In the past year, while reporting and working on the guardianship mess, we have often spoken of Jared Shafer and the fact that the man seems to have an angel in the system protecting him from prosecution for his lack of fiduciary responsibility in guarding his clients (wards) estates. We have focused on seniors, but he has had young wards too. This story, that was discussed Friday at the commission meeting, is the continuing saga of a 26 year old Cerebral Palsy victim whose grandmother and father left him well provided for. Sadly, Jared Shafer, Jon Norheim, the guardianship court commissioner at the time, and the trustee undid all the family's plans. What was that old adage, "best laid plans of mice and men".......? Read on folks... Oh! and remember that Ms. Tyrell states early on that she volunteered to work for Jason "pro-bono", but later there are attorney fees... huh? [i]Thanks to Steve Miller for permission to run his story.
Friday, January 22, 2016
By Steve Miller
LAS VEGAS - Today, while Cerebral palsy victim Jason Hanson was waiting in the Nevada Supreme Court lobby just prior to testifying before the Supreme Court Guardianship Commission, his erstwhile Trustee and Guardianship Commission member Elyse Tyrell approached him to say, "Hi Jason, how are you? Who brought Jason? Let me give you my card because Jason had a meeting scheduled with me last March, and never showed up. And I've got your money! Good to see you."
I recorded her statements.
Following this brief exchange that did not mention how much money Tyrell has for Jason from his trust account with Morgan Stanley that in 2009 contained approximately $80,000, Tyrell abruptly turned and entered the court room leaving Jason and his followers standing there aghast.
Several minutes into the Guardianship Commission hearing, Jason read the following statement into the record:
"Before I begin, I wanted to thank the members of this commission for giving me the opportunity to speak.
I’m a disabled Las Vegas resident who is in need of your help.
On June 27th 2008 I was informed by telephone that my father died. Jared Shafer was the person who contacted me. He said he was the administrator of my late father’s estate. I attempted to contact Mr. Shafer on several occasions after his first phone call.
Mr. Shafer’s attitude toward me was very condescending. He was rude, arrogant and wouldn't answer my questions and ended my calls by hanging up on me. When I asked about my house, he refused to talk about it. A close friend gave Shafer a list of my personal needs but the items on this list were ignored with no explanation.
Mr. Shafer also became the trustee of my supplemental needs trust, created by my then guardian, Francis Fine. Francis never provided me any accounting either. I believe that Fine and Shafer used the funds from my trust which was created for me by my grandmother. There was over $80,000 in this trust and none of the funds have ever been accounted for. I have not received any money from this inheritance.
Shafer sold my father’s house and the personal contents without my consent or knowledge during his time as trustee. I have no idea what happened to all of this money because I have received no accounting or information on the sale of the family home.
I was told not long ago that Elyse Tyrell became the new trustee after Shafer gave it up in 2014. I have not received any accounting or information from Elyse Tyrell. It is painful for me to learn that Ms. Tyrell is on this Commission.
I was never provided with an attorney, even when I asked for one. I have not benefited from the sale of my father’s home or the remaining funds in the trust. My father made the home wheel chair accessible for me so that I could live as a normal person. Why should I live in a group home now when my father left a house and money for my care?
I am competent, intelligent and I know my civil rights have been seriously violated, especially my ADA rights.
I'm not going to read the rest of this speech because I don't want to take up your precious time. But let me say if this commission truly cares about what happens to the people who are under guardianship, you should make sure that the guardians are made accountable for their actions.
Immediately following Jason's testimony, Elyse Tyrell asked Commission Chairman, Nevada Supreme Court Chief Justice James W. Hardesty for permission to speak directly to Jason:
"May I have an opportunity to respond to Jason? Jason, I appreciate yon coming here today. I would like to remind you that I volunteered to serve as your trustee. I offered to serve pro-bono because, obviously you and Mr. Shafer were at odds, and the size of what was being reported was an amount that most financial institutions would not accept. You and I had several appointments scheduled.
Jason interrupts: "I was never informed of any meetings with you."
Tyrell: "I appreciate that. When I made the offer to meet with you I was given his number as your contact. And there were several times I was scheduled to meet with you, and the court through its options revoked the Special Needs Trust, and through communication with (your caregiver) I offered to meet with you, to either hand you a check that was turned over to me, or to explain to you the benefits of a Special Needs Trust and to assist you in any way that I could, and those meeting went unattended. I just told you out in the hallway that a check has been written to you since March 2015, its in my office and its available for you to pick up, or I'm still happy to discuss with you the Special Needs Trust, and my unpaid legal fees. (Tyrell is alleged to charge her wards $500 per hour.)
Jason: "If you wanted to speak with me, why didn't you contact me? You know where I live."
Justice Hardesty: "This is really not the proper forum to resolve an individual dispute. This back and forth is going to come to an end with all due respect to you and Ms. Tyrell. There's obviously differing points of view, and maybe one of the benefits that comes from this conversation is that there can be some mediation so that some of these questions might be resolved. I hope that Jason and those who are assisting him can work with Ms. Tyrell to either resolve, or hear in any court the issues that you are having with one another."
After the exchange, Dr. Robin Huhn stepped to the podium to express her anger at Tyrell and state that Jason had been victimized over and over again. She also said that Tyrell's response to Jason's testimony was to "victimize him again."
Jason left the hearing shortly after speaking and was surrounded by admirers and reporters. He told them that he will contact Tyrell immediately to set up a meeting, but he hopes she will come to his group home instead of him having to go to her office. He also said he hopes the check she has for him is for the full amount that his grandmother put into his trust.
In the lobby, two attorneys approached Jason and his team to offer their services pro-bono. Another court observer offered to contact the ACLU on his behalf in the event Elyse Tyrell does not produce the full value of his trust account that was deposited with Morgan Stanley in 2009, and should bear interest.
Jason says he will contact Tyrell in the coming week to arrange for the transfer of his $80,000 + interest that she has been holding without his consent or knowledge.
Tyrell is not responsible for Jared Shafer's sale of Jason's house for $47,000 in 2009. At the time of sale, the 1,200 sq. foot wheelchair accessible condo was valued at between $135,000 and $175,000. This issue may be the subject of a future lawsuit.
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