By Darcy Spears. CREATED Jun 12, 2015
It’s the latest in a lengthy Contact 13 investigation that’s given families a voice in a system where they say they were silenced.
Hugs and tears outside Family Court after a guardianship hearing that paved the way for Julie Belshe to take the last steps in bringing her torn apart family back together.
“It’s overwhelming for me. It really is. It’s beyond words,” Belshe said, holding back tears.
“Just like a rope around my neck has been removed,” added her mother, Rennie North.
Julie’s parents, Rudy and Rennie North, both showed up in court to fight for their freedom from private, for-profit guardian April Parks.
Parks had previously been suspended from her control over the Norths, but Judge Cynthia Dianne Steel made it permanent in a Thursday afternoon hearing.
“I’m not seeing that they need anything immediately as far as a guardian is concerned,” Judge Steel said during the hearing.
Parks was originally granted guardianship by hearing master Jon Norheim–who’s no longer allowed to hear guardianship cases since Contact 13 exposed his questionable actions on the bench and lack of oversight.
In Thursday’s hearing, Judge Steel found Rennie should never have been caught up in all this.
Judge Steel: So you don’t really need a guardian?
Judge: Do you want a guardian?
Rennie’s guardianship was terminated. Julie will become guardian for her father.
As for how this all began, Parks came into the couple’s life in 2013 after hospice care workers raised concerns that they could no longer care for themselves.
But Julie wasn’t notified when Parks and a partner showed up at her parents’ door.
“They actually kidnapped us from our house and told us we had to go,” recalls Rennie. “Otherwise they were gonna call the police, they were gonna call the fire department, they were gonna lock us up, and yeah, I was frightened.”
“I’m sorry they feel like they’re afraid of me but I know I’ve never done anything to make them afraid of me,” Parks told Contact 13 back in May when we first reported on the Norths’ case.
In that story, we exposed Parks’ double-dipping, overcharging and mis-using the couple’s money.
“The money that is spent by April Parks and some guardians is atrocious!” said Belshe. “There’s no reason or rhyme. You charge somebody $100 to open their mail or you go visit them and you spend $180 to go visit them and you bring them a case of water.”
Rennie shared more concerns with the judge.
“They took our car from us, so we don’t have a car.”
Also, a rare coin collection Parks was warned not to sell.
And, the judge questioned how much access Parks had to the Norths’ bank accounts.
“I don’t see a blocked account in here although I do see that there are some substantial assets,” said Judge Steel. “So there’s no proof of blocked accounts in here and that’s the concern.”
Parks is now under investigation by Boulder City Police due to her actions with the Norths and other wards.
“I want my money,” said Rennie. “We have no money. She took it all.”
Darcy Spears caught up with Parks after court.
“April, are you prepared to defend your actions? When we first spoke you agreed that there had been some wrongdoing? Has there been more wrongdoing that you haven’t admitted to?”
She wouldn’t answer Contact 13, but will have to tell it to the judge.
Rennie North has been set free from guardianship, but her money is still in limbo, so her family will still have to fight to get control of that.
As for April Parks and whether she’ll be held accountable for her alleged wrongdoing, that will go to trial.
The trial date has been set for September 14 and Contact 13 will be there.