The Garwood Fiasco in detail

Gavel, money, a calculator and cash Gavel, money, a calculator and cash

Jan Garwood lived comfortably but also in sadness since the death of her son Adam in 2006. She was fending for herself and getting along with the help of her friend Estrella, whose garage she would be living in by fall 2020.

Her unemployed son Alex Sosiadar and his common law wife moved in with Jan, ostensibly to help out and provide support. But, their presence devolved into a difficult and contentious relationship. To force him to leave and face some issues with substances, Jan filed over a half a dozen complaints of domestic violence involving Alex and his wife in the 5 years between 2012-2017. All were dismissed.

It was through these acts that Jan became known to the courts.

In 2017, subsequent to a Baker Act initiated by Alex, Jan Garwood was ultimately declared incapacitated by the court and placed in a guardianship under notorious predatory apex guardian Rebecca Fierle. Jan was allowed to remain in her home at first.

In a well-publicized public and ongoing scandal, Rebecca was stripped of all her wards on September 11, 2018 and replaced by a permanent substitute professional guardian named Denise Willis (a court insider protégé of Fierle) by Seminole County Probate Judge Kenneth Lester, just one of hundreds of wards he created in his courtroom.  At the outset of the guardianship, Jan was permitted to remain in her Longwood FL home under the control of her guardian. In the midst of severe problems with her son Alex –including his being jailed March of 2018 for nine months for his only felony conviction– Jan Garwood, who had never been hospitalized for psychiatric issues in her life ran into a legal buzz saw. 

Jan, whose married name was Sosiadar, was the beneficiary of a substantial trust established for her by her uncle-an extraordinarily successful and famous Miami architect- who lavished her with gifts, art works and money.  The trust was tightly controlled, and Jan would petition the trustees for and received small distributions on a regular basis.  However, in an ill-advised attempt to obtain a loan buy a car (her own car had been removed and disappeared by the guardian) and get her driver’s license back she ran afoul of her guardian. Her behavior got conflated into a guardian allegation that she was demented and incapacitated—likely to advance a guardian plan to acquire her assets.  Guardian Willis initiated another Baker act in February 2019 on Jan– who was already a ward–which was supposed to institutionalize Jan for three days at South Seminole Hospital Psych Unit to protect her from harming herself.  At the same time in February 2019 Alex and his common law wife Traci Flatford were given 48 hours to evacuate from Jan’s house by an order from Judge Kenneth Lester requested by Willis claiming Alex was a drug addict—a charge he denies– and a danger to his mother.

But instead of being discharged home in three days, as the law requires, incredibly, Jan remained institutionalized in South Seminole’s Psychiatric hospital for over three weeks, allegedly because she had a urinary tract infection that might be mimicking signs of dementia.  She was originally declared incapacitated back in 2017 but that status was reconfirmed during this time. As time went on, the continuing excuse for her remaining in and being charged for her stay at the South Seminole Hospital psych unit against her will and contrary to state law, was that there were no beds available for Jan at an acceptable non acute facility. Since the day she finally left after 3 weeks in South Seminole, she was isolated and incarcerated in a lockdown unit at Palms of Longwood for 18 months (not the 3 years mistakenly reported in the press) until her miraculous release starting on 8-24-2020 and culminating October of 2020.

https://courtrecords.seminoleclerk.org/civil/civil_details.aspx?d=GDpRUwROLCBXYis1wmo%2b8g%3d%3d

Jan’s original professional guardian was the infamous Rebecca Fierle. Amid the horrifying stories of the decades long abuse and exploitation of her wards, the fate of the disgraced Guardian who is under indictment for intentionally causing the death of one of her wards remains unresolved as she awaits trial for at least one or two of her many, many alleged crimes.  One would think that forcing her out of the guardianship racket to await trial would bring relief to some of the families she has destroyed and, in particular, bring some sense of hope to the wards who continue to be under the iron fisted control of Central Florida Probate court judges like Kenneth Lester, John Galluzzo, Patricia Campbell and Janet Thorpe through and with hand selected replacement guardians like Denise Willis.  Unfortunately, while Fierle is inactive at the moment, these and other long-time judges that enabled her for decades are still on the bench and doing exactly what they did with Rebecca.

 These judges  are aiding and abetting a despicable criminal enterprise that has continued the practice of conscripting innocent individuals who do not need guardianships into emergency temporary guardianships, and then permanent professional guardianships with for-profit guardians who proceed to rape the estates and pave the way for their overmedicated premature guardian assisted murder.

Recently, the case of Jan Garwood has received a lot of public attention due to the media stories, particularly from Adam Walser of ABC action news in Tampa.  Like so many others before her, Jan was the victim of a bogus Baker act followed by an emergency temporary guardianship and finally by a full on corrupt and criminal guardianship perpetrated by one of Rebecca Fierle’s favorite judges, Judge Kenneth Lester of Seminole County and his partners in crime, Rebecca’s protégé, Denise Willis and her lawyer James Kisio of Orlando.

I first heard about this case in August of 2019: Here are the emails in reverse order of their receipt:

Alexander Sosiadar <alexandersosiadar@gmail.com>

Fri 8/16/2019 12:48 AM

She was appointed by judge Lester. I can get the rest of the information tomorrow my mother is currently at the palms of Longwood in a high supervision ward for people with the advanced Dementia.  My phone number is 3218953663. My name is Alex Sosa Dar. My mother’s name is Jan Garwood. The judge (Lester) appointed another guardian named Denise Willis. She has been lying to me about my mother’s health. Stating when she Baker acted her that she had to stay there so long because of a UTI. That the UTI caused her to be incapacitated.  My mother is competent and coherent and has been paying her bills and maintaining her home with my help until February when I was abruptly removed.

I will be in contact with you tomorrow with my mother on the line. 

Thank you,

Alex Sosiadar 

On Thu, Aug 15, 2019, 11:43 PM

OMG

We are working night and day on Fierle victims

I will need particulars on everything including the account she opened and the court papers. Who is Fierle’s lawyer on this case? Who was the judge? What is the case number?

What is your phone number? I want to have you in touch with media and a couple of other advocates.

Call me tomorrow AM after 10AM please


From: Alexander Sosiadar <alexandersosiadar@gmail.com>
Sent: Friday, August 16, 2019 12:05 AM

Subject: Please help. Guardian is abusing my mother

I need help. my mother was Baker acted falsely held for almost 3 weeks at the mental ward of south Seminole hospital “waiting for a bed to open” when she has a home that she was forced out of. She is competent. I was taking care of her, but her guardian kicked me out. gave me 48 hours to get everything out. Now my mom is locked in a home with people that have severe dementia. She has been denied her own doctors and has no access to any resources to get her out. Rebecca Fierle was her guardian and opened bank account for $10000 w/o permission with her and my mother’s name. 

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

With concerted effort from advocate Hilary Hogue and others,  Jan was able to achieve release from her tormentors in the fall of 2020 after her enforced incarceration in a lockdown at the Palms of Longwood memory care unit where she was treated as though she had full-blown dementia when in fact she had full control over faculties and no evidence of dementia whatsoever.  She was and remains one of the very few wards who left their guardianship while still alive and functional. How she managed to deal with the isolation, abuse, neglect, and overt terror of her situation is hard to understand.

But there is far more to this story that must be revealed.  And it is shocking.

The Judge

In Jan Garwood’s case, judge Lester, who had created the bogus guardianship, given it to Rebecca Fierle, then gave it to Denise Willis and ruled—every single time– against Jan Garwood’s suggestions of capacity and pleas to be released from a guardianship  she did not need or want, when it became clear that it there was overwhelming evidence that Jan was fully capacitated and must be released, Lester did not even have the decency to attend the hearing he scheduled.  He instead had his buddy Judge John Galluzzo hold the hearing in which he eventually agreed to release Jan from her death sentence in guardianship when confronted with an honest and comprehensive Medical report on her condition that declared her fully capacitated.. 

This is a pattern with this cowardly judge.

A comment from a non-lawyer who experienced the Judge’s actions from The Robing Room website:

Lester is bumper car buddies with the inept Galluzzo. Lester orders the hearing and Galluzzo appears as the judge and vice versa. They ought to take their act on the road far from Central Florida and preferably on a one way trip. Lester is a ghoul, likes signing DNR’s and cremation orders. Halloween is every day in his courtroom and life. A disgusting creepy character. Karma is on the way.

Judge Kenneth Lester is no stranger to controversy

He was in the eye of storm in the Trayvon Martin/George Zimmerman case and his behavior prompted the following:

And in 2020, he was in another legal mess of his own making.

https://www.jacksonville.com/story/news/crime/2020/10/14/conflict-interest-worries-see-clay-judges-recused-daniels-case/3655698001/

and his reviews are reflective of his behavior

http://www.therobingroom.com/florida/Judge.aspx?id=2155

Earlier this year the Judge and one of his Attorney buddies was reported to the JQC for a scam that they were running in Probate cases in which the judge overruled professional expertise and declared certain cases who had assets as indigent cases so that the professional Guardian who was about to be given a lucrative case would not even have to pay the $400 filing fee to obtain that case.  The evidence is in the following document.

JUDGE KENNETH LESTER .docx

This document was sent as a formal complaint to the Judicial Qualifications Commission and their reply was received on April 7, 2020 with regard to docket number 20 – 113.  It read “the investigative panel of the commission has completed its review of your complaint in the above matter and has determined, at its most recent meeting, that the concerns you have expressed are not allegations involving a breach of the code of judicial conduct warranting further action by the commission but are matters for review through the normal court process.  The purpose of the commission is to determine the existence of judicial misconduct and disability as defined by the Constitution and the laws of the state of Florida.  If such misconduct or disabilities is found, the commission can recommend disciplinary action to the Florida Supreme Court.  The commission has found no basis for further action on your complaint that therefore has been dismissed.”  Signed by General Counsel Alexander Williams.

This is the boiler plate rejection letter sent in response to nearly every complaint the JQC receives. The equivalent of a desultory brush off.

Judge Lester enabled and enriched Willis and the owners of Palms of Longwood, the Wolfrum family—Kendra age 58 and her Husband Doulas age 60. The Wolfrum family—including Danielle age 34, David and Terrikay– is big into the senior care business, running a senior placement agency at least two facilities including The Palms at Longwood. Kim Wolfrum is Executive Director.

It was Judge Lester who illegally permitted the sale of Jan’s home at about 60% its actual appraised resale value by not even questioning a bogus real estate appraisal of Jan’s home (procured by Willis) which allowed it to be sold at a fraction of its value to—wait for it—its current owner, 34 year old Danielle Wolfrum!

This was Lester and his gang ruining the lives of innocent people in Florida for easy and quick profit. A racket of Mafia like proportions.

The nexus becomes clear. It was the gang of Lester, Fierle, Attorney Thomas Moss (whose father in law Dr. Tom Sawyer MD, JD –a Pathologist and the only Dr. on the Seminole county examining committee for decades) who ran the grift until Fierle was out of the picture. The group was replaced by Lester, Galluzzo, Guardian Denise Willis and Attorney James Kisio as well as Tom Moss and his father in law Dr. Sawyer when needed.

But they were not alone in the grift.

The Hospital

A key ingredient in this toxic brew is a compliant hospital. Without a hospital system or admitting Baker Act facility to capture and lock down and drug the potential ward and thereby prime the engine of abuse, the system does not work. Rebecca Fierle’s crooked hospital deal was with Advent Health that paid her millions to offload patients who had outlived their profitability and became long stay, money losing patients and shunt them out the hospital’s pricey beds into guardianships and in and out of for profit ALF’s and facilities who also paid her kickbacks and fees. Did the same apply here?

Triggering the Baker Act is one of the many scams Fierle and her minions rely on to grease the slippery slope to a profitable guardianship.The Baker Act generates enormous profits for “admitting institutions”–including Non profits ones– like South Seminole Hospital as well as to downstream for profit facilities like The Palms of Longwood.

See the PowerPoint presentation on the Baker act at https://onedrive.live.com/view.aspx?resid=5DA8C19320796548!4635&ithint=file%2cpptx&authkey=!AO4LxTxKisnPTYQ

Enter Orlando Health. A privately held 6.3 billion dollar not for profit corporation.

Orlando Health is a private, not-for-profit network of community and specialty hospitals based in Orlando, Florida. Orlando Health comprises Orlando Health Orlando Regional Medical Center, Orlando Health Arnold Palmer Hospital for Children, Orlando Health Winnie Palmer Hospital for Women & Babies, Orlando Health Dr. P. Phillips Hospital, Orlando Health South Seminole Hospital, Orlando Health South Lake Hospital, Orlando Health Health Central, Orlando Health St. Cloud Hospital, Bayfront Health St. Petersburgh and Orlando Health UF Health Cancer Center. Orlando Health is Central Florida’s fourth largest employer with nearly 22,000 employees and more than 2,000 affiliated physicians

David Huddleson, an accountant is the Chief compliance and Ethics officer for 15 years at Orlando Health Inc.

https://www.bloomberg.com/profile/person/20092467

Dr. Jamal Hakim an anesthesiologist is CEO and CQO since 2015

David Strong is CEO of the company with 6.8 billion in assets.

It was their facilities that improperly billed for and detained Jan for three weeks and led to her illegal forced imprisonment and ultimate denouement. But, not one question about the Garwood fiasco has been directed at this monolithic institution which profits greatly from the Baker Act to guardianship racket—why?

The Guardians and the Wolfrums

Guardians are expertly efficient at seizing property. They are required to keep and inventory of all property they muster. But all too often, some—or in Jan’s case—all that property can mysteriously disappear!

The property of Alex and Jan Garwood valued at well over $300,000—including valuable art works– has disappeared and professional guardian Denise Willis has refused to say where it went, even though she charged Jan’s estate to pack and store it. She has refused to tell Alex or Jan where his belongings, left in the house when he was kicked out, were stored or where they are now. So far, Judge Lester has not cared to inquire about this apparently stolen lucre.

The scams and tricks guardians do with real estate are breathtaking.

 Jan’s estate had been charged thousands of dollars for home repairs in 2019 including $3000 to bring a broken swimming pool into code compliance.  The Guardian’s Lawyer, Kisio, reported to Judge Lester that the appraised value of the property had been discounted substantially for among other phony excuses, the swimming pool not meeting code — a blatant lie. Jan’s house acquired in the 1990’s for about $250,000  and realistically comped at a minimum $425,000 was sold—without ever being placed on the market as demanded by Judge Lester– to Danielle  Wolfrum of the Palms of Longwood facility where Jan was imprisoned for $250,000—40% below market. It could have been sold to a buyer with a better cash offer, but there was a mysterious delay in bringing the house to closing, precluding other legitimate offers, so that the 34-year-old buyer could arrange financing and put little actual cash into the deal. At sale, only about 65% of sale proceeds was—illegally and improperly– placed into Jan’s restricted trust (where she still cannot access it). $80,000 was set aside presumably to be used for fees accumulated by Denise and her lawyers. The house will surely be flipped soon for an immediate profit of as much as $200,000 or more to Wolfrum and who knows how much of that will somehow flow to the guardian or others who made it all possible.

Jan Garwood was never actually incapacitated, and she never should have been in a guardianship.  The court insiders should not have imprisoned or impoverished her.  Judge Kenneth Lester should never have taken away her rights and steadfastly and repeatedly refused to reinstate them.  The examining committee should never have found her incapacitated.  South Seminole Hospital– part of a $6.3billion privately held healthcare empire– should never have kept her for three weeks against her will, during which time they fraudulently and undoubtedly billed for many thousands of dollars to Medicare after what was supposed to be a 72 hour intervention.  Jan’s property—if it needed to be sold at all– should at least have been put on the market for competitive bidding, rather than a sweetheart insider deal to one of the owners of the facility in which she was imprisoned.  Jan’s property should never have been appraised for a fraction of its value by a bogus court insider appraiser.  Judge Lester should never have allowed the sale to go through when he became aware that the property was never placed on the market in the first place, as he ordered.  The proceeds of the sale of that house should never have gone into a trust that is inaccessible to Jan, leaving her totally destitute with no place to live and no money to even buy food.  Every iota of Jan’s property should never have been stolen from her, not mention years of her life.

Among the many questions that cry out for answers in this one case– and are so often on display in the easily recognizable patterns of widespread abuse and criminality in the Florida probate courts– are the following:

  • Judge Kenneth Lester—whether through ignorance, complicity, or outrageous hubris– is one of several Florida probate court judges running a corrupt racket in his courtroom and he has been doing so for many years.  Why is he still on the bench after 24 years?  Who is protecting him?  Why is every complaint about him to the JQC dismissed? How has he lived so well on just a Judge’s salary for so many years?
  • Guardian Denise Willis is guilty of any number of civil and criminal violations.  It is highly likely that she has been utilizing the same guardianship abuse playbook as her mentor and predecessor Rebecca Fierle.  Why has she not been investigated or arrested? Why does she still get new wards? Has she paid taxes on the profits she has accrued during the guardianship?
  • The Doctor who found Jan incapacitated committed gross malpractice, undoubtedly more than just in this one case.  Why has he not been held to account?
  • South Seminole Hospital is almost certainly guilty of Medicare billing violations related to its role as a Baker act admitting facility and it is entirely plausible that they, like Advent health systems had with Rebecca, have an arrangement with guardians like Denise Willis to shift unprofitable patients to other facilities like the Palms of Longwood.  Why has there been no investigation by the office of statewide prosecutor or AG or comptroller or Medicare fraud unit into this?
  • What role did South Seminole hospital play in Jan’s incarceration and who profited from her three week medically unnecessary stay? What financial arrangements existed between Denise Willis and South Seminole?
  • Attorneys lied repeatedly to Judge Lester. Why have they not been held to account by the Judge or the BAR? 
  • Attorney Kisio illegally invaded a Trust, why has he not been disbarred or at least sanctioned?
  • Where was the Clerk of Court of Seminole County’s office which is supposed to review every guardianship for financial improprieties?
  • Where was the OPPG, the DOEA, FDLE, Sheriff’s Office, Local police, State’s Attorneys, Statewide Prosecutor, or the Florida AG’s office when this theft and abuse was occurring and reported to them?
  • Were taxes properly filed and timely paid by the guardian in regard to the sale of Jan’s home? Were taxes properly filed and paid for profits, income and property taken from Jan by all parties?
  • Have beneficiaries been changed on insurance policies and social security benefits due Jan?
  • Why has there not been a final accounting from the guardian or return of confiscated property to Jan and Alex?

There is only one person in this story who has full responsibility for every awful development. It is Judge Kenneth Lester. It is his responsibility to answer every one of these questions and more. But he will never even be asked to, let alone compelled to. He is untouchable and imperious and cannot be held to any standard of law or decency. He is one of the untouchable judges who rule like gods in their courtrooms.

Every abusive guardianship has drastic intergenerational effects.  Massive legal and guardian fees endlessly and forcibly extracted from the ward’s estate as well as out of the pockets of anyone who opposes the guardianship often bankrupt desperate families trying to rescue a loved one and so crush dreams that were supposed to be fueled by legitimate and valid intergenerational wealth transfer through inheritances.  Instead, those assets flow into the pockets of the select group of uber powerful and wealthy probate litigators and court insiders.  The prolonged court battles that always are determined in favor of the court insiders create dazed victims and profound cognitive dissonance which fuel depression and often lead to alcoholism, drug abuse, and even suicide among victims.  For the poor ward who has been conscripted into an Soylent Green style  nightmare of isolation, mental and physical abuse and heartless and relentless overmedication into a zombie like state, the only relief they can genuinely rely on is death itself as the final and only predictable release from their hellish existence.  From a larger perspective, the reality that the courts we Americans have been told to depend on for redress of our grievances and the administration of unbiased justice are actually cesspools of blatant Mafia like criminality and abuse of the very laws that created them is a scathing indictment of government and in particular state government at every level.

This racket is not a secret.  At the federal level, The Senate select committee on aging has heard countless complaints and testimony about this racket for close to 50 years and has done essentially nothing to address the crisis.  At the state level, the willfully blind Florida bar and the constitutionally mandated,  independent but hopelessly partial Judicial Qualifications Commission each have an execrable record of monitoring or supervising or censuring predatory probate attorneys and judges whose names so often show up on complaints from abused families and citizens.

Families who have endured this torturous system will tell you that, once guardianship starts,  there is simply nowhere to go, no one to complain to and no way to get a fair shake in these unpredictable, antifamily, biased closed off courtrooms.  There is simply far too much money at stake for the court insiders to ever allow guardianships to be overturned.  They know every dirty trick in the book and they know they will never be held accountable for their perfidy because any attorney who has the naïve temerity to challenge or oppose one of these judges is immediately marked for professional and personal destruction.  You either play along to get along or your career will be destroyed.

Probate guardianship is a fatally flawed anachronism and a thoroughly illegal and criminal enterprise that must be completely abolished because it cannot be reformed by the very people who run it and profit from it the most.

This case and the return of Jan’s rights are not a cause for celebration. It is a one off, an exception to the dismal norm. It is rather a cause for profound anger and demands for harsh justice and minimum treble monetary restitution for Jan and every one of the many thousands of wards and their families who have lived the same wretched court ordered nightmare of guardianship abuse.

This racket cannot be allowed to continue.