By: Dan Roberts - Publisher
And with a stroke of a pen, it was done. All the work and effort by The Vegas Voice acknowledged by Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval when he signed Senator Becky Harris’ SB 229 into law last month.
Happily watching the Governor sign our Vegas Voice guardianship reform bill, we couldn’t help but wonder how many readers were saved (we’ll have the “protection” details in future editions) and will never have to worry about being “taken.”
As I looked at Rana and she at me (along with the rest of our Vegas Voice family) our smiles were as wide as a child on Christmas day. The good guys won.
Pictured: Looking on as Governor Brian Sandoval signs the bill are (left to right): Political Editor Rana Goodman, guardianship advocate (and family victim) Julie Belshe, Publisher Dan Roberts, Project Director Bill Caserta, advocate Barbara Grostick, Senator Becky Harris and Vegas Voice President Ray Sarbacker. Photo Credit: Graphic Editor Michael Roberts.
By: Dan Roberts - Publisher
“Hey Rana, you hear that? It’s the fat lady singing.”
The opera ain’t over till the fat lady sings is one of my favorite clichés. Pertaining to our Vegas Voice guardianship reform efforts, it may not be “over” but even if the Diva is not singing her final solo - she sure is rehearsing loudly.
It’s now one-month shy of 3 years that political editor (and my Ladylove) first approached yours truly to discuss guardianship. As I previously opined, I had no knowledge (or interest) in this subject.
Today, the Grand Jury returned an indictment against April Parks, Mark Simmons, Gary Neal Taylor and Noel Palmer Simpson in a guardianship exploitation case that has been the focus of an ongoing investigation for activities ranging from 2011 through 2016.
The 123 page indictment explains how April Parks, owner of A Private Professional Guardian, LLC, her office manager, Mark Simmons, her husband, Gary Neal Taylor and her attorney, Noel Palmer Simpson, committed the crimes for which they were indicted. Those crimes include Racketeering (category B felony), Exploitation of an Older or Vulnerable Person (category B felony), Theft (category B and C felonies), Offering False Instrument for Filing or Record (category C felony) and Perjury (category D felony).
Although there were legitimate guardianship activities happening at the company, Parks and Simmons engaged in a pattern of conduct which was illegal and exploitative to the vulnerable people she was charged to protect. The indictment alleges that A Private Professional Guardian, LLC was run as a criminal enterprise, with the goal of maximizing profits at the expense of people they were charged with caring for, disregarding their duties to their wards and to the court.
By: Dan Roberts - Publisher
“What makes you think I still want to do this?” It was one of the few times I was in full battle-mode with the political editor of The Vegas Voice.
Regular readers are well aware that the political editor is also my “partner in life & love.” You can, therefore understand why my Rana had no concerns about being fired…and responding in full force to my question.
Our “discussion” was very simple: Does The Vegas Voice continue its “obsession” for guardianship reform?
As 2016 comes to an end, The Vegas Voice wanted to write something to let the “bad guys” know that even during the holiday season, we’re still watching them.
Let’s begin with our elected law enforcement officials (next page). We’re still waiting for them to do their jobs.
On a positive note, another obstacle in guardianship reform is leaving. Sally Ramm, elder rights attorney for the Nevada Aging & Disability Services, who served as the government’s “go-to expert” on guardianship announced that she was retiring in January.
Re: Your client – Private Guardian April Parks
Dear Mr. Woodbury:
“Any objective evaluation of her history in guardianship matters would lead to the conclusion that April Parks is an honest, capable and caring guardian for any person for whom she becomes responsible.”
The above sentence was included in your letter to The Vegas Voice over one year ago. Do you still believe it?
Subsequent to your April 29, 2015 correspondence, April Parks’ records and documents were seized pursuant to a search warrant raid and your client “quickly and quietly” left the state and filed for bankruptcy protection in Pennsylvania. Oh, and one more thing…the Guardianship Judge recently issued a bench warrant for her arrest due to failing to appear in court.
Vegas Voice Note: As we have reported over the last 18 months, various families have been devastated by the Clark County Guardianship Court. Such victims are Terri and Richard Black. For more details concerning Rick’s family struggles, see the past issues of The Vegas Voice.
In his family’s battle to correct a rigged and outright corrupt guardianship system, Rick finally located the email address of Hearing Master Jon Norheim, the “judge” who consistently ruled in favor of the guardian and against the wishes of the family.
Rick sent this email NOT as a Vegas Voice columnist, but as a family member who was not even allowed to speak at the guardianship hearings.
He has become a major guardianship victim advocate due to his family’s experience and The Vegas Voice is proud to have him as our Guardianship columnist, and more importantly, our friend
We are reprinting Rick’s email so that one can understand the pain, agony and anguish families caught in this “guardianship gulag” have to endure.
Most importantly check out Hearing Master’s response in our Vegas Voice postscript below
By: Rana Goodman, Political Editor
Isolate, Medicate, Steal the Estate. That has been the mantra chanted by families of the guardianship victims from Clark County, Nevada and many other states all over the US for years.
The Vegas Voice picked up the gauntlet a year and a half ago and, although we have seen a few positive changes, it still seems like one step forward, two steps back.
Our group of advocates and victim family members have over the past year, tried over and over again to file police reports about abusive guardians or questionable behavior. I have personally filed reports with the Ombudsman regarding living conditions in group homes that didn’t seem up to standard for seniors not able to fend for themselves.
By: Richard Black – Guardianship Columnist
With all the rhetoric by public officials about not tolerating elder abuse and financial exploitation in Clark County, Nevada, we continue to see the guilty parties ply their trade with impunity. Those of us who have been embroiled in the abuse sponsored by Clark County Family Court know the process well.
The predatory attorneys, “professional” guardians, and guardian ad litems troll for opportunities to conscript unsuspecting wealthy vulnerable individuals into guardianship. If estate documents exist and specific family members have been designated, they consistently seek a conflict by embracing the guilty party if one exists, or solicit conflict between family members if one doesn’t.