FROM OUR APRIL 1, 2019 PRINTED EDITION:
GUARDIANS TAKE TOTAL CONTROL: ISOLATE, MEDICATE, LIQUIDATE
The Tragic End of Marvin Siegel’s Life
by Lonnie Brennan
“They killed him,” Marvin Siegel’s daughter Lisa Siegel Belanger wrote in a text. She followed up to explain that six years of round-the-clock captivity in his own home and in various medical facilities, together with forced drugging and morphine, lack of proper care and the ability for his family to interact with him and help with decisions, accelerated her father’s death.
As we previously reported in this paper through a multi-part series of articles, including a personal account by Lisa, six years ago her father was taken from his Boxford, Mass. home via ambulance at the direction of a visiting nurse, and was shortly thereafter placed in a psychiatric facility, forced on drugs, and then, while in the facility, signed over control of his estate to what Lisa detailed as predatory lawyers. That list of “predators” is long, and despite many trips to court to fight them, the lawyers continued to prevail.
It IS All About the Money
At the time of his taking, Mr. Siegel’s known assets exceeded $6 million. During the past six years, attorneys drew off more than $4 million in what they termed as caring for the senior. A large chunk of that money was spent on round-the-clock home health care. But the numbers included more, much more.
Indeed, a review of the finances showed certain attorneys drawing tens of thousands of dollars and more, quarterly from the estate, with some racking up more than $200,000 in billing, and at attorney rates over a wide range, including some at more than $450 per hour.
For their fees they answered e-mails from one another, paid Mr. Siegel’s bills, ensured that he had his trash removed, the utilities bills paid, grass mowed, repairs made, and all the normal things to keep a household going.
With the signing over of his estate, Mr. Siegel lost all control and was appointed a guardian and other lawyers who managed his affairs. He was force-drugged without his knowledge to keep him complacent, and he began a long, slow decline, according to multiple court documents and written and oral testimony and writings by some of his family members.
Having to Beg to See Her Dad, Having to Beg for Information
We’ve covered several takings of seniors by groups such as Jewish Family & Children’s Service where in a seeming instant, things go from fine to horrific, from simple care to snatch and hide, according to the statements and court documents filed by multiple families who are left shocked that such a thing could happen.
With the exception of the money involved, Marvin’s case mirrored others: An individual is taken, isolated from most family interaction, medicated, and his/her assets are liquidated.
What is left are family members who have lost all control. In this case, Lisa had to beg permission to see her dad. She had to beg permission to access any information about him (how he was doing, where he is – what hospital and why), and despite repeated, documented e-mail exchanges with the guardian, including Attorney Brian Bixby, she was always left begging for permission and most often not provided basic information.
Now, think of this: Your father is a retired attorney; he has his will and all his estate documents well taken care of, and in the nightmare blink of an eye, everything is locked down by the courts and controlled by strangers. One of those strangers was an attorney whom Lisa and her father hired to defend him against the forced guardianship. That lawyer, Attorney Marsha V. Kazarosian, initially worked on Marvin’s behalf, stating for the courts that he was not suffering from dementia and could manage his own affairs, then rapidly switched teams, even refusing to accept Marvin’s firing of her, as documented in Lisa’s filings with the court, which also included secured e-mails from Kazarosian.
While we all like to think that the side of good will always win out in the end, occasionally time runs out. But is it the end?
Marvin’s objections and that of two of his three daughters were constantly outgunned, as lawyers used Marvin’s money against him, drawing off his accounts to pay their own fees to maintain control of his money. Seriously, you can’t make this stuff up. We have obtained multiple records confirming this practice and will print or post these on the Internet as time allows.
Curiously, Marvin’s third daughter appeared to not bring objections against her father’s taking and the lawyers’ expenditures throughout the ordeal. Recent, court-required accountings have revealed that this daughter received multiple, five-figure “gifts” from Marvin’s estate, courtesy of the court-appointed attorneys. Lisa has requested to know why, but as of press time, no answer has been forthcoming.
But Where from Here?
While the Boston Broadside can provide an overview of the case and point readers to our past printed and Web-posted stories, we have barely scratched the surface. Many volumes, folders, recordings, videos, transcripts, e-mails, and other documents we continue to collect show one thing quite clearly: The daughters were provided incomplete, inconsistent, and often disturbing accounts of their father’s health. This included what Lisa termed ice-cold and conflicting updates from various lawyers and elder-service representatives, who one day would push hospice care in an abrupt e-mail and then a day or two later comment how Marvin had made a miraculous recovery, seemingly acting as if the clock had turned back a year or more.
Similarly, Lisa noted that it seemed like on the eve of nearly every court date she had to appear, her father was abruptly checked into a hospital for observation. Lisa said, “I think they just want to mess with me. This, and for some reason, he would be perfectly fine on a Friday, then on a Monday morning they would transport him to the hospital and he would spend one or more days there, then be discharged. I kept asking about what kind of care he was getting on weekends, that it must be a problem. But no, no answers.”
The guardians once had total control; now they have none. The sisters must find out what happens next, how the estate will be settled, how any wounds can be healed. How they can find closure. How their families can function moving forward, and if there will be any justice for their father.
In 2015, after extensive research through many case files in multiple courthouses, Attorney Lisa Siegel Belanger filed an extensive federal civil action in which she claimed Atty. Kazarosian “was part of a long-embedded insidious enterprise of corrupt lawyers and judges using the Massachusetts Probate & Family Court system to exploit elders.”
In response to her filing, Kazarosian, a powerfully connected, high-profile political appointee of Gov. Charlie Baker, sought to strip Lisa of her license to practice law. In their complaint, B.B.O. File NO. C2-12-002476408 – Marsha V. Kazarosian, et. al., the lawyers who have controlled Mr. Siegel’s estate – submitted 101 pages of counter-claims against Lisa Siegel Belanger, inclusive of exhibits which admonish Lisa for speaking to the press. The exhibits include several pages of Boston Broadside coverage of the case. Wait until next issue: We’ll be printing a lot of documents on this case. For now, please see www.BostonBroadside.com/Marvin for more details. ♦