David Slayton, Executive Director Texas Office of Court Administration is trying to expose the issue of fraudulent guardianships in Texas. This article highlights the Texas legislature’s current attempts to demand transparency and accountability to Texas law by the judiciary concerning adult guardianship rulings.
Texas guardianship data is as suspect as Nevada when we started our efforts in late 2014. Slayton claims Texas has 53,000 adults under guardianship in 2015 but he really doesn’t know how many people are under guardianship as only 7 of the 254 counties were audited for the report. Their audit revealed less than half of the records were up to date or could be reconciled. One unnamed county refused to supply any data and the Lubbock County Board of Judges unanimously reprimanded Gene Valentini of the Lubbock County Office of Dispute Resolution for his involvement in guardianship cases. He assisted ward Rosamond Bradley in challenging the court for keeping her under guardianship even though she had a clean bill of health and her guardian refused to be transparent how her estate was being spent. Judge Tom Head hears all adult guardianship cases in Lubbock and has gained media attention for his suspicious rulings over the last 20 years.
Lubbock County Court Administration Director Dean Stanzione explained in an email to the Observer that oversight authority rests with the judges, not Valentini’s office. The Board of Judges in effect is demanding no oversight and their rulings should never be challenged. Nobody really knows how widespread fraudulent guardianship are or the actual number of guardianships in Texas today…and the judges seemingly intend to keep it that way.