Guardianship Study Commission Message #15

Dear Guardianship Study Commission Members, News Media Professionals, and others:

Today is the 2nd in a series of weekly posts, covering statistical analysis of New Mexico’s courts’ administration of the guardianship cases that come before their judges. This week’s post builds on information discussed last week, analyzing newly-available case dockets made available to the public, as per legal requirements of New Mexico statutes (NMSA 45-5-303 (I); NMSA 45-5-407(M)) and Rules of Court Procedure (NMRA 1-079(D)(7),(9); NMRA 12- 314(C)(9),(12)) which require public access to:

  1. docket entries;
  2. date of the proceeding, appointment and termination;
  3. duration of the guardianship; and
  4. the name and other information necessary to identify the alleged incapacitated person.

 

Limited Data set examined:
Due to our volunteer time constraints, as well as our ability to do the Administrative Office of the Court’s (AOC) work, in tracking and monitoring guardian and conservatorship cases, we chose four District Courts divisions out of New Mexico’s 13 Judicial Districts, to focus on:

  1. Santa Fe – 1st Judicial District – Code ‘101’
  2. Albuquerque – 2nd Judicial District – Code ‘202’
  3. Las Cruses – 3rd Judicial District – Code ‘307’
  4. Bernalillo – 13th Judicial District – Code ‘1329’

We further limited the years examined in these 4 District Courts to January 1, 2010 to June 30, 2017.
Because of our analysis of only these four district courts, for only these given date, the numbers below are incomplete and will not represent a person or corporation’s complete statistics.

However, we feel confident that examination of the complete records for the entire state of New Mexico will only confirm, not change, the trends pointed out below.

Given the restrictions shown above, the total number of cases examined in this report is 2,705.

 

Limitations of publicly-available case docket information

Before looking at some of the statistics derived from the limited data set examined, it is important to note that each court is responsible for entering its own docket information, based upon information given to the court clerk by the attorney(s) involved, or the parties involved, if they are represented pro se.

There has been no attempt to clean-up or correct obvious duplicates, created by multiple courts across the state failing to have use of adequate software to assist them in avoiding duplicate entries. That these duplicate entries exist show that it is highly likely no one in any state-level reviews these statistics, on an annual or regular basis, to monitor who is receiving the bulk of the work awarded in guardianship, conservatorship, and adult protective proceedings cases in New Mexico.

 

What types of parties participate in guardian/conservatorship cases?
Examination of the 2,705 cases that were evaluated in this report, this is a list of the unique Party Types that appeared in the 2,705 case dockets under “Parties to this Case.”

Party Type Description

1 3rd Party Defendant
2 Conservator
3 Counter Defendant
4 Counter Petitioner
5 Cross Defendant
6 Defendant
7 Guardian
8 Guardian Ad Litem
9 Guardian Conservator
10 In the Matter of
11 In The Matter Of Child
12 Interested Party
13 Miscellaneous Plaintiff
14 Petitioner
15 Qualified Health Expert
16 Respondent
17 Trustee
18 Visitor

Note: many of the case dockets are incomplete and do not list all the parties to a case.

For example, many guardian/conservatorship case dockets that represent a court-ordered conscription of a Ward into guardian/conservatorship, never list a Guardian Ad Litem, and yet the position of Guardian Ad Litem is required as per NMSA 45-5-303and NMSA 45-5-407 as defined in NMSA 45-5-303.1 and NMSA 45-5-404.1.This points to more violations of New Mexico statutes by the judges overseeing guardianship cases, and the judges’ failure to ensure the laws of New Mexico are followed.

 

Which parties participate the most frequently in guardian/conservatorship cases?

Frequent participation indicates the parties that have the ability to earn the most money from guardian/conservatorship cases. A simple listing by descending percentages begins to tell some of the story:  NOTE: Only listed are parties that appear in three or more cases.

 

Number of cases received by a “frequent flyer” party to guardianship cases

 

According to the State of New Mexico’s official court files, 14.12% of the court-awarded Guardian Ad Litem positions in guardianship cases in Santa Fe (101), Albuquerque (202), Las Cruses (307), and Bernalillo (1329) for the dates Jan 1, 2010 to June 30, 2017 were filled by ….. ?  We don’t know.  The courts have allowed 14.12% of the attorneys who receive these lucrative and important positions to be anonymous to the public.  That is chilling and indicative of the type of “insider” corruption that mars New Mexico courts’ reputation, undermining its legitimacy and showcasing the problem of the lop-sided and unequal power the courts and their appointed attorneys have over the helpless and incapacitated, as well as their family members.

However, due to the lack of data integrity in the New Mexico District Court’s case dockets, listing the same information alphabetically, instead of by percentage, reveals an even smaller group of parties participating in most of the cases than the first listing provides:  NOTE: Only listed are parties appearing in the largest percentages of case participation.

Number of parties to case, linking individually-named parties to their corporations, showing repeat “Frequent Flyers” are more common that is publicly recognized.

 

Is it just us, or given the scandals involving guardianship that have roiled New Mexico’s judicial system and its powerful appointed attorneys and “professionals,” does anyone think the corporations and individuals listed here should be checked to see when the last time they were audited for accurate and correct bookkeeping, maintaining & upholding their fiduciary responsibilities, and lack of embezzlement, fraud, theft (of identities), and/or money laundering that has been demonstrated to have occurred in not just the guardianship and wasting of Blair Darnell’s estate by Darryl Millet and Greg MacKenzie, but also Ayudando Guardians (by Sharon Moore, Susan Harris and their families) and Desert Trust (by Paul Donisthorpe and his associates, that appears to include the current Mayor of Corrales, Scott Kominiak)?

Maybe these individuals and companies have also received a “D-” rating from the Better Business Bureau, in which case someone should inform the Administrative Office of the Courts, as well as the Office of Guardianship, and other state agencies, as well as Federal law enforcement, since state law enforcement appears completely paralyzed to do anything to protect the vulnerable and easily-exploited, court-controlled Wards and their families.

Second on the list of having received the most guardian/conservatorship cases is Mary Galvez, a social worker (as opposed to being an attorney.)  Galvez received 11.28% of all cases, or a total of 305 cases, awarded by judges in Santa Fe (101), Albuquerque (202), Las Cruses (307), and Bernalillo (1329) for the dates Jan 1, 2010 to June 30, 2017.  That is a huge number for a single individual and/or her (wholly-owned-?) corporation, “Guardianship And Care Management Services LLC.”  We estimate that if Galvez received — on average — approximately $20,000 from each of her court-captive clients, Mary Galvez has earned an estimated $6,100,000 since Jan 1, 2010 — and that’s only in the four District Courts we’ve examined.

Has anyone thought to check when the last time Mary Galvez or her company Guardianship And Care Management Services LLC was audited?  Anyone at the state in charge of overseeing any aspect of guardianships and conservatorships think it prudent to examine if Mary Galvez has outstanding complaints brought against her by the families whose lives she controls?

The state of New Mexico – in its many divisions, along with “non-profit” groups such as Commissioner Gardner’s Disability Rights New Mexico and New Mexico Developmental Disabilities Planning Council, as well as the Governor’s office of Aging & Long Term Services Department– is the largest instigator guardianships in New Mexico. In our opinion, that means the State of New Mexico should be monitoring, safe-keeping, and protecting its wards and their property and assets – including wards’ SSI and VA benefits checks – instead of giving massive contracts out to poorly-supervised companies such as Desert Trust and Ayudando Guardians, and attorneys such as Darryl Millet and Greg MacKenzie — all of whom have shown themselves — through the excellent reporting of the Albuquerque Journal — to not be worthy of the great financial, physical, and emotional well-being of the many wards the Courts routinely place under their control.

 

Which attorneys participate the most frequently in guardian/conservatorship cases?

Our last listing shows that the attorneys that are most involved in not only the Adult Guardianship Study Commission, but also the secretive Adult Protective Proceedings Task Force – which has just received a $20,000 grant from the American Bar Association to address critical issues in guardianship in New Mexico – as well as the New Mexico Guardianship Association (NMGA) are those that earn a lot of money off the way the system is working right now.

 

Of note are four commissioners, two of whom appear to have earned an estimated hundreds of thousands of dollars off their guardianship clients, as well as the frequent participants in NMGA and other professional groups, whose members receiving Continuing Legal Education Credits as well as Social Work Continuing Education credits to participate in “panels,” “task force,” and professional associations whose membership and meetings are not open to the public.

The four Commissioners we spotted on this list are:

Attorney Name Number Of Cases Per Attorney
Mcconnell Gaelle D. 50
Johnson Jill

Johnson Vigil Jill Valerie

29
13 – for a total of 43 cases
Galindo Patricia M. 3
Stelzner Patricia 2

 

Highlighted in this list are attorneys whose names are familiar to us either through the large number of complaints that we have heard about them, or their participation in so many of these task forces, panels and professional groups, it is obvious that they earn quite a living off the way the system is currently run, that having so many of these people who earn their living through guardianship is not conducive to changing the current process.

Which is unfortunate, because the way the system is currently being managed and run – on the state level by the Office of Guardianship, Disability Rights New Mexico, the Governor’s office of Long Term Aging and Care Department, as well as the Administrative Office of the Courts – has lead to the situation where a company can receive upwards of $600,000 annually from the state of New Mexico, be the recipient of numerous, persistent complaints from Wards and their families trapped in guardianship under this company, never be audited (evidently) in over 10 years, and yet the company and its co-owners be indicted on 28 counts of embezzlement, theft, aggravated stolen identity and money laundering, all the while receiving a D- from the Better Business Bureau with 100% negative comments.

But the last people to acknowledge this massive criminality of Ayudando Guardians and what also appears to be criminal fraud, fiduciary malfeasance, and breach of trust at Desert Trust, are the very people who makes most of their money from guardianship. Also included in this inability to distinguish D- companies from ones that are better run are the state “regulators.” Meanwhile District Court Judges awarded Desert Trust virtually all of their victims who’ve have lost every penny of their money. Those are the very people that make up the bulk of the membership on the “Adult Guardianship Study Commission” and who are supposed to change the way the guardianship system is run.

The documented inability of the Courts to follow state laws in guardian and conservatorship cases, as well as the willful blindness of the Courts’ overseers at the State level to look more carefully at who exactly is receiving millions of dollars annually from their unsupervised destruction of Wards’ physical health and well-being, while the Wards’ estates are looted for the personal benefit of their court-ordered captors (AKA guardians) makes us wonder: Who is benefiting from this lack of oversight?  Do any judges own any part of these lucrative corporations that receive state contracts worth millions, but no state oversight? Do any attorneys own parts of these corporations?

____

WillPowerNM has been formed to support and inform each Member of the Commission in their work over the coming weeks and months by preparing and releasing regular email information in a format similar to this weekly message and by establishing and maintaining a publicly accessible and widely promoted web site on the Commission’s important study effort.

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