Friend of Florida Member, Beverly Newman
On December 4th, a beautiful and brilliant 88-year-old Holocaust Survivor named Marie Winkelman was put into guardianship in the Sarasota, Florida Probate Court – without a hearing – based upon a mediation agreement. Marie is a recent resident of Bird Key who still lives independently and keeps her home in immaculate condition.
The mediation agreement was prepared by Federal Mediator Gary Larsen, which Marie did not see until after the mediation. Her fortune of many millions, which she earned through decades of hard work and prudent investments, is now in the hands of a company named Sabal Trust with which she has never had any contact. Through the mediated agreement, she is given a monthly allowance of her own money, despite the fact she has always spent her money judiciously.
View my petition to save Marie from guardianship and place her in the hands of her blood relative here. The actions by the Probate Court violate Marie’s durable power of attorney.
The numerous attorneys involved in her case, including Barry Spivey, Christopher Likens, Kim Bald, Rebecca Proctor, and Thomas Shults, will collect hundreds of thousands of dollars from the Survivor’s assets, even though she was denied her due process rights.
This case strongly resembles the guardianship of my Father and fellow Holocaust Survivor, Al Katz, and involves some of the same persons. My Father’s guardianship has been documented for years by the media as a horror story; yet, the horrors to Survivors continue. Many other Jewish elders living here in Florida, with loving adult children, are facing this same scenario, in which attorneys collect hundreds of thousands of dollars in guardianship proceedings, even though family members are happy to care for their elders. Nonetheless, family ties are broken in many guardianships, and assets are consumed at exponential rates by attorneys and guardians.
Extensive media coverage of guardianship abuse of a 99-year-old man wrongfully put into guardianship in Pinellas County has finally (JUST TODAY!) freed him. Besides the media coverage, Willie Berchau had a church community united behind him for years. I plead with you, therefore, to unite behind dear Marie, a Survivor of the Warsaw Ghetto, to free her from guardianship.
Please join us in working together to release Marie from guardianship. For more information about Helping Elders please contact me through NASGA.
NASGA Florida Media Liaison
December 6, 2013
A note and plea from Beverly Newman:
This year, make a difference in a Survivor’s life. Please forward this frightening report written by Cooper Levey-Baker and published in the Sarasota News Leader – and which is happening right now – to friends, officials, and others who can stop the exploitation of Survivors and other elders trapped in guardianships that deprive them of their dignity and extravagantly consume their lifelong assets.
Due Process Denied: Sarasota Holocaust Survivor Fights Incapacity Ruling