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
From: Richard Black
Date: July 1, 2016
To: Jon Norheim
Subject: Inhumane and Draconian
It took me two years but I finally got your email address. You have done a great job ignoring me but it appears the growing support network wants to make sure the victims and advocates can reach out to you directly.
This weekend, July 3rd specifically, marks a year since my father-in-law Delford Mencarelli died in the home of his guardian. His foot was black with gangrene and his court appointed guardian had caused him to be prematurely removed (one as an AMA) from 3 healthcare facilities in the last month before he died.
My wife, Terri Black, and I will always credit you for Dad and our "inhumane and draconian" experience. I use that phrase as that was your quote of Terri's planned care for her father when you decided to remove her from his life and grant Dad's landlord and former friend general guardianship.
His guardian, Helen Natko, was appointed by you. You stated in your report and recommendation in July 2014 that "Helen", as you liked to call her, "gave better care than most professionals."
She had never provided care for anyone in her life (Natko remained in Las Vegas and her sister Anne in Pittsburgh when she testified before you she "cared for her in her home until she passed"), never had children, and had no professional training beyond a high school diploma.
The interim temporary guardian you appointed, Denise Comastro, RN, testified she had to take quick action to stabilize Dad when she was appointed and she filed for joint guardianship with Natko as "she was unable to adequately care for him."
Most professionals recommended or demanded Dad stay in the hospital for care by late May 2015. But you and Daniel T. Foley, Esq. gave "Helen" all the confidence she needed to know, her guardianship papers gave her omnipotent powers to do with Dad as she pleased.
Dad was her property. Keeping him in her home insured she could keep him away from his family and maximize the damage to him, his family, and his estate.
"Ms. Black" as your called her, and I will always look at June, 2015 as a blessing. We were able to spend time with Dad in private as Natko caused Dad to be placed in care facilities 6 times that month.
She refused to address the infection in his foot. As soon as he was stabilized she would drag him from the hospital and back to her home. The infection would reestablish and then we and medical personnel would get him back to the hospital.
We spent most of June 2015 in Vegas following Natko and insuring Dad was protected and cared for. We had our first private visits with Dad in 2 1/2 years in those hospitals, thanks to medical professionals.
We, and hospital personnel, were limited in our ability to help Dad due to the powers you bestowed upon Natko. His only child had no input on his care as only the guardian has any say...thanks to you.
Doctors and administrators recognized Natko's ill intent. Natko would scream at us to leave the hospital in front of Dad, demanded our visitation hours be limited, ate Dad's food on numerous occasions to demonstrate his appetite had returned and he was able to leave, and would often crawl into bed with him sucking face like a teenager when we showed up at his bedside.
Fortunately, hospital leadership forced scheduled and private visitation so his family had the right to see him. Dad was dying and the family deserved the right to be with him.
They could see Dad enjoyed our visits and Natko's antics distracted him and were a general disruption to hospital personnel. Too bad you didn't care to recognize the same.
As an update Natko is headed to criminal trial in District Court for exploiting Dad. She was indicted on the evidence we gave to you in our first petitions back in June and July of 2013.
That evidence was enough to convince EPS, Metro, the DA, Judge Janiece Marshall of Las Vegas Justice Court, and Judge William Kephart of District Court that Natko likely exploited Dad. A jury will make the final determination.
The wheels of justice turn extremely slow in legitimate courts. I wish you had given NRS159, due process, and the evidence similar consideration before you convicted Terri and fully validated any claim by Natko, Simpson, and Foley.
Your rulings forever changed our lives. Tears flow more freely, Terri is more fearful, our confidence in the judiciary or attorneys to defend the truth and the law is gone, and we lost over $800,000 thanks to Natko's actions and you.
You saw what this was doing to us and knew what demanding justice was costing Dad and us in your court. You relished your power and enjoyed sharing our wealth with attorneys Richardson, Foley, Simpson, Krohn, Tyler, and Armeni, and also Denise Comastro and Dr. Christiansen.
You and Judge Hoskin are an embarrassment to the judiciary. Your arrogance, lack of respect for NRS159, and lack of discernment should disqualify both of you from ever being on the bench.
Hoskin bragging about you and himself doing a great job managing 8,500 guardianship cases is insulting, especially when Judge Steel informed the public it was really only 3,600 and only 4% were in compliance with state law.
You both should be in jail. Termination is warranted at a minimum.
I will continue the fight for justice for our family and dozens of others who you exploited with your rulings from 2005-2015 in Clark County Family Court. You have never apologized, nobody has lost their job, nobody has been arrested, and not a dollar has been returned.
We did free at least 15 people from fraudulent guardianships you created since you were removed. All are finally freed from your tyranny but were left destitute by their "professional" guardians.
As we celebrate our freedom this weekend I want to remind you of how precious freedom is for everyone, including vulnerable wealthy individuals who expect our government will protect them and their estates according to the law and their estate directives.
I can only wish you get placed in jail or in an involuntary guardianship one day. Only by losing your freedom will you finally realize how criminal guardianships can be to you or a loved one and your obligation to protect others freedom.
Richard W. Black
Clark County Guardianship Abuse Victim's Coalition
Vegas Voice postscript: Rather than respond or even ignore Rick’s email, Hearing Master Norheim contacted Metro’s Counter Terrorism Task Force demanding they investigate Rick for threatening to physically harm him.
Rick’s telephone call with Lt. Tisino alleviated any police and/or physical concerns, but further demonstrates how family members are coerced into submission by the “system.”
Isn’t it something, that the same day Norheim received the email, police responded, but innocent victims still have not received any police assistance?
Bravo to Rick and his wife Terri for standing up to counter the evil in this system. He is indeed one of the “good guys.”
And last, but not least, what would you do, if this was your spouse, mother, father or family member?