Friday, October 23, 2009

As Scott’s Licensing Hearing Resumes, Conservatee Dies under 'Curious' Circumstances

By Janet C. Phelan AS published San Bernandino County Sentinel on 10-23-2009

San Bernandino County,California

On the eve of a hearing to determine whether conservator Melodie Scott will be granted a license, one of her conservatees has died under curious circumstances.
De’Wayne Cory, age 40, died of a sudden massive coronary on October 19. Sources close to Melodie Scott state that Cory was rushed to the San Antonio Hospital early Monday morning, where he was pronounced dead shortly thereafter. Cory became a quadriplegic following an accident a number of years ago. He received a multi-million dollar award from a subsequent lawsuit.

Melodie Scott, who is president of C.A.R.E., Inc. in Redlands, petitioned for conservatorship of estate and took control of his finances in 2008. Cory’s mother, Betty, was conservator of person.
According to sources close to the family, Cory was reportedly feeling fine early Monday morning. The caregiver, Willy, who had been hired by Scott to care for Cory, arrived at the house around 8 a.m .to help Cory out of bed. Soon after, Cory began feeling ill, complaining of chest pains. Betty Cory, who has lived with her son since he became disabled, called 911.

The caregiver, who reportedly is not CNA certified nor has first aid training, began thumping on Cory’s chest.Cory was taken by ambulance to San Antonio Hospital in Upland where he died around 10 a.m. Initially, sources close to Betty Cory affirmed that an autopsy had been ordered. This was later reversed on medical advice, as was the request that a toxicology exam be ordered.

In the October 16 edition of the Sentinel, questions were raised as to some of Scott’s actions as Cory’s conservator. Scott’s attorney, J. David Horspool, did not respond to phone calls from the SenFreetinel questioning why the highest bid on a pool for Cory was granted and more reasonable bids ignored. Questions have been raised as to whether or not Scott had a personal relationship with the pool contractor, Kirk Gillette. Other questions concerning financial decisions made by Scott in the course of the Cory conservatorship have recently been raised as well, such as the hours billed by the caregiver which may be in excess of the hours worked. Other questions have surfaced regarding a five thousand dollar remodel bill on a motorized wheelchair used by Cory. In addition, questions have arisen as to why Melodie Scott was represented in conservatorshp proceedings by more than one attorney, thus apparently doubling the legal fees for the disabled man.

Sources close to Betty Cory have raised concerns about why a registered nurse was not hired to care for Cory. According to these sources, the caregiver refused to employ the lift to place De’Wayne Cory into the bathtub or wheel him into the disabled access shower.
In the week prior to Cory’s death, the Sentinel had received reports that Betty Cory had become disillusioned with Melodie Scott’s actions as conservator of estate and was planning on having her replaced.

As Cory has died under conservatorship with Scott, it is likely that she will execute his estate.
Calls from the Sentinel to Scott and her attorney did not elicit a response.

Previous questions have been raised concerning deaths of Scott conservatees, including Elizabeth Fairbanks, Stevie Price, Doris Baker, Freeland Allison, and Ann Cole.
At press time, the licensing hearings for Scott were still under way in Oakland Administrative Court. Her chief counsel, J. David Horspool, faces sanctioning hearings in Riverside Superior Court on Friday, October 23, for a failure to appear at a hearing where Scott is being sued.

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