In 2011 and 2012 I wrote a series of articles on elder and guardianship abuse. A friend of mine, Diane Wilson, was going through a terrible time trying to protect her mother from our judicial system. This is one of a series of articles.
September 3, 2012
by Jim Fargiano
It has been awhile since my last article on the serious issue of law guardian abuse. The problem has never gone away, and the fact is that it still persists nationwide. I was moved to remind everyone about the hardships and horrors of people who are caught up in this. Those who perpetrate these unfair and illegal actions often have their actions overlooked or even approved by the judges who are supposed to be protecting the rights of all citizens.
Having written mostly about the Dorothy Wilson case where, as per federal statutes, she was illegally removed from her home of sixty-plus years, my knowledge in other cases was limited. Since writing the other articles in this series, I have been contacted by others who are also enduring what Dorothy’s daughter, Diane, had to suffer through. Law guardian abuse against the elderly and the emotionally or physically handicapped is a much broader problem than the average person is aware of. If you are knowledgeable of any person in this predicament, sitting back idly while this is occurring makes you no better than the NYS Judicial Commission, senators, attorney generals, the mainstream media, and everyone else that Diane pleaded with for help.
I was recently reviewing paperwork from one of the nursing homes Dorothy Wilson was locked up in. The progress reports from the home clearly state she repeatedly stated her unhappiness and that she wanted to be released. As she had been kidnapped, as the way most people interpret the law, her relentless requests to be released were documented and even videoed by her daughter, Diane. Keep in mind that Dorothy was also being given drugs that are clearly not supposed to be given to people with dementia, which enhanced her “confusion.” Yet through that and her minimal memory lapses, she was still sharp enough to show her disdain for her situation. Some of the videos can be seen on the “Save Dorothy Wilson Legally Kidnapped” page on Facebook.
In researching information for this article, I found that the aide that Dorothy had grown to love was fired and replaced with someone else. Dorothy had a major personality conflict with the new aide and both she and Diane repeatedly requested that she be removed. This includes a request to Judge Asarch in court. The woman who took over was the aide for Richard Maas, who was also illegally removed from his house, and was another victim of Judge Asarch, Mary Giordano, the assigned law guardian, and Anne Recht, the healthcare manager. Richard’s grandson, Kevin, had been fighting for his grandfather’s release and still continues to seek justice. Both Dorothy and Richard died in an environment neither deserved to be in, nor needed to be in.
Diane Wilson was fighting to keep her Mom in her own home. Diane also spent thousands of dollars of her own money to make her house legally safe for her mother to live in, which was the preferable choice given that Diane works primarily from home. She had been taking care of much of what Dorothy needed prior to this fiasco and “legal” money-grab taking place.
In Richard Maas’ case, Kevin lived in the residence with him and as relayed to me, paid rent that helped pay the bills and take care of his grandfather’s needs. Not only did Mary Giordano do the same thing to Richard that she did to Dorothy Wilson—kidnap him by legal standards—but she also sold the house out from under Richard Maas’ family, forcing Kevin out of his own home. There is allegedly court documentation that states that even Judge Asarch stated that the removal was done incorrectly, yet he did nothing to correct the situation.
One of the most notable and glaring things that jumped out at me while looking over some forms from the nursing homes was that Mary Giordano was trumpeting in court consistently that Dorothy was not mentally capable of making decisions or of taking care of herself. Yet there are several important papers that they had Dorothy sign that gives authorization for the release of her medical records. In addition, they made her sign a “fall management program” that has nineteen separate regulations she needed to abide by in the home and more. How can someone being mentally incapacitated so that you could unceremoniously throw them out of their home of six decades, but be of sound mind and body to sign off on all the legal documents that the nursing home wanted?
In the reports that were given to Diane Wilson, the psychological evaluation of her mother states on numerous occasions that Dorothy did not know why she was in the nursing home. Repeatedly, the “psychodiagnostic interviews” mark that Dorothy continued to claim from the first report to the end of her life that she did not know why she was being held in the nursing facility and that she wanted to go back to her house or live with her daughter, Diane. It is worth adding at this point that Mary Giordano, of the Franchina and Giordano law firm in Garden City, NY, filled the paperwork out to say that Mrs. Wilson had no private alternative place to live. This was done while Diane was tenaciously fighting in court for her mother’s release from the vicious, cruel and heartless treatment she was given by Mary Giordano and Anne Recht, who found no problem in violating Dorothy’s right to privacy and HIPPA laws.
I think it is important to include the words from two of the last psychotherapy progress notes on record. The October 3, 2011 report states that, “Dorothy was maintaining her position that she was going home. She said that she spoke to her daughter, Diane, who she says invited her to live with her. She said that her daughter is making arrangements which is making her happy. I tried to verify this scenario today but was unable to do so. I told her I would speak with the social worker responsible for family liason. (sic) She encouraged me to do so. I did not press Dorothy because she seemed genuinely happy.”
On October 17, 2011, the following report was filed. “Dorothy was well coiffed and relatively relaxed when I saw her. Typically, she was sitting in her wheelchair with her eyes closed. She didn’t reveal to me what she was thinking. She pressed me to help her get home. She remembered me as a possible ally. I explained to her again that this issue must be discussed between she, her doctor, her daughter, etc.”
All the waiting and failure to get help from anyone was too much for Dorothy Wilson to handle. Her frustration grew because nobody saw fit to help this woman and her daughter to fight a corrupt system, headed by a NYS Supreme Court judge. Sadly, Mrs. Wilson passed away only six days after that last request to the nursing home social worker to assist her in being freed from her kidnapping and incarceration. My feeling is that Dorothy passed more from a broken spirit, as she and Diane were denied their due rights as upstanding citizens of this country.
I would like to know why all of the media outlets, politicians, lawyers and most noteworthy, the New York State Judicial Commission, did nothing to save a quality, law-abiding woman. Dorothy should never have been another casualty and source for the legally approved draining of her life’s assets. Like in the Richard Maas situation, Gary Harvey case and so many others across the country, someone must step up to protect our elderly and those truly incapable of fending for themselves either by mental or physical defect.
There is no reason to wait for someone else to step up to fix this when the populace can amass as one voice and force these cases into the spotlight. Perhaps by shining a light on the people who are greedily benefitting by destroying innocent victims and their families, the laws will change and less law guardian abuse will take place. Will you be a voice to help those who are taken advantage of, or one who just simply says, “Oh, how horrible.”?