Speaker Bios #TampaGuardianshipEvent

AAAPG Presents—Preventing Abuse Protecting Rights

February 20, 2019 Tampa Theatre, Tampa Florida

In Loving Memory of Idelle Stern


Speakers Bios

Dr. Sam J. Sugar—Event Organizer

Sam J. Sugar, MD, is a Board-Certified Specialist in Internal Medicine and Founder and President of Americans Against Abusive Probate Guardianship (AAAPG), a 501c3 organization designed to help expose the systematic corruption of this nation’s guardianship systems. After graduating the University of Illinois at Chicago is a James Scholar, Dr. Sugar received his MD degree from the Abraham Lincoln College of Medicine at the University of Illinois, Chicago. He achieved certification as a specialist in Internal Medicine from the American Board of Internal Medicine and was distinguished as a Fellow of the American College of Physicians. After serving as Chief Resident in Internal Medicine, he served as Medical Director for managed care at Evanston/Northwestern Healthcare, and has taught as an Associate Clinical Professor at both Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine and the Chicago Medical School. He founded Glenbrook Medical Associates, S.C., a large multispecialty group practice in the Northern Chicago suburbs as well as P.A.G.E., the first Independent Practice Association in Northern Illinois. He has been a member of the AMA and a delegate to the Florida Medical Association.

In 2014, after experiencing the horrors of the guardianship of a loved one, Dr. Sugar created Americans Against Abusive Probate Guardianship.

Dr. Sugar’s book, released in 2018, “Guardianships and the Elderly-The Perfect Crime” — an Amazon #1 New Release —sheds light on this complex, opaque system, which all too often enables those in-the-know to commit “the perfect crime.”. Dr. Sugar writes frequently at www.aaapg.net and is a Notary Signing Agent and Certified Florida Probate Court Examiner.

A native Chicagoan, Dr. Sugar now lives in Hollywood, Florida, with his wife, Judy.



Joanna Bougalis

“Escaping Guardianship in America” — Keynote

Joanna Bougalis, a retired disabled US Marine tells the harrowing story of how she and her mother Katherine had to flee the US because of an abusive guardianship.


Florida Fifth Circuit Court Judge Michelle Morley and Linda Fieldstone

   “Eldercaring Coordinating” (pre-recorded)



Michelle Morley serves as a Circuit Court Judge in the Fifth Circuit, Sumter County.  She served on the Supreme Court Judicial Management Council Guardianship Workshop in 2018. She is Chair of the Florida Conference of Circuit Court Judges Probate Division.  She graduated from Stetson University College of Law in 1986, and the University of Tampa in 1984. She was a member of the Board of the Florida Chapter of Association of Family and Conciliation Courts from 2007 through 2017 and is Co-chair of the FLAFCC Eldercaring Coordination Initiative and the ACR  Elder Justice Initiative on Eldercaring Coordination.  She has presented at the United Nations, International Federation on Ageing Global Conference, the Florida Judicial College, the Florida Conference of Circuit Court Judges Annual Conference, the College of Advanced Judicial Studies, the National College of Probate Judges, the AFCC Annual International Conference, the FLAFCC Annual State Conference, the State of Florida Department of Children and Families Services Annual Summit, the Florida Dispute Resolution Center Annual Conference, and at various mediation training programs including the University of South Florida.


Linda Fieldstone, M.Ed., former Supervisor of Family Court Services of the 11th Judicial Circuit, Florida, is a Florida Supreme Court Certified Family Mediator and has served as parenting coordinator since 1990, instrumental in the development of parenting coordination nationally and beyond borders. She is Past-President of the Association of Family and Conciliation Courts (AFCC), Past President of the Florida Chapter (FLAFCC), and on the AFCC Task Force to revise the Guidelines for Parenting Coordination. Most recently, she initiated the creation of the ACR and FLAFCC Task Forces on Eldercaring Coordination, which used the Parenting Coordination model to develop a process to benefit elders involved with high conflict families, and is now Co-Chair of the FLAFCC Eldercaring Coordination Initiative and ACR Elder Justice Initiative on Eldercaring Coordination.  She has presented and conducted numerous trainings statewide, nationally, and internationally, including at the United Nations Headquarters, International Federation on Ageing Global Conference, Avant-Tous Les Enfants International Symposium, Canada, in 2018. Ms. Fieldstone is involved in research concerning parenting coordination and eldercaring coordination, consulted on court services implementation to international program providers, and written articles on high conflict families, empirically based parenting plans and parenting coordination, and eldercaring coordination


Thomas F. Coleman – Legal Director, Spectrum Institute

“Real guardianship reform requires accountability”

Throughout his 45 years as a civil rights attorney, Thomas F. Coleman has advocated for a variety of causes and minority populations, including cases and projects promoting justice and equal rights for people with disabilities. http://tomcoleman.us/

For the past six years, Coleman has directed the Disability and Guardianship Project of Spectrum Institute. Starting with a focus on California, Coleman’s advocacy for guardianship reform has broadened to become a national cause.  He relentlessly pursues reform through all three branches of government at the federal, state, and local levels. http://disabilityandabuse.org/whats-new.htm

Pursuit of Justice is a documentary by filmmaker Greg Byers tracking the efforts of Coleman and a growing network of advocates to secure access to justice for seniors and people with disabilities who find themselves entangled in the complicated web of guardianship and conservatorship proceedings.  http://pursuitofjusticefilm.com/


Terry Williams

“The Las Vegas Probate Mafia”

Terry Williams is an American social scientist, analyst and consultant specializing in legal research relating to elder, family and social phenomena. As a former legal assistant and real estate agent, Ms. Williams discovered a criminal enterprise running straight through the courts of Las Vegas, operating under the guise of legitimate guardianship. Having called the matter to the attention of numerous law enforcement agencies and become a highly sought after journalistic source, Ms. Williams debuts her findings in both The New Yorker magazine article entitled, The Takeover – How the Elderly Lose Their Rights, as well as, The Guardians Documentary, a chilling and riveting feature-length film, evidencing a highly sophisticated racketeering operation targeting wealthy seniors, the disabled and their families whose chief purpose is to intercept generational and legacy wealth using the legal system.


Eileen Leslie, CPA, CFE, MTx

  “Creating a Viable Law Enforcement Complaint”


Eileen Leslie, a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) and a Certified Fraud Examiner (CFE), has over 20 years of experience providing expert forensic auditing and investigative services to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the United States Attorney’s Office and public accounting firms. Her specialties include providing investigative financial consulting, fraud examination and various forensic accounting services. With years of experience in government and non-government civil and criminal investigations and financial analysis, it allows her to investigate deeply and effectively in any case.


  • False Claims Act
  • Forensic Accounting
  • Fraud Investigation
  • Litigation Consulting and Support
  • Discovery Requests
  • Damage Calculations
  • Ability to Pay Analysis
  • Data Mining and Analysis​​
  • CPA: Certified Public Accountant
  • CFE: Certified Fraud Examiner
  • ​MTx: Master of Taxation
  • Bachelor of Science in Accounting, St. Cloud State University, 1997
  • Master of Taxation, University of Denver, 2003
  • Intelligence Analyst Training, Federal Bureau of Investigations Quantico, 2004
  • Colorado Law Enforcement Training Academy, 2009


Dale Yeager


Mr. Yeager is a Forensic Profiler in 1988. His many degrees and research qualified him to train over 100,000 localstate and federal law enforcement officers.

Mr. Yeager is a frequent expert with media outlets including a featured episode of Forensic Files [“Bump and Run” Season 3, Episode 21 2002] and a new History Channel series entitled ‘True Monsters’.

Mr. Yeager has lectured at many higher education institutions throughout the U.S.In 2002, Mr. Yeager was given a Presidential appointment to the U.S. Selective Service System and in 2004; he became a member of the FBIs’ InfraGard program.

Through his firm SERAPH, Mr. Yeager and his education team has provided school safety training and consulting to more than 30,000 schools in the U.S. Beginning in the year 2000 Congress tasked SERAPH with providing a “State of SchoolSafety in America” report to them every two years. To date SERAPH has provided three reports to members of Congressspecifically the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Mr. Yeager is also a Federal Law Enforcement instructor and SME for the HIDTA High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas and MAGLOCLEN Middle Atlantic-Great Lakes Organized Crime Law Enforcement Network programs.


Rick  Black 

A successful businessman, Rick, and his wife Terri were first exposed to fraudulent guardianships and probate exploitation in June 2013. Rick built a coalition of over 50 families who lost over $40 million from 2010-2015 due to fraudulent adult guardianships in Nevada. He gained the support of local media, elected officials, and the Nevada attorney general to investigate widespread corruption endorsed by Commissioner Jon Norheim in adult guardianship proceedings. He participated in the Nevada Supreme Court’s Guardianship Reform Commission meetings and helped develop new statutes to improve adult guardianship adjudication. The efforts of the coalition have yielded 18 arrests and 17 convictions over the last 4 years. He continues his tireless efforts to reform guardianship at the state and federal levels and to advocate for victims across the country.

Rick’s efforts were the genesis of the documentary “The Guardians”

Rick, his wife Terri, and Athena Roe, JD of Colorado Springs founded the Center for Estate Administration Reform in early 2018 to advocate for reforms nationwide.


Julie Lynne Belshe

Julie has been a tireless Guardianship Reform Advocate for the past 3 years. Her Parents were legally kidnapped from their home in 2013. She has assisted in passing 6 new legislative laws and has represented her Parent’s by herself. Julie runs a public helpline for Kasem Cares Foundation and has brought National Attention to the Guardianship industry in Nevada. She and her family have been the principals in articles in major publications such as The New Yorker magazine as her family worked with author Rachel Aviv for 3 months. Her personal journey which is the focus of tonight’s movie “The Guardians”, required three years of dedicated work. Julie has appeared on numerous media programs such as Glenn Beck, Laura Ingraham, John Oliver-Guardianship on HBO to spread the word about guardianship abuse and the need for reform.

Janet Phelan

“Investigating Judges” 

Janet Phelan is an investigative journalist and author of the groundbreaking exposé, EXILE. Her articles have appeared in such mainstream venues as the Los Angeles Times, Orange Coast Magazine, Long Beach Press Telegram, etc. In 2004, Janet “jumped ship” and now exclusively writes for independent media. She is also the author of two collections of poetry—The Hitler Poems and Held Captive. She resides abroad. 

Dr. Gregory Q. Marsella

“Guardianship and over medication shorten lives”

Gregory Marsella is a co-founder of Da Vinci Research Institute, a small, independent clinical research company that does grant-based medical research and also offers local, contract research services to Fortune 500 pharmaceutical companies, biotechnology companies, and national CRO’s. Dr. Marsella is a physician by training and a board-certified psychiatrist who received his B.A. at Harvard, his M.D. at the University of Pennsylvania, and his residency training in psychiatry at New York Hospital-Cornell Medical Center. In addition to its other missions Da Vinci Research Institute is a medical research network furnishing study-procural, patient-recruitment, site-management, and research administrative services for its participating practices in Florida. Dr. Marsella has been a site investigator for Phase II, III, and IV multicenter, nationwide clinical trials, and has also authored and implemented grant-based medical research studies in child and adult psychopharmacology, neurology, epilepsy medicine, pain-management, and rheumatology. Dr. Marsella also maintains a small private neuropsychiatric practice specializing in

Repetitive Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (rTMS), Deep Repetitive Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (rDTMS), adolescent and adult psychopharmacology, and in patients with difficult to diagnose conditions and complicated/polytherapy needs.


Teresa Kay-Aba (Terri) Kennedy

“Dealing with Unbearable Stress”

Terri Kennedy is a Harvard Business School trained Strategist, Speaker, Success and Wellness Coach, Award-Winning Author and Activist

Called “smart with a heart” in the media, Terri has a multidisciplinary background that helps her innovate and transform businesses and lives. She is an internationally-recognized strategist with over 25 years of experience in media, digital, brand management and training. She is as comfortable analyzing data, negotiating deals and forging strategic alliances, as she is coaching executives, leading mindfulness sessions and speaking on stage. She has been described as having “holographic thinking”–able to view things from many different perspectives.  In 2009, she was selected as a World Economic Forum Young Global Leader recognizing her “professional accomplishments, commitment to society and potential for shaping the future of the world.” She has participated in exclusive Forum strategy sessions with multinational CEOs, Presidents of countries and leaders in Brazil, China, India, Jordan, Mexico, Morocco, Myanmar, South Africa, Tanzania and Switzerland, including being a Discussion Leader for the “Economics of Happiness” at the World Economic Forum’s Annual Meeting in Davos.

In 2016, she created Elder Dignity to advocate for elder justice, spur reform in the guardianship system nationally, and free her aunt from guardianship fraud in Florida. As a champion for human potential, she has shared her views around the world from discussing heart-centered leadership at the Bled Strategic Forum in Slovenia and being the international headliner for Estee Lauder’s Global Breast Cancer Awareness Campaign event for 800 women in Santiago, Chile, to sharing strategy tips at the Black Enterprise Entrepreneur’s Conference and offering insights at the Digital Leaders Summit. She has received many honors such as Sweet Success from Women In Business (2014), National Power Award from the American Heart Association (2009), Women Of Brilliant Achievement Award from Charles & Colvard (2008), Emerging Entrepreneur from INC Magazine and the William J. Clinton Foundation (2006), 40 Under Forty Achievement Award from The Network Journal (2004), and Emerging Entrepreneur from the Social Venture Network (2002). In 2008, as part of the Women Who Dare To Be Different Award from Congressman Edolphus Towns and The Women’s Caucus, her accomplishments were added to the U.S. Congressional Record.

Always seeking to learn, she has multiple certifications (cable finance, TV production, coaching, yoga, fitness, holistic health counseling, lifestyle & weight management) and a world-class education–Wellesley College, Harvard Business School, Harvard Kennedy School of Government, Yale University Jackson Institute for Global Affairs and Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy in Singapore. Although she is American, she was born in Ghana, started school in Australia and studied design in Italy. She loves traveling the globe with a “real” camera in hand and has been on all continents except for Antarctica.

A writer/producer who is very comfortable in front of the camera, Terri has contributed to multiple media outlets such as CNN, NBC, Fox TV News, ARD TV in Germany, Tokyo FM in Japan, The New York TimesPreventionSELF and Essence, and has been featured on the cover of Yoga Journal and in Oprah’s book, Live Your Best Life!  She has also written for The Huffington Post and has done coverage for the Gates Foundation’s Impatient Optimists blog and World Economic Forum blog. She is seasoned at writing for academic, business and consumer audiences. See media. Her weekly Dose of Power Living goes out every Monday to thousands of loyal readers, and she operates the empowerment platform www.iampowerliving.com and e-commerce platform 


Ronald Denman, Esq

 Bleakley Bavol Denman & Grace

Mr. Denman began his career as an Assistant State Attorney in 1990. Having a knack for courtroom presence and legal argument, he quickly began prosecuting major felony crimes. In 1993 he entered the civil arena and never looked back. Over the years, Mr. Denman has represented insurance companies, corporations, private clients, etc. He has been involved in a variety of matters including product liability, medical malpractice, corporate governance, professional liability, director and officer liability, in addition to fiduciary and trust, estate, and guardianship litigation.

Presently, Mr. Denman is a Shareholder and Senior Litigation Partner at Bleakley Bavol Denman & Grace with extensive courtroom experience in state and federal courts throughout the United States. Licensed to practice in Florida and North Carolina, Denman has a vast litigation practice and represents individuals, and public and private companies in a wide variety of complex commercial litigation matters. His main focus currently is representing personal representatives, heirs, beneficiaries, alleged incapacitated persons, and trustees in all areas of litigation involving Trust, Estate, and Guardianship matters throughout Florida. Mr. Denman also represents high wealth individuals in family law matters that involve complex business issues. In 2017 he successfully litigated and won a $16.4 million verdict in a Federal lawsuit against guardianship professionals in Palm Beach County. The verdict is ranked the highest verdict won for a breach of fiduciary duty in Florida for 2017 and the 16th highest verdict received overall in the state of Florida for 2017.

Mr. Denman is a Member of the Bar of the Supreme Court of the United States. In addition, he is also a member of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District and Middle District. Further, Mr. Denman has served on the Florida Bar Aviation Standing Committee and as a Director of the Orange Bowl Foundation. Mr. Denman has also served as a Volunteer Attorney, Lawyers for Children and Guardian Ad Litem Program, and participated with the Miami-Dade County Put Something Back Program, and served as a director for the Miami Beach JCC. He is a member of the Federal Bar Association, American Bar Association, and Defense Research Institute. Mr. Denman currently serves as a committee member of the Family Law Section Children’s Issues Committee, Continuing Legal Education Committee, Domestic Violence Committee, Litigation Support Committee, and Support Issues Committee.