Father of Advocate and Member, Lesa Maria Martino
Guardianship is a person’s worst nightmare. Following a family feud and discovering my sister, who is a CPA, will inherit everything since she put everything under her name as sole Paid on Death, I was poorly advised by my attorney, Gerald Hemness, to file for a guardianship. My sister was taking care of my father’s assets and she took advantage of his dementia.
According to your website, the following is happening to me:
“What can happen if you fail to settle the family dispute? You can certainly lose your loved one to strangers who will have absolute right over life and death. Before that happens, your loved one will lose practically all fundamental rights, as well as control of all property – investments, life savings, personal possessions, family treasures – everything. Old family photographs may wind up in the trash can. And that’s not the worst of it: you will lose all input into your loved one’s care and the right to even know of his/her medical condition. You will be powerless to help your loved one if the guardian decides to send him/her to a nursing home. You may even be barred from visiting!”
The guardian, Carolyn Colombo, barred me from visiting my father at a newly placed assisted living facility which was unknown to me. A hearing was held on July 5, 2017 in Hillsborough County in Tampa without my knowledge and Judge Catherine Catlin signed the order to keep his whereabouts secret from me. Lies were presented and false accusations were made without my side of the story. Deceptive and Unscrupulous.
Colombo’s attorney, James Eggert of Owens Law group, and Colombo are draining my father’s assets and are billing machines who are financially exploiting my father and do not want me to get in the way.
I am a Doctor of Pharmacy and Consultant Pharmacist with a degree from the University of Florida. I lost all input into my father’s medical care.
The following were complaints that were considered frivolous to Colombo:
- No phone. A phone designed for elderly who are hard of hearing and easy call functions with photos of family on buttons was ordered from Amazon and delivered to the facility but it disappeared and never used.
- CPAP machine removed and not replaced for few months
- Facility has no memory care
- Family photos disappeared
- Hearing aids were lost and never replaced
- No fridge or microwave allowed in room because they worried about “critters”.
- Dog, Romeo, not allowed to stay with him which brought him comfort and stop the loneliness and depression
- Poor menu e.g. potatoes served for lunch and dinner on same day. Fresh fruits and vegetables not seen on the menu. No soups which my father enjoys. No salads or salad bar.
- Birthday pie was thrown out because no fridge and not placed in facility fridge
- Light switch by the door to room not connected to anything. No ceiling lights. Father has to find lamp to turn on light.
- Groin rash ignored by CNA
- No dandruff shampoo for his severe condition
- Daycare children brought into the facility for free entertainment monthly and spreading cold germs. My father with a perpetual cold.
- Facility in poor area of town with the worst hospital for an emergency
- Eye glasses were in disrepair and always dirty
- Walker was in disrepair with handle missing screw
- Answers to questions were denied by staff
- No access to medication list
- My father enjoys regular coffee and not decaffeinated coffee for taste and alertness
- No TV reception for days
- Heat was on in July instead of the air conditioner in his room
I have had to hire an expensive adversarial guardianship litigator attorney to help me with my nightmare. My father is the one who is being punished by isolating him from family and friends. My father will go for days without leaving the facility except to visit the doctor. My father loves going out to dinner or lunch. We went out weekly to a restaurant. I bought a transporter wheelchair to take him to places such as Busch Gardens which he enjoyed. Colombo and Eggert ended that enjoyment for my father which is repugnant!