Monthly Archives: March 2014
Every time I read about another abusive guardianship case, I feel ill. I cannot help but wonder why Americans are not rising up in droves and calling their representatives screaming “Stop! Enough! This is wrong on every level!”
Mainstream Media refuses to report on this horrific crime. Why? Because the gravy train is so lucrative that no one wants it to stop….too many people are making too much money by stealing other people’s money. In the case of Dorothy Luck, she is NOT incompetent, but the judge declared her as incompetent because she refused to settle in a lawsuit and simply because he could. Dorothy describes the probate court overseen by Tarrant County Judge Steve M. King as a “well-oiled group of people who can’t seem to find a way to make money except to take it away from other people.”
In Nassau County Supreme Court in Mineola, NY, the late Judge Joel Asarch, along with Mary Giordano (elder care attorney with Franchina and Giordano in Garden City, NY) and Anne Recht, geriatric care manager (AMRecht Assoc in Plainview, NY) worked together often on a number of cases where the elderly victims were kidnapped from their homes and imprisoned against their will in nursing homes. My own mother was one of their victims. Dorothy Wilson, an innocent 87 year old woman, had her beloved home of 60 years stolen from her. She died in prison; penniless, alone and drugged with antipsychotic medication.
American’s dirty little secret, if the public was truly aware, would understand that this abuse can happen to anyone at any time. There are thousands of these stories all over the internet. Share the stories, inform everyone you know. Help put a stop to this nightmare before it happens to you.
Posted September 4, 2013 by JEFF PRINCE in News
Dorothy Luck was enjoying the fruits of a lifetime of hard work: a well-cared-for house, a good-running Cadillac Deville, a million dollars in a bank account, another million in annuities, and a monthly income from investments and Social Security. A widow with no children or close relatives, she remains active and relatively healthy at 85.
Her comfortable lifestyle was made possible by various investments created with her husband, Leskie, who died 20 years ago. The couple co-owned and operated Luck Field, a general aviation airport that opened in 1960 in South Fort Worth, offering a landing strip and hangar rentals for 40 years, until it closed in 2000.
Shyness isn’t a problem. Luck dominates conversations, doesn’t suffer fools gladly, and can be a pistol when riled. She’s also softhearted. Her church gets 10 percent of every dollar, and Luck gives additional money to charities and friends in need.
The neat and still-elegant woman has always kept a close watch on her finances, and she believed she’d have plenty of money to last until the end of her life.
“I was very wealthy,” she said. “Now they’ve stripped me of about everything I have.”
The people stripping away her wealth aren’t con artists, muggers, or thieves, although the end result looks the same. “They” are a judge and court-appointed lawyers involved in a probate system that deemed Luck to be mentally incapacitated and unable to handle her affairs.
Two years ago they took control of her money and her life. She’s been writhing in the court system ever since, trying to regain control of her bank account, which has become at least $500,000 lighter since the court took over.
“I’ve worked since I was 15 years old, and I don’t deserve this,” Luck said. “It’s going to kill me. It’s aged me terribly.”
Texas, unlike most states, allows its judges to initiate guardianship cases. If a defendant in a civil lawsuit refuses to settle, a Texas probate judge can say, “I think you’re mentally incapacitated.” Then that same judge can remove the defendant’s right to hire an independent attorney and use court-appointed attorneys to settle the case in a closed hearing without the defendant’s input.
Don’t believe it?
Luck wouldn’t have believed it either. Until it happened to her.
The brick home with the well-tended lawn is inviting, particularly the concrete porch, a style that was common when this home was built in the 1930s. The house sits in a pleasant, shaded neighborhood near Texas Christian University. Inside, a woman’s touch is everywhere. Doilies, china cabinets, and antique furniture dominate the rooms.
Detracting from the décor are numerous stacks of manila files overflowing with reams of paperwork, generated by court dates and hearings.
Luck has spent hundreds of hours poring over these records, talking with attorneys, visiting doctors, and traveling to Austin to speak to lawmakers. She’s one of a growing list of people across the state and the country who are realizing how easy it is for judges and lawyers to take control of a person’s life.
“It’s not fair that they continue to rape people in this way,” Luck said. “I’m not the only one. The sooner the nation is wise to this, the better we’ll all be.”
She describes the probate court overseen by Tarrant County Judge Steve M. King as a “well-oiled group of people who can’t seem to find a way to make money except to take it away from other people.”
King stripped Luck of her right to enter into contracts in 2010. Unable to hire an independent attorney to represent her in front of King, she was forced to rely on court-appointed attorneys whom she believes were in cahoots with the court.
Houston-based senior-rights activist Latifa Ring has spent years battling probate courts that overstep their bounds. Questionable evidence and methods were used against Luck, she said.
“I’ve never seen anything so terrible as this,” Ring said. “There is no way this woman is incompetent, but they have put her through hell for two years.”
Luck’s husband had a brother, Bill, who had three children. In 2008 the now-grown children hired a local attorney who specializes in estate law, and they sued Luck to demand an accounting of the trusts she managed. Some of the property in the trusts was co-owned by Leskie and his brother Bill, and the children stand to inherit the trusts after Luck’s death.
Still, it wasn’t those distant relatives who sought to prove Luck mentally incompetent. King and his court-appointed attorneys led that charge, although the relatives’ attorney was also an instigator.
King, serving as judge in the stalled lawsuit over the trust, initiated a guardianship case against Luck. Then he ruled that she was incapacitated. All the legal fees were paid with Luck’s money.
“It was never my intention to sue for guardianship,” said Heidi Luck, one of the relatives who sued Dorothy Luck over the trust. “Once the lawyers and everybody got involved, it seemed as if we couldn’t get out of it.”
Luck didn’t believe she’d done anything wrong in managing the trusts, and she wasn’t willing to settle. She was ill and combative during a deposition and sparred verbally with attorney David Bakutis, who was representing her relatives. When questioned, she also discussed her finances. She was no spendthrift. Money flowed into home renovation projects, and she liked to pamper herself with nice things. She hired and fired attorneys, accountants, and advisors who helped oversee her investments.