Monthly Archives: May 2013

Meet Joan, Another Victim of the Legal System…One of Judge Asarch’s Last Abused Citizens-Part Two

This is Part Two of Joan Pezzollo’s story and the tragedy that befell her family. As stated in part One, George Esernio, the guardian attorney with the law firm Albanese and Albanese in Garden City, New York, has isolated Marilyn from her children and grandchildren without cause.

Update: Joan received a phone call yesterday, May 28, 2013 from Sal, a family friend, informing her that her mother was in the hospital, having suffered a stroke. Joan immediately contacted her lawyer and told him she was going to see her mother and was concerned the guardian would try to stop her. When Joan’s attorney called the guardian, George told him that Joan’s mother had already been released. Joan then called the hospital and found out that not only was her mother still there, but she had been there for the past three days. He also told Joan’s lawyer that there was no health care proxy, which is not true. When Joan arrived at the hospital she found that the contact information listed on hospital records were the name and numbers of the aide that had been fired in December, 2012 and the current aide, Molly. Strangely, Molly was also listed as the next of kin. George Esernio’s name was listed without a telephone number. No family was listed on hospital records. Joan then discovered that her mother had been admitted to the hospital on many previous occasions and the guardian never notified Marilyn’s family.

Why are so many lies being told? Why isn’t the guardian doing the right thing and notifying Marilyn’s family when she falls ill? What excuse could there possibly be for all of this odd, secretive and abusive behavior?  

By Joan Pezzollo

“Judge Asarch did not immediately assign a guardian to my mother nor did he declare her incapacitated.  What he did do was assign a geriatric “care” manager, Virginia Belling, Senior Placement Services, Inc. on Broadway in Massapequa. She was supposed to look out for my mother’s health and make certain that her home was safe and someone was always there to look after her. Rachel had somehow convinced Virginia Belling and Judge Asarch that she and my mother had a close and loving relationship and Mom did not want me around. Ms. Belling kept Rachel on as an aide. She never did any investigation nor had any background check completed on her, which is required. It was never addressed in court that she was in this country illegally and did not even have a driver’s license. Ms. Belling simply left Rachel as  Mom’s aide and in her care despite my protests. Even after the facts were uncovered that Rachel had no credentials, that she lied about her educational background, that she was not a med student, that she was driving my mother around illegally, without a driver’s license, Virginia Belling and Judge Asarch still allowed her to stay.

I never said anything more than a good morning to Judge Asarch. I never had a trial or presented any  testimony, there was never any eye contact, and there was never even a hearing or conference. Despite all of this, Judge Asarch stated that “Ms. Pezzolo would have us believe that Rachel has a Svengali like effect on Mrs. Ingrisani when in fact they have a warm and loving relationship.” He also stated in open court on the record that “before I decide who her guardian will be should it be necessary, under no circumstances shall it be Joan Pezzollo.” He gave no reason why; there was no investigation done, he never spoke to me, he just blatantly discriminated against me.  Although I was my mother’s health care proxy and it was irrevocable, he got around that by illegally “suspending” it. It was not until July, 2011, that Judge Asarch finally declared my mother incapacitated, without a guardian and leaving my mother isolated from her family and in Rachel’s care. To the best of my knowledge, it was not until sometime around November, 2011, that a stranger, an attorney by the name of George Esernio with Albanese and Albanese in Garden City, NY was finally appointed as her personal guardian. Judge Asarch assigned POA to Sal; a close family friend of my father’s who is an accountant and financial advisor. Sal has assured me that my mother’s money has not been touched.

George Esernio has refused to allow me or my children to see my mother for the past four years. Not once did George try to arrange any kind of mediation to resolve this or find out if Mom’s illness contributed to this type of behavior. Elderly people with advanced dementia can be easily turned against their loved ones, especially when they are consistently lied to. This is part of the disease and something George Esernio should have known. George also told my law firm that he will not get on the phone with me because he “does not speak to a lay person.” How can he get any clients if he refuses to speak with someone who is not a lawyer? In fact, there was an order of protection filed against me by Joel Kaplan, based on an affidavit given by Rachel who was not even present during the hearing. All of these actions were taken based on false allegations made against me by a woman who came into my family’s life for three weeks in October 2008; within three months time she managed to get attorneys and family members to believe all of her lies. My lawyers and I worked hard to disprove all of these allegations along with letters and testimony from my friends and family, but none of that mattered. My mother, in her severe state of dementia, went along with all of this which only fueled George’s actions to keep Mom isolated.

In December 2012, Rachel took my mother’s credit card and bought herself $800 worth of Tiffany glasses. Since Sal handled the bills, he contacted George and advised him about this. That is when George finally fired Rachel. A new aide, Molly, was then brought in to care for Mom.

I was desperate to see my Mom and begged Sal to help me now that Rachel was gone. Sal cleared my request with the court evaluator, Ernie Bartol, who thought it was a “wonderful idea” since Mom is at the end of her life.

 The last few weeks were both heaven and hell. She is now in the advanced stages of Alzheimer’s but she knows who I am. We spent a lot of time just smiling at each other and hugging and holding hands. Mom was thrilled each time I was able to sneak in to see her. What I discovered however, was that my mother was living in squalor; the condition of her once beautiful home virtually destroyed; the smell inside made it virtually uninhabitable. As I walked around I discovered that almost all of the light bulbs were missing from the lamps and high hats; the vacuum cleaner was gone; the refrigerator had very little food in it; there were no cleaning supplies in the house. While I was there my mother, who is not ambulatory, was unable to reach the bathroom in time and had an accident. The aide did not bother to put her in the shower and clean her up. She only half attempted to clean her with some toilet paper. She said she had nothing else to clean her with other than a small bottle of hand sanitizer. I went into the basement and found it filled wall to wall with garbage. All of the expensive custom-made draperies and valances had been removed from the windows and tossed in a pile on the basement floor. I went into her bedroom and found that her expensive custom-made bedspread was gone; stolen. Mom’s huge jewelry box was also missing, along with all of her jewelry valued at over $500,000. And in the middle of the family room was a pile of all of my mother’s valuable artwork, partially wrapped with bubble wrap as if someone was getting ready to move it out of the house. George Esernio is responsible for all of these missing items, but he has not told anyone where they are.  There is an alarm and camera system running but I am not sure if there is any film. The alarm system is not working.  One of the windows in the garage is broken and the front door jamb is cracked all the way down to the bottom, as if someone tried to break in. I have a report in my possession that details all of the activity that has gone on in and around the house for quite some time.

Molly, the aide, called George Esernio and told him I was in the house. She then falsely accused me of stealing a piece of my mother’s jewelry. It became quite apparent that she does not want me there either. George Esernio then immediately called my attorney and banned me once again from going to visit my mother and told the aide not to let me in. George Esernio has been telling everyone for years that my mother does not want to see me and that it is detrimental to her to be around me and my children. Sal told him that there was no truth to what he was saying, that he personally witnessed how happy my Mom was with me back in her life. 

What exactly are the roles that George Esernio and Virginia Belling play in my mother’s life? Other than to be paid exorbitant fees for allowing her home to be ravaged, her personal possessions to be stolen and her care to be diminished to the point of abuse, in my opinion their association with my mother is nothing short of criminal.”      

This story is horrendous. There are many more details that will shortly be published in a continuing series of articles on the abuse of this woman and her family. All of these guardianship cases are about nothing more than money. The arrogance, coupled with the atrocious egos and the misplaced beliefs that the attorneys and judges involved are somehow above the law, allow these crimes to go on unabated, unchecked and unstopped. 

Meet Joan, Another Victim of the Legal System…One of Judge Asarch’s Last Abused Citizens

The frustration and heartbreak and anger of those whose loved ones are being held in abusive guardianships are growing in leaps and bounds. I receive many calls and e-mails and letters from people desperate to tell their story. They tell me how they cried after reading about my Mom, they tell me how they could not bear to watch my mother pleading for release from captivity, and they offer me their condolences over and over again. Some wish to remain anonymous, for now. Others tell me that because I went public with my story it gave them courage to go public with their own horrific tale of abuse. They are no longer afraid.

This is the story of one such woman. Through many e-mails and phone calls, through tears and gasps and starts and stops; through crying and anger and yelling and absolute frustration and shock, I finally heard her story; a story that should have been reported in the mainstream media, on the evening news and headlines in all of the local and national newspapers. The media was notified in this case, as it was in my mother’s case, but once again, they completely ignored this story as well. After what I personally have seen and been through and after all of the stories I have heard, I thought nothing would surprise me anymore. But each story carries its own unique tale, its own DNA, its own pain and heartbreak. And each and every story breaks my heart just a little bit more, while making my determination to fight for justice even stronger.             

Joan Pezzollo is a loving daughter desperate to save her mother. She is an intelligent and articulate woman who holds a masters degree in sociology and psychology; the wife of a prominent doctor; the mother of five children and two stepsons; the beloved daughter of Marilyn Ingrisani of Carle Place, a woman who is currently under the guardianship of George Esernio, an attorney with Albanese and Albanese in Garden City, NY. She is another victim of the extraordinarily corrupt judicial system of Nassau County in Long Island, New York.

This is part one of Joan’s story and her long and painful ordeal. 

May 20, 2013

by Joan Pezzollo

“My parents had all of their paperwork in order. I am the executrix of their living will and estate, in addition to their power of attorney and irrevocable health care proxy.  They trusted me implicitly and wanted to be certain they were taken care of should anything ever happen to them. After my Dad passed away in 2001, my mother kept her house but spent significant periods of time with me and my family in my home. Once I became pregnant with my twins, in February 2008, my mother moved in with me, going back to her home only to retrieve mail. We put a down payment together on a beautiful home with a mother-in-law suite so we could live together. I gave birth to my twins in October of 2008 and within the next few months my family and I moved into our new home. Mom did not make the move with us because she still had to sell her house along with her condo in Florida.

After I gave birth, I hired a baby nurse to help me. When she left for a holiday in Trinidad for three weeks a woman by the name of Rachel replaced her for that time period. She and my mother got along very well. She told me that she was a med student on leave of absence from Columbia and a home health aide. After the Christmas holidays Mom made plans to go to Florida to pack up her condo and put it on the market for sale. Her dementia and her health were steadily declining and I did not want her traveling alone and I was unable to go because I was breastfeeding my twins. 

I received a call from Rachel around that time and she volunteered to make the trip with my mother. I had not done a background check on her but I believed she was qualified and Mom loved her so I felt secure enough to allow that. In February of 2009, my mother and Rachel flew to Florida, all at my mother’s expense.

While in Florida, Rachel placed a phone call to me on behalf of my mother. At the time Mom’s dementia was such that she had great difficulty remembering telephone numbers and using the phone to call out.  Rachel told me my mother wanted to speak with me. As soon as my mother got on the phone she started yelling at me and accusing me of stealing her money from her Sun Trust account. This was an account that had been closed down years earlier by my father’s financial advisor; an account that I never had access to. Mom had forgotten that the account no longer existed but no matter what I said she did not believe me. What I did not know at the time was that Rachel had figured out how wealthy my mother was and was doing everything she could to pull my mother away from me. During that trip, Rachel somehow convinced my mother that her grandchildren and I were after her money. She also fabricated a story stating that I was in collusion with a friend of mine, a doctor, to have my mother killed. Somehow Rachel had even turned the rest of my family away from me.  

They returned from that trip on Easter Sunday, 2009. Rachel brought my mother to my home and Mom gave me a painting as a housewarming gift. She refused to interact with anyone in the family. It was obvious to everyone there that a substantial personality shift had taken place. My husband and I were very concerned. Immediately after that trip Rachel moved into my mother’s house and her plans of moving in with me and selling her home were cancelled.

By either April or May of 2009, Rachel had convinced my mother to make her power of attorney. Rachel took my mother to see a lawyer by the name of Joel Kaplan. She presented herself as an aide and made up a story that Marilyn Ingrasani no longer wanted anything to do with her daughter or her grandchildren and she wanted her daughter’s power of attorney revoked.  Joel Kaplan did not reach out to me; he did not ask for any documents or proof; he did not contact my parent’s attorney; he did not question anything. He simply took a check from my mother for $7500.00 and issued the necessary paperwork. I found out about this in June 2009 when I received a letter in the mail from the attorney. I tried to visit my mother but Rachel would not allow me in the house. We went to the police and when they arrived my mother told them she wanted me out of there. They did nothing and left.

My mother physically assaulted me in front of Rachel. I stood there and put my hands over my head and just allowed her to hit me. My husband video recorded this while Rachel just stood there and watched. It was obvious that my mother had suffered some sort of a psychotic break because our relationship had always been close and loving. I immediately hired a lawyer and applied for guardianship. That is how I ended up in Judge Joel Asarch’s courtroom.”

Part Two: Judge Asarch appoints a guardian

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