Guardianship: Always the same playbook – an individual is taken, isolated from most family interaction, medicated, and his/her assets are liquidated (plundered by attorneys)
FROM OUR PRINTED, JULY 1, 2021 EDITION (one of more than 41 articles/columns)
On June 2, 2021, Lisa Siegel Belanger sent the following message to Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey: “AG Healey: Be sure to note the grave conflict of interest by Burns & Levinson in its role as ‘court appointed personal representative’ in the Estate Matter of Marvin Siegel. Your lack of response to the continuing mounting evidence of financial crimes by Jeffrey Martin and his crew speaks volumes.”
So, who is Belanger? Who is Jeffrey Martin (and his crew)? And what’s the issue?
Let’s answer the last question first. Money. Lots of money. An inheritance (or rather, what’s left of the estate from a six-million-dollar man after “plundering” by a gaggle of lawyers), and the “capricious” and “illegal judicial overreach” awarding of legal fees against Belanger, who has repeatedly detailed in her multiple postings, documents, and court filings.
Quickly explained: Belanger is the daughter of the now deceased Marvin Siegel, himself a retired attorney, whom Belanger has detailed in court documents, was snatched by elder services and placed under forced guardianship. For years he was isolated from most family members, force-medicated, and his estate of an estimated six million dollars was “systematically and substantially” liquidated by a horde of attorneys whom Belanger detailed have spent copious time billing one another in what she has described in her court filings as a “racketeering” activity.
At one point, while Belanger’s father lay in the hospital on what she was told would be his last hours of life, Belanger explained that she visited her father. Held his hand. Talked to him. Prayed for him. For these actions, her opponents began the process of removing her law license. More on this in a future story.
Jeffrey Martin is a top dog at Burns & Levinson, a firm linked to an incredible number of guardianship cases. He’s also the top dog, chairman of the Massachusetts Board of Bar Overseers, the powerful, politically charged group which also includes Mass. Governor Charlie Baker’s political appointee, Marsha Kazarosian (Baker recently put her on a commission to recommend high-level judges, and also appointed her to a committee to oversee changes to the State Police).
Here’s where the web gets sticky: Kazarosian is one of the lawyers who made incredible sums billing against the estate of Belanger’s father. So, in an eye-blink summary, attorneys Martin and Kazarosian swim in the same legal pond, gather rays at the same legal beach. “Thick as thieves,” Belanger has noted.
One last (of perhaps 1,000) point: Subsequent to her father being forced into a Probate Court ordered guardianship, Belanger made a name for herself, repeatedly going to bat against Martin’s law firm, attempting to free her father, and attempting to save the freedom and finances of a few other captured souls in Massachusetts also stuck in Burns & Levinson’s guardianship grip.
For any other lawyer, that would be it. Done. Over. Tossed out, dismissed for daring to upset the apple cart, daring to expose or bring any light to what is whispered in dark rooms. But not Lisa Siegal Belanger. She’s not someone who can be intimidated or silenced.
But they have tried. Even going so far as opening up the Massachusetts Supreme Court one day last year, mid-COVID shutdown, apparently just to hold a hearing to silence Belanger. Silent halls, with only a few guards, and a few clerks. Otherwise, what appeared on all levels and schedules to be a vacant building.
At that hearing, held before one lone judge of the state’s highest court, a representative of the Board of Bar Overseers pressed for the removal of Belanger’s law license. Her listed “crimes” included not being nice, not rolling over and playing dead, stepping on a crack, and refusing to follow the directions of a lower court. Ah … that was not the actual list, but it sure sounded like it. Again, they went after her for visiting with her father in the hospital, then refusing for some time to pay thousands in fines the judge imposed on her for seeing her father. Oh, they also accused her of stealing money from her father, a charge which she had previously, repeatedly, and emphatically requested the court investigate fully, and charge her with a crime, or let her clear her name. Nope, just innuendo was tossed at her. Belanger did not attend this kabuki theater hearing.
But you say there is more? Oh yes, and we’ll do our best to detail it in a future edition of the newspaper, including the more than $250,000 in legal fees one lower court judge assessed against Belanger. Why? Because the judge said that’s what it cost other lawyers to defend their client (a Massachusetts man who had been forced into guardianship) against having Belanger represent the man in court, as he had requested.
Bonus: The judge made his $250,000 decree against Belanger on the eve of his retirement from the bench, and he explicitly included that she was not to have any copy of the legal billings, nor be able to make any copies; rather, she could pre-arrange to view them, with a guard accompanying her. In short, pay up, go away and keep your silence.
Of course, the absurdity of such a crushing financial bill and the way it was leveled on Belanger is not the end of it. This year, lawyers from the firm of Burns & Levinson noted in a letter to Belanger that while she doesn’t have the money to pay for what the judge had ordered, she’s going to get money from what’s left of her father’s estate, and would have to turn that over to them. Yes, some of the very people who drained Belanger’s father’s estate out of millions, and who fought to isolate and silence Belanger, and who imposed crippling fines/fees on her, are now coming back for whatever crumbs they can grab from her. She’s to be ruined, destroyed, and left to waste. Just like her father.
Belanger had previously provided to the attorney general the copy of a letter she received from the Burns & Levinson law firm which she termed “outright criminal extortion.” In any other place, this would be grounds for an investigation. In Massachusetts, Belanger said the attorney general appears to have no interest, or is complicit with the “guardianship racket.”
Again, we have thousands of court documents our team is now processing on this guardianship case, as well as many others from the more than 10,000 cases we have begun to look at. Stay tuned.