BIRMINGHAM, Ala., March 10, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — Today, legal counsel for the estate of the late Joann «Mama B» Bashinsky, the beloved Alabama philanthropist, announced several developments in the case of the permanent guardianship petition that haunted her for the last 18 months of her life before she passed away on January 3, 2021.
On Friday, Bashinsky’s counsel filed an appeal with the Alabama Supreme Court on one motion challenging an order issued by Judge A. Lee Tucker to pay a guardian ad litem fees for his own attorney on a prior matter. Following their appeal, Judge Tucker hastily ruled on numerous motions that have been delayed for weeks. Most notably, Tucker made a highly unusual ruling to deny the motion to dismiss the case in light of Mrs. Bashinsky’s death, further highlighting the numerous conflicts of interest among those involved in the case, including the judges and petitioners. The family is now forced to have to go to the Alabama Supreme Court once again because Judge Tucker won’t let the case die.
«These new decisions by Judge A. Lee Tucker are extremely disheartening, and confirm the corruption within the Jefferson County guardianship system at the hands of temporary conservator Greg Hawley and guardian ad litem Ken Guin, as directed first by Judge Alan King and now by Judge Tucker,» said attorney Susan Walker. «In my opinion, his latest rulings show that this court is failing to provide justice and fairness, as the Judge continues a case that has tormented the friends and family of Mama B, who suffered great distress for the last months of her life because of the permanent petition for guardianship and for conservatorship that threatened her finances and independence.»
The case has taken many unseemly twists and turns from the first day Mrs. Bashinsky’s fomer employees, John McKleroy and Patty Townsend, filed a petition to place her under a guardianship the very day she appropriately terminated them. On July 2, 2020, the Alabama Supreme Court issued an opinion declaring the emergency petition failed to establish an emergency and holding Mrs. Bashinsky was denied her constitutional due process rights. Since her death, the burden of exorbitant and unnecessary expenses on her family has endured as they navigate a case that would have typically died with the subject.
«Since the Alabama Supreme Court last saw this case, in my opinion it’s clear that petitioners McKleroy and Townsend along with former temporary conservator Hawley and guardian ad litem Guin are not acting in the best interests of Mrs. Bashinksy, but in their own financial interests, especially considering that they continue to pursue the assets of an elderly widow no longer alive to defend herself,» said attorney Walker. «There is no plausible explanation in my opinion as to why Judge Tucker would drag out the case of a deceased woman other than that it’s in the best interests of his friends in a system ripe with corruption and financial exploitation.»
There is currently unprecedented national attention on the issue of guardianship abuse, spurred on by major motion pictures, documentaries, and passionate opinion pieces from national political leaders like Gov Mike Huckabee, who called conservatorship abuse of seniors «a nationwide epidemic» deserving of «bipartisan reform and a grassroots campaign» when speaking of Mrs. Bashinsky’s legal battle against predatory and exploitative petitioners.
People are becoming aware of the injustices suffered by vulnerable individuals, and they’re ready to come to the defense of those who have been subjected to abusive treatment by a system that was supposed to help, not hurt them. People can help by reaching out to their elected officials, calling the Attorney for Jefferson County and their state legislators and demanding justice for Mama B, and starting conversations within their spheres of influence
«Every person in the state of Alabama who has an elderly loved one should pay close attention and realize the implications of this case,» said Walker. «With a national spotlight on guardianship abuse currently, there’s never been a better time for reform,» she concluded.
Reference: CASE NO. 19BHM02213
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SOURCE The estate of “Mama B” Bashinsky