Mass. guardianship documents missing in mail and fax storm
Posted November 14, 2018 07:16:51 In the days since the state Supreme Court ordered the removal of guardianship papers for some residents of St. Louis County, the mail has been piling up.
In the past month alone, a total of 17,948 letters have been sent, according to a Postmedia analysis of court records and public records requests.
Of those, 3,637 were from the St. Clair County Public Defender’s office.
The rest came from other local officials.
A spokesman for the office did not return a request for comment on the latest wave of mail.
The latest batch of letters, which include some sent in response to a Freedom of Information Act request, came to the attention of the St Louis Post-Dispatch when a former client named Mary Ann Jones filed a lawsuit alleging that she was the victim of guardianships fraud and other fraud.
The suit alleges that she received a letter from the state Attorney General’s Office stating that she and her husband had been declared incompetent to be guardians of their daughter and a guardian of their two grandchildren.
The letter also included a copy of a “form letter” that she had signed for the State Department of Health to be delivered to her office in St. Charles, Missouri.
The “form” letter states that her husband, John Jones, is a “licensed physician in St Louis” and that he had been appointed guardian of her and her grandchildren, according the lawsuit.
“The Attorney General is now aware of the information I provided,” the suit states.
“As soon as I received the form letter, I called my son to let him know that my wife was receiving an appointment for a hearing with the AG, and that we were ready to get the docs.”
The suit also alleges that the AG’s office has no record of Mary Ann and her family being “declared incompetent” to be guardian of the children, and it was not until a recent court filing that the state made an official claim that their guardianship was terminated because they were not receiving adequate care.
Jones’ husband, who is also a former health care provider, also sent a letter to the Post-Register, saying he would file a complaint with the St Clair County District Attorney’s Office, according a copy provided to the newspaper.
The Post-Report reached out to the DA’s office but did not receive a response.
Jones, who says that she has a history of mental illness and has difficulty understanding the process of guardians’ appointments, said that she is a victim of “misuse” of the system and is “very disappointed in the lack of action by the DA and the St Charles County Police Department.”
She added that the process for receiving guardianship is confusing and confusing and she is “furious at what is going on.”
“The problem is, it’s a big step and I think there’s a lot of people who are not being protected, because the state is so lazy,” she said.
Despite the recent flurry of letters and notices, a growing number of citizens and local officials say that they have not been served by the state or its agencies, according of the Postmedia’s analysis of public records and court filings.
More than 1,000 people have signed an online petition calling on the Missouri Attorney General to release the records of guardians who are being served by St. Claire County Public Defenders.
The petition is currently being circulated on the petition website Change.org and on Twitter, as well as by email and Facebook.
In addition to the requests from St. Paul, St. Joseph, and St. Peters, more than 2,000 more letters and letters from other agencies have been submitted to the Attorney General, according.
“The AG’s Office has a long history of abusing its powers and has not provided us with any response to these letters,” the petition says.
“We urge the AG to act quickly to release all records of these guardians, as the state has been unable to provide us with a response to our petitions.”
St. Louis residents are being asked to submit their guardians’ requests online at [email protected] or by mail to the Office of Attorney General at 10500 S. Washington Street, St Louis, MO 63116.
This story has been updated to include information from the Missouri Department of Justice.