Monday, October 25, 2010

"So Sue Them, Janet"

After weeks of trying to reach California Assemblyman Dave Jones' aide, Kayte Fisher, I finally found her in today. After my numerous calls to her went unresponded to, I had appealed to others to email her with their concerns about the report to that office concerning the brazen disregard for the law evidenced by the Professional Fiduciaries Bureau. The report is archived at and at

The PFB was set up by an act of the California Legislature in 2006, following public outcry concerning revelations of conservator abuse, published in the 2005 L.A. Times series, "Guardians for Profit--when a family matter becomes a business." The funding for the PFB was stalled as for two years running Governor Schwarzenegger line item vetoed the funding for the new agency. The Bureau opened its doors for business in 2008 and began to accept complaints from members of the public at that time.

The concerns in the report to Jones office focus on two issues--the revelation that the PFB has illegally closed complaints and made misstatements concerning the law to complainants and also that the PFB had ignored Public Records Act requests in violation of the law and thus isobscuring from public oversight the functioning of the Bureau.

Kayte Fisher´s response was curt: "So sue them, Janet."

She denied any capacity in which Assemblyman Dave Jones could act. "He has termed out," she explained. "You can talk to (assembly)members all day long," she stated. She denied that the California Legislature had any impact on the enforcement of the laws they constructed.

Upon further inquiry, she admitted that there was a Legislative Audit Committee which accepts requests for investigation from assemblymembers only. Members of the public must submit requests for investigations through their Legislative representatives.

She repeatedly attempted to state that the ignored public records act requests were improperly submitted. She failed to respond to the fact that the same PRA requests were promptly attended to when submitted by ElderAbuseHelp editorRay Fernandez nor to the fact that this reporter received assurances that information requested back in August,as to the cost to the state of the Melodie Scott matter, would be delivered shortly and then was never supplied. Subsequent Public Records Act requests were also ignored.

The PFB, through its press officer Russ Heimerich, has expressed displeasure that this reporter has maintained that the Bureau has fallen victim to "regulatory capture" and is violating the law to the detriment of those whom it is mandated to protect. After Heimerich sent an email complaining about this to my editor at the San Bernardino County Sentinel, the Bureau stopped responding to any and all Public Records Act requests tendered by this reporter asking for disclosure of information as to how it is handling complaints and also refused to supply information previously requested which the Bureau had already agreed to supply.

In the past week, further information has surfaced revealing that the PFB has routinely closed complaints in the absence of a legal basis to do so. Its first annual report reveals it has conducted no investigations and has made no referrals to law enforcement.

Janet Phelan
October 25, 2010


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