by Rachel Aviv
A reporter from New York magazine wrote a very detailed story about the kidnapping of Julie Belshe’s parents and other families horror stories. Julie and I worked together on her story and printed it here years ago. It is wonderful to see that mainstream media is finally paying attention to the horrific crimes being committed all over the country against our parents and loved ones. This is happening every day. My own mother was kidnapped by Mary Giordano, elderlawfg.com, and imprisoned in a nursing home against her will. No reporter would touch the story. The DA refused to prosecute. Mary Giordano still practices elder law today.
For years, Rudy North woke up at 9 A.M. and read the Las Vegas Review-Journal while eating a piece of toast. Then he read a novel—he liked James Patterson and Clive Cussler—or, if he was feeling more ambitious, Freud. On scraps of paper and legal notepads, he jotted down thoughts sparked by his reading. “Deep below the rational part of our brain is an underground ocean where strange things swim,” he wrote on one notepad. On another, “Life: the longer it cooks, the better it tastes.”
Rennie, his wife of fifty-seven years, was slower to rise. She was recovering from lymphoma and suffered from neuropathy so severe that her legs felt like sausages. Each morning, she spent nearly an hour in the bathroom applying makeup and lotions, the same brands she’d used for forty years. She always emerged wearing pale-pink lipstick. Rudy, who was prone to grandiosity, liked to refer to her as “my amour.”
On the Friday before Labor Day, 2013, the Norths had just finished their toast when a nurse, who visited five times a week to help Rennie bathe and dress, came to their house, in Sun City Aliante, an “active adult” community in Las Vegas. They had moved there in 2005, when Rudy, a retired consultant for broadcasters, was sixty-eight and Rennie was sixty-six. They took pride in their view of the golf course, though neither of them played golf.
Rudy chatted with the nurse in the kitchen for twenty minutes, joking about marriage and laundry, until there was a knock at the door. A stocky woman with shiny black hair introduced herself as April Parks, the owner of the company A Private Professional Guardian. She was accompanied by three colleagues, who didn’t give their names. Parks told the Norths that she had an order from the Clark County Family Court to “remove” them from their home. She would be taking them to an assisted-living facility. “Go and gather your things,” she said.
Rennie began crying. “This is my home,” she said.
One of Parks’s colleagues said that if the Norths didn’t comply he would call the police. Rudy remembers thinking, You’re going to put my wife and me in jail for this? But he felt too confused to argue.
Parks drove a Pontiac G-6 convertible with a license plate that read “CRTGRDN,” for “court guardian.” In the past twelve years, she had been a guardian for some four hundred wards of the court. Owing to age or disability, they had been deemed incompetent, a legal term that describes those who are unable to make reasoned choices about their lives or their property. As their guardian, Parks had the authority to manage their assets, and to choose where they lived, whom they associated with, and what medical treatment they received. They lost nearly all their civil rights.
Without realizing it, the Norths had become temporary wards of the court. Parks had filed an emergency ex-parte petition, which provides an exception to the rule that both parties must be notified of any argument before a judge. She had alleged that the Norths posed a “substantial risk for mismanagement of medications, financial loss and physical harm.” She submitted a brief letter from a physician’s assistant, whom Rennie had seen once, stating that “the patient’s husband can no longer effectively take care of the patient at home as his dementia is progressing.” She also submitted a letter from one of Rudy’s doctors, who described him as “confused and agitated.”
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Today, 9-24-15 is Dorothy Dreisen’s 96th birthday. Her guardian continues to keep her in isolation in a nursing home, her children and all family members are banned from seeing her despite the new law that went into effect this past July, 2015, which states denying visitation is illegal. The American courts and most of the so-called “professionals” running them willfully break the law whenever it is convenient for them. Dorothy’s son, Jay, asks friends and supporters to send birthday cards to his Mom to let her know she is still loved and cared about.
Ms. Dorothy Driesen
2116 14th St.
Rock Valley, IA 51247
You can call and ask to speak to her and wish her a Happy Birthday at 712-467-8200.
Each time I read these stories I shake my head in disbelief and literally feel sick to my stomach. This is wrong. It is wrong on every single level. There is not one person in the world who can justify what has been done to Dorothy Dreisen and her family. There is not one person in this world who can justify what was done to my mother Dorothy Wilson, by Mary Giordano, an elder care attorney with Franchina and Giordano in Garden City, NY, elderlawfg.com law firm. This is another horrific story of guardianship abuse at the hands of our extremely corrupt judicial system. The guardian has completely isolated her children from seeing their own mother and the courts allow it. My heart aches for this family.
Dorothy Driesen, a 94-year-old widowed Mother, has had her entire estate taken away from her by court decree and forced to reside at the Rock Valley, IA nursing home that has had multiple felony accounts charged against it in 2003.
The judge took our Mother into his chamber, asked her a few questions, had her read from a prepared statement and then fired both Dorothy and her son as Trustees, appointed a bank to be her new Trustee, appointed an adversarial guardian over her and accepted a purported amendment devising her entire Trust estate the new guardian. All of this happened within one days time upon the filing of court documents by the wannabe guardian and friend of the court.
After this drastic and unbelievable event in the local district court, the two sons of our Mother have been falsely accused of various things and arrested and incarcerated on four separate occasions. To add insult to injury, the two sons of our Mother and their families have not been able to visit their Mother since early 2008.
The last call that was made from our Mother during New Years weekend in 2009 was a call of desperation in which our Mother claimed her life was in danger and she pleaded with us to get her out of this nursing facility. Mail that the family tries to send our Mother is received by the guardian and does not appear to reach our Mother. All incoming calls to our Mother are screened by the front desk and she has no way of calling out.
Shortly after our Mother was incarcerated in this nursing home, before this disastrous court decision, the family would attempt to visit our Mother and shortly after we would arrive, either the guardian would show up in the doorway and demand that we leave or the town police officer would show up and threaten us with arrest.
This case has been heard by the Sioux County, IA District Court in early 2008 and appealed. Jay, as the original trustee, lost this entire first court battle. Then the predators and bank, thinking they had victory, later filed for perceived monetary damages from Jay, Dorothy’s eldest son, in neighboring Lyon County, IA District Court, where Jay resides. Jay fought back pro se in attempt to save his incarcerated Mother and her Irrevocable Trust. For over one year, the predators and bank attempted to gain their loot and then labored to shut this second case down by way of motion. After the judge initially ruled in Jay’s favor three separate times; for some reason, the bank was finally successful in receiving a judgment against Jay for over $34,000. This amount was deemed necessary by the court to adequately compensate this bank (was appointed as Trustee in August, 2008), that is highly active in farm land, for their effort in defending the case and to cover their expense in securing the assets of Mother Driesen. This case had originally been scheduled for a jury trial, including all evidence of the murders in this nursing home during 2003, but the case was shut down by motion for Summary Judgment.
On appeal, the Iowa Court of Appeals applied the doctrine of “claim preclusion” as an original error was not raised by the defense attorney.
A small victory was gained in the Iowa Legislature in 2010 wherein a guardianship hearing can not take place unless notice of service is served on the proposed ward (protected person) and their present family and / or care taker. In our Mother’s case, a guardianship hearing took place without advanced notice being served on her nor her present children caretakers. Notice of what had happened was served on the family over 20 days later.
Since the initial dramatic events occurring in 2007 – 2009, the family members were forced to retreat into survival mode and tend to numerous legal suits hurled their way….suits aimed at destroying their finances and business.
During the fall of 2011, Jay was successful in reaching his Mother by a late evening phone call placed to the nursing home. An unsuspecting nursing assistant brought Mother Driesen to the front desk and gave her the phone to converse with her son Jay. Very quickly the supposed “incompetent” Mother asked Jay about her farm land and etc. Suddenly there was a scuffling noise as Jay could hear the phone receiver fall to the floor and with a later hang up click.
Further negative action levied against Jay’s business necessitated taking many of the defendant’s to the Federal District Court for the Northern District of Iowa.
Our Mother has now reached the ripe age of 94 years and regardless of the stress placed on her by denial of her civil rights per 42 USC Sec 1395i-3, she remains in good physical and mental health. Jay has been in to see his Mother numerous times as of late and is continually run out with threat of arrest made regardless of Jay’s Mother expressing strong desire for him to continue with the visit. Jay then hands them a copy of the quoted Federal Code. At present, the nephew attorney of the guardian has sent a letter to Jay threatening arrest if Jay attempts to visit his Mother again, in direct violation of this particular Federal Code. In December, 2013, Jay has filed an Attorney Complaint with the Iowa Supreme Court Attorney Disciplinary Board on the attorney. The Attorney Complaint was soon turned down.
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?