Probate Court Reform Movement members and CEDAR California member Linda Kincaid pose with DA O’Malley in O’Malley office. L to R: Venus Gist, Tanya Dennis, District Attorney Nancy O’Malley, Credell Carter, Ray Willis, Jackie Nelson, Maxine Ussery, Kennett Taylor, Linda Kincaid, Charlotte Franklin.
Nine members of the Probate Court Reform Movement met last Monday with District Attorney Nancy O’Malley, and provided her with a list of names and a folder full of cases that showed why judges, conservators, attorneys and various agencies associated with the Probate Court should be investigated.
Case after case was presented to the DA with compelling and damaging information.
“So many elders have lost their homes and businesses. We see estates taken with impunity,” said Maxine Ussery, co-founder of the group.
“It’s easy to see we all can’t be inept. After all, some of us had million dollar businesses.
“You don’t make that kind of money if you don’t know what you’re doing, yet the court had the nerve to say we were incompetent to handle our affairs.”
Linda Kincaid of CEDAR California said, “The courts have become selective; they won’t take any estate under $500,000. It’s not worth their time. They look for estates (worth) over a million.
“This is not just happening in Alameda County. I handle elder abuse cases all over the State of California, and it’s everywhere. The Probate Courts looks at elders as cash cows,” Kincaid said.
Probate Court Reform Movement Coordinator Tanya Dennis encouraged O’Malley to “follow the money, and you’ll find the crime.”
O’Malley was concerned about the “Civil Death” of Elinor Frerichs, a caucasian elder who was placed under conservatorship to “save” her $6 million estate after she married an African American man.
The court had her marriage annulled, and Ms. Frerichs now lives in total isolation, not allowed friends or access to the outside world.
Court Conservator Scott Phipps placed Ms. Frerichs in Lakeside Park, a facility for dementia patients, even though she scored 98 percent on an acuity test in 2012, and she hasn’t been evaluated since.
She is not even allowed to attend court hearings and now her multi-million dollar estate is worth a few hundred thousand.
The DA was asked to launch a separate probe regarding Ms. Frerichs case. “Isolation of an elder is a crime, and we intend to liberate Elinor Frerichs from her imprisonment as quickly as possible,” said Tanya Dennis.
The Probate Court Reform Movement met with Berkeley Councilmember Ben Bartlett, who supported the cause.
Councilmember Bartlett is willing to help disseminate information, and he is making recommendations and referring people that can push the reform of the court forward.
Bartlett plans to attend the weekly Wednesday night meeting of the Reform Group at 6 p.m. at the Post News Paper located at 360 14th St.. New members are welcome and encouraged to join.
With 83 members, Probate Reform Movement reprsents people who have been victimized by the Probate Court.
The Commission on Judicial Performance has been unresponsive to two requests for an investigation.
District Attorney O’Malley pledged to “follow the money,” leaving members encouraged that she will uncover the criminal enterprise.
“All we’re asking for is an investigation,” said Mrs. Ussery. “Something has to be wrong when everybody is losing their estates, I mean everybody.”