Elinor Frerichs’ constitutional rights are in jeopardy. Conservator Scott Phipps filed a petition with the Alameda County Probate Court to strip Elinor of her right to have contact with the outside world. No family, no friends, no advocates.
Elinor could spend her remaining years confined and isolated in a locked facility. Phipps’ petition will be heard before Judge Sandra Bean at the Berkeley courthouse on Friday, September 12, 2014 on the 9:30 AM calendar.
Phipps and prior conservators kept Elinor isolated from family and friends for the past two years.
- Phipps placed Elinor in locked dementia facility Lakeside Park, although Elinor was not diagnosed with dementia.
- Phipps annulled Elinor’s marriage, although Elinor stated she loves her husband and wanted to remain married.
- Phipps voided Elinor’s will, although psychologists determined that Elinor had capacity to execute the will.
In September 2014, Community Care Licensing cautioned Lakeside Park they could lose their license to operate if they continued unlawfully isolating Elinor. The facility grudgingly allowed Elinor to have visitors on September 3 and September 5.
On September 12, 2014, Phipps will retaliate with his petition to take away Elinor’s right to visitation. The Notice of Conservatee’s Rights states that Elinor has a right to ask the judge to replace Phipps as her conservator or to ask the judge to end the conservatorship. Elinor can only exercise those rights if Phipps allows her to attend her hearing on September 12.
Elder rights advocates ask concerned readers to contact Scott Phipps and urge him to allow Elinor her right to attend her hearing and address the court.
Advocates also ask concerned readers to contact the Alameda County Board of Supervisors concerning this travesty of justice that is unfolding in their jurisdiction.
District 1: Scott.Haggerty@acgov.org
District 2: Richard.Valle@acgov.org
District 3: Wilma.Chan@acgov.org
District 4: email@example.com
District 5: Keith.firstname.lastname@example.org
Coalition for Elder & Dependent Adult Rights (CEDAR) filed a complaint with the Professional Fiduciaries Bureau. The complaint included the following chronology.
Elinor Frerichs’ story is a tale of systemic failure in the Alameda County Probate Court, Adult Protective Services, Oakland Police Department, California Board of Psychology, the Professional Fiduciaries Bureau, and the Professional Fiduciary Association of California. Community Care Licensing and the Long-term care ombudsman acted only after Elinor was a victim of heinous abuse for two years.
Elinor Frerichs (Caucasian) and Kennett Taylor (African American) were neighbors and enjoyed a friendship that spanned about ten years prior to their marriage. Elinor speaks of Taylor’s quiet support when Elinor lost her son and her husband. Elinor speaks of the fondness that grew between the two of them over the years.
Elinor was widowed on December 2, 2011. Elinor and her first husband were separated and did not have a marital relationship for many years prior to the husband’s death. Elinor stated that her late husband was unfaithful, he lived with a “whore,” and he was abusive. She indicated that she did not divorce her unfaithful and abusive husband because she is Catholic.
On December 13, 2011, Elinor was examined by her primary care physician. The physician later stated that she had not seen any reason to be concerned about Elinor having dementia.
On January 4, 2012, Elinor married her neighbor and friend, Kennett Taylor. Elinor said that she ‘chased’ Taylor after she was widowed. Elinor said of her relationship with Taylor:
‘We talk about everything. We get along and always have.’
‘I trust him. I wouldn’t have anything to do with him if I didn’t.’
‘He does so many things for me.’
On January 23, 2012, Licensed Clinical Psychologist Phillip. D. MacFarland, Ph.D. wrote in his Mental Competence Evaluation:
‘The examinee had good judgment and insight.’
‘I have scheduled this examine for psychological testing to further support my professional opinion, that this examinee appears very competent to execute a living will/trust and clearly understands her actions, thought processes, and consequences of her decision in writing these documents in concert with her attorney. (Emphasis added)’
On February 12, 2012, Clinical Psychologist Nancy Hoffman, Psy.D. (PSY# 20516) agreed that Elinor did not lack capacity. However, Dr. Hoffman’s hostility toward Taylor, an African American, was prominent throughout her comments.
‘Although Ms. Frerichs does not show deficits on a simple neurophychological screening evaluation, she is very vulnerable to financial abuse at the hands of Ken Taylor and his friends. (Emphasis added)’
Although Taylor has no history of violence, Dr. Hoffmann launched into invective that was utterly inappropriate for a licensed professional.
‘I am very concerned about Ms. Frerichs physical safety and I do feel that Mr. Taylor and his friends are capable of hurting her. I do not believe that he would respect a restraining order and I think she needs to be moved out of her current home and into a safe location where he is not able to have any access to her at all.’
‘Mr. Taylor is very tall and imposing and she would be no match for him in any kind of physical encounter.’
‘She needs to be protected by a conservator for person and for her estate and moved to a location where Mr. Taylor cannot have any access to her. It is my professional opinion that Ms. Frerichs will be in danger if he is allowed access to her once he realizes he is not allowed to take full control over her considerable assets. It is my great hope that the court will move quickly to ensure her safety by removing her from her home and placing her in a location where he cannot find her. (Emphasis added)’
On February 10, 2012, the Alameda County Probate Court placed Elinor under conservatorship. The court may have relied on Hoffman’s report, which focused its recommendations on Elinor’s choice of friends rather than Elinor’s functional abilities. Elinor was immediately removed from her home, placed in a series of locked facilities, and denied all contact with Taylor. In two years of confinement and isolation, Elinor was allowed only two visits with her long-term friend Annette Hornsby. Phone calls to Elinor were routinely denied.
Taylor stated that Oakland Police Department refused to assist Elinor. Officers told Taylor that Elinor’s unlawful confinement and isolation were civil matters. Those officers incorrectly advised Taylor to seek a remedy in civil court. Officers did not inform Taylor that only a conservator has standing to sue on behalf of a conservatee during the life of the conservatee. Officers did not inform Taylor that he must wait until Elinor’s death to seek a civil remedy against an abusive conservator. Civil court offers little protection to individuals who are abused by their conservators.
On September 6, 2013, professional fiduciary Scott Phipps (Professional Fiduciary License #11, immediate past president of the Professional Fiduciary Association of California) was appointed successor conservator over Elinor. Phipps continued previous hostilities toward Taylor and escalated that hostility. Phipps’ August 7, 2014 petition states (2:13):
‘Petitioner, immediately retained the firm of Aaron, Reichert, Carpol & Riffle to commence a nullity proceeding on behalf of Conservatee.’
Phipps annulled Elinor’s marriage to Taylor, and revoked Elinor’s will in favor of Taylor. Elinor later stated that she was told that Taylor had other girlfriends and no longer wished to be married to her. Unknown to Elinor, Taylor was expending considerable effort to prevent the annulment.
Phipps’ August 7, 2014 petition states (2:7):
‘Petitioner, upon appointment in September 2013 as Successor Conservatee, moved Conservatee to an undisclosed location for Conservatee’s continued safety and protection.’
Placement in a secured dementia facility requires either consent of the resident or consent of a conservator with dementia powers. Elinor has not been diagnosed with dementia, so her consent was necessary for placement in a secured dementia facility such as Lakeside Park. Elinor reported that Phipps and Lakeside Park “lied” and told her she would have a private room with a door to the garden. For the past year, Elinor has shared a room with another woman. There is no door to the garden, only “four walls.” Elinor has vision impairment that prevents her reading legal documents. Phipps and Lakeside Park engaged in deceit and fraud to obtain Elinor’s signature on the consent form for placement at Lakeside Park.
Phipps then conspired with Executive Director Cheryl Martin to deny Elinor her right to leave the facility, deny her right to visitation, and deny her right to phone calls. Lakeside Park acted on the conspiracy and denied Elinor her right to leave the facility, her right to visitation, and her right to phone calls. Taylor stated that Lakeside Park receives about $7,000/month from Elinor’s estate for their “services.”
In August and September 2014, Kennett Taylor, Annette Hornsby, and the Coalition for Elder & Dependent Adult Rights (CEDAR) filed complaints against Lakeside Park for their violation of Elinor’s right to visitation and their violation of Elinor’s right to phone calls. Community Care Licensing and the Long-term Care Ombudsman advised Lakeside Park that licensing regulations require they allow Elinor to receive visitors and phone calls. Lakeside Park was made to understand that they could lose their license to operate if they continued to violate Elinor’s rights.
On September 3, 2014, Elinor was allowed visitation with Taylor and her friends. After two years of isolation, Elinor was quick to express her affection for Taylor.
‘I love him. We are soul mates.’
‘I want to get married again.’
Elinor was equally quick to express her animosity toward Phipps.
‘He is a bastard. I’ll tell the judge he is a bastard.’
‘I want him gone any way I can do it.’
Phipps created a disturbance and attempted to prevent Elinor’s contact with elder rights advocates who attended the visit. Phipps ordered advocates out of the building and called Oakland Police to have the advocates removed. Elinor told the officers that she wished the advocates to remain. The officers were courteous, professional, and allowed the visit to continue. Officers witnessed Elinor’s statements that she opposed her current situation of confinement and isolation at Lakeside Park. Officer’s witnessed Elinor’s statements that she does not wish Phipps to continue as her conservator.
On September 5, 2014, elder rights advocates again visited Elinor. Phipps again created a disturbance and threatened one of the advocates. Elinor again stated that she does not wish Phipps to continue as her conservator. Lakeside Park Executive Director Cheryl Martin witnessed Phipps’ disruption and Elinor’s statements against him.
On September 7, 2014, elder rights advocates attempted to visit Elinor. Lakeside Park Administrative Assistant Roxie Stevenson rudely denied advocates entry into the building. A member of the Alameda County Advisory Commission on Aging was among the advocates denied entry.
On September 12, 2014, Phipps will bring a petition seeking to strip Elinor of her right to visitation and phone calls (4:16).
‘Petitioner requests this Court grant an order specifically limiting Conservatee’s personal right to receive visitors or phone calls by any person known to be associated with KENNETT TAYLOR, or later discovered to be associated with KENNETT TAYLOR.’
If the court grants Phipps’ request, Elinor could spend the rest of her years confined and isolated from family, friends, and elder rights advocates Phipps and Lakeside Park would be free to perpetrate abuse with impunity.