, and brazen obstruction of justice to try to prevent it all from coming to light,” prosecutor Elizabeth Young wrote in a sentencing memo filed with the court this week.
Esformes, who has been in maximum security detention for 37 months since his 2016 arrest, called himself a shattered, repentant man when he stood before the judge. His shoulders drooped beneath his baggy khaki prison shirt as he began rocking back and forth.
“I want to apologize to, your honor, the United States. Sorry. And my community.” As Esformes began to recite the names of his children, he briefly became incoherent. Groans and cries of “Oh God!” escaped from his family and supporters in the gallery.
“I’ve lost everything I love and cared about with the utmost intensity,” he said. “There is no one to blame but myself, me.”
While preparing his defense, Esformes told the judge, he had listened repeatedly to wiretapped conversations that revealed him arranging bribes. “I am disgusted by what I heard,” he said, at one point pounding a courtroom podium with his fist. “The Phil Esformes you heard was reckless … an arrogant man.”
Esformes said he was studying the Torah and praying for redemption. “I won’t miss that opportunity,” he said.
Prosecutors said Esformes should be forced to pay $207 million in restitution to Medicaid and Medicare; attorneys for Esformes sharply questioned that amount in court Thursday.
Judge Scola closely questioned prosecutors about how they calculated the value of the Medicaid proceeds Esformes stole over the years, ultimately finding the loss to be between $4.8 million and $8.3 million.In this 2011 court deposition, lawyers from Chicago’s Goldberg Kohn firm questioned Philip Esformes about how he and his father worked together.
Federal authorities arrested Esformes at one of his $2 million estates on the Miami Beach waterfront in 2016 and immediately placed him in the Miami Federal Detention Center.
At the time, he had a net worth of $78.9 million in bank accounts and investments, and hardly any debts, according to court papers filed by prosecutors. He maintained a Chicago Water Tower penthouse and a mansion in Los Angeles.
Esformes was deemed an extraordinary flight risk in part because he had been caught on a wiretap offering to help his business partner Guillermo Delgado flee from the U.S. to avoid prosecution as the federal investigators closed in on them.
Delgado, who helped Esformes defraud Medicare for mental health and prescription drug services, instead helped federal investigators bring Esformes to justice. He and his brother Gabriel Delgado are now serving prison time.
In one of Esformes’ crimes, prosecutors said, he used some $300,000 in stolen Medicare and Medicaid proceeds to bribe the head men’s basketball coach at the University of Pennsylvania to admit Esformes’ son to the school.
That coach, Jerome Allen, pleaded guilty in October to a money-laundering charge related to the Esformes bribes. He testified as a government witness against Esformes at the Miami trial. Allen received a probationary sentence and is now in his third season as an assistant coach with the Boston Celtics.
The dozens of nursing facilities Esformes ran with his father and business partner Morris Esformes for decades earned millions of Medicaid and Medicare dollars annually despite repeated federal law enforcement probes and Chicago Tribune investigations alleging substandard care and incidents when disabled patients were assaulted by fellow residents.
“Instead of changing his ways or expressing remorse after these settlements, Esformes simply altered his criminal scheme to avoid detection,” prosecutor Young wrote in the court filing.
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Esformes sold his Illinois nursing facilities in about 2012 but kept offices in the Chicago suburbs as he continued to operate homes in Florida with his father, government records and Tribune interviews show.
The latest case wasn’t the first time that Esformes faced fraud accusations.
In 2006, Philip Esformes was among the current and former owners of Larkin Community Hospital in Miami who were required to pay $15.4 million to settle federal and Florida civil health care fraud claims.
In that matter, one of the other defendants was Dr. Jack Michel, CEO of Larkin Community Hospital, who made his own headlines in 2017 after the 12 heat-related deaths of patients at the Rehabilitation Center at Hollywood Hills. Michel isn’t affiliated with Esformes in the latest Medicaid fraud legal battle that is sending Esformes to prison.
In this video Dr. Robert Sarahan, MD speaks out against the corrupt system known as “guardianship” in this country. His mother was abused and murdered in guardianship, his and my dear friend, Ms. Barbara Stone, JD, also had a mother who was abused and murdered in guardianship. Ms. Stone was arrested numerous times for speaking out against the severe gship abuse of her mother (story elsewhere on this blog) and she had to do months in prison for contempt (speaking out about her mother’s case) and interfering with the care of her mother (she took her mother out for a hamburger and fries and was able to show her mother ate just fine, tyvm, but the court and guardians put a feeding tube in her so that the nursing home did not have to take the time to hand feed her.
The abuse continues. Please sign Dr. Sarahan’s petition.
2 Cook County judges, indicted Ald. Ed Burke, 3 retired judges partnered in investment club
Judge Michael Toomin presides over the juvenile justice division and is running for retention in November. Judge James Shapiro hears family law cases.By Steve Garrison | Injustice Watch Sep 11, 2020, 5:30am CDT
Two sitting Cook County circuit judges and three retired judges are partners in a company with attorneys including indicted Ald. Edward M. Burke (14th), records show.
Participants in the company, called Table of Wisdom LLC, say it’s an investment club formed by a group of longtime friends who regularly met for breakfast and decided to pool their money so they’d have something to talk about.
Two of the partners in Table of Wisdom are sitting judges:
Cook County Circuit Judge James Shapiro, who hears family law cases in the domestic relations division.
Both declined to comment.
Other members include:
Burke, the longtime Southwest Side alderman who is charged in a May 2019 federal racketeering and extortion indictment that accuses him of using his position on the Chicago City Council to withhold construction permits for a Burger King in his ward in an unsuccessful bid to get the restaurant to hire his law firm for property tax appeals. He has pleaded not guilty and remains in office. He didn’t respond to interview requests.
Retired judges Margarita Kulys Hoffman, Clifford Meachem and Warren Wolfson.
Attorney Barry Greenburg, who runs a firm that focuses on family law.
And attorneys Marvin Leavitt and Michael Stiegel, who practice family law together in the Chicago firm that Leavitt started after he retired from the Illinois Appellate Court.
Judges aren’t prohibited from joining such investment clubs in Illinois, according to retired Lake County Circuit Judge Ray McKoski, now an adjunct professor teaching judicial ethics at UIC John Marshall Law School.
But Illinois law warns of the potential for conflicts of interest when judges go into business with attorneys. Judges should refrain from financial and business dealings that “involve the judge in frequent transactions with lawyers or persons likely to come before the court on which the judge serves,” according to the Illinois Code of Judicial Conduct.
Other states have taken a firmer stand on investment clubs. Judicial ethics boards in New York and Massachusetts have said judges should not participate in investment clubs.
“In our view, if a judge should not give investment advice to a charity, a judge should not be giving investment advice to twenty private persons in an investment club,” the Massachusetts Supreme Court’s Committee on Judicial Ethics wrote in a 1995 advisory opinion.
Table of Wisdom reflects the court system’s reputation as being largely white, older men with financial and personal ties to each other and the Democratic Party. Of the 10 company partners Toomin disclosed in forms submitted to the Illinois Supreme Court, the nine who could be identified are white, and all but one are men.
More than 70 percent of the Cook County judiciary is white, compared with 42 percent of the county’s population, and nearly 60 percent of judges are men, according to 2018 statistics provided by Chief Cook County Judge Timothy Evans.
Table of Wisdom was incorporated in May 2018, according to its filings with the Illinois secretary of state’s office.
Kulys Hoffman, who retired from the bench last year, said Table of Wisdom is an investment club. She wouldn’t say how much money members were expected to contribute to the investment fund and said she doesn’t know whether the group is still active.
Though Table of Wisdom filed its annual report in May with the secretary of state’s office, Steigel said the company disbanded earlier this year over “disagreements” on where to invest.
Leavitt is the group’s registered agent and, according to Steigel, was the group’s founder. Leavitt’s law firm was the third-highest contributor to the political action committee set up to retain Cook County judges, giving a total of $20,260 as of 2018.
A former circuit and appellate judge who served on the Illinois Appellate Court with Burke’s wife, Illinois Supreme Court Justice Anne Burke, Leavitt returned to private practice in 2002. He practices family law as a founding partner of Grund & Leavitt.
LAST AUGUST, DURING the second-hottest year on record, while the fires in the Amazon rainforest were raging, the ice sheet in Greenland was melting, and Greta Thunberg was being greeted by adoring crowds across the U.S., something else happened that was of great relevance to the climate movement: An attorney who has been battling Chevron for more than a decade over environmental devastation in South America was put on house arrest.
Few news outlets covered the detention of Steven Donziger, who won a multibillion-dollar judgment in Ecuador against Chevron over the massive contamination in the Lago Agrio region and has been fighting on behalf of Indigenous people and farmers there for more than 25 years. So on August 6, Donziger left a Lower Manhattan courthouse unnoticed and boarded the 1 train home with an electronic monitoring device newly affixed to his ankle. Save for the occasional meeting with his lawyer or other court-sanctioned appointment, he has remained there ever since.
“I’m like a corporate political prisoner,” Donziger told me as we sat in his living room recently. The attorney, who is 6-foot-3, graying, and often used to be mistaken for New York Mayor Bill de Blasio when he was able to walk the city streets, was surprisingly stoic and resigned about his predicament during my two visits to the apartment he shares with his wife and 13-year-old son. But on this particular Wednesday, as the winter sunlight in his living room was dimming and the charger for his spare ankle bracelet battery flashed on a nearby shelf, his optimism about his epic battle against one of the biggest oil companies in the world seemed to be flagging. “They are trying to totally destroy me.”
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Donziger is not exaggerating. As he was arguing the case against Chevron in Ecuador back in 2009, the company expressly said its long-term strategy was to demonize him. And since then, Chevron has continued its all-out assault on Donziger in what’s become one of the most bitter and drawn-out cases in the history of environmental law. Chevron has hired private investigators to track Donziger, created a publication to smear him, and put together a legal team of hundreds of lawyers from 60 firms, who have successfully pursued an extraordinary campaign against him. As a result, Donziger has been disbarred and his bank accounts have been frozen. He now has a lien on his apartment, faces exorbitant fines, and has been prohibited from earning money. As of August, a court has seized his passport and put him on house arrest. Chevron, which has a market capitalization of $228 billion, has the funds to continue targeting Donziger for as long as it chooses.
In an emailed statement, Chevron wrote that “any jurisdiction that observes the rule of law should find the fraudulent Ecuadorian judgment to be illegitimate and unenforceable.” The statement also said that “Chevron will continue to work to hold the perpetrators of this fraud accountable for their actions, including Steven Donziger, who has committed a litany of corrupt and illegal acts related to his Ecuadorian judicial fraud against Chevron.”
The developments that led to Donziger’s confinement were, like much of the epic legal battle he’s been engaged in for decades, highly unusual. The home confinement is his punishment for refusing a request to hand over his cellphone and computer, something that’s been asked of few other attorneys. To Donziger, who had already endured 19 days of depositions and given Chevron large portions of his case file, the request was beyond the pale, and he appealed it on the grounds that it would require him to violate his commitments to his clients. Still, Donziger said he’d turn over the devices if he lost the appeal. But even though the underlying case was civil, the federal court judge who has presided over the litigation between Chevron and Donziger since 2011, Lewis A. Kaplan, drafted criminal contempt charges against him.
In another legal peculiarity, in July, Kaplan appointed a private law firm to prosecute Donziger, after the Southern District of New York declined to do so — a move that is virtually unprecedented. And, as Donziger’s lawyer has pointed out, the firm Kaplan chose, Seward & Kissel, likely has ties to Chevron.
Making the case even more extraordinary, Kaplan bypassed the standard random assignment process and handpicked someone he knew well, U.S. District Judge Loretta Preska, to oversee the case being prosecuted by the firm he chose. It was Preska who sentenced Donziger to home detention and ordered the seizure of his passport, even though Donziger had appeared in court on hundreds of previous occasions.
Photo: Dolores Ochoa/AP
A Tainted Witness
Despite Donziger’s current predicament, the case against Chevron in Ecuador was a spectacular victory. The twisted legal saga began in 1993, when Donziger and other attorneys filed a class-action suit in New York against Texaco on behalf of more than 30,000 farmers and Indigenous people in the Amazon over massive contamination from the company’s oil drilling there. Chevron, which bought Texaco in 2001, has insisted that Texaco cleaned up the area where it operated and that its former partner, the national oil company of Ecuador, was responsible for any remaining pollution.
At Chevron’s request, the legal proceedings over the “Amazon Chernobyl” were moved to Ecuador, where the courts were “impartial and fair,” as the oil company’s attorneys wrote in a filing at the time. The move to Ecuador, where the legal system does not involve juries, may have also appealed because it spared Chevron a jury trial. In any case, an Ecuadorian court ruled against Chevron in 2011 and ordered the company to pay $18 billion in compensation, an amount that was later reduced to $9.5 billion. After years of struggling with the health and environmental consequences of oil extraction, the impoverished Amazonian plaintiffs had won a historic judgment from one of the biggest corporations in the world.
But Donziger and his clients never had a moment to savor their David-over-Goliath victory. Even though the ruling was subsequently upheld by the Ecuadorian Supreme Court, Chevron immediately made clear that it would not be paying the judgment. Instead, Chevron moved its assets out of the country, making it impossible for the Ecuadorians to collect.
That year, Chevron filed a Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations, or RICO, suit against Donziger in New York City. Although the suit originally sought roughly $60 billion in damages, and civil trials involving monetary claims of more than $20 entitle a defendant to a jury, Chevron dropped the monetary claims two weeks before the trial.
In its statement, Chevron wrote that the company “focused the RICO case on obtaining injunctive relief against the furtherance of Donziger’s extortionate scheme against the company.”
Instead, that case was decided solely by Kaplan, who ruled in 2014 that the Ecuadorian judgment against Chevron was invalid because it was obtained through “egregious fraud” and that Donziger was guilty of racketeering, extortion, wire fraud, money laundering, obstruction of justice, and witness tampering. The decision hinged on the testimony of an Ecuadorian judge named Alberto Guerra, who claimed that Donziger had bribed him during the original trial and that the decision against Chevron had been ghostwritten.
Guerra was a controversial witness. Chevron had prepped him on more than 50 occasions before his testimony, paid him hundreds of thousands of dollars, and arranged for the judge and his family members to move to the United States with a generous monthly stipend that was 20 times the salary he received in Ecuador. In 2015, when Guerra testified in an international arbitration proceeding, he admitted that he had lied and changed his story multiple times. According to Chevron, Guerra’s inaccuracies didn’t change the thrust of his testimony. For his part, Judge Kaplan wrote that his court “would have reached precisely the same result in this case even without the testimony of Alberto Guerra.” In its statement, Chevron said that Guerra was relocated to the U.S. for his safety and noted that the court found that the company’s contacts with the Ecuadorian judge were “proper and transparent.”
Lawyers for Donziger said the changes in Guerra’s testimony completely undermined his original bribery allegations, which Donziger has consistently denied. In any case, that evidence emerged after the trial, and an appeals court declined to consider the new information and ruled against Donziger in 2016.
“He has effectively been convicted of bribery by the finding of a single judge in a case in which bribery wasn’t even the charge.”
Had Donziger been criminally charged with bribery, a jury would have assessed Guerra’s credibility. Instead, in the RICO case, which was civil, the decision about a key witness came down to one person — Kaplan — who chose to believe him. That choice has set the stage for the legal losses Donziger has suffered since, according to some close watchers of the Chevron case.
“On the basis of Kaplan saying, ‘I believe this witness; I find Donziger guilty of the crime of bribery of the judge’ — on the basis of that, he’s been destroyed. That is the pinnacle element of all of the other claims against him. And if you take that one out, the rest of them — they’re just not there,” said Charles Nesson, an attorney and Harvard Law School professor. “He has effectively been convicted of bribery by the finding of a single judge in a case in which bribery wasn’t even the charge,” Nesson said of Donziger. “I teach evidence, that you have to prove what you assert. But the proof in this case is the thinnest.”
Nesson, who represented Daniel Ellsberg in the Pentagon Papers case and the plaintiffs in the suit of W. R. Grace featured in the book and film “A Civil Action,” teaches Donziger’s case in his “Fair Trial” course, using it as an example of a decidedly unfair trial. “Donziger epitomizes a person in asymmetric civil litigation who can now be denied a fair trial,” he explains to his students.
Nesson is one of several legal scholars who have opined that Kaplan has a soft spot for Chevron, which the judge once described as “a company of considerable importance to our economy that employs thousands all over the world, that supplies a group of commodities, gasoline, heating oil, other fuels, and lubricants on which every one of us depends every single day.”
In contrast, the judge has exhibited antipathy for Donziger, according to his former lawyer, John Keker, who saw the case as a “Dickensian farce,” in which “Chevron is using its limitless resources to crush defendants and win this case through might rather than merit.” Keker withdrew from the case in 2013 after noting that “Chevron will file any motion, however meritless, in the hope that the court will use it to hurt Donziger.”
Donziger displays the ankle monitor he is required to wear.
Photo: Annie Tritt for The Intercept
Donziger’s current prohibition from working, traveling, earning money, and leaving his home shows how successful Chevron’s strategy has been. But even as his fate hangs in the balance, Donziger’s case matters far beyond the life of this one lawyer.
“It should be nothing short of terrifying for any activist challenging corporate power and the oil industry in the U.S.,” said Paul Paz y Miño, associate director of Amazon Watch, an organization devoted to the protection of the rainforest and Indigenous people in the Amazon basin. “They’ve made it clear there’s no amount of money that’s too much to spend on this case,” he said of Chevron. “They will stop at nothing.”
Under Left- and Right-Wing Leaders, the Amazon Has Burned. Can Latin America Reject Oil, Ranching, and Mining?
The Chevron case may be most devastating for the plaintiffs in the Amazon, who never received their judgment despite being left with hundreds of unlined waste pits and contaminated water and soil from millions of gallons of spilled crude oil and billions of gallons of dumped toxic waste. Everything that’s happened to Donziger “is small potatoes compared to the fact that Kaplan has rendered the damage the company actually did as totally irrelevant,” said Nesson.
But the latest twists and turns in the Chevron case may also be particularly bad news for climate activists. A mere 20 companies are responsible for a third of the greenhouse gases emitted in the modern era; Chevron ranks second only to Saudi Aramco among them. And it’s increasingly clear that addressing the climate crisis will require confronting these mega-emitters, whose resources for litigation dwarf that of any individual.
Making Chevron and other companies clean up the messes created by their oil production will speed the transition away from fossil fuels, according to Rex Weyler, an environmental advocate who co-founded Greenpeace International and directed the original Greenpeace Foundation. “If hydrocarbon companies are forced to pay for the true costs of their product, which include these environmental costs, it will make the alternative energy systems more competitive,” said Weyler.
Accordingly, Weyler feels that the climate movement should focus on Chevron’s case — and Donziger’s legal battle. “One of the most effective things climate activists can do right now to change the system would be to not let Chevron get away with polluting in these countries, whether Ecuador, Nigeria, or anywhere” said Weyler. While some human rights and environmental advocates have tried to call attention to Donziger’s case and Chevron’s bullying of him, Weyler felt that the outcry should be louder.
After seeing what’s happened to Donziger, and some of his former allies, whom Chevron has gone after as “nonparty co-conspirators,” people may be afraid to stand up to the company. Donziger himself is living in fear. There is no set punishment when a judge files for criminal contempt of court, so he spends his days worrying over what will happen to him next. “It’s scary,” he told me. “I don’t know what they’re thinking.”
But Weyler pointed out that Chevron, which could still be forced to pay the multibillion-dollar judgment by courts in another country, is also afraid. “They are afraid of the precedent. Not only is Chevron afraid, the entire extraction industry is afraid of the precedent,” said Weyler. “They do not want to be held responsible for the pollution of their industry.”
Lots of eye opening details in this article. Nursing homes should not receive a dime of taxpayer money any longer until they clean up their act. And if an elder or disabled wants to go home, that should happen ASAP.
Someone has to put a stop to this horrific system of abuse and neglect for fun and profit.
As Florida nursing home residents died, operators raked in federal handouts
AUGUST 06, 2020 08:30 AM , UPDATED AUGUST 06, 2020 01:58 PM
Florida Gov. DeSantis gives coronavirus update
Gov. Ron DeSantis held a coronavirus news conference at Broward Health on Monday, August 3, 2020. BY THE FLORIDA CHANNEL
Heather Williams knew on April 28 that her mom, 63-year-old Sarita Redmond, had tested positive for COVID-19. But the Southern Oaks Care Center, which had become a petri dish of infection, would tell Williams nothing more.
Call after call to the Pensacola nursing home went unanswered, Williams said. And a state executive order intended to protect elders in long-term care barred her from visiting her mother.
Williams asked local police to make a welfare check in mid-May. The Pensacola Police Department told her that COVID-19 restrictions forbid that, too.
“I didn’t know what else I could do,” Williams said.
The day before Williams learned that her mother had COVID, Southern Oaks reported that 92 residents and 15 employees at the 210-bed facility had tested positive for the virus — the most cases of any nursing home in the state at that point.
Nursing homes, which rely almost exclusively on state and federal payments from Medicaid and Medicare, are heavy political spenders and not shy about flexing that political muscle. As COVID-19 has led to more than 150,000 cases and more than 40,000 deaths nationwide in nursing homes, owners have pushed for immunity from lawsuits stemming from their handling of the virus. That is despite the fact that problems at some homes predate the virus and that industry insiders acknowledge many nursing homes didn’t have sufficient infection controls to stop the spread of the highly contagious COVID-19.
While they’ve had mixed success in winning immunity, nursing homes have gotten nearly $10 billion in federal funds from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid services to help offset COVID-19 costs.
Late last year, Scheiner organized a fundraiser that brought in roughly $3 million to support Trump’s re-election bid, giving $750,000 himself.
While Scheiner’s fundraising prowess has garnered praise from the president, his nursing homes have generated reproach from regulators.
Of the the 24 Florida nursing homes tied to Scheiner and a business partner, Teddy Lichtschein, more than a third are on the state’s Watch List for troubled nursing homes, and health regulators reported 114 verified complaints at the homes between November 2016 and November 2019, state records show.
Florida facilities connected to them have also racked up more than $485,000 in fines from the federal government since 2017 and nearly $70,000 in fines from the state of Florida in the same time period.
The coronavirus pandemic has further exposed the homes’ shortcomings. More than 100 residents and employees have died from COVID-19, the illness caused by exposure to the virus, at nursing homes linked to Scheiner and Lichtschein, according to the Miami Herald’s analysis of state records. The loss of life is among the highest totals of any network of homes in the state, a Miami Herald analysis of state and federal data shows.
The Miami Herald spoke with relatives of current and former residents at several of Scheiner’s 24 facilities. Many painted a similar picture of poorly managed homes that have kept families in the dark during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Florida to release names of nursing homes with COVID-19 cases
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis orders release of names of elder care homes with positive COVID-19 cases. BY FLORIDA GOVERNOR’S OFFICE
Lorraine Bydalek’s 44-year-old daughter, whose cerebral palsy leaves her wholly dependent on caregivers, contracted COVID-19 at the North Lake Care Center in Lake Park in early May, after the facility had been in lockdown for months. Bydalek said North Lake didn’t do enough to protect residents from contracting the virus, for example allowing residents requiring treatments at outside facilities to be in close proximity to her daughter.
“They’re constantly being exposed,” she said.
Crystal Knowles kept running into dead-ends whenever she tried to learn about the status of her 61-year-old father, George Knowles, who spent nearly two weeks at the Palms Care Center in Lauderdale Lakes in March in the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“It was very hard to have a family member there and not know what’s going on exactly,” she said. “Trying to call the facility was the worst customer experience I’ve ever had. It was the complete run-around.”
Williams’ assessment of the Pensacola home where her mother contracted COVID-19 was equally blunt: “That facility, in my opinion, should be shut down.”
Her mother’s care at the facility was even subject to an investigation for abuse and neglect by the Florida Department of Children &Families. The Southern Oaks Care Center said the investigation exonerated the home, but Williams said she hadn’t yet been informed of the results. The department confirmed the existence of the investigation, but would not confirm its findings.
The Pensacola nursing home said that it’s currently COVID-19 free and that it had the highest early COVID-19 totals because it had tested residents and staff earlier than other nearby facilities. Amanda Waddell, the home’s community liaison, said its phones went down in April because a contractor working across the street accidentally severed the facility’s lines.
Waddell defended the care provided by the facility during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“At our facility many who tested positive were asymptomatic and thankfully our mortality rates were very much below the averages at other skilled nursing facilities, but every loss was and remains tragic,” Waddell said in an e-mail.
The North Lakes Care Center pushed back on criticism of its practices.
“It appears that you are sending us a list of questions that are applicable to all nursing homes in the State of Florida and elsewhere in the country,” said the administrator, Steven Landa, in response to questions about complaints by family members about the care for patients during the pandemic.
Scheiner, Lichtschein and the Palms Care Center did not return phone calls or e-mails with detailed questions.
Property records for the facilities show that they are owned by companies listing Scheiner, Lichtschein or employees at their Brooklyn company, TL Management LLC, as the officers, with the same Brooklyn shipping store listed as the business address for all of the entities.
But Scheiner and Lichtschein aren’t listed as owners of any of the homes in state or federal nursing home records. Instead, another New York man, Michael Bleich, is listed as indirect owner of each facility in federal nursing home records and as an officer in state corporation records.
Bleich appears to have become involved with many of the facilities in 2015, according to Florida state records. In a master sublease agreement obtained by the Herald from the same year, a company controlled by Bleich, Care Master Tenant Inc., leased 11 of the properties from Scheiner and Lichtschein’s TL Healthcare Holdings. The agreement shows that Bleich wasn’t just leasing the property on which the facilities are located, but the licenses and medical records, too. When the lease ended, Scheiner and Lichtstein would retain control of the licenses and other related assets.
Bleich didn’t respond to phone calls and text messages. Reached by the Herald in late April, when Southern Oaks had first reported the most COVID-19 cases in the state, he told the Herald, “Call the facility, I’m not going to talk to you.”
DeSantis says healthcare workers have responded to 93 elder care facilities for coronavirus
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said on April 13, 2020, that teams of healthcare workers have responded to 93 nursing homes and assisted-living facilities due to coronavirus.
The complex legal structure of these homes isn’t uncommon among nursing homes and other long-term care centers. Trying to determine who actually owns a nursing home regularly involves navigating a maze of shell companies.
“Many plaintiffs’ attorneys will never conduct corporate structure discovery because it’s too expensive and time consuming,” the presentation aimed at nursing home executives and attorneys said.
Ken Connors, an attorney in South Carolina who has brought numerous suits against senior care companies in Florida and across the South, said: “It’s a byzantine arrangement that is calculated to obscure the people who are making the operational decisions and by virtue of that obscurity immunize the people making them.”
In the wake of the deadly COVID-19 pandemic, which has killed nearly 3,000 residents and staff statewide, nursing home operators have sought formal immunity from negligence lawsuits related to their handling of the pandemic. The nursing home industry wrote a letter to Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis in early April requesting that he extend sovereign immunity to nursing homes, hospitals, assisted living facilities and other healthcare providers. So far, DeSantis hasn’t indicated whether he supports granting immunity to the owners.
But at the federal level, nursing home owners have found an ally in Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, a Kentucky Republican, who has said he supports including liability protections in future rounds of coronavirus legislative relief.
Scheiner and Lichtschein redoubled their political efforts as COVID-19 spread this spring.
The efforts appear to have already paid off. The Florida facilities have received between $29.5 and $47 million in competitive federal coronavirus relief funds as part of the federal CARES Act, on top of increased federal reimbursements for testing and up to $8.6 million in additional federal funds distributed to nursing homes, according to a set formula. Nursing homes tied to Scheiner and Lichtschein in New York and Texas took in an additional $18.5 to $31.5 million in the competitive funds. All told, nursing homes tied to Scheiner and Lichtschein reaped between $48 million and $78 million in CARES Act funds.
Each Florida facility was awarded money from the HHS Federal Provider Relief Fund, which comes with no strings attached. Meanwhile, 21 of the 24 nursing homes tied to Scheiner and Lichtschein obtained between $14.5 and $32 million combined in paycheck protection program loans in late April and May, which is the most of any nursing home operator in the state, according to the Herald’s analysis of loan data and nursing home records. The loans are forgiven if they are used for payroll and other approved expenses.Recipients are supposed to indicate how many jobs were saved thanks to the money, but in data released by the U.S. Small Business Administration the number of jobs retained is listed as zero for 20 of the 21 loans.
Interviews and records suggest problems at the homes connected to Scheiner and Lichtschein long predate the virus’ spread.
The state of Florida denied two nursing home license applications submitted by Bleich in 2019, noting that 24 homes associated with Bleich had garnered 114 substantiated complaints between 2016 and 2019 — far more than other applicants for the same licenses. Bleich wrote in one application that he “acquired several troubled facilities in or facing bankruptcy in 2018” and had “also acquired other facilities, many with physical plants that are ending their useful lives.”
The Williston Care Center near Gainesville was fined $60,000 by the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services in July 2019 after staff at the home waited too long to perform CPR on a resident who was choking on her lunch, federal inspectors found.The resident was discovered slumped over in her wheelchair in the dining room, her lips blue and with no pulse. But instead of performing CPR immediately in the dining room, the staff wheeled the resident to her room, and transferred her to her bed before starting CPR. She was taken to the hospital 15 minutes later and pronounced dead two hours after that.
In January, Florida’s Agency for Health Care Administration fined the Cypress Care Center in Wildwood, an hour outside of Orlando, $20,000 after a resident with diabetes and a related neurological disorder died in May 2019 after being left outside, unattended for three hours, according to the agency’s findings. He was discovered unresponsive by a kitchen manager and when local emergency medical workers were called to the nursing home, they determined that his temperature was 107 degrees. He was pronounced dead at the Leesburg Regional Medical Center of, among other things, respiratory failure, cardiac arrest and hyperthermia, which is a temperature greatly above normal.
Williams said that her mother nearly died during a previous stay at the Southern Oaks Care Center last fall, when Redmond had to be hospitalized after the facility gave her an accidental overdose of morphine. Her mother’s condition at the time was so poor that she was placed in hospice care, where she was expected to die.
Though Redmond was able to recover, her family had seen enough of Southern Oaks, Williams said. Williams wanted her mother to go elsewhere, but she was unable to find a home nearby with open beds.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, some of the facilities connected to Scheiner and Lichtschein have been among the deadliest in the state. That includes the Gulf Shore Care Center in Pinellas Park, which has reported 22 resident deaths and one staff death, and the Sands at South Beach Care Center in Miami Beach, which has reported 16 resident deaths. The Southern Oaks Care Center has reported 10 deaths.
Statewide, the number of new deaths at long-term care facilities has shot up in recent weeks, after declining for much of May and June.
Before the pandemic, the homes tied to Scheiner and Lichtschein had lower staffing levels than the state average, federal nursing home data show. The disparity was particularly wide for registered nurses, who have the most training of the caregiving staff at nursing homes and, as a result, tend to be highest paid. Residents at the homes connected to Scheiner and Lichtschein received only three-quarters the amount of daily care from registered nurses as the average at nursing homes in the state.
Advocates say those differences can be crucial for residents in need of intensive medical care.
“Every minute is an eternity when it comes to care in a nursing home,” said Brian Lee, Florida’s former long-term care ombudsman and the executive director of Families for Better care. “Every minute may be the difference between life and death.”
‘ALL SHE KNEW IS THAT SHE WAS IN PAIN’
Bydalek said she believes that seemingly endless cutbacks at the North Lake Care Center in Lake Park have put her 44-year-old daughter Jennifer Soderlund and other residents at risk.
“They’re down to bare bones on things,” Bydalek said.
Jennifer Soderlund, 44, is a resident at the North Lake Care Center in Lake Park who became infected with COVID-19 at the home. COURTESY OF LORRAINE BYDALEK
Soderlund, who has the neurological condition cerebral palsy, first tested positive for COVID-19 in early May, and was moved into a room with another infected resident, Bydalek said. Soderlund was moved again recently after testing negative for the virus twice.
Soderlund’s positive test came well after nursing homes banned visitors, and Bydalek thinks the nursing home hasn’t done enough to ensure that residents don’t get infected from staff or other residents who require treatment outside the facility.
She said that her daughter, who has physical but not cognitive, impairments, begs to be moved in their communications. Bydalek would like her daughter to be closer to her Melbourne home, but can’t find another facility with an opening for a long-term resident.
“I just want my daughter in a safer environment,” Bydalek said.
Knowles didn’t want her 61-year-old father George to be placed in the Palms Care Center in Lauderdale Lakes, either, but Palms Care was the only place equipped to take her father when he needed specialized care, including a constant supply of oxygen, after open heart surgery in early March.
Knowles’ father was disoriented and would call them in the middle of the night, panicked about his condition.
“It was really scary,” she said.
Despite repeated calls to Palms Care, she and her family found it nearly impossible to get any information about her father’s status, Knowles said. Each time they called, they would be passed from one staff member to another, none of whom could provide information.
Finally, Knowles’ cousin drove there in an effort to get more information. Employees brought Knowles’ father to a window where Knowles’ cousin could see him, and what the cousin saw was troubling: “He didn’t have oxygen on, he didn’t have a mask on,” Knowles said.
What’s more, her cousin saw numerous people in street clothes going in and out, and passing by Knowles’ father without masks or any protective gear.
Knowles said she was furious.
“You lock down those facilities for a reason, she said. “My dad still had staples down his chest.”
Her father left Palms Care in mid-March and died of a heart attack on April 3. There’s no indication that his death was related to COVID-19.
For Williams, in Pensacola, the first sight of her mother after months of lockdown was even more horrifying.
Williams had been trying desperately to learn more about the status of her mother, Sarita Redmond, at Southern Oaks after the COVID diagnosis in late April.
“There was a period of time where the phones were just busy, for days,” she said.
Her efforts included imploring the Pensacola Police Department to pay her mother a welfare visit. The department declined.
And in the ensuing weeks Redmond’s health declined rapidly.
After she learned that an investigation was being opened into her mother’s care, Williams demanded that her mother be taken to the hospital, which is where she and her family saw Redmond for the first time since she had contracted the virus.
Williams described her mother as a gorgeous woman with a beautiful heart who was devoted to her children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
The woman they saw at the hospital that day was unrecognizable.
An image of Sarita Redmond in the final days of her life, a month after she had tested positive for COVID-19. COURTESY OF HEATHER WILLIAMS
She was emaciated and suffering from severe malnutrition. Her body was covered in bedsores and she was moaning in pain.
“She never looked like that before,” Williams said.
Her mother didn’t recognize Williams or the rest of her family.
“All she knew is that she was in pain,” Williams said.
Ben Wieder is a data reporter in McClatchy’s Washington bureau. He worked previously at the Center for Public Integrity and Stateline. His work has been honored by the Society of American Business Editors and Writers, National Press Foundation, Online News Association and Association of Health Care Journalists.
But if you reveal corruption like this on a blog, the ARDC will come right after you and suspend you for years.
Ken Ditkowsky, Lanre Amu and I all revealed corruption in the courts in Cook County, all of which turned out to be true. In my case, the judge lied on the stand, and the court reporter was unlicensed. I caught the judge in her lies. The judge is long gone. But the ARDC will not apologize for their horrid behavior and automatically reinstate me. This is something they should do if they are ever able to regain the trust of the public.
Seth Gillman bilked the US govt millions in health care fraud for years and stole employee health care funds leaving employees without health care insurance. Did the ARDC care? Nope. It took them years to even begin the process to discipline Gillman.
But if you tell the truth on an attorney blog and it make some corrupt lawyer (Farenga, Waller or Schmeidel cry) or a corrupt Judge cry (Stuart), they will come after you lock stock and barrel with a fixed court system and claim you are a “danger to the public” and your blog is like “shouting fire in a crowded theater.” what utter nonsense.
But an attorney that does his job for sex, is again, not disciplined for years.
CHICAGO (CBS) — A Chicago family attorney who represented children in the midst of custody battles is accused of offering to recommend a parent get full custody of her children in exchange for sex, in addition to sexually assaulting several employees.
In 2016, David Pasulka offered to recommend that a judge give a woman sole custody of her two children, for whom he was appointed guardian ad litem — an attorney who represents children in a custody dispute — as long as she had sex with him, according to a complaint filed on July 13 by the Illinois Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission (ARDC).
Pasulka also sexually abused three female employees of his law firm, David P. Pasulka and Associates, between 2012 and 2018, the complaint said.
In Cook County, a guardian ad litem serves as an attorney for the children of parents in divorce or other domestic issues. Guardians ad litem investigate cases and interview the children before ultimately presenting their findings to a judge, who determines the custody arrangement for the children.
The complaint details allegations of sexual abuse beginning in 2012, and documents obtained by CBS 2 indicate the ARDC received its first allegation in March 2017. When asked why the ARDC took over three years from the date of the first allegation to release the formal complaint, an ARDC spokesperson declined to comment citing Illinois Supreme Court rules that prevent the ARDC from discussing disciplinary action.
Pasulka has been suspended from serving as guardian ad litem in Cook County; Judge Grace Dickler, who presides over domestic relations cases, prevented him from doing so on Monday when she found out about the complaint, according to a spokesperson for Office of the Chief Judge of Cook County.
Dickler also suspended Pasulka from “any other Court Committee to which he has been appointed” in the domestic relations division due to the “serious allegations” in the complaint, the spokesperson said.
When asked why Judge Dickler found out about the complaint over a week after it was filed, the ARDC spokesperson replied “I do not know.”
The complaint says Pasulka was explicit about the arrangement: sex in exchange for a favorable recommendation regarding the custody of her two children.
According to the complaint, “[Pasulka] stated to [the woman] that, in order to receive his support in recommending that she receive sole custody, she only had to ‘do a little extra something’ and that she was a ‘smart girl’ and that if she really wanted her children, he could ‘do that’ for her if she would have sex with him.”
The complaint said this wasn’t the first time Pasulka had engaged in sexual misconduct in a professional setting.
According to the complaint, Pasulka repeatedly asked three female employees to engage in sexual acts with him, and often forcibly kissed and inappropriately touched them. The complaint also says that, on several occasions, Pasulka forcibly penetrated the employees.
According to the complaint, Pasulka used his position of power over the employees.
“As [the woman’s] employer, [Pasulka] maintained a position of power over her, in that she was financially dependent upon her job at the firm as her only source of income,” the complaint said of one of the women. “In addition, during the duration of her employment, [Pasulka] routinely told [the woman] about his connections in the family law field, including connections with judges, attorneys, and bar associations and implied his ability to affect her professional success.”
The complaint says Pasulka pressured the women, telling one “he was looking for a ‘team player’ and that she should be a ‘team player’ and that ‘you’re saying no when you should be saying yes,’” the complaint said, adding that Pasulka even told one woman “Your friend, [one of the women in the complaint], does not say no.”
The complaint also alleges “dishonesty, fraud, deceit or misrepresentations related to manipulation of an alcohol testing device” in a 2017 DUI arrest.
The complaint said that, in 2017, Pasulka consumed as much as a pint of vodka before driving to his home in north suburban Glenview. While driving on the Kennedy Expressway, he rear-ended another car and drove away without stopping, the complaint alleged. Pasulka exited the Kennedy Expressway and drove to a Starbucks in Niles and hit the Starbucks building with his car before driving away, according to the complaint.
Pasulka was eventually stopped by officers with the Niles Police Department, and refused to submit to a portable breath test, according to the complaint. He was charged with a misdemeanor charge of driving under the influence of alcohol, and sentenced to 12 months of court supervision, the complaint said.
Pasulka agreed to abstain from drugs and alcohol and participate in Alcoholics Anonymous, as well as use a “Soberlink” device, which measures alcohol content, three times a day, the complaint alleged.
The complaint alleges, Pasulka later violated that agreement by relapsing and drinking alcohol on several occasions, as well as tampering with the device.
Pasulka hasn’t been charged criminally in connection with any of the incidents in the ARDC complaint. Both the Chief Judge’s spokesperson and the ARDC spokesperson declined to comment on potential charges citing Illinois Supreme Court rules. A spokesperson for the Cook County State’s Attorney’s office said “we have not been asked to review these matters by law enforcement who would conduct the initial investigation.”
Pasulka told CBS 2’s Charlie De Mar he denies all the allegations against him. Pasulka said he is a leader in his field and has represented thousands of children, and feels he is being “dragged through the mud,” adding that “this is the worst thing that’s ever been laid on me.”
Court Corruption in Cook County is like mom and apple pie!
This is the County in which certain nursing homes actually advertised in writing that they would pay a bounty for every ‘patient’ that you brought into their facilities. This is the county in which a doctor had the temerity to refer to the elderly as a “commodity” The nursing home advertised that they would pay $2000.00 for grandma!
I did not check and see what the future’s contract set the bid and ask price for grandma today. Corruption is ingrained into our daily lives. In Cook County elder lives are big money. One of the Chicago nursing home operators went to Florida and got indicted and convicted for stealing 1.3 billon dollars from Medicare. That was Philip Esformes. He is small potatoes. His colleagues are much more proficient and better connected – thus, they are NOT prosecuted. In the Brewer case FRCP 11 pretrial investigation I discovered that the 50th ward nursing homes delivered 100% of their votes for the incumbent Alderman. Such was more than enough to swing the election! It appears that every election has the same result – the 2020 election will be slightly different – more of the dead will vote than in previous years!
The Sallas case which will be heard next Tuesday again has become obscene! The corruption has reached a new nadir! The miscreants no longer are hesitant in openly violating the Law – they do openly and notoriously. A Guardian ad Litem, knowing that there is such a thing as MARITAL PROPERTY and the works both ways actually in open court tried to intimidate Mr Sallas – she TOLD HIM HE HAD NO STATUS.
Of Course GAL Epstein knew that as an owner of MARITAL PROPERTY not only did Sallas have status, but the Court in denying him the same was OPENLY and NOTOROUSLY Denying Sallas his 5th and 14th Amendment Rights. This intimidation is about as ethically challenged as it can get! Epstein is a smart lawyer with great experience – such attempted intimidation is obscene.
Sallas’ petition will be presented on July 28 (Tuesday) It summarizes the misconduct being directed right from the bench, It you have not seen a copy – a copy is set out. For the record, IF YOU DESIRE TO SEE THE CORRUPTION IN ACTION = call the Court and ask to be included on the list of people invited to watch. The Justice system of Cook County, Illinois will be on full display. Watch how a citizen will be castigated – hell they will make a new religion out of him! (They will not allow Sallas to have a competent attorney! He had one who was actually fighting for him – she got cold feet and was scared that she actually withdrew without prior notice to him. The Judge was only too happy to get rid of her and have Sallas unrepresented.)
Incidentally – at my age I am actually retired and have no desire to ever practice law again – ergo I am free to exercise freely my FIRST AMENDMENT RIGHTS without fear of further intimidation. The words and phrases I speak concern public figures and are my opinion – In addition, judges are elected officials in our State.
Pro -se Petition of Dean Sallas
IN THE CIRCUIT COURT OF COOK COUNTY, ILLNOIS
County Department Probate Division
The Estate of Amelia Sallas 2007 P 5360
OBJECTIONS TO “ACCOUNTINGS OF GUARDIANS,
AND FOR OTHER RELIEF.
Dean Sallas, a citizen of the State of Illinois, appearing pro se in support of his Petition states as follows:
1. Background. He (age 83) and Amelia Sallas (aged middle 70’s) have been married for more than ½ a Century. That at all times relevant prior to the filing of the proceedings herein he and Amelia Sallas resided together in their marital home in Skokie, Illinois as husband and wife. (NB. After the appointment of a guardian herein, he and Amelia continued to live together for about a decade). Even though from time to time Amelia experienced medical problems she was mentally alert and when she experienced difficulty, she (with the aid of Dean) checked herself in to Swedish Covenant Hospital. It is believed that Amelia’s independence and the overt demonstration of the impropriety of the appointment of the guardian precipitated and/or was a proximate cause of the Guardian removing Amy from the marital home) During the coverture of the marriage, including the period of time immediately prior to the filing of these proceedings Amelia Sallas drove her own car, shopped for herself and Dean, contracted and engaged tradesman to do maintenance jobs at the family residence. Indeed, she was very capable of managing her affairs. The marital estate at all time prior to the commencement of these proceedings had in the opinion of the pro se petitioner a net net value of Nine million dollars. Petitioner was a successful in Real Estate. (Some of this evidence was presented to the Court in a recent hearing when petitioner was represented by an attorney. Petitioner verily believes that the allowance of his attorney to withdraw without prior notice fiasco was a thinly veiled attempt to prevent his being able to proceed with the Petition to terminate the guardianship.
2. This Court unlawfully and wrongfully intervened in the half century marriage of the parties and in derogation of the mandate of 755 ILCS 5/11a – 3 appointed strangers as guardians for Amelia and entered orders that prevented the pro se petitioner (or Amelia) from accessing the marital funds to address financial crisis of 2008. As a proximate cause of this Court’s wrongful interference in the lives of Dean and Amelia Sallas the privacy of Dean and Amelia was invaded and their ability to access and manage their life savings severely restricted. It is estimated that approximately 8 million dollars in assets belonging to the marital estate were dissipated and lost due to the aforesaid interference by the Court appointed guardians in their lives and the economic crisis of 2008 and the recission that followed. .
3. That on or about 2008 the plenary guardian Jos Mitzen was appointed. He conducts business under the name and style of WHITEHEADFINK ELDER LAW. What function Mitzen performed (except to deny Amelia and Dean their 4th Amendment Right to privacy). Amelia for almost a decade continued to live in the marital home with Dean. Mitzen’s guardianship was in the opinion of petitioner un-necessary, wasteful and an in direct conflict with the provisions of 755 ILCS 5/11a – 3b. The Public Guardian’s office was similarly in direct conflict with the limitations of 755 ILCS 5/lla – 3b which states in words and phrases:
(b) Guardianship shall be utilized only as is necessary to promote the well-being of the person with a disability, to protect him from neglect, exploitation, or abuse, and to encourage development of his maximum self-reliance and independence. Guardianship shall be ordered only to the extent necessitated by the individual's actual mental, physical, and adaptive limitations. (Source: P.A. 99-143, eff. 7-27-15.)
4. That on or about February 2, 2019 Amy Sallas was removed from the marital home by Mitzen. (actually, she had signed herself into Swedish Covenant Hospital and was removed from there where she was receiving treatment for the “hip” that Mitzen refers to in his report allegedly filed in March 2020. At all times relevant prior to forced involuntary termination of their marriage the petitioner and Amelia Sallas continued to reside as husband and wife and perform their joint marital duties. Both objected to the interference by the Court appointed guardians and the overt alienation of affections promulgated by the two appointed guardians.
5. That this Court and the guardians have unilaterally terminated the marriage of Dean and Amelia Sallas. Dean’s rights to consortium have been terminated, his access to marital funds obviated, he is denied by Josh Mitzen and this Court the companionship, love and any relationship with his wife, Amelia Sallas. Contrary to Mitzen’s averment in his report, Dean had to beg, and plead for information concerning the infection of his wife with Covid19 virus. The ‘love of his life’
6. That the Guardians in their Petitions for Fees represent to this Court that the marital estate has approximately $92,144.90. These funds are marital property.
7. That upon reliable information and belief, the pro se plaintiff verily believes and alleges that from day one the Guardians acted for their own parochial interests and NOT the interests of either Dean or Amelia Sallas. In particular, the parties were NOT informed of Amelia’s rights and privileges in relation to a guardianship that are set out in 755 ILCS 5/11a – 10 and in point of the fact the guardianship was a sham and should never have occurred. The medical reports that the petitioner previously sought to place in evidence (and support with testimony) are incorporated by reference, attached hereto, and made part hereof as group exhibit. In particular:
a. We were not informed that Amelia had a right to her own lawyer to look out after her own interests and have a jury trial,
b. We not informed that we had the right to contest the absurd psychiatric opinion as to Amy’s competency and had the right to present our own experts.
c. Other and different deficiencies.
8. Statement of the Law in my lay terms. A guardian is a fiduciary. As a fiduciary owes to his ward the highest standard of conduct and integrity – in addition to his/its exact compliance with the statutory mandates. A fiduciary cannot directly or indirectly obtain any profit or pecuniary benefit from his/its position as guardian. A guardian/fiduciary is not paid upon rote hourly charges, but is paid only for the work that he/it does that is reasonably calculated to benefit the Estate. It is further my understanding that for services rendered that benefit the estate (judged for fiduciaries by the clear light of hindsight) are compensated on the basis of the necessary services be paid a reasonable sum. This sum is calculated not just on an hourly rate, but on a rate that takes into account what was accomplished by the services. If no benefit no payment. Disloyalty or bad conduct also creates a situation wherein the fiduciary forfeits compensation and can be surcharged and required to reimburse the fiduciary estate for its losses.
9. The foregoing statements supra are applicable to all other Dean’s grievances made herein.
PETITION TO SURCHARGE GUARDIAN FOR LACK OF FIDELITY IN ADDRESSING THE PROPERTY OF THE MARRIAGE FOR WRONGFUL ACTS DURING GUARDIANSHIP
10. Violation of 755 ILCS 5/11a – 22. Possible wrongdoing by Byline Bank (not a party to this lawsuit) and the Public Guardian’s office. That on or about July 8, 2020 the law firm of Kulek served on the pro se Petitioner a lawsuit entitled Byline Bank vs. Dean Sallas, Amelia Sallas case number 2019 CH 13960. This Mortgage foreclosure was filed in the Chancery Division of Circuit Court of Cook County, Illinois. This lawsuit was filed in December 2019 while the respondent Guardian (believed to be the Public Guardian) was secretly holding in its possession more than $92,000.00 of marital funds. This Court is respectfully requested to take JUDICIAL NOTICE of its own records and in particular case 2019 CH 13960.
11. That at all times relevant because this Court allowed pro-se Petitioner’s attorney to withdraw without prior notice the Petitioner was unrepresented in this Court. It is respectfully averred that the Public Guardian’s office as Guardian of property for Amelia Sallas not only failed to protect her property, but apparently aided and abetted the dissipation of her and Dean’s marital property.
12. That amongst the laws of the State of Illinois there exists a statute 755 ILCS 5/11a – 22. This statute states:
(755 ILCS 5/11a-22)(from Ch. 110 1/2, par. 11a-22) Sec. 11a-22. Trade and contracts with a person with a disability. (a) Anyone who by trading with, bartering, gaming or any other device, wrongfully possesses himself of any property of a person known to be a person with a disability commits a Class A misdemeanor. (b) Every note, bill, bond or other contract by any person for whom a plenary guardian has been appointed or who is adjudged to be unable to so contract is void as against that person and his estate, but a person making a contract with the person so adjudged is bound thereby. (Source: P.A. 99-143, eff. 7-27-15.)
13. That attached to the foreclosure complaint in case 2019 CH `13960 are documents. This Court is respectfully requested to take judicial notice of these loan documents. Exhibit g is one of the documents attached. It is called a change in terms agreement and is dated. April 25, 2017. Therein in a paragraph stating “promise to pay” the paragraph states in part:
“Dean A Sallas and Amelia Sallas (borrower) jointly and severally promise to pay to the Byline Bank formerly known as North Community Bank ***the principal sum of One hundred eighty three thousand four hundred and Ninety three and 83/100 dollars ($183, 493.84) together with interest on the unpaid principal balance from April 25, 2017 *****.
14. At all times relevant this Court had adjudicated Amelia Sallas a disabled person and such fact was known to each of the guardians assigned to this guardianship and of record. The Byline Bank is charged with knowledge thereof and both the Guardian and the Byline Bank are deemed to know the criminal prohibitions of 755 ILCS 5/11a – 22.
15. That it is believed and therefore alleged upon information and belief that Robert Harris an attorney employed with the Public Guardian’s office officiated at the signing of exhibit G and in violation of 755 ILCS 5/11a – 22 he agreed to bind Mrs. Sallas to the promise to pay aforesaid in direct violation of the aforesaid statute. (the documents attached to the complaint as exhibit G does not bear Mrs. Sallas’ signature)
16. That attached to the foreclosure complaint in case 2019 CH 13960 is exhibit H. This Court is respectfully requested to take Judicial Notice of this document that is part of its own records. This is a change in terms agreement and is dated January 25, 2018. This agreement in a paragraph commencing with the words promise to pay states.
“Dean A Sallas and Amelia Sallas (borrower) jointly and severally promise to pay to the Byline Bank formerly known as North Community Bank ***the principal sum of One hundred seventy three thousand three hundred and sixty six and 99/100 dollars ($173, 366.99) together with interest on the unpaid principal balance from January 25, 2018 *****.
17. The signature page on exhibit H bears the signature of Dean Sallas and Amelia Sallas.  In the 3 pages of Exhibit H there is no mention of the guardianship, however on an unlabeled page immediately following page 3 of this exhibit H there is another signature page. This unlabeled and undated document does bear a signature of the guardian. The connivance and possible criminal conduct of the Public guardian (the guardian of the property) is thus revealed.
18. That as per the agreement of the parties and the marital custom of Dean and Amelia Sallas part of the pension received by Amelia was to be used to pay this loan. This loan was secured by a lien on the marital home in which both Dean and Amelia resided.
19. That the guardian honored the marital agreement of the parties and his subject agreement and attornment to pay this illegal loan, until Dean was drained of the savings that he controlled and was most vulnerable. The guardian then and there unilaterally it is believed and therefore alleged as no notice was ever given to the pro se petitioner to the contrary stopped paying the aforesaid loan. (It is believed that no prior Court order was requested – the action was unilateral by the guardian.)
20. That it is averred upon information and belief that such action was taken by the guardian intentionally to cause a foreclosure of the home of Dean and Amelia Sallas and render Dean Sallas homeless and penniless.
21. That Dean Sallas is 83 years old. Amelia is 70 plus years of age.
Wherefore the pro se petitioner prays for the following relief, to wit:
1. That this Court refer this matter and the mortgage foreclosure to the STATES ATTORNEY OF COOK COUNTY, ILLINOIS, and Attorney General of the State of Illinois for prosecution of the crime specified in 755 ILCS 5/11a – 22.
2. That this Court refer this matter and the mortgage foreclosure aforesaid to the United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois for a possible CIVIL RIGHTS VIOLATION as the actions of the guardians (all of them including the GAL) are abusive and predatory and are reasonably calculated to cause pain and suffering to an elderly couple who have been unlawfully separated and deprived of their valuable marriage rights.
3. That the Public Guardian be surcharged all costs of investigation by the State of Illinois and the United States of America and petitioner be given leave to FILE a damage claim against the guardians appointed herein for such injuries and damages as are proximate to the breach of fiduciary relationship by the guardian.
4. That the Public guardian be dismissed from his position of guardian for Amelia Sallas and a new hearing following the criteria of 755 ILCS 5/11a – 3 (and appropriate notice) be had to determine if Amelia is in fact a disabled person entitled to a guardian. If a guardian is found to be necessary, that Dean Sallas be appointed without bond.
5. That the Public guardian’s petition for fees be stricken until a investigation be had into the possible criminal charges mandated by 755 ILCS 5/11a – 22 and an accounting can be had as to how much of a surcharge should be assessed against the public guardian.
6. Such other and different relief as might be equitable and proper.
Deny all guardian fees and surcharge their Bonds
For Count 2 the pro se plaintiff states:
22. That the averments of paragraph 1 thru 22 are incorporated by reference and made part hereof as if set forth in detail.
23. That the Mitzen was appointed on October 7, 2009. During the next decade Amelia lived as a married woman with her husband virtually without serious complaint as husband and wife. During such period Amelia continued to be unsupervised by Mitzen as to her living arrangements and intercourse with the public and until almost a decade after his appointment Medical care. Then and there he allegedly placed her in a nursing home wherein she became infected with the Covid 19 virus. Petitioner, who has been wrongfully prohibited from having contact with his wife of ½ of Century understands that in addition the guardian care has resulted in a great lessening of Amelia’s mobility and other functions. The apparent function of Mitzen was to invade the privacy of husband and wife in direct violation of the Civil and Human Rights of the marriage. In Summary, exactly what, if anything, for this decade did any guardian do except wrongfully interfere with the Civil Rights and equal protection of the parties, to wit: Amelia and Dean Sallas. There was no positive benefit to the ESTATE! The guardianship of the property had a gross negative effect on the Estate, and it is averred cost the marital estate of Dean and Amelia approximately 8 million dollars.
24. That it is apparent from the Report of Mitzen that Dean and Amelia, except for some pecuniary interference that cost the couple 8 million dollars, were essentially left alone – UNTIL Amelia’s signing herself into Swedish Covenant Hospital in 2019 demonstrating that in the opinion of Dean Sallas that the guardianship was in fact un-necessary and violated the mandate of 755 ILCS 5/11a – 3b. Wrongfully in derogation of his obligations to his ward Mitzen participated in a scheme to deny Amelia of her independence, mobility, and her marriage. Unilaterally he with the attornment of this Court created involuntarily a wrongful de facto divorce. This divorce denied both parties of their long-term marriage relationship, their marital savings, and assets/ This action violates the 5th and 14th Amendments to the Constitution. Pursuant to Article 1 Section 12 of the Illinois Constitution it is respectfully suggested that this Court is obligated to rectify this “human trafficking in the elderly.”
25. No hearing was ever held by this Court (that [Petitioner is aware of addressing the creation and promulgation of the party’s ultra vires de facto divorce. No hearing was held before stripping Sallas of their assets and secreting $92,000.00 in secret funds. (secret from Sallas) Indeed, it is respectfully averred by the Petitioner that the guardians appointed herein have largely usurped the powers of this Court for their own benefit and when the Petitioner attempted to resist the overt violation of his Federal and State Constitutional Rights he was intimidated by statements such as: “you have no standing!.” Indeed, how can any elderly person stand up to an array of lawyers consisting of a 1) Guardian ad Litem who is reputed to be one of they experts in Probate and in particular Guardian law who consistently is referring to his NOT HAVING STANDING to protest the ex-parte abrogation of his marriage, the confiscation of his property rights etc; 2) The PUBLIC GUARDIAN who while undermining the marriages life savings now informs this court that it has secretly accumulated $92,000. This is the same Guardian who openly aided and abetted a clear violation of 755 ILCS 5/11a – 22. And 3) a guardian of the person who refuses to communicate with the petitioner and who promulgates a de facto, ex-parte dissolution of a 50-year marriage.
26. That the Guardian ad litem, it is believed and therefore alleged knew or should have known of the breaches of fiduciary relationship that were occurring in this Estate, but instead of disclosing the same consistently attempted to intimidate Dean Sallas with statements such as “you have no status.” The guardians collectively knew that the 9 million dollars net, net were marital funds and that Dean Sallas had equal rights in those funds and the fact that a guardian was appointed by this Court did not obviate Dean Sallas’ Fifth and Fourteen Amendment Rights. No right to impoverish Dean Sallas or render him homeless was granted by any Statute. The rights granted to a guardian are limited by 755 ILCS 5/11a – 3b.
27. That guardianship is not an exception to the 13th Amendment – it is consistent with it and is limited. 755 ILCS 5/11a – 3b states:
(b) Guardianship shall be utilized only as is necessary to promote the well-being of the person with a disability, to protect him from neglect, exploitation, or abuse, and to encourage development of his maximum self-reliance and independence. Guardianship shall be ordered only to the extent necessitated by the individual's actual mental, physical, and adaptive limitations. (Source: P.A. 99-143, eff. 7-27-15.)
It is respectfully suggested that herein Abuse has been the goal of this guardianship and no compensation for such abuse of law is available under the law of fiduciaries – who are held to the highest standard of conduct – not the nadir.
Wherefore because of the obvious ultra vires actions of all three guardians the pro se petitioner prays for the following relief, to wit:
1) That this Court refer this matter and in particular this matter to LAW ENFORCEMENT for a complete INVESTIGATION of the actions of all three guardians appointed herein, their accumulation of $90,000 referred to in their petition for fees and other issues. The Americans with Disabilities Act states the position of America as to disabled persons – NOT THE ACTIONS of the guardians herein disclosed.
2) That this Court refer this matter, because of the questionable financial situation herein disclosed by the Guardians in their position for fees (i.e. the accumulation of $92,000 of marital funds and the promulgation of a mortgage foreclosure of the marital home, that this matter be referred to the CONSUMER FINANCIAL PROTECTION BUREAU for investigation as to any financial irregularities.
3) That this Court order the Bonds filed by the guardians to be forfeited and paid into the Estate of Amelia Sallas
4) That this Court require the guardians to honestly account for all monies derived directly or indirectly by them or by any nominee for them directly or indirect from this Estate.
5) That this put an end to the abuse herein disclosed promulgated by the guardians.
6) That this Court award such other and different relief as may be appropriate.
Under penalties as provide d by law pursuant to Section 1-19 of the Code of Civil Procedure the undersigned certifies that the fact statements made herein are true and correct, except as to matters and statements stated to be pursuant to information and belief.
 Amelia suffered a stroke shortly before the filing of the incompetency petition, but she shortly recovered most, if not substantially all her functions. Any disability that she suffered was relatively minor. It certainly did not meet the criterion of 755 ILCS 5/11a – 3.
 Dean and Amelia objected to the invasion of their rights, however, as in most of the guardianship cases reported in the Blogs AAAPG, Probate Sharks, NASGA, and MaryGSykes the objections were met with a deaf ear. The usual retort to a beleaguered family member attempting to protect the Estate is “you do not have standing!” The net is the property is lost to the alleged disabled person. It has been averred in articles in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, New Yorker magazine, Huffington Post and in a recent Netflix series referred to as “dirty money” documentary on guardianship that the guardian profits from such arrangements. An investigation is necessary to ascertain if such has occurred herein – why else would the outrageous interference with the pecuniary affairs of Sallas occurred? However, at this time no allegation is made.
 Mitzen’s current report to the Court is significant. The report, while vague and a bit deceptive suggests that there was something wrong with the sleeping arrangements etc. However, such were the arrangements for about a decade and the guardian found nothing amiss. Suddenly – he intervened after more than nine years. The right of privacy of the parties and their right to be non-conventional is protected by the Illinois and Federal Constitution and the words and phrases of 755 ILCS 5/11a – 3b. No guardian is appointed ‘lord and master’ of a disabled person! Each individual is entitled to be non-conformist if he or she so desires without the approval of Mr. Mitzen et al.
 Dean Sallas attempted to obtain competent legal counsel – but most counsel were intimidated by the reputation of guardianship in Cook County, Illinois. Dean did obtain counsel, but, during the pendency of a hearing as to the removal of the guardians based upon Amelia’s not meeting the criteria, without notice and without warning (but admitting the Dean was not at fault) Dean’s then attorney was given leave of Court to withdraw. Dean was left without counsel. Dean did attempt to obtain new counsel, but the prior attorney refused new prospective counsel access to Dean’s file. Dean is still attempting to obtain counsel but is unsuccessful. The action of the guardians herein further contributes to the impossibility of Dean obtaining competent representation in this matter.
 This Court has effectively granted to Amelia and Dean Sallas a defacto divorce complete with a hostile settlement arrangement effectively designed to impoverish Sallas and render him homeless.
 It is no wonder, having secreted by their own admission over $90,000 of marital funds, the guardians were so reluctant to provide the Petitioner with copies of the current account of the guardians and their petition for fees. Indeed, it is respectfully suggested that the Guardian ad litem’s assertion that petitioner has no standing to address the financial affairs of this estate in light of the secret cache of marital funds is disingenuous and ethically challenged. It also suggests a callous disregard for the 5th and 14th Amendments. Dean and Amelia Sallas are still legally married – outside this Courtroom – and the funds of Dean and the funds of Amelia are still MARITAL FUNDS. The public guardian et al might be especially important people, but their authority does not obviate the limitations of the Illinois and Federal Constitutions.
 As a lay person, I apologize to the Court if I get some of the lawyer phrases wrong.
 For instance, secreting $92,000.00 of marital funds is not a benefit to the Ward. Creating an ex-parte de facto dissolution of marriage and separating a couple who have dedicated their lives to each other is not a benefit to the Estate. Spending large sums of money each month for a nursing home residency so that husband and wife can be forcibly separated rather than allow the couple to continue to live at home is wrongful and not a benefit to the Estate.
 The service of rendering the spouse of the ward insolvent and homeless is respectfully suggested as warranting a surcharge to be charged to the Guardian = not a charge against the secret $92,000 cache to pay unnecessary and overblown fees. It is strongly suggested by Dean Sallas that during these proceedings the focus appears to be on intimidating and denigrating him, rather that providing NECESSARY services to his wife. The constant harangue of the GAL claiming that Dean Sallas (the petitioner) herein has NO STANDING to protect his own property is more than obnoxious – it is rank abuse and intimidation. Such activity cannot be condoned unless this Court refuses to recognize petitioner’s right to EQUALITY UNDER THE LAW and the right to protect his property.
 Dean’s funds are severely limited for reasons that he herein complains. The lack of funds severely hampers his ability to protect his and his wife’s CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHTS that have herein been infringed. Dean respectfully requests that an accommodation be made for him and that this Court protect his interests and in particular his right to protest the wrongful actions that he has attempted to enumerate and bring to this Court’s attention. In particular he requests that this Court appoint an independent attorney to represent he and his wife of 50 years from the ravages of this guardianship, the wrongful de facto dissolution of marriage and the dissipation of the marital estate – and to seek appropriate relief.
 Attached to the complaint following exhibit H is an unlabeled document not signed by Dean Sallas but signed by a Charles Golbert acting Cook County Public Guardian. Nothing in this document indicates that it relates to any other document attached to the complaint. The document is also undated but there is a place for Dean Sallas to sign but no such signature appears. There also is no exculpation for Amelia Sallas This document is interesting as it can be interpreted as having no relevance; however, it was attached for some reason. Was the reason to be candid with the Court and point out that 755 ILCS 5/11a – 22 was violated and the lender and the guardian were aware of the violation of a criminal statute? It should be noted that my reading of the exhibits, the aforesaid exhibits connote NO exculpation for Mrs. Sallas but the exhibits/documents acknowledge that Mrs. Sallas read and understood the agreement to engage in a debit/credit situation. In a prior but extraneous document signed by Mr. Golbert the same legend appears recognizing that Mrs. Sallas is a joint and several debtor. Thus it must be assumed , Golbert understood by his signature that he was a party to the violation of 755 ILCS 5/11a -22. It is suggested that this act by Mr. Golbert is subject being a co-conspirator with the Byline Bank and subject to a substantial surcharge for the breach of his fiduciary responsibility. Section 22 is a remedial statute and thus subject to liberal construction. The Byline Bank as the author of the loan documents is presumed to not only know the law, but to intend the words and phrases that they used. Ergo, from my half century in the Real Estate business it would seem to me that the documents are to be strictly construed against the Byline Bank and its coconspirators. Because of the threat to leave me (Dean Sallas) homeless and penniless I have been in contact with several Federal agencies, i.e FDIC, CFPB, and FBI. I disclose the same as pursuant to the First Amendment, whether I have standing or not to defend my marital assets, I still have First Amendment Rights.
 It is believed that the Illinois law provides that the release of one debtor (or the release as in this case of one guardian) releases all debtors privy to the transaction. Thus, neither Dean nor Amelia by Statute is indebted to the Byline Bank. However, the actions of the Public guardian need clarification and explanation as this Court cannot be a party to any questionable conduct. Case 2019 CH 13960 clearly presents a serious question ethical and legal question.
 The continued statement of the Guardian ad Litem that the petition Dean SAllas has no standing in these proceedings (and any Court attornment) is in derogation of the express protections of the Fifth and 14th Amendments to the United States Constitution. The Guardian ad Litem (and this Court) are well aware that for half a century the ‘partnership’ ‘Marriage’ of Amelia and Dean Sallas accumulated substantial funds and savings. As such the Courts of the United States of America recognized that such funds are MARITAL FUNDS (including the now disclosed $92,000 secreted by the guardians) and both Dean and Amelia have vested rights in those funds. To deny Dean Sallas ‘status’ and the right to protest is a blatant and wrongful denial of his citizenship and his EQUAL PROTECTION OF THE LAW. As seasoned lawyers the Judge, and each of the Guardians are well aware of such fact. THUS, THE STATEMENT that Dean has no standing – and any attornment thereto – is wrongful and cannot be tolerated directly or indirectly. It is also per se ELDER ABUSE.
 The guardians in this case were essentially ‘on their own’ to abuse and terrorize Dean and Amelia Sallas. Dean is unaware of any attornment by this Court to the mortgage under foreclosure or the secret accumulation of $92,000 in marital funds by the guardian.
if you are interested in the corruption at the ARDC and in the court system, check out my blog and feel free to call me 773.255.7608 and/or also contact firstname.lastname@example.org. both of us were suspended for 3 to 4 years for blogging about corruption in the courts.
note that Mike Madigan is now under fire for doing “deals” with Comm Ed. The ARDC will not discipline him until he is indicted and his plea deal is signed. Until then, the ARDC will refuse to discipline him or disbar him. But if you are an Illinois attorney and blog about the corrupt judges and attorneys, they will come after you right away and even do a pre suspension because your blog is a “danger to the public” like “yelling fire in a crowded theater.”
obviously the Illinois Supreme court is in on it. Eddie Burke’s office was raided twice for TIFF fund fraud and income tax fraud, but his wife sits on the Illinois Supreme Court so he will likely be sitting in prison and never disbarred.
Ken, I would stongly urge Mr. Sallas to file a judicial inquiry complaint against the judges involved and an ARDC complaint against all the attorneys involved and this should be cc’d to the FBI and Illinois states attorneys offices. All the lawyers and judges involved should be prosecuted for this fraud on the court
Is the U.S. district court in Greensboro and Winston-Salem in North Carolina acting outside of it’s original authority delegated by the Constitution of the United States of America?
Is the federal court system throughout the “Middle District of North Carolina” even acting as a legitimate judicial tribunal authority or has it over-exceeded that legal authority?
It all goes back to the principal of Magna Carta Libertatum, and as of why Courts in the first place have the authority to interpret the Constitution and the laws passed by Congress as well as executive orders passed by Presidents. We have three branches of government. One of the branches is the executive branch also known as the President of the United States. Second branch is the legislative branch which is that of Congress. The third branch of government is the judicial branch which is what of the courts. Originally the…
Its absolutely amazing how the wealthy and powerful get right in the middle of bribes and schemes that hurt consumers to the tune of millions per year, but the Illinois ARDC does nothing against the lawyer, as if lawyers were given a license to make underhanded and illegal deals that hurt consumers and taxpayers.
Read on about the FBI investigation of Michael Madigan, speaker of the house. Pritzker has already said that if the allegations are true MM must resign as speaker (and I hope representative too)
A federal investigation orbiting the political operation of Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan drew much closer to the powerful politician Friday, as prosecutors unveiled a criminal complaint charging ComEd in a “years-long bribery scheme” involving jobs, contracts and payments to Madigan allies.
Prosecutors said the utility attempted to “influence and reward” Madigan by providing financial benefits to some close to him, often through a key confidant and adviser at the center of the probe. Madigan, the nation’s longest-serving speaker and Illinois Democratic Party chairman, has not been charged with any wrongdoing.
In announcing the case against ComEd, U.S. Attorney John Lausch called public corruption a continuing problem in Illinois and said his office was not finished, while not addressing Madigan specifically.
“Our investigation is ongoing” Lausch said. “It’s vibrant, and it will continue.”
Madigan, described in the new court filing as Public Official A, the speaker of the House, previously has said he was “not a target of anything” when asked about the federal probe.
On Friday, a spokeswoman acknowledged Madigan had been subpoenaed for information including “possible job recommendations,” and said he would cooperate with those requests.
“He has never made a legislative decision with improper motives and has engaged in no wrongdoing here. Any claim to the contrary is unfounded,” spokeswoman Maura Possley said in an email.
“The speaker has never helped someone find a job with the expectation that the person would not be asked to perform work by their employer, nor did he ever expect to provide anything to a prospective employer if it should choose to hire a person he recommended,” Possley’s statement read.
The investigation appears to go well beyond ComEd. In Friday’s federal subpoena, authorities sought records related to AT&T, Walgreens and Rush University Medical Center, as well as the utility, according to a copy of the subpoena obtained by the Tribune. The subpoena also sought records related to Madigan’s political organization and law firm, as well as former state lawmakers and current or former Chicago aldermen.
The subpoena has not been made publicly available and a spokesman for Madigan told the Tribune to file an open records request, which had not been fulfilled Friday evening.
ComEd’s parent company, Exelon, said in a statement that it had cleaned up its lobbying practices and noted it had pledged to fully cooperate with the investigation.
Prosecutors said the scheme began around 2011 — when key regulatory matters were before the Illinois House that Madigan controls — and continued through last year. They agreed to defer their prosecution of ComEd for three years as it cooperates in the investigation, and announced the company had agreed to pay a record $200 million fine.
The new filing made clear that the nexus of the federal investigation into ComEd and Madigan’s operation is Michael McClain. He’s a close friend and adviser to the speaker, as well as a former lawmaker and Quincy attorney who retired as a high-profile lobbyist for the utility in 2016 but continued collecting six-figure payments from the company.
Federal agents raided McClain’s home in Quincy in May 2019, which turned out to be the same month ComEd said it had stopped paying him. The Tribune exclusively reported in November that authorities secretly recorded McClain’s phone calls.
Friday’s federal filing appeared to include quotes from those recordings. The Tribune reported in January that authorities had asked McClain to cooperate with the investigation. At the time, WBEZ 91.5-FM asked McClain if he was cooperating. “I’ll just say they asked,” he replied.
McClain’s attorney did not respond to requests for comment Friday.
The federal filing did not outline any conversations had by Madigan. Referring to the speaker as Public Official A and McClain as Individual A, prosecutors did allege the two “sought to obtain from ComEd jobs, vendor subcontracts, and monetary payments associated with those jobs and subcontracts for various associates of Public Official A.”
Those included precinct workers and other associates, the filing states, and prosecutors alleged the total they received was $1.32 million.
Democratic Gov. J.B. Pritzker, who worked with Madigan to approve a wide-ranging legislative agenda in 2019, said he was “deeply troubled and frankly I’m furious” about the reports of the case.
“The speaker has a lot that he needs to answer for — to authorities, to investigators and most importantly to the people of Illinois,” Pritzker said at an unrelated event in Waukegan. “If these allegations of wrongdoing by the speaker are true, there is no question that he will have betrayed the public trust and he must resign.”
In all, prosecutors put a value of at least $150 million on the legislative benefits ComEd received. The federal documents in particular noted the 2011 passage of the Energy Infrastructure and Modernization Act, which “helped improve ComEd’s financial stability” by establishing rate guidelines and a smart grid overhaul.
That year, the filing states, the individual known to be McClain, and a lobbyist the Tribune has identified as John T. Hooker, made a plan to direct money to two Madigan associates who would be paid by ComEd as subcontractors to a consultant. Those payments went on for years despite the associates doing little or no work, prosecutors said.
The payments were recorded as being paid to a company by the consultant for advice on “legislative issues,” according to the paperwork. Some “senior executives and agents” of ComEd were aware of the payments, the paperwork states. Hooker could not be reached for comment Friday.
Prosecutors did not allege or specify any of the payments were diverted to Madigan himself.
But prosecutors did allege that in May 2018, Madigan, through McClain, asked the utility’s CEO to hire an associate of the speaker who was leaving the Chicago City Council. The Tribune has identified the now-former CEO as Anne Pramaggiore, and the council member as former 23rd Ward Ald. Michael Zalewski, who could not immediately be reached Friday.
Coordinating with another executive and a consultant, Pramaggiore agreed the associate, Zalewski, would be paid $5,000 a month as a subcontractor, through a company in the scheme that already had a relationship with ComEd, according to a federal filing.
Pramaggiore was key to ComEd’s success over the years in Springfield. Exelon and ComEd have one of the largest lobbying contingents at the Capitol and historically have been among the biggest campaign contributors to state lawmakers.
Pramaggiore spokesman Bryan Locke declined to comment on whether she is cooperating with federal authorities. “Ms. Pramaggiore has done nothing wrong and any inference to the contrary is misguided and false,” Locke said in a statement.
“During her tenure, she and other current and former ComEd and Exelon executives received, evaluated and granted many requests to provide appropriate and valuable services to the companies, none of which constitute unlawful activity,” Locke wrote.
The prosecutors’ filing states that certain other ComEd leaders were aware of the payments meant to influence Madigan, at least in part because McClain spelled them out. One of the payrollers of the unnamed company involved in the scheme was in the Madigan political operation, McClain allegedly explained in a conversation federal officials quoted in the document.
The person being paid was “one of the top three precinct captains,” who “trains people how to go door to door … so just to give you an idea how important the guy is,” McClain said, according to prosecutors.
Another example cited by authorities involved a man identified in the federal material as “Consultant 1,” who allegedly was speaking to a ComEd executive identified by the Tribune as Fidel Marquez. The consultant said he believed McClain had spoken to Madigan about the payments, saying the money was “to keep (Public Official A) happy (and) I think it’s worth it, because you’d hear otherwise,” prosecutors alleged.
The federal filing also alleged ComEd hired an unnamed law firm because the utility’s executives knew it was important to Madigan, and that ComEd would accept students from the speaker’s 13th Ward into an internship program as a way to “influence and reward” Madigan.
In addition, prosecutors said that in 2017, the speaker sought the appointment of an associate to ComEd’s board of directors. ComEd and Exelon did due diligence on the associate and found him qualified, though no one had recruited him for the board and ComEd did not seek other candidates, prosecutors wrote. The Tribune has identified that person as Juan Ochoa, a former McPier CEO who was appointed to the utility’s board but is no longer listed as being on it.
McClain again communicated the alleged Madigan desire to Pramaggiore, the complaint states, not using their names. “You take good care of me and so does our friend (Public Official A) and I will do the best that I can to, to take care of you,” Pramaggiore allegedly said, before later informing McClain the appointment had taken place.
Ochoa could not be reached for comment.
In an interview with the Tribune, Exelon CEO Christopher M. Crane said: “We take this seriously and we corrected it. It should never happen and it won’t happen again.” He said that he believed that everyone who “orchestrated any of that behavior” had left ComEd.
The agreement with federal prosecutors says ComEd can’t seek a tax deduction in relation to the fine and can’t recoup it through “surcharges, fees or any other charges to customers.” Crane said Exelon would give ComEd the money to pay the fine, and then ComEd would pay Exelon back from its profits.
The federal filing says authorities could have fined ComEd between $240 million and $480 million, but the utility got a “discount” off the bottom of that range for “substantial remediation and cooperation.” Half the money is due in a month and the other half in three months.
Now take a look at Michael Madigan’s status with the Illinois ARDC:
Full Licensed Name:Michael Joseph Madigan
Full Former name(s):None
Date of Admission as Lawyer
by Illinois Supreme Court:November 9, 1967
Registered Business Address:Madigan & Getzendanner
30 North LaSalle Street Suite 3906
Chicago, IL 60602-3330
Registered Business Phone:(312) 346-4321
Illinois Registration Status:Active and authorized to practice law – Last Registered Year: 2020
(Current as of date of registration;
consult attorney for further information)In annual registration, attorney reported that he/she has malpractice coverage.
Btw, Getzendanner was a Chicago federal court judge from 1980 to 1987.
Why is he still practicing law?
You will recall Seth Gillman bilked the government (state and federal) for $20 million over years and stole his employees health insurance funds, leaving them without health insurance and the ARDC did not pull his license or even begin the process until he entered into a plea agreement with the feds.
But if I, Ken Ditkowsky or Lanre Amu reveal corruption in the courts and corrupt proceedings, the ARDC comes right after us falsely claiming my blog made false statements regarding the reputation of corrupt judges–when in fact it did not and the family still stands behind those statements, and the judge is no where to be found. The judge lied during her testimony and I caught her in the lie (lied about chaining Gloria to a bench or table in her ante room until she would reveal personal bank account information so the lawyers could steal $260,000 for their legal fees after they looted an estate)
The court reporter in my case was not licensed for 10 years, rendering my judgment legally invalid, but the ARDC and the Illinois Supreme Court does not care, they wanted to make sure attorneys know they cannot blog about corruption in the court system.
Lanre Amu truthfully revealed a corrupt judge, Lynn Egan, and she was never removed from the bench for her corruption (fixing cases for her brother’s law firm). Lanre Amu is still suspended even though his suspension period is over.
The human trafficking in the ELDERLY (Elder Cleansing) meets the definition that most States and the United States have for CRIMINAL ELDER ABUSE. Why then is there no Criminal Prosecutions?
Elder Abuse generally falls in 7 categories, to wit:
· Physical abuse is defined as any act of violence that causes pain, injury, impairment, or disease, including striking, pushing, force-feeding, and improper use of physical restraints or medication.
· Psychological or emotional abuse is conduct that causes mental anguish. Examples include threats, verbal or nonverbal insults, isolation, and humiliation. Some legal definitions require identification of at least 10 episodes of this type of behavior within a single year to constitute abuse.
· Financial abuse is misuse of an elderly person’s money or assets for personal gain. Acts such as stealing (e.g., money, social security checks, possessions) or coercion (e.g., changing a will, assuming power of attorney) constitute financial abuse.
· Neglect is the failure of a caretaker to provide for the patient’s basic needs. As in the previous examples of abuse, neglect can be physical, emotional, or financial. Physical neglect is failure to provide eyeglasses or dentures, preventive health care, safety precautions, or hygiene. Emotional neglect includes failure to provide social stimulation (e.g., leaving an older person alone for extended periods). Financial neglect involves failure to use the resources available to restore or maintain the well-being of the aging adult.
· Sexual abuse is defined as nonconsensual intimate contact or exposure or any similar activity when the patient is incapable of giving consent. Family members, friends, institutional employees, and fellow patients can commit sexual abuse.
· Self-neglect is behavior in which seniors compromise their own health and safety, as when an aging adult refuses needed help with various daily activities. When the patient is deemed competent, many ethical questions arise regarding the patient’s right of autonomy and the physician’s oath of beneficence.
· The miscellaneous category includes all other types of abuse, including violation of personal rights (e.g., failing to respect the aging person’s dignity and autonomy), medical abuse, and abandonment.
One or more of the categories of Elder Abuse is present in just about every guardianship case that has been mentioned in the blogs AAAPG, NASGA, MARYGSYKES, Probate Sharks *****. As the cases referred to in the blogs are guardianship cases, we have a pandemic of ELDER ABUSE that is being openly and notoriously ignored. Like the Americans with Disabilities Act we all talk about the Older Americans Act and it is a big mystery to us. From Find Law I dug out the following:
created by FindLaw’s team of legal writers and editors| Last updated June 20, 2016
The Older Americans Act (OAA) is a federal law that promotes the well-being of Americans 60 years old and above through services and programs designed to meet the specific needs of older citizens. Services provided under the Older Americans Act include:
· Home-delivered and communal meals
· Family caregiver support
· Health services home assistance for the elderly
· Job training and volunteer opportunities
· Protections from elder abuse
About 11 million people received services such as meals, home care, and transportation through OAA programs in 2010.
Objectives of the Older Americans Act
Congressional concern about the lack of community-based support services for older people helped spur the passage of the Older Americans Act. Like Medicare and Medicaid, the Older Americans Act was passed in 1965 as part of Lyndon Johnson’s Great Society reforms. The Act seeks to ensure retirement income, physical and mental health, suitable housing, employment, protection from age-based discrimination and efficient community services for older individuals. The OAA works to accomplish these goals through direct funding to states and state services and the creation of federal agencies designed to implement the Act.
The Administration on Aging
The Older Americans Act created the Administration on Aging, the main federal agency tasked with carrying out the objectives of the Act. The Administration on Aging provides services and programs designed to help aging individuals live independent lives in their homes and communities. Perhaps the most well-known of these programs is the communal and home delivered meals program, sometimes referred to as “Meals on Wheels.” In addition to meals, this program focuses on health and nutrition education.
The Administration’s Office of Elder Rights Protection focuses on protecting older individuals from elder abuse, neglect, and exploitation through strategic planning and research. The Long-Term Care Ombudsman Programprovides full-time ombudsmen, or public advocates, to help represent the interests of people in long-term care environments, such as assisted living facilities. Finally, the OAA funds employment and training programs for low-income, unemployed people 55 years old and above, which has helped more than 1 million participants enter or re-enter the workforce.
State and Area Agencies on Aging
The Older Americans Act funds many programs for the elderly through direct grants to states. Each state receives OAA funds based on the percentage of people 60 or above in the state. OAA funding, while small compared to programs such as Medicaid, provides an important safety-net for older individuals who might be at risk of hunger, food insecurity or loss of independent living.
As part of the Older Americans Act, each state must create a State Agency on Aging. State Agencies in turn manage Area Agencies on Aging, which plan, develop, and coordinate community services for older people. There are over 620 Area Agencies. These agencies connect older individuals to the important services provided through the Older Americans Act. You can check online to find the area agency nearest to you.
Who Is Eligible for Services Under the Older Americans Act?
Each state establishes its own eligibility criteria for receiving services under OAA programs. Generally, no one age 60 or above can be denied services from Older American Act programs unless the state establishes. States are prohibited from denying anyone services because of their income. That means that someone who might earn too much to qualify for services directed at low income individuals would still be able to receive services provided under OAA state programs. Contacting a State Agency on Aging will help you determine which services are available to you.
If you’re wondering about your rights as you age or if you’re caring for an aging parent or family member, consider contacting a qualified elder law attorney to discuss the unique issues you may face.
Many aggrieved elderly and their children have examined the laws protecting their parents and found the laws to be amazing protective, but the enforcement impotent and/or non-existent. It is absolutely amazing to look into some of the Probate guardianship cases and see that no only are the most basic laws openly violated by Guardians but a sitting CIRCUIT COURT JUDGE stands ready willing and able to aid and protect the interests of a COURT APPOINTED GUARDIAN from compliance with the law.
· A pending case in COOK COUNTY, ILLINOIS is the Amelia Sallas case 07 P 5360. The facts are straight forward. Mrs. Sallas had a ‘stroke’ that apparently did not disable her as she continued to perform her chores in her home, drive a car, engage landscapers to address the exterior of her home as well as cook and clean. Mr. and Mrs. Sallas were married for 50 plus years. Sallas became vulnerable and reputed to have a net worth of 9 plus million dollars and an estranged family. Thus, it was not long before Amelia was provided with a guardian of the person and a plenary guardian. A Guardian ad Litem was appointed to provide ‘cover’ for the Court in obviating the objections that Mr. Sallas was certain to have when his wife was sequestered and placed under artificial control of the Court appointed guardians. What followed was obscene. The miscreants determined it was in their best interests (not the Sallas’) that husband and wife be separated from each other. The presiding judge at the direction of the Guardian ad Litem used her authority to facilitate what amounts to a de facto involuntary dissolution of marriage coupled with a predatory property settlement. As Dean Sallas (the husband objected) the Court facilitated his being deprived of an attorney.
· The Helen Stone case out of Dade County, Florida is a classic breach of Trust by the supervising Judge complete with the placement of an un=necessary feeding tube and overt harassment and intimidation of Mrs. Stone’s Lawyer daughter who objected to the official violation of State and Federal Law.
· The Alice Gore case and Mary Sykes cases out of Cook County, Illinois are examples of Court attornment to outright theft of a senior’s assets. Mary’s husbands million-dollar gold coin collection just disappeared along with another 2 million dollars in assets (see Gloria Sykes affidavit). Alice Gore not only had 1.5 million dollars disappear, but the ultimate insult was the GAL allegedly directed 29 of her teeth be removed so that the gold fillings could be retrieved.
· The New Yorker Magazine guardian report of October 2018 reveals a serial guardian
· The Orland Sentinel newspaper directs us to a Florida serial guardian, to wit:
TALLAHASSEE – Gov. Ron DeSantis signed into law Thursday a series of reforms to the state’s guardianship program, spurred by the case of Rebecca Fierle, who authorities said approved a “do not resuscitate” order against a client’s wishes and double-billed hospitals while overseeing hundreds of wards.
The bill requires guardians of elderly patients unable to look after themselves to get approval from a judge to sign DNR orders and places greater restrictions on how guardians are appointed to prevent conflicts of interest.
Prospective guardians will not be able to petition for their own appointment to a ward unless they are related to the patient.
The law takes effect July 1.
Lawmakers reacted after the revelations in the Fierle case, which came to light in May 2019 after her ward, Steven Stryker died in a Tampa hospital. Medical staffers said they could not intervene to save him because of the “do not resuscitate” order signed by Fierle on his behalf but over the objections of his daughter.
Fierle’s attorneys have argued that as a court-appointed guardian, the law did not require her to seek permission before signing a DNR order.
An investigation by Orange County Comptroller Phil Diamond’s officer later found Fierle had double-billed AdventHealth for services for 682 patients worth nearly $4 million over the course of a decade. She was removed from the guardianship program in September by an Orange County judge, who cited the comptroller’s report.
“This law will go a long way in protecting Florida’s seniors and most vulnerable citizens from fraudsters and predators,” Diamond said in a released statement. “Thank you to the Florida Legislature for its good work in helping to protect Florida’s seniors and most vulnerable from those who would harm them.”
Fierle was arrested in February on charges of abuse and neglect of an elderly patient.
A series of Orlando Sentinel special reports last fall found that lax enforcement of guidelines for appointing guardians allowed them to petition for their own appointments, as well as cases of potential conflict of interest on panels judging whether a person needs a guardian.
The new law is designed to address those loopholes.
SB 994 was one of 21 bills with a Thursday deadline awaiting action by DeSantis. He still has 117 more pending before his desk, including one requiring business use E-Verify or a similar system to check the immigration status of potential hires and the $93.2 billion budget. He must act on them by July 1.
Another 26 bills have not been formally sent to him by the Legislature.
The Fierle case exposes another serial guardian who the Court not only allowed to run roughshod over ELDERLY people and their families but participated in the criminal activity. So common is this scenario that Netflix had a documentary on guardianship in its series on DIRTY MONEY and the Government Accounting Office has sent 4 plus reports to Congress so that they could ignore them.
The arrogance and the Fascist tendencies of these Court ordered criminal ventures is highlighted in the Fierle fiasco. Fierle determined which of the guardianship victims should live or die . The GAL in the Gore case had the attornment of a sitting judge of the Circuit Court of Cook County, Illinois to ravage the mouth of an elderly woman so that a few grains of gold could be obtained. In Nuremberg, the World War 2 War Crimes Court convicted doctors who did similar atrocities! In Cook County, Illinois, and the United States of America we sit on our hands and pass more legislation rather than punish the pernicious fiduciaries who abuse their wards. We even pay them hundreds of dollars an hour for their infamy.
I apologize for not alerting you to the Older American’s Act sooner. This Act may be a vehicle that can get the UNITED STATES OF AMERICA to join in our fight against City Hall and bring the corrupt Judicial and Political miscreants to Justice. Hopefully in the process we can protect some of the elderly targeted for the FELONIES OF HUMAN TRAFFICKING IN THE ELDERLY.
Laws that are un-enforced are as good as no laws whatsoever! Public officials such as Judges who do NOT understand that a public position is a public trust have no business on the bench or in the practice of law. The Covid 19 pandemic has killed of tens of thousands of people who should have been protected by the Act! Why were they not? Why did States like Illinois and New York allow this travesty to exist? Unfortunately, we know why? A five-letter word explains the situation, to wit: M O N E Y. But for Covid 19 each of the miscreants would have gotten away with ELDER ABUSE on a grand and very profitable scale!
 Mr. Sallas is testing whether or not Federal Laws are going to be enforced or are merely words on paper to appease the elderly and people who care for them. Tomorrow Mr. Sallas will have in the mail a complaint to several Federal agencies charged specifically with addressing the laws that were violated.
 The organized intimidation of the legal profession directing it to attorn to the criminal enterprise promulgated and being conducted in the Probate Division of so many of our Courts has been extremely effective and continues to be so. Unfortunately, bureaucrats are ingrained from day one in the universal military principle – DO NOT VOLUNTEER! Indeed, they have been true to their code regardless how heinous the crime committed on an elderly person or his/her family. Lawyers who followed the dictates of ABA Rule 8.3 were prosecuted for violating Rule 8.4. How dare you accuse a judge who has his hand in the till with having his hand in the till! The administrator of the Illinois Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission pointed out that Attorney JoAnne Denison in exposing judicial corruption was disrupting the workings of the Illinois Court system and characterized her action as akin to “yelling fire in a crowded theater!” The Illinois Supreme Court agreed, and Attorney Denison received a suspension of her law license. They also insisted on an “interrim suspension” prior to when the Illinois Supreme Court would rule based upon the fact her blog was a danger or threat to the public. Truth is the ultimate threat to the Illinois ARDC
The endgame of professional guardianship exploitation in America is financial gain. That should be obvious. But what may not be so obvious is the stealthy strategy utilized by the probate court insiders to maximize their gains and leverage them in what can rightfully be called a formalized process of wealth transfer from wards to the court insiders.
The obvious and direct fashion by which lawyers, guardians and others expropriate the savings and earnings of a lifetime from award are through legal and guardian fees. These fees which are almost always excessive and redundant are routinely approved at nearly 100% of the ask by the complicit and compliant probate administrative judge.
But what goes on behind-the-scenes in order for the big cash out may be of interest to you because it reveals the sophisticated nature of the financial transactions necessary to fully leverage a guardianship for the benefit of the court insiders.
To illustrate this process let’s create a representative scenario using pseudonyms. The players are:
The Guardian: Ms. Screwem
Guardians’ lawyer: Mr. Cheatham
The judge: Judge Howe
The ward: Mrs. Whitehair
The charity: Archbishop O’Greedy
The Appraiser: Mr. Foneybooks
The location: Greased Palm Beach. Florida
So Screwem Cheatham and Howe conspire to take Whitehair’s home which has an actual real market value of $1,000,000. Here’s how they do it.
After initiating guardianship by whatever means necessary, guardian Screwem musters all the assets of Whitehair by court order from Howe, including her fully paid for residence, any vehicles, the contents of her safe deposit box, any items of value in her home and all her documents relating to financial instruments including investment accounts, retirement accounts, annuities, life insurance policies, prepaid burial arrangements. Screwem immediately proceeds to dispose of them in order to make them into readily available cash deposited in accounts that only Screwem controls. Some valuable items like expensive jewelry or collectibles suddenly “cannot be located “ or later mysteriously disappear from the mandatory accounting required by judge Howe who simply accepts this explanation. By sheer unbelievable coincidence some valuable items that look exactly like the ward’s property that had disappeared –never to be seen again by the family—seem magically to be re-appear on the wrists, fingers and lapels of some of the court insiders and their cronies — just a coincidence to be sure. Items that cannot be sold or are not worth the effort of selling particularly those of only sentimental value are either
auctioned off to desperate family members who must bid against each other for them
donated to either a charity in return for personal tax deduction for Screwem or
given to privately owned antique stores for resale, some of those stores belonging to the spouse of Screwem
Motor vehicles, leisure craft, boats, motorcycles and even bicycles wind up at sellers of used vehicles frequented by the court insiders for tiny fractions of their actual value (kindly certified by the use car vehicles own internal appraiser). Ostensibly this takes place because of the urgent need to raise cash to “care for the ward” and avoid having to deal with family members who might argue that the property had been sold at ridiculously low valuations.
During all this time, assets are “conserved” by not paying Whitehair’s
maintenance or maintenance fees
health insurance premiums
But at the same time, Cheatham and Screwem’s burgeoning hourly fees are accumulating. Amazingly their court request for payment of these fees will only be submitted to the court when the total of those fees is roughly equal to the value of an appraisal of the only remaining asset of Whitehair’s, her home, performed by Mr. Foneybooks who is the appraiser of choice for Cheatham. That appraisal for $200,000 takes into account the “dilapidated condition of the house, the need for repairs, the taxes that need to be paid” and all sorts of other assorted reasons why the house has been legitimately appraised at so far below market value. This appraisal is blindly accepted by judge Howe at $200,000.
Cheatham approaches Judge Howe in an emergency hearing telling a story that the guardianship is running out of funds “to pay for the care of the ward” and that the only option is to sell her home. Howe agrees and orders that the house be sold at the best possible price based on the lowball appraisal from Foneybooks.
Once the sale is authorized, rather than listing the house on the typical real estate listing services, the sale is not advertised to anyone except Cheatham. No offers are made on the house until Cheatham or one of his associates makes an offer of $100,000 cash. That offer is presented to the judge as the only available option to raise money for the “care of the ward”. Judge Howe approves the sale and Cheatham writes a check to the guardians account for the ward in exchange for ownership of the house.
Immediately, Cheatham arranges with Foneybooks to have a new appraisal performed this time appraising the house at its full real market value of $1 million. During the prior week’s he has already lined up an actual retail buyer, Joe Public, who is willing to pay $900,000 which is a below-market bargain. Public buys the house for cash.
By this time Cheatham and Screwem submit their bills to the court for services that are up-to-the-minute and they just happen to equal the total amount of the proceeds from the sale to Cheatham.
The court approves the fees and thereby wipes out the estate of the ward. Totally and legally. Now the ward has become totally dependent on taxpayer-funded services for every aspect of their life from residence to medications to health insurance and food and drink. Taxpayers are now footing the bill for Whitehair who before the guardianship had more than enough money to take care of herself for at least two lifetimes.
In the meantime Cheatham laid out $100,000 and wound up with a net profit of $800,000 for his trouble. Whether those profits are ever reported as income is not clear. It is also not clear whether Cheatham “compensates” Foneybooks for his generous appraisals– one lowball and the other highball.
All the past due taxes and fees are paid by the new owner who takes out title insurance and has still managed to get a million-dollar home for far below market value.
There is an alternative to this scenario however which is even more impressive.
Once Cheatham, a devout Catholic, acquires the property, he informs Archbishop O Greedy that out of the generosity of his heart he would like to donate the residence of the ward to the church. He proceeds to complete a quitclaim deed naming the church as the new owner of the property for $100. The church then does whatever repairs are necessary and sells it at full or nearly full market value– as appraised by Mr. Foneybooks again- through its extensive network of realtors and representatives. In return for his incredible largess, Archbishop O Greedy presents attorney Cheatham with a donation letter indicating that he can deduct nearly all of the full appraised value of the property he so graciously donated to the church from his income taxes over the next several years. This arrangement works so beautifully that Cheatham arranges the donation of over 100 such homes to the Archbishop’s church over just a few years in Greased Palm Beach County Florida, for example.
With all the cash money that is sloshing around from these transactions, all of them hidden from taxation, there is plenty to go around to grease the wheels for the next transaction.
The church also has other options since it pays no taxes, it can do minimal repairs on the property– often donated– and rent the property in perpetuity while at the same time taking out a mortgage on the property once or twice to dramatically increase cash flow. This might explain why certain church based organizations in Greased Palm Beach Florida have real estate divisions.
The impact on the ward is quite obvious– financial death. The impact on the federal and state government is also obvious no taxes paid on the property transfer, property tax or sales profit.
The records of all these transactions can be conveniently concealed since guardianship records are routinely sequestered by the court.
Another interesting business tactic is that guardianship firms like Screwem’s are established as nonprofits doing public good and thus not having to pay taxes. Despite raking in multimillion-dollar revenues every year, huge operating expenses and salaries which count against revenues amazingly wipe out any potential profit that might result in a tax liability. Of course official revenues for tax records don’t normally include or identify kickbacks to and from downstream vendors, bribes to law enforcement and politicians.
This culture of creative exploitation might also include judge Howe. How?
lawyers practicing in front of the judge procuring donations to the judge’s reelection committee
insider deals for real estate development
private placements for investment opportunity
blackmailing among and between members of the court insider cabal
mortgage and real estate fraud
The scheme and playbool under discussion is complex and opaque and beautifully hidden from the public and litigants. It is almost foolproof because evidence of these tactics is nearly impossible to acquire. It is the perfect crime.
When an innocent individual loses their rights, especially to an unneeded, illegitimate guardianship populated by uncontrolled unmonitored and unsupervised greed based court insiders human traffickers, the outcome is almost always the same– financial ruin, exceeding cruel isolation and miserable death by guardianship.
Is it time for us to start chanting and demonstrating “Senior Lives Matter”?
You know, I bet over and over Gov. C of NY has been told that nursing homes are horrible dangerous places that just kill people by neglect and often abuse. Why do we have them? I have no idea other than to allow the wealthy to soak up govt medicare/medicaid and state health care funds.
Notice how this NY Post article is careful to avoid even a mere whiff of mentioning the dangerous abusive care in most nursing homes.
Nursing homes and rehabilitation centers have tallied more than 5,000 coronavirus deaths, yet the governor accepts zero responsibility despite his March 25th order forcing them to take infected patients from hospitals.
Now he says they no longer have to do that, announcing Sunday that “a hospital cannot discharge a person who is COVID positive to a nursing home.”
Indeed, the initial order denied nursing homes the right even to ask if patients being sent by hospitals had tested positive for the coronavirus.
Now hospitals must do discharge tests and only those who are negative can be referred to nursing homes.
Said one nursing home executive, “It feels at least a month too late.”
The move comes amid growing calls for an independent investigation of the nursing home catastrophe, where the death count dwarfs the total deaths in every other state except New Jersey.
Still, Cuomo claims the reversal is not a reversal, nor is it a recognition of the fatal impact of the initial order.
“Whatever we’re doing has worked, on the facts,” he insisted.
Cuomo to blame for COVID spreading through nursing home: Goodwin
He should try selling that view to Maria Porteus. She lost her father, Carlos Gallegos, to the coronavirus in a Long Island nursing home last month soon after the state forced it to accept infected patients. She watched the governor Sunday and was left steaming.
“I’m still angry and I’m still hurt,” she said. “It’s a slap in the face for him because he’s not taking responsibility for what happened to my father and so many others.”
Porteus said she’s part of a Facebook group that has nearly 250 members who lost loved ones in nursing homes, adding: “The stories are all almost the same. And Cuomo’s still acting like he’s not the one who did this order, like it’s somebody else or it’s the nursing homes’ fault.”
“In light of how many mothers lost their lives, it was distasteful to use his press conference as a tribute to his mother. He could have called her privately to wish her well on Mother’s Day. It was insensitive to those people whose mothers died in nursing homes due to his cruel policy.”
Cuomo insists the nursing homes “could have resisted” taking COVID-positive patients if they had no ability to care for them. The order, he seemed to be saying, was only meant to ensure that such patients were not discriminated against.
That point, he conceded, “was never really communicated,” as if the March 25 order was not meant to be taken verbatim.
So the only failure is a failure to communicate, though he didn’t specify whose failure that was. Certainly not his.
There are two gaping holes in that argument. First, nursing homes never believed they had any right to deny infected patients, saying the order from the state Department of Health would have included that option if that were the intent. The order’s language did not offer any hint of flexibility.
Cuomo’s coronavirus nursing home policy proves tragic: Goodwin
“No resident shall be denied re-admission or admission to the NH solely based on a confirmed or suspected diagnosis of COVID-19,” it reads. “NHs are prohibited from requiring a hospitalized resident who is determined medically stable to be tested for COVID-19 prior to admission or readmission.”
Worse, the order came without warning, took effect immediately and gave the homes no time to set up segregated beds and staff.
All nursing homes, good and bad, large and small, were treated as if they were fit for an influx of coronavirus patients.
The second problem with Cuomo’s claim is the case of the Cobble Hill Health Center, which lost at least 55 patients to the virus. The CEO, Donny Tuchman, showed reporters April emails where he asked state health officials for assistance, and was turned down. He also asked them if COVID-19 patients he had could be sent instead to the Javits Center or the Navy ship Comfort, both of which were far below capacity. He was rejected again.
It’s true there was one way Albany officials did help beleaguered nursing homes. The packages of equipment they sent included body bags.
CLIFTON, Ill. (WCIA) — An Iroquois County nursing center confirmed Friday over two dozen residents and several staff members tested positive for COVID-19.
Molly Gaus, Senior Director of Marketing and Communications for Ascension Living — which owns the Merkle-Knipprath nursing center in Clifton — said in an emailed statement Friday they proactively conducted testing for the virus out of an abundance of caution, to ensure the safety of their staff and residents.
According to the Merkle-Knipprath representative, 28 nursing center residents and five staff members have tested positive for COVID-19.
“The health and safety of our residents and associates continues to be our first priority,” Gaus said. “Every action and measure we put in place reflects our commitment to protecting people who are at higher risk for adverse health complications.”
Thanks to the tests, she added, they identified asymptomatic individuals who had the virus. Gaus said it allowed their team to quickly implement additional precautions.
“We compassionately care for 24 residents who are recovering in our community and are thankful for the care and support we are providing to keep them comfortable and safe,” Gaus.
At a Thursday press conference, the Iroquois County Public Health Department (ICPHD) Administrator said six residents of their county who have tested positive for the virus were hospitalized.
Our team is doing a heroic job in providing care and adapting to these unprecedented times as we provide care to all who have underlying medical conditions that have brought them to our community. In the midst of all of these clinical precautions, our focus remains on ensuring our residents and families feel safe and connected during this time. Our team is working as one to provide joy and support during this most unbelievable time. We are thankful for the support of the local community, government officials and our co-workers who continue to help us to provide care and support to those we are privileged to serve.”
MOLLY GAUS, SENIOR DIRECTOR OF MARKETING AND COMMUNICATIONS FOR ASCENSION LIVING
Gaus also said they have restricted visitations to protect their residents, associates and families, instituted comprehensive screening of all visitors, adopted universal face masking of all associates, and clinical partners, and conducted stringent deep cleaning.
She also said they were maintaining open communications with family members.
“We will continue to implement ways to keep our residents and associates safe while continuing to be the skilled nursing partner our residents and healthcare system need in this most challenging time, including additional testing as it becomes available,” Gaus said.
The ICPHD reported six new cases of the virus Thursday. Out of their 84 reported COVID-19 cases, 22 have recovered and been released from isolation, and 55 remain isolation at home.
On Sunday, the ICPHD reported a woman in her 60s died. She earlier had tested positive for COVID-19.
“Right here, we are doing it alone,” Cobble Hill Health Center CEO Donny Tuchman shouted Monday to cheering neighbors outside the nursing home in Brooklyn, New York. “These people right here,” he said, pointing to the line of the health care staff members in full protective gear who’d walked out of the facility to accept the applause.
It had been yet another challenging day at Cobble Hill. A report by the New York State Health Department listed 55 deaths presumably caused by the coronavirus at the facility since the outbreak began, the highest toll at any senior care center in New York.
The CEO’s impromptu pep rally was just one way Cobble Hill spent the day pushing back, insisting that the 364-bed nonprofit community had had little help from the city, the state or the federal government.
“These people are deserving of everything that there is in this world,” Tuchman said of his workers. “These people right here.”
For more than a century, the massive five-story red-brick building has stood on a narrow tree-lined residential street. A garden of spring flowers and shrubs rings the property. People wearing masks, pushing strollers and walking dogs pass back and forth. Nothing about Cobble Hill Health Center, which serves older adults who are “chronically ill, or disabled, or debilitated,” according to its website, suggests it would the nursing home in New York with the highest number of deaths presumably linked to the coronavirus epidemic.
New figures from the Health Department list 14 communities with at least 25 deaths. Five have had 40 or more deaths. The staggering toll is one of the most tragic aspects of the pandemic in New York and in nursing homes and senior care centers across the country.
For weeks, state officials refused to release nursing home numbers, citing concerns about residents’ privacy. But after calls grew for transparency from families with loved ones in long-term care facilities, as well as local leaders fielding their complaints and concerns, Gov. Andrew Cuomo last week issued an executive order requiring communities to report deaths and tell families when a resident tests positive for the coronavirus. “We have had really disturbing situations in nursing homes,” Cuomo said.
Cobble Hill said in a statement seeking to put the crisis in context: “Our resident population is, by definition, fragile and vulnerable and almost all have significant underlying health issues. Any deaths we’ve reported have been based on the possibility of Covid-19 being a factor. Because Covid-19 testing in skilled nursing facilities has been extremely difficult to obtain, there is no uniform measure to determine conclusively whether Covid-19 was a contributing factor in a resident’s death.”
A spokesman added that the facility has made repeated requests for more resources, like test kits and personal protective equipment for its depleted staff. As many as 100 of its 350 health care workers have needed to take sick time.
The facility also tried to move some residents suspected of carrying the virus to the military field hospital set up at New York City’s Jacob Javits Convention Center. The response to those requests, Cobble Hill says, was that the area’s main hospitals were more overwhelmed and a higher priority for relief.
But all of that is of little comfort to families with relatives living at Cobble Hill, who demand to know what’s happening behind those red brick walls.
“The biggest thing is the lack of knowing,” said Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams. “Families are calling me. They have not seen or heard from their loved one, many since right after the virus hit the city.”
Cobble Hill and other senior communities that are anywhere near the pandemic’s center stopped visitation weeks ago to keep the deadly virus out. The center’s website encourages families to sign up for email updates and to schedule virtual visits with frail loved ones.
“We all know these are difficult times and there’s a level of complication,” Adams said. “That became exacerbated by a lack of communication.”
Tuchman felt the stress, too. “The decision wasn’t easy,” the CEO wrote in a statement. “I lost sleep last night thinking of the anxiety and fear that patients and family members may feel as a result of the ban.”
The Trump administration has taken steps to increase transparency at nursing homes. One new rule requires facilities to report COVID-19 cases to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to help the government build a database.
A federal rule now also requires nursing homes to inform residents and their families when someone tests positive at a facility.
Download the NBC News app for full coverage and alerts about the coronavirus outbreak
Seema Verma, administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, has called the requirements “a critical component” of the effort to build a national COVID-19 surveillance system as the U.S. economy begins to reopen.
The hope is that more information, transparency and data about the alarming numbers of nursing home cases and deaths will help shed light on this especially tragic and widespread aspect of the epidemic. There have been calls for investigations and special monitors and even calls for the National Guard to step in at a nursing home in New Jersey where as many as 70 residents have died.
In Brooklyn, several dozen residents who lined the street outside and clapped and cheered the nursing home staff members seemed to understand that they have been doing everything they can under enormously difficult circumstances.
“Thank you from the bottom of our hearts,” Tuchman said before he led the team back inside to resume caring for hundreds of frail, sick residents.
CORRECTION (April 21, 2020, 12:40 a.m. ET): A previous version of this article misspelled the last name of the administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. She is Seema Verma, not Verman.