I received a phone call from one of our members requesting that I attend the funeral of her mother who died in the hands of abusive guardians, coincidentally some of the very same guardians and lawyers that have been trying to ruin my life for the last five years. I said that I would go as a representative of all 230 AAAPG families and to pay my respects to a brave mother and honor the desperate attempts of our member Alice Martin to help her mother in her time of need.
Though I knew no one there, I was greeted so warmly as a friend by Alice and her family and friends that I didn’t feel out of place going to the very first non-Jewish funeral I had ever attended, let alone an open casket wake. I was embraced by Pastor David Cordeau and his wife Kia who were officiating. The warmth and kindness and total dedication to the work of God inspired me.
While extending condolences to Alice’s siblings, it became very clear to me that this family was very similar to nearly all the families that I’ve been working with for the last five years. The member of the family who is closest in proximity to the ward and who sees firsthand how guardianship destroys the people and who tries with all their heart make a difference has been attacked and vilified and nearly destroyed by the events preceding the death of her beloved mother. The siblings from out of town have a different perspective. I was told by one sibling that there are two sides to every coin and that Alice’s desperate concerns about the fate of her mother were not consistent with the views of other siblings.
At that moment I understood with clarity that crimes in guardianship are crimes of opportunity. An older person’s vulnerability especially in a family that is not all in the same place geographically or emotionally is low hanging fruit ripe for the picking. It only takes one family member to start the process and once started the inevitable outcome is agony, fear, despair, and untimely death.
For many people in this situation their only solace is their belief in the Almighty. This was on display during the service with songs of religious fervor and love and speeches imploring everyone to strengthen their faith and put their lives in the hands of God. Even though I had never heard these songs, some of them made popular by Carrie Underwood I was told, the message of the songs and of the sermons was that only God can address all these problems.
I have to say that I agree.
Witnessing so many abuses is so many guardianships in so many places across the country, endlessly getting phone calls texts and e-mails from desperate victims and their families, spending hundreds of hours trying to create changes in legislation that would matter, talking to every official in the state and anyone in Washington who would listen, consoling my own dear wife and trying personally to recover from the slings and arrows, the financial persecution, the endless staged litigation, the ruinous legal fees and the five years that I will never get back I have come to the conclusion that this racket is more powerful than any Mafia. It is ingrained in our legal system and will never end. It is so immensely profitable to the predators. It is such easy money for the conspiring lawyers. And it is all conducted an orchestrated by judges who are either corrupt or so blind and uncaring that they simply think guardianship is a good thing and there’s no alternative to it nor should there be.
Guardianship is a microcosm of our American society. It breaks my heart to say that our country is one in which great corruption exists. That corruption is on display in divorce courts, family courts, probate courts and all other courts of equity that interject government into the private lives of citizens for the sake of money.
Something is wrong with us that our society tolerates this sadistic treatment of innocent people.
It is clear to me that the victims of guardianship abuse who survived the death of a loved one have been shattered, emotionally, physically, and financially. They are not able to be soldiers marching in protest against the courts and the government and the laws. In America money talks and for surviving victims of guardianship abuse who might have once been wealthy, their money is gone– wasted on lawyers who can never earn their pay properly because they can never win in probate even if they actually wanted to.
I think that each of us has responsibility when the opportunity presents itself to attend the funerals of wards who died in abusive guardianships. If we cannot come together with solidarity in public, let us at least show our respect to our fellow victims.
In the meantime, like Don Quixote, those of us who can, will continue until we can no longer.
Sam Sugar MD
January 11, 2016