by Diane Wilson
Definition: verb abused, abusing. 1. to use wrongly or improperly; misuse: to abuse one’s authority.
2. to treat in a harmful, injurious, or offensive way
Noun wrong or improper use; misuse: the abuse of privileges.
Every human being on this Earth is born with inalienable God-given rights; no man or woman has the right to take these away from another human being. Those who commit such heinous actions deserve to be punished for it. Crime does not pay, or does it??
All across America, in every state, in every city, in every town, we are seeing the horrific abuse of our most vulnerable citizens; the elderly, the disabled and the children in a country where we once believed we were all free. These crimes are being committed by strangers as well as family members and so-called loved ones and friends.
I grew up in a loving home with two parents who worked hard, obeyed the law, paid their taxes and taught their children right from wrong. We went to Bible school and church on Sundays. I was told that the police were good and would protect you from criminals; that the courtroom was where justice was always served and if you lied on the stand under oath you were committing perjury and would go to jail. I would learn much later in life that those teachings were not true, that the land of the free was indeed not free, that crime paid handsomely and lying under oath despite evidence to the contrary did not mean an automatic jail sentence, not if you were in cahoots with the judge and his cronies.
So I no longer believe in Santa Claus or the Easter Bunny or the tooth fairy. I no longer believe crime doesn’t pay or that justice is served in the courtroom. I no longer believe that America is a free country, free from tyranny and a protector of human rights. Yet I do believe in a much Higher Power, God, our Prime Creator, Master of the Universe. My faith in Him is very strong and completely unshakeable. With that knowledge, I also know that God doesn’t judge us. I know He forgives us when we sin. I know we are here to learn life’s lessons and to learn forgiveness. We need to learn to forgive ourselves and others as well.
Forgiveness is something I am seriously struggling with right now. I applied for guardianship of my mother to protect her, her home and her assets; to make certain that she would always remain in her home and never end up in a nursing home. This was what my siblings wanted for her and what my mother did not want. No one wants that. I was naïve about court. I was unaware that judges and lawyers and other so-called professionals conspired together to play family members against each other in order to gain control of the elderly person’s assets. I was unaware that they all benefitted monetarily from their actions. It took me a long time to forgive myself for bringing this to court in the first place. I know that I saved my mother’s life by doing what I did, but was it ultimately worth it? After all, the last three years of her life were made a living hell under the “watch and care” of the late Judge Joel Asarch, a Nassau County Supreme Court judge; Mary Giordano, an elder care attorney with Franchina and Giordano in Garden City, NY and Anne Recht, a geriatric care manager with AMRecht Associates in Plainview, NY.
“Forgiveness is Divine.” I struggle with that too. I understand what forgiveness means. I understand forgiveness frees you to live life without holding on to anger and resentment. Forgiveness of ourselves and others for the wrongdoings we have caused ourselves or suffered because of another’s actions also has tremendous physical and psychological effects. I am completely aware of this. I am no longer angry at those who took my mother’s life. The judge passed away shortly after my Mom died. I heard rumors that he committed suicide. Was it his guilt? Guilt for sentencing so many others besides my mother to life imprisonment in squalid nursing homes with no hope of ever getting out? Can I forgive him? I don’t know.
Anne Recht went on to get her own home health care license. This allowed her to hire home health aides through her own company and not rely on other home health care agencies. So now instead of insisting that a nursing home was the only way out for a person, as she did in my mother’s case, she now insists that they are better off in their own home. Money always seems to make people change their set of beliefs. Can I forgive her? I don’t know.
That leaves Mary. Mary Giordano is still being assigned guardianship cases of the elderly through her law firm, Franchina and Giordano. From what I have been told nothing has changed. I received a phone call last year from an attorney who wanted to speak to me about Mary and the crimes she committed against my mother. It seems she had a client whose mother had the ill fate of having Mary assigned as her guardian. The daughter did not like Mary at all and did some research on her. She came across all of the stories about Mom. This lawyer was hired to get Mary removed as guardian and hopefully replace her with her daughter, someone who loved and cared about her mother, not a stranger. I spoke with her a number of times and then the calls stopped. I never did find out if her mother was saved from the same horrific fate as my mother.
The most recent case has to do with a friend of Mary’s, Joan Bebry, who was a very wealthy woman. Apparently Mary wrote her will and when Joan died, Mary became guardian of Joan’s disabled son. It wasn’t too long before Mary was removed as guardian and a family member is now in charge. It is now in the courts. From what I “heard”, there was a substantial amount of overcharging on Mary’s part and missing funds. Is that true? What I do know is that the same thing happened in my mother’s case.
So now getting back to forgiveness and the fact that forgiveness is divine. Does that mean that I am not capable of doing what mankind is sent here to do? I struggle with forgiving the people who abused my mother. How do I forgive someone who kidnapped my mother from her beloved home? How do I forgive the person who locked my mother up in a nursing home against her will? How do I forgive someone who knowingly signed off on giving antipsychotic drugs to my mother that eventually killed her? How do I forgive this woman (who was supposed to protect her and follow the law) who committed perjury on the stand against me time and time again, who took her money and her peace of mind, who locked my mother up in her own home with strangers, isolated her from her own family, from her grandchildren and great-grandchildren, who denied my mother the simplest request of a warm sweater when she was cold? How do I forgive her? Can I forgive her? Does she deserve forgiveness?
I know that I can forgive the person and not condone their actions. I teach that to others all the time. I struggle with forgiving Mary for so many reasons, one being that she is not at all remorseful for what she did. I know this because she continues to do the same to others. She never once said she was sorry.
Does an abuser deserve forgiveness? I don’t know the answer to that question.
For those of you who have endured a similar experience, how have you handled forgiveness?
Watching my mother being abused by a horribly corrupt judicial system, uncaring politicians, greedy attorneys and family members that are supposed to love one another has truly been a life changing experience for me. I worked hard to save her from being placed in nursing homes. The first two times I managed to bring her home; the third time was just too much for her and the fear took her life.
My grandchildren, as young as they are, remember their great-grandma. The guardian, Mary Giordano, did everything she could to isolate my mother from them and from me. They do not yet know what happened but they will. This is not a deep dark family secret; it is America’s dirty little secret.
While for me the tears still appear at the oddest moment, the what ifs still linger in my mind and at times keep me up at night, the long lasting effects of guardianship abuse was also life changing for my daughter. It is often said that some good ultimately comes out of bad and in my Mom’s case, I believe this to be true.
by Tara Wilson
November 6, 2014
Normally, as parents to young children we are concerned with protecting our little ones; whether that is from falling, the common cold, or which guardian would raise them in the event of our incapacity or passing. As our children get older and learn to protect themselves, we are often reminded that we need to look out for our other loved ones as well. So while our children are becoming more independent, our aging parents and grandparents are in need of more support and protection. We fall into that “sandwich generation” where we are caring for our children and our own parents.
I was shocked when I read that a law firm in NY, David L. Moss and Associates, is actually promoting guardianship to landlords to help them evict elderly tenants. Many of these apartments are rent controlled, so by evicting them the landlord can raise the rent. To do it by giving landlords “free case valuation” because of issues with tenants, is, in my opinion, a very sick and frightening way of doing business.
Reposted from NASGA’s blog
David L. Moss and Associates has now extended free case valuation to Article 81 Guardianship Proceedings for landlords. Drawing on their vast experience, they can work to safeguard their interests.
David L. Moss and Associates will now provide no-charge case evaluation to landlords in NYC for Article 81 Guardianship Proceedings. Landlords require strong representation in Article 81 proceedings to safeguard their interests and this law firm, leveraging its extensive experience in housing court matters.
“Article 81 of Mental Hygiene Law allows the New York City Department of Social Services or the tenant’s representative to commence proceedings in the Supreme Court requesting appointment of a guardian of the tenant and their property. The proceedings can be filed when the tenant is said to be incapable of representing their own interests,” said a senior lawyer with the firm.
The court order appointing a guardian for the tenant will stay any pending litigation the landlord is fighting with the tenant. Moreover, the landlord would require the court approval for any further actions. A seasoned attorney would represent the landlord to get for them the benefits they are entitled to as result of the landlord-tenant relationship including the payment of rent and ultimately repossession of the property if the tenant lacks the ability to continue to reside there.
Article 81 Guardianship Proceedings are complex civil litigation requiring clinical efficiency on the part of the law firm. As the senior lawyer commented, “Guardianship matters can be highly litigious. When the court is likely to grant the guardian to the tenant, the issue can be powers granted by the court to the guardian. Our lawyers work to bring the other perspective on the matter to the court.”