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The Kidnapping of Richard Maass-Part One

revision to correct spelling of name from Maas to Maass

In August 2012, a man by the name of Kevin Kelly reached out to me after he discovered via Facebook that my mother had been kidnapped and imprisoned in a nursing home by Mary Giordano, an elder care attorney with Franchina and Giordano in Garden City, NY. The same thing happened to his beloved grandfather by the same parties who destroyed my mother. We talked at length about the emotional hell we and our loved ones suffered at the hands of these people. He wanted his story told; however his physical and emotional health was such that he was unable to write it. This is the first part in a series of articles Kevin is writing about his family’s ordeal.

By Kevin Kelly

“My name is Kevin Kelly. I live in Manhattan, NY. My story is about the kidnapping and abusive guardianship of my grandfather, Richard Maass, at the hands of Mary Giordano, an elder care attorney and partner with Franchina and Giordano law firm in Garden City, NY. The late Judge Joel Asarch of the Nassau County Supreme Court in Mineola was the presiding judge who allowed these atrocious acts against my grandfather to happen, along with Anne Recht, the geriatric “care” manager of AMRecht Associates in Plainview, NY. I fought very hard to save my grandfather from these people; at a great deal of monetary, emotional and physical expense. No one in charge would listen; no one in charge cared; or so I thought, until I discovered that my grandfather was one of many victims of this particular trio; and one of thousands across the country.

My grandparents lived in their house in Glen Head, Long Island, since 1951. My mother and I moved there in 1981. We had our own apartment there and paid rent. We took care of my grandmother when she became ill until she passed in 1998, and we cared for my grandfather as his health started to deteriorate. Around 2001, he was officially diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. Mom then hired a full-time aide to care for Grandpa in 2005 after she became ill. My Mom passed away in 2006.

After my Mom’s death, I continued to live in the house, pay rent, and spent many hours every day with Grandpa. Due to many months of chaos after my mother passed, one of my cousins who lived locally started to come around. He somehow managed to have a “new” power of attorney drafted in 2006, giving him complete control of my grandfather’s estate. When I looked over the paperwork months later, I discovered there was over $40,000 in missing funds. My attorney and I requested that my cousin return the funds and discharge himself as POA but he refused.

Since we were unable to get things resolved, I had my attorney file a motion in court in 2008 to have my cousin removed as power of attorney and have me assigned as guardian. Judge Asarch assigned a court evaluator to investigate and file a report. The report filed stated that I was very close to my grandfather, that my grandfather was very happy living in his home with me and he recommended me as the best choice for guardian. However, my cousin stated that he would fight it if I was appointed. Our attorneys agreed that we would let the courts appoint a guardian. I was completely unaware of what that truly meant. Judge Asarch appointed Mary Giordano as guardian and Anne Recht as geriatric “care” manager. We signed an agreement whereby Mary and Anne would be paid out of Grandpa’s funds, $600.00 and $500.00 per month respectively to “care” for Grandpa. A new full-time aide was hired to care for Grandpa 24/7.

Judge Asarch ruled that because I was not immediate family, I had to move out of the house. Rather than fight a lengthy court battle, I moved to an apartment in Massapequa in March, 2009 and continued to visit. One day in September 2009, I called the aide to let her know I was on my way over and she told me that Mary Giordano called and told her to pack my grandfather’s clothes because she was moving him to a nursing home. Mary never called anyone in the family to let us know nor did she discuss this with anyone. The aide was as shocked as I was, since he was happy and doing very well in his own home.

I rushed to the house immediately. When I got there, Anne Recht was there and the aide was packing for him. I asked Anne where he was going and she refused to tell me, stating that he was better off not seeing anyone for the first few days so he could “acclimate.” I called Mary and she claimed his money was running out and could not afford to live in his own home anymore.

My lawyer and I requested a hearing immediately after Grandpa was kidnapped. He told me that he never received any paperwork and that what Mary did was illegal; that an order had to be signed by the judge and no order was ever signed. We requested a hearing on the matter. Judge Asarch’s only response was that the move was not handled “properly.” We also advised Judge Asarch that this new nursing home was not a safe location for him, that the home was very dirty and smelled like urine; that it was very short-staffed. He was also forced to eat a kosher diet since non kosher food was not allowed. He was not allowed to have something as basic as a ham and cheese sandwich. In answer to our complaints, both Mary and Anne stated that Richard Maass was “very happy there, smiling and nodding and very talkative.” My grandfather was not at all talkative and only spoke with people he knew. They also stated that he was “too old to be eating what he liked anyway and should be on the nursing home’s diet.”  Judge Asarch ruled in favor of Mary and Anne.

When Grandpa was first moved to the nursing home, the staff would always answer my questions and willingly discuss his care with me. However, as his health continued to decline and my aunt and I voiced our concerns and complaints, Mary Giordano advised the staff that they were no longer allowed to answer any of our questions or address any of our concerns. Only Mary Giordano and Anne Recht had that right.

By January 2011, my grandfather’s health had deteriorated substantially. At that time I was visiting him daily and my aunt and I requested that he be moved to hospice. However Anne Recht claimed that he was too sick to be moved. We then requested palliative care. Anne said she would take care of it. There was never any sign of this care and it was apparent that his suffering and pain was increasing each day. When my aunt and I complained to the nursing home, they told us that no paperwork was ever submitted by Anne and they could not do anything for him at all without her approval. Nothing was ever done despite all of our calls and requests. I had to watch my grandfather suffer daily, in tremendous pain, until the day he passed away, February 28, 2011.

On the day of my grandfather’s wake, I arrived at the funeral home with my father. There was just one wake being held at that time. When I walked into the room, I was shocked to discover that it was not my grandfather who was in the casket. I approached the funeral home director who told me that my cousin contacted him and told him to change the date; that Mary Giordano was aware of this and in full compliance. The reason given was that a family member from Florida needed time to travel, which I knew to be false.

When I called Mary she claimed she had sent an email to my lawyer informing him of the date change. My lawyer advised me that he never received any such email. Mary’s secretary told me a different story. She said the reason the change was made was because they could not get a limousine that day. When my aunt called my cousin to find out what happened, he claimed that he changed the date because another family member from Vermont needed time to travel. To this day, we never found out what the truth really was.

That was one of the most difficult days for me. I had to contact family and friends and let them all know of the date change. Some were already on their way; some had sent flowers. My grandfather’s pastor was unable to give the eulogy on the new date due to previous commitments. What upset me the most was that all of these people–my cousin, Mary Giordano, Judge Asarch and Anne Recht—not only ruined the last few years of this wonderful man’s life but could not even show him any respect in his death. None of these people loved or cared about him, but I do believe they loved his money.

I cannot even begin to tell you how much pain this situation has caused me. Every day I think about him and wonder what more I could have done to save him. It is now almost three years since his death and I miss him every day.”

In Remembrance of Dorothy Wilson October 23, 2013

Two years ago today, my beautiful mother Dorothy Wilson, passed away while incarcerated against her will in a nursing home. She was kidnapped by Mary Giordano, an attorney and partner of the law firm Franchina and Giordano, in Garden City, New York. All pleas to the New York State Judicial Commission, the Nassau County Supreme Court, Senators and Congress, New York State District Attorney and countless others, went unanswered. Guardianship and elder abuse are prevalent throughout the country and Nassau County, New York is no exception.

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

This is Part Three of Joan Pezzollo’s story about the guardianship abuse of her mother, Marilyn Ingrasani, and the tragedy that befell her family.   

As of the last court hearing, overseen by Judge Knoebel of the Nassau County Supreme Court, Joan was given “permission” for a total of four “supervised” visits with her mother before the next hearing in August; this despite the protests of Virginia Belling, George Esernio and Joel Kaplan. These visits will be supervised by Virginia Belling, the geriatric care manager assigned by the late Judge Joel Asarch.  

As of yesterday, July 10, 2013, Marilyn lies dying in a hospital bed. Joan is forbidden to see her Mom.

By Joan Pezzollo

“Every day I try to wrap my head around this nightmare. I look back and wonder how I was made out to be the villain when my mother and I truly adored each other and I did everything I could to care for her. I ask myself and others over and over again, how can a woman, an uneducated illegal immigrant, posing as a home health care aide and medical student, manage to “fool” a litany of so-called “legal experts” with a combined total of over 150 years’ experience in the law? Did she really fool them or were they working together with her? According to experts that I have spoken with who are very familiar with the criminality of the court system, the judge and these attorneys knew exactly what was going on. The consensus of my family and friends and every other person whose loved ones are/were victims’ of guardianship/elder abuse, this case is simply about money and the looting of my mother’s estate.

The late Nassau County Supreme Court judge, Joel Asarch, who was the presiding judge over this case and at the helm of this abuse, had been practicing law since 1979; he was also a judge for the past 12 years up until his death.

The guardian attorney, George Esernio of Albanese and Albanese in Garden City, New York, has been practicing many different facets of the law for the past 45 years. His bio states that he is active in community and charitable organizations and has served as an officer, director and general counsel of the North Shore Boys & Girls Club among many other foundations. Shouldn’t a person involved with children be kind and compassionate and knowledgeable? George has refused to allow me to see my own mother for the past four years. In fact, I provided Mr. Esernio with a stack of pictures showing me, my mom, the twins and the rest of my family all together before she met Rachel. Before he wrote his report, that no one is allowed to see, he sent these back to me via courier. He was not remotely interested in the fact that Rachel Jones was lying, that she was the one committing elder abuse.

The lawyer who started this mess, Joel Kaplan, a partner in Kaplan Belsky Ross, LLP in Garden city, NY is also the guardian-ad-litem (GAL) for my mother and assigned by the court to “watch out for her needs.” His bio states that he is “an experienced litigator in all fields of law” and president of B’nai Brith International. Well, B’nai Brith International touts the fact that “advocating for seniors” is a prime agenda item.  If that is true, how has he allowed the abuse of my mother to go on for so long?

Judge Asarch, when I applied for guardianship of my mother to protect and save her from Rachel Jones, denied my application. But he did assign a geriatric care manager, Virginia Belling, of Virginia Belling Senior Placement Services, Inc., in Massapequa, NY to “oversee” my mother’s care. Virginia’s website states that she is “chair of the advisory board of the Long Island Alzheimer’s Foundation, and has worked with the foundation since 1987.  SENIOR PLACEMENT SERVICES specializes in assisting those affected by Alzheimer’s disease, and in improving the quality of life for Alzheimer’s patients and their families.” So here is a woman who supposedly knows about this disease and yet ignored my pleas for help and never investigated Rachel’s background. Virginia allowed a non-certified home health aide to live with and care for my mother, allowed her to give my mother medication and never checked on the conditions of the home or my mother’s hygiene.  She refused to do a mini-mental status on Mom from the beginning. It took two years of going to court before the judge finally ordered Virginia to obtain a safe return bracelet, which is crucial for patients with Alzheimer’s. The elaborate alarm system in my mother’s home, including cameras, was disabled by Rachel Jones. This system was installed for the protection of my mother after her home was burglarized. It also allowed anyone who was caring for her to know if she opened the door to leave which is very beneficial for the caregiver of an Alzheimer’s patient.

I hired private detectives, at my own expense, to investigate Rachel and what was truly going on in Mom’s home. It was discovered that she had no home health care training, no specialized training caring for an elderly person with Alzheimer’s, that she was not a medical student, had no driver’s license, and was in this country illegally, Once Virginia was notified about all of this, she simply ignored these facts and still allowed Rachel to stay on as Mom’s caretaker and drive my mother around. I was flabbergasted! Every one of the attorneys, including the judge, had a legal responsibility to report Rachel to immigration and to the police and not one of them filed any report or called any agency. Virginia also knew that Rachel took my mother to the DMV and had her sign over one of her cars to her, a Toyota Camry. And when the lease was up on her Mercedes, despite the fact that Judge Asarch denied my mother the right to drive, Rachel brought her to the dealership to buy the car out. I found that out when the salesman called me to find out what was going on and why this woman Rachel was arranging for this. This was done despite the fact that neither had a valid drivers’ license nor could legally drive. Virginia knew about that also.

Rachel was also paying herself weekly out of my mother’s checking account. Sal, my mother’s power of attorney, acknowledged that Rachel was doing this. She took whatever she wanted each week; no one cared or reported what Rachel did. When Rachel became pregnant, Virginia still allowed her to live there and raise her child. George Esernio was the guardian at that time and also allowed this to go on. Rachel and her son and her friends took over the entire house. Rachel hired one of her friends, Glynnis, to watch my mother while she was going to her prenatal visits and Lamaze classes. She paid Glynnis out of my mother’s checking account as well, without the approval or knowledge of any of the “legal team members”; and even when I made them all aware of this fact, they still did nothing. ”

Next—the report from the private investigator  

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