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Both in October, 2014, and again in February 2015, the court (prior judge, not Judge

[redacted]) did not respect moms statutory right to individual dignity and autonomy, and did
nothing to empower her to express her own views, when she said she wanted to speak for herself.
Indeed, in October, 2014, the court (again, the judge prior to Judge [redacted]) delivered a savage
and brutal dressing-down, in open court (such events have colloquially been termed, on some
Websites, benchslaps), to my moms primary caregiver (also, then, her primary means of
transport), for having the temerity to cater to moms request to transport her to court, so that she
could be heard.
I would urge you to get the perspective of my aunt Chris (Ms. Mallory), based on her months
of experience as my moms guardian and to ask her to share her perspective about Mr. [redacted],
his behavior and his motives. She is an intelligent and independent-minded woman, fully able to
form her own opinions. She, too, can confirm who really is acting in my moms best interest (me),
and who really is entirely indifferent (at best) to my mom and her interests, except insofar as mom
is viewed (namely, by Mr. [redacted] and by his confederate [redacted] of [Concord building tenant])
as an instrumental means to someone elses end of generating a revenue stream.
This is hardly the first time such a thing (probate court insiders profiting handsomely off
of elderly and disabled people), has occurred in the Muskegon County Probate Court, in Michigan
probate courts, generally, or in probate courts in other jurisdictions.
3.

Epidemic of Elder Abuse By Probate Court Insiders.

To understand what is really going on, here, I would respectfully urge you to study and
consider some objective sources which journalistic and governmental sources all confirm an
epidemic of elder abuse in the United States (including Michigan), not at the hands of family

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members, but by probate court insiders such as Mr. [redacted], or [redacted] of [Concord building
tenant]:

U.S. GOVERNMENT ACCOUNTABILITY OFFICE, ELDER JUSTICE, STRENGTHENING


EFFORTS TO COMBAT ELDER FINANCIAL EXPLOITATION, No. GAO-13-140T (Nov.
2012).

U.S. GOVERNMENT ACCOUNTABILITY OFFICE, GUARDIANSHIPS: CASES OF FINANCIAL


EXPLOITATION, NEGLECT, AND ABUSE OF SENIORS, No. GAO-10-1046 (Oct. 2010).

U.S. GOVERNMENT ACCOUNTABILITY OFFICE, LITTLE PROGRESS

IN

ENSURING

PROTECTION FOR INCAPACITATED ELDERLY PEOPLE, GAO-06-1086T (Sept. 7, 2006).

U.S. GOVERNMENT ACCOUNTABILITY OFFICE, COLLABORATION NEEDED

TO

PROTECT INCAPACITATED ELDERLY PEOPLE, No. GAO-04-655 (July 13, 2004).

MICHIGAN OFFICE OF THE AUDITOR GENERAL, PERFORMANCE AUDIT OF SELECTED


PROBATE COURT CONSERVATORSHIP AND GUARDIANSHIP CASES (July 2012).

MICHIGAN OFFICE OF THE AUDITOR GENERAL, PERFORMANCE AUDIT: SELECTED


PROBATE COURT CONSERVATORSHIP CASES, Report No. 05-605-01 (Oct. 2003).

MICHIGAN STATE COURT ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICE, FINAL REPORT

ON

INVESTIGATIVE FOLLOW-UP REVIEW (January 2005).

MICHIGAN STATE COURT ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICE, FINAL REPORT: TASK FORCE ON


GUARDIANSHIPS AND CONSERVATORSHIPS (Sept. 10, 1998).

Arian Campo-Flores & Ashby Jones, Abuse Plagues System of Legal Guardians for
Adults: Allegations of financial exploitation and abuse are rife, despite waves of
overhaul efforts, THE WALL STREET JOURNAL (Oct. 30, 2015), <

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http://www.wsj.com/articles/abuse-plagues-system-of-legal-guardians-foradults-1446225524 >.

Michael Barajas, How judges, probate attorneys, and guardianship orgs abuse the
vulnerable,

SAN

ANTONIO

CURRENT

(Sep.

4,

2012),

<

http://www.sacurrent.com/sanantonio/how-judges-probate-attorneys-andguardian
ship-orgs-abuse-the-vulnerable/Content?oid=2243812 >.

Diane Diamond, Elder Guardianships a Shameful Racket in America,


D IANE D IAMOND . NET

<

http://dianedimond.net/elder-guardianships-a-shameful- racket-in-america/ >.

Richard Eisenberg, Beware The Con Game Of Conservatorships, FORBES NEXT


A

( M a y

1 5 ,

2 0 1 6 ) ,

<

http://www.forbes.com/sites/nextavenue/2015/05/15/beware-the-con-game-ofconservatorships/ >.

BRADLEY GELLER, IN PLAIN SIGHT: VARIANCE IN PRACTICE IN MICHIGAN PROBATE


COURTS

(Michigan

Ctr.

For

Law

&

Aging

2014),

<

http://region7aaa.org/wordpress/assets/Variance-among-probate-courts.pdf >.

Emily Gurnon, Guardianship Laws: Improving, But Problems Persist Legal


changes are often not reflected in actual practice, NEXTAVENUE (May 24, 2016), <
http://www.nextavenue.org/guardianship-laws-improving-problems-persist/ >.

DOHN HOYLE & KATHLEEN HARRIS, RE-THINKING GUARDIANSHIP (Michigan


A l l i a n c e

f o r

F a m i l i e s ,

e d .

2 0 1 2 ) ) ,

<

https://www.michiganallianceforfamilies.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/09/Re-thi

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nking-Guardianship.pdf >.

NATIONAL ASSOCIATION

TO

STOP GUARDIANSHIP ABUSE, AN OPEN DOOR <

http://stopguardianabuse.org/an-open-door/ >.
The list could go on. The National Association to Stop Guardianship Abuse offers this helpful
summary of the experience that far too many vulnerable seniors (including Martha Grimm) have
had, when they and their assets wind up in a probate court proceeding:
Almost without exception, when a family feud is in involved, no matter who is right
and who is wrong, the judge will appoint a third-party guardian regardless of
whether advance directives (durable power of attorney, health proxy, wills, trusts,
etc.) are in place or not.
The courts are known to be biased against the family. Why? Two basic reasons:
While most families love and take care of their elderly or disabled, those who dont
often get press coverage, resulting in horrific articles which stick in our memory and
eventually create a false impression that family is the largest category of abusers of
the elderly. Second, bias is often encouraged by the guardian ad litem and attorneys
in the case. They are the ones who benefit monetarily if they can keep the
disagreement going and leading to a forced guardianship/conservatorship. The judge
will appoint a professional or public guardian, citing the long-standing family dispute
as the end that justifies the means. In other words, the Ward is punished because
his/her family cant get along. And the guardian fans the flames to guarantee that
there will be no settlement of the dispute, rationalizing and entrenching his/her
function and continued existence.

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N ATIONAL A SSOCIATION

TO

S TOP G UARDIANSHIP A BUSE , A N O PEN D OOR <

http://stopguardianabuse.org/an-open-door/ > (emphasis added). The pattern seems familiar,


especially given our experience with Mr. [redacted] in my moms case.
If it walks, quacks, swims, flies, and looks like a duck it is probably a duck.
Moreover, Geller, supra, explains, relating specifically to Michigan:
Statutory reform has not been sufficient to prevent scandals within the guardianship
system . . . [that] involve misappropriation of money and property, Medicaid fraud,
kickbacks, tax evasion, and inappropriate institutionalization.
(GELLER, IN PLAIN SIGHT, supra, at 3). [P]erverse financial incentives . . . can drive the
guardianship system. (Id.). As the WALL STREET JOURNAL reports,4 an epidemic of financial abuse
using government-backed power conferred by probate court judges as the means of
exploitation hardly is confined just to Michigan. Likewise, a FORBES contributor has offered a
dire warning Beware The Con Game Of Conservatorships, when summarizing a recent book
exposing the dark side of many probate courts, and, among other problems, that courts are
appointing other [non-family] people who turn out to be crooks:
But in other cases . . . conservators or guardians steal from, neglect or physically
abuse the people theyre supposed to assist. A 2010 Government Accountability
Office guardianship review of 20 cases found that guardians stole or otherwise
obtained $5.4 million in assets from 158 incapacitated victims, many of whom were
seniors. The National Association to Stop Guardian Abuse blogs and reports on the
latest news on guardianship abuse.

Arian Campo-Flores & Ashby Jones, Abuse Plagues System of Legal Guardians for
Adults: Allegations of financial exploitation and abuse are rife, despite waves of overhaul
efforts, THE WALL STREET JOURNAL (Oct. 30, 2015) (many elderly people with significant
assets become ensnared in a system that seems mainly to succeed at generating billings), <
http://www.wsj.com/articles/abuse-plagues-system-of-legal-guardians-for-adults-1446225524 >.
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Richard Eisenberg, Beware The Con Game Of Conservatorships, FORBES NEXT AVENUE (May 15,
2016),

<

http://www.forbes.com/sites/nextavenue/2015/05/15/beware-the-con-game-of-

conservatorships/ >. The referenced GAO report, U.S. GOVERNMENT ACCOUNTABILITY OFFICE,
GUARDIANSHIPS: CASES

OF

FINANCIAL EXPLOITATION, NEGLECT,

AND

ABUSE

OF

SENIORS, No.

GAO-10-1046 (Oct. 2010), is far from the first decrying this persistent, systemic problem., as the
above list of sources confirms.
In Michigan, in 2003, following an award-winning audit (regrettably, only in a handful of
counties, and Muskegon County was not one of them), the Auditor General issued a report
identifying multiple systemic problems.

MICHIGAN OFFICE

OF THE

AUDITOR GENERAL,

PERFORMANCE AUDIT: SELECTED PROBATE COURT CONSERVATORSHIP CASES, Report No. 05-60501 (Oct. 2003). This prompted some action, especially in Washtenaw County, at the behest of the
court system and the State Court Administrative Office. STATE COURT ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICE,
FINAL REPORT ON INVESTIGATIVE FOLLOW-UP REVIEW, 5, 9 (January 2005) (Because of . . . efforts
[prompted by an Auditor Generals report], as of October 29, 2004, the [Washtenaw County] court
recovered $293,000 in misappropriated funds and fees, with thousands more being repaid each
month through payment plans.

In 11 cases, the court found the actions of the conservator so

egregious that those matters were referred to the Washtenaw County Prosecutor for possible criminal
proceedings.); see also STATE COURT ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICE, FINAL REPORT: TASK FORCE ON
GUARDIANSHIPS AND CONSERVATORSHIPS, 2, 5-8 (Sept. 10, 1998).
In Muskegon County, [Concord building tenant] (which Mr. [redacted] insisted on imposing
on Martha Grimm, in 2014), concedes, in over a hundred probate court home liquidations, it has
used the exact same go-to real estate office exclusively (and, hence, has directed all the

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commissions exclusively to one broker). See (Tr., at 81 (Feb. 12, 2015)). What are the odds that
the broker also is double dipping in more transactions than just the below-market sale of a home
that my mom did not want to sell, and thus collecting a double-commission by representing both
sides in them?
Is it conceivable that Muskegon County would be a good candidate for an audit similar to
the one in Washtenaw County? The Michigan Supreme Court has known for decades about
systemic problems in probate courts, and at one time even commissioned a Task Force, to make
recommendations about reforms to address known problems. All but one of the recommendations
of the Task Force in its 1998 report have not been implemented in the intervening 18 years.
The pattern described by the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION TO STOP GUARDIANSHIP ABUSE
instrumental (often deliberate) conversion, by professionals, of so-called family squabble[s] into
instrumental pretexts to provoke and stimulate even more controversy and drama then churning
the file or account by manufacturing billable work appears indistinguishable from what has
occurred in Martha Grimms case.5 Now, less than two years after she was not even asked about
her right to designate her own Conservator (she repeatedly has opposed this change, including
writing the court repeatedly seeking a remedy), the entire proceeds of liquidating Marthas NM
home have gone not to her medical care or any other benefit to her.
The entire proceeds, instead, were diverted into a forensic audit, that is nearly two years
overdue, 300% over-budget, and that she never needed in the first place. [redacted] has admitted

The term churning originated in securities fraud cases brought under federal securities
laws. E.g., Mihara v. Dean Witter & Co., 619 F.2d 814, 821 (9th Cir. 1980). Churning of a
law file or conservatorship manufacturing excess billable work for the purpose of generating
fees in excess of what the client/ward actually needs also should b considered a form of fraud
or breach of duty, analogous to disloyal churning of an investment portfolio.
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