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.
by Jim Fargiano
Saturday, October 08, 2011
This is the fourth article in the continuing “Heartbreaking” series on the Dorothy Wilson elder abuse case at the hands of law guardian, Mary Giordano, of the Franchina and Giordano law firm. Most of the antics have been approved by the “honorable” Judge Joel Asarch, of the NYS Supreme Court in Mineola, NY, including the obvious bias against Diane Wilson, who has been the only one of Dorothy’s children fighting to help her.
Almost all of this would have been less complicated if Diane’s siblings would have tried to be of assistance. Instead, each of them stated in court that their mother would be better off in a nursing home, rather than at their sister’s. However, when Dorothy asked Diane’s sister on the telephone, several times, what she was doing to help her, she was allegedly told that this child was frequently making calls to the law guardian to help her. In court, at the last conference, where Dorothy was disallowed to attend, Dorothy’s son admitted not visiting his mother since she had been locked up in the latest facility. From an outsider’s perspective, they are using their family dissension as an excuse to provoke more problems for their mother. It is clear that the venom felt towards Diane’s close relationship with her Mom has fueled much of their antagonistic and greedy behavior.
When you have a situation where people in high positions seem to bend and break the laws, it takes all hope away from the victims and those helping them. Since researching and questioning a variety of people about this case, and other law guardian abuse cases against the elderly and sick, I am finding that the only thing that is truly sick is how much they get away with. Most people, in general, are afraid to get involved in correcting this serious situation. It appears that millions of dollars are basically stolen each year from the people who the guardians and judges are supposed to be in a position to protect.
I had the privilege of seeing Dorothy Wilson on October 7th. Keep in mind that one of the vague reasons that has been used to incarcerate her in a nursing home--against her will--is because of her mental state. Dorothy has some dementia; not a fact that anyone has tried to hide. However, the last time I saw her was over six months ago, she seemed very alert, albeit with some short-term memory issues. As I walked in the door to her room, she immediately knew who I was. Just as earlier in the year, she would have slight lapses in memory, but once reminded with a few words, Dorothy would expand in detail about whatever we spoke about.
It was very difficult seeing her sitting in a room by herself. Although the facility she is in is very nice, the room gave off a depressed energy. Granted, I am much more prone to feeling things like that then the average person is, but it still made me feel like I was suffocating; as though life was being drained from me. I could only imagine what Dorothy feels as she awaits the judge to do the right thing and free her from what she sees as a prison sentence.
My conversation with her was open and frank. One of the first things she shared with me was that she was angry that her son “stole” her car. This was brought up several times, as she stated to me that she really wanted to keep it because it had so much sentimental value. Diane had an agreement—in writing—with Mary Giordano to buy it for her mother. The fact that Dorothy’s daughter would have to buy something that Dorothy already owns is just another aspect of the evil, gluttonous and callous mindset that the law guardian has.
Dorothy also made mention of missing jewelry, acknowledging that her daughter, Diane, had a few pieces. She was grateful that she knew it was safe with her. While she spoke about this, you could see how much love there was for Diane. I found it heartbreaking that she will not wear any of it, out of fear that her other daughter, or someone else, will steal it from her fingers. Dorothy made mention several times that she knew that her other daughter had her jewelry. Diane, who has been fighting for her Mom throughout all of this, has brought up the subject of the missing jewelry to the law guardian many times over many months. It has never been given the courtesy of a response. Since we are talking about something that may have a value of about twenty thousand dollars or more, one would suspect that there is something nefarious taking place. It would not be out of the realm of rational thinking for most people to make an assumption that this is a payoff to the siblings for trying to help Mary keep their mother locked up and away from the only loving child she has, as well as all of her possessions.
From a spiritual perspective, which is how I look at virtually everything in life, there are no redeeming qualities in any of the major players responsible for the destruction of an eighty-seven year old woman. Dorothy is still living; has a mind that works, and a heart that beats. She is ambulatory for short distances and said that she would be walking more if she was back in her own home, or Diane’s. My talk with her allowed me to see a woman who still wants to be passionate about living, but instead is deeply depressed by her unwanted situation. When Diane left the room, I asked Dorothy what she was thinking. There were some tears shed over the fact that she never expected her two other children to turn on her. “Diane is the only one who loves me.” It made my resolve to share her story even more important. I could not help but laugh as she used some salty language to describe what she thought of her son “stealing” her car, the other daughter “stealing” her jewelry and the judge and law guardian who caused and allowed all of this to happen. It showed me that this elderly lady still has some spice to her personality.
Dorothy told me she knew her other two children were only interested in what they could get from her. She lamented several times how miserable they made her feel when they overtly told her she would be happy living in a nursing home and that she never expected them to turn on her. She shared with me a “project” that she had to take part in at the facility. Everyone was supposed to make a picture timeline of their lives. With teary eyes, she said that if she had time to finish it, she would have put bars on the windows because “they put me in prison.” Dorothy also made sure she added that she has no problem with nursing homes, but only if there is no alternative. In her case, an obvious alternative is available. She told me that no one is helping her, including the lawyer assigned to protect her rights. I believe she used the term, “lip service only.”
As I was trying to figure out how to end this article, I received a call from someone who told me that Dorothy’s house was sold, and the contract should be finalized in a few days. It is worth noting that neither Dorothy nor Diane were included in any discussions about this. On a personal note, I cannot imagine how it would feel to have your home stolen from you. Sixty years of memories have been taken from her.
Dorothy has endured the indignities of having all of her assets taken away, as well as her civil and humanitarian rights. She has been forced to use doctors other than her own, and even had to strip in front of her “healthcare manager”, who by all accounts had no right being in the exam room. Her HIPPA rights were openly violated, yet Judge Asarch or anyone else did nothing about it.
Elder abuse is rampant, but kept hushed by the judges, lawyers and others who are responsible for ruining lives so that they can continue benefiting from their alleged legal thievery. It is important to know that almost all of Dorothy’s possessions have been tagged for sale, with no regard for what she wants to keep. This includes her clothing, china, furniture, mementos, keepsakes, and so forth. What will it take for the people in the justice department or NYS Judicial Commission to correct this? Where is the media and why are they turning a blind eye towards a serious problem? What will it take to recognize that the taxpayers are being bilked for tens of thousands of dollars through Medicare and Medicaid to help pay for her to be imprisoned at the whim of a judge and law guardian who are making thousands upon thousands of dollars from “caring” for her? There will be more in the future about this. Dorothy is not disposable, and neither are any of the other aging or ailing people in society. My hope is that someone steps up and does something to free them. Will you?