Halt Elder Abuse of US Veteran, Mrs. Mary Stevens, by Fairfax County
PETITION IN SUPPORT OF FAIRFAX COUNTY RESIDENT, MARY E. STEVENS
Dear Chairman Bulova, Vice-Chairman Gross, and Members of the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors,
We are writing as members and friends of New Hope Fellowship Church in Chantilly, as well as alumni and friends of Falls Church High School in the Providence District of Fairfax County, on behalf of the parent of one of our classmates, Mrs. Mary E. Stevens of Pine Spring. We are greatly concerned about what appears to be Guardianship Abuse by an Arlington attorney, Eugene D. Robinson III, Esq., who was appointed at Fairfax County’s recommendation to take control over virtually every aspect of Mrs. Stevens’ life, including her money, all her valuables, the real estate holdings that she worked to earn for more than sixty years, and even her medical care.
Mrs. Stevens’ family members have advised us about what appears to be highly questionable behavior by Eugene Robinson III. Shortly after being appointed at the recommendation of Fairfax County’s Office of Adult Protective Services, Mr. Robinson immediately terminated Mrs. Stevens’ phone, internet, fax, and cable services, even though her son, Lee Stevens, had offered to pay for the cost of her communications out of his own pocket. Mrs. Stevens and her family members advised Mr. Robinson that he was disrupting the communications link which Mrs. Stevens needed to reach her team of physicians at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, where the military has set up as a secure system that cannot easily be accessed through a local library or a private nursing home. As a result of Robinson’s questionable action to interfere with her ability to order her prescription drugs from military sources, Mrs. Stevens developed a severe blood clot in her leg that required emergency medical treatment at Inova Fairfax Hospital, followed a day later by emergency surgery that was difficult, life-threatening, and painful. Mrs. Stevens only survived this ordeal due to excellent emergency room treatment by the physicians and surgeons at Inova Fairfax Hospital. Her doctors told her family that the large blood clot that she experienced due to the disruption of her ability to obtain her prescriptions was very nearly fatal to Mrs. Stevens.
Mrs. Stevens is also not receiving the Physical Therapy that her physicians at Walter Reed have prescribed. This has resulted in rapid deterioration of the muscle strength that Mrs. Stevens wants and needs to maintain. When Fairfax County’s “code inspectors,” led by senior investigator William Caudle, forcibly ejected Mrs. Stevens from her home, she was still able to walk on her own power at the time, and received daily exercise from a licensed physical therapist. This is no longer the case, and Mrs. Stevens is now confined to a wheelchair. Mrs. Stevens wants very much to obtain Physical Therapy from her the excellent staff at Walter Reed, but her “Guardian,” Eugene Robinson III, has prohibited her son from taking her to see her own doctors as she has specifically requested. Robinson claims that her doctor is located at “Sunrise,” her retirement care facility, but the part-time physician whom Mrs. Stevens rarely even sees at Sunrise is hardly comparable to the extraordinary TEAM of physicians and other care providers, including Primary Care Physicians, geriatric specialists, oncologists, and essentially any other type of medical specialty that Mrs. Stevens might need. Also, instead of being charged to her huge bill at Sunrise, Mrs. Stevens’ treatment at Walter Reed is entirely covered by her excellent military medical benefits, and costs her essentially nothing.
One of the most troubling aspects of Mrs. Stevens’ treatment by Fairfax County is the effort by the County’s Adult Protective Services staff to declare her “mentally incapacitated,” which many of us know to be completely untrue. The County relied on a psychologist from Occoquan in Prince William County, who falsely claimed that Mrs. Stevens scored in the “bottom five percent” of people in her age group for her mental performance. Recognizing that the assessment of Mrs Stevens was completely untrue, her son took her to have a more accurate evaluation of her mental capacity done by the head of Geriatric Medicine at Walter Reed, a recognized authority in his field, who immediately pronounced her to be NOT “mentally incapacitated,” but said she was actually “typical of other persons in her age group.” Her doctor further said that “Mrs. Stevens would do just fine in her own home,” and her son has arranged for her to have nursing care, maid service, a renovated bathroom and kitchen, and a special hospital bed in her room. For reasons that only Fairfax County can explain, the tests done at Walter Reed were not allowed to be admitted into evidence during Mrs. Stevens’ civil trial on April 5, 2017 even though the results would have likely exonerated her.
The County’s psychologist also claimed that Mrs. Stevens’ mental capacity was “not likely to improve,” creating yet another false impression of Mrs. Stevens during her Trial by Fairfax County. In fact, Mrs. Stevens was prescribed a low-dose drug, Rivastigmine (also known by the brand name, “EXELON”) which is administered through a transdermal patch placed on the back of the neck daily. Almost immediately, Mrs. Stevens improved dramatically in daily testing of her mental performance by a licensed Therapist. Mrs. Stevens actually improved so significantly that her Therapist described her test results as “nearly perfect” and heaped tremendous praise on the excellent doctors at Walter Reed. Fairfax County’s reaction was radically different: apparently fearing that improved test results would be grounds for exonerating Mrs. Stevens during her trial, the County’s social worker, Michelle Reese (who has apparently since been dismissed by Fairfax County), ordered this beneficial therapy to be discontinued. This is incredible misconduct by a County employee.
Additional malfeasance by the County, which may help to explain the extraordinary desire of County employees to declare Mrs. Stevens to be “mentally incpacitated” despite significant evidence to the contrary, is the performance of an entire team of County employees from “Code Inspectors” to “Adult Protective Services.” While Mrs. Stevens was asleep in bed one morning in the summer of 2016, this group entered Mrs. Stevens’ home in violation of her Fourth Amendment rights under the Constitution and ransacked Mrs. Stevens’ property and belongings. They broke the lock leading into the Photography Studio of Mrs. Stevens’ late husband, Frank Stevens, and they broke the locks on two other buildings, including a patio shed that the Code Inspectors already KNEW to be in compliance with County requirements at the time it was constructed. Worst of all, the County’s personnel illegally entered a hallway closet in Mrs. Stevens’ home, and tore apart a beautiful collection of oriental silk gowns that had been a gift from Mrs. Stevens’ husband to her while her husband had been stationed overseas just prior to their marriage in 1955. The valuable collection of gowns was torn apart and strewn all over the hallway in the rear of Mrs. Stevens’ home. Mrs. Stevens was stunned at the vandalism of these irreplaceable gowns by Fairfax County, as the Inspectors’ way of saying “look here, Mrs. Stevens, we’re not going to let a 92-year-old woman mess with the power of Fairfax County just because she asserts her Fourth Amendment rights!” Other family members and neighbors also witnessed the aftermath of this destruction.
Obviously Mrs. Stevens’ tormenters did not share this concern, as the County’s website indicates that the head of the inspection team, Senior Inspector William Caudle, was awarded a $10,000 bonus by Fairfax County on top of his regular salary, presumably at taxpayer expense. Caudle’s team very likely committed a FELONY by destroying Mrs. Stevens’ valuable, irreplaceable property. Why does Fairfax County find it necessary to reward criminal misconduct by its employees with bonuses?
As if all of this wasn’t bad enough already, things only became much worse during Mrs. Stevens’ phony “Trial” for alleged mental incapacity. Mrs. Stevens tried very hard to hire Defense Counsel to assist her during the “Trial,” but she was thwarted due to improper interference from the two County-appointed “Guardian” attorneys who stood to benefit financially if Mrs. Stevens lost her case. At the end of her Trial, Mrs. Stevens was asked by the Judge if she wanted to make a Closing Statement, and Mrs. Stevens responded that yes, she did. However, as she began to read the Statement she had prepared, her “Guardian ad litem” attorney whom the County had appointed, reached over and forcibly snatched the notes out of her hand, claiming that “her son had helped her write the statement,” which was not only false, but was also completely irrelevant to Mrs. Stevens’ RIGHT to defend herself during a civil trial. Not surprisingly, Mrs. Stevens was found Guilty at her trial, and Fairfax County placed all her property and belongings, which she had EARNED through years of hard work, into the hands of a court-appointed “Guardian,” Eugene D. Robinson III.
Robinson immediately proceeded to sell Mrs. Stevens’ beloved riverfront vacation home in Culpeper County for a mere $60,000 when the assessed value was actually $180,000. All the interior belongings, some of which were the property of family members, were disposed of as well. Mrs. Stevens believes this a clear violation of Robinson’s fiduciary duty to her, and is a clear example of Guardianship Fraud. The sale of her property is even more egregious because her next-door neighbor had wanted to purchase Mrs. Stevens’ seven-acre parcel of land, but was never given the opportunity to do so. This is a blatant violation of a Court Order that required Robinson to consult with Mrs. Stevens before disposing of any of her property or belongings. In nearly two years of court-mandated “guardianship,” Robinson has never contacted Mrs. Stevens, even once.
Robinson next sold the Falls Church condominium of our friend and classmate, Lee Stevens, who was half-owner of this property along with his mother. Robinson sold the condo for just $220,000 when identical neighboring units were being sold for upwards of $315,000. Once again, Robinson completely ignored Mrs. Stevens’ objections to the sale of this residence, which her son had paid for entirely from his own earnings. Robinson denied her son of his right as a co-owner for even a penny of the proceeds from the sale of the property or its interior contents, falsely claiming that her son has “wasted” the property. However, the County’s records showed consistent INCREASES in the value of the property, which is hardly an example of “waste.” Still worse, Robinson applied a standard that only applies to TENANTS of a property, when in fact Lee Stevens was on the Title as an OWNER and therefore not subject to an accusation of “waste,” even if it were true (which it was not). Robinson was apparently willing to commit a Fraud on the Court in order to obtain a judgment in his favor.
Robinson has recently told Mrs. Stevens’ family members that he intends to sell Mrs. Stevens’ main residence in the Pine Spring subdivision of Fairfax County, even though this is financially unnecessary. The property is worth approximately $600,000 and could easily meet Mrs. Stevens’ financial needs with a Reverse Mortgage or other less draconian financial strategy. Once again, Robinson has decided to completely ignore Mrs. Stevens’ objections to his sales tactics and violation of Court orders.
In support of Mrs. Stevens, we respectfully request the following actions:
1. Immediately dismiss Eugene D. Robinson III as “Guardian/Conservator” for Mrs. Stevens and prohibit him from ever serving again as a Guardian for an Elderly Person. Mrs. Stevens correctly describes Robinson as having committed “Elder Abuse,” both medically and financially. For a person who is appointed to the exceptionally powerful duties Robinson is now wielding, is outrageous and should not be permitted to take place under the color of law. Robinson should be permanently banned from ever serving as a “Guardian” in the Commonwealth of Virginia (or anywhere else, for that matter). Eugene D. Robinson III and William Lawrance should be given “no-contact” orders that would prevent them from ever entering Mrs. Stevens’s properties or having any further contact with her in any manner. Any documents, correspondence, etc. taken from Mrs. Stevens, or removed from her mail, should be returned to her without delay. Fairfax County should seriously consider issuing Professional Misconduct complaints against both Robinson and Lawrance, possibly leading to their disbarment.
2. Reverse the Civil Court “conviction” of Mrs. Stevens for the phony accusation of mental incapacity, and return all of her property, retirement funds, investment accounts, and belongings to her immediately. Return her son’s condo to him, or compensate him at the market value of the property which was $315,000 at the time Robinson sold it. The compensation should be paid by Robinson through the Bond he is required to carry as a Guardian, or from Robinson’s considerable personal assets. It should NOT be paid by County taxpayers. Require that Robinson return all of Mr. Stevens’ possessions from inside his condominium, or compensate him for the full value of what Robinson took illegally and without any advance notification. ALSO, Mrs. Stevens believes she had signed a Durable Power of Attorney in 2016 which was improperly ignored by the Court in appointing Eugene Robinson III instead. Mrs. Stevens believes this Durable Power of Attorney, designating her Son as her Guardian, should have been respected by Fairfax County and by the Courts.
3. Immediately allow Mrs. Stevens to see her son with no restrictions on his visits and communicate this decision to the Sunrise retirement home right away. Robinson has prohibited Mrs. Stevens and her son from seeing each other for over two weeks now, which is both cruel and unwarranted. If Mrs. Stevens still wants her son, Lee Stevens, to resume his previous duties as her Guardian, which she has specifically said is her wish, then Fairfax County should support her decision. Lee Stevens will accept no compensation at all from Mrs. Stevens for any services he might perform. Robinson’s ban on Lee Stevens from ever seeing his mother also is not only cruel and unwarranted on its face, but it effectively prevents his mother from having the Pastoral visits that she cherishes. This is a severe infringement of Mrs. Stevens’ religious liberty and her right to worship as she wishes.
4. Immediately allow Mrs. Stevens to obtain the care she needs from her team of physicians and other medical personnel at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center and give great deference to any recommendations they make regarding her care, including the proper medical evaluation of Mrs. Mary E. Stevens’ medical needs, particularly her colon cancer diagnosis. Neither Fairfax County, nor any of its representatives (especially Eugene Robinson III), should interfere in any way with Mrs. Stevens’ medical care.
5. If Mrs. Stevens, in consultation with her excellent team of medical personnel and social workers at Walter Reed, wishes to transfer to a different, fully-accredited care facility, Fairfax County and its representatives should in no way interfere with the decision to do so.
6. Investigate, and if necessary, issue appropriate reprimands, for the misconduct of the team of County workers, led by William Caudle, who improperly entered Mrs. Stevens’ home in the summer of 2016. Rescind any “bonuses” that may have been paid by Fairfax County to employees who were clearly violating an elderly citizen’s rights.
7. Investigate, preferably with the assistance of a skilled Forensic Accountant, the forced sale of Mrs. Stevens’ property on Hazel River Road in Culpeper, VA which was sold for only a fraction of its market value on the orders of Eugene D. Robinson III. You should negate the sale and return Mrs. Stevens’ property to her, consistent with the provisions of Senate Bill S. 178, the Elder Abuse Protection and Prosecution Act, which has now been signed into law. This legislation calls for the return of any property that has been improperly confiscated by a Guardian.
8. Investigate, and compensate Lee Stevens and his mother for the full market value of their condominium property on Lee Oaks Court in Falls Church, which was at least $315,000 at the time of its forced sale by Eugene D. Robinson III. Mr. Stevens should also be fully compensated for the value of his home’s interior contents, for which he has never been compensated in any way whatsoever. The County should also investigate Robinson’s sale of this property at another “fire-sale” price, and ask a Forensic Accountant to determine whether there was fraud and/or violation of Robinson’s fiduciary duties.
9. Immediately halt any sale of Mrs. Stevens’ property on Pine Spring Road in the Providence District. Investigate the disposition of Mrs. Stevens’ belongings and other property, particularly any items in her late husband’s former photography studio, Mrs. Stevens’ small “craft room” adjacent to the photography studio, and any items belonging to Mrs. Stevens or her family from the enclosed carport, garden shed, patio shed, bicycle shed, and/or other out-buildings on Mrs. Stevens’ property. Mrs. Stevens and her family should be fully compensated for any damages or items sold.
10. Fairfax County Police should be tasked to initiate a criminal investigation into the possible theft of Mrs. Stevens’ belongings and those of her son, Lee Stevens. The County should bring in an experienced Evidence Technician to photograph and otherwise catalog the entire contents of Mrs. Stevens properties, including the properties in Culpeper County, the condominium on Lee Oaks Court in Falls Church, and the home on Pine Spring Road in Falls Church. The County-appointed “Guarantor/Guardian” attorneys are required to comply with detailed record-keeping of all items taken from Mrs. Stevens, and if they have not done so it is likely a case of criminal theft of an elderly person’s property.
11. Lee Stevens had arranged for a local charity to repair the roof leak in the master bedroom of Mrs. Stevens’ home. Repair work was halted out of necessity due to the interference of Eugene D. Robinson who locked Mrs. Stevens and her family members out of Mrs. Stevens’ residence. These repairs should be allowed to proceed without any interference by Eugene D. Robinson III or by Fairfax County “Code Inspectors.” Mrs. Stevens should be allowed to return her home to a fully livable condition, and Robinson should therefore be ordered to immediately return the house keys and any of Mrs. Stevens’ properties and other belongings.
12. Require Fairfax Water to compensate Mrs. Stevens for the disconnection of her water supply, when she had actually paid her water bill on or about January 2015.
13. Mrs. Stevens is the widow of a Veteran with a 100 percent service-connected disability. As such, Mrs. Stevens is exempt from having to pay Fairfax County property taxes under Virginia law. Any unpaid property taxes or penalties that were incurred while Mrs. Stevens was being held against her will at Sunrise retirement facility should be immediately and permanently forgiven.
14. Fairfax County should pay the cost of any Physical Therapy and any related expenses, including skilled nursing, while Mrs. Stevens endeavors to regain her mobility. Her therapies, including therapy to assist in improving her memory and cognition, were helpful to Mrs. Stevens and should never have been discontinued, especially while County attorneys were simultaneously accusing Mrs. Stevens of “mental incapacity.” The County cannot have it both ways.
Fairfax County should reconsider it is obsession with “Code Violations” and show greater sensitivity to citizens, particularly the elderly. For example, Senior Inspector William Caudle informed Mrs. Stevens that her small patio shed was a “Code Violation” and would need to be demolished. This was extremely upsetting to Mrs. Stevens, who at the time was in her early 90s. Unfortunately Caudle was totally wrong in his accusation – Mrs. Stevens’ husband had written to Fairfax County before installing the patio shed, and was informed that at the time (in the mid-1970s) that it was allowable and did not even require a construction permit. It was only due to Frank Stevens’ meticulous record-keeping that Mrs. Stevens was able to demonstrate that Caudle was incorrect, and was clearly trying to bully her.
The County should also recognize that forcing citizens to defend themselves against relatively frivolous “Code Violations” such as the highly-publicized episode regarding the legality of multicolored Church signs a few years ago, is a waste of taxpayer dollars and accomplishes nothing to improve the quality of life in Fairfax County. In particular, “Code Enforcement” against an elderly citizen can be extremely traumatic and disruptive. Fairfax County should cease trying to create the perfect “Nanny State” in which a huge range of normal behaviors are subjected to government oversight and whim. Reliance on County Codes should be curtailed significantly and imposed on citizens only as a last resort.
14. Mrs. Stevens should receive a formal apology on behalf of the Citizens of Fairfax County, particularly for the false accusations of “mental incapacity” and other indignities she suffered, including false imprisonment in a “retirement facility” when she wanted to return to her own home.
Mrs. Stevens is a Veteran of service to our military, particularly in the Berlin Airlift following World War II, and also was a valued staff member in support of the Commanding General, U.S. Air Force Intelligence in the Pentagon. She provided courageous, dedicated, and unblemished service to our Nation and she should be honored accordingly.
15. Likewise, Mrs. Stevens’ son, Lee Stevens, was forcibly removed from his home and contracted pneumonia after becoming homeless due to the actions of Fairfax County in denying him his residence in which to live. Mr. Stevens was later evicted from staying in a County-owned homeless shelter simply because he had been given an arbitrary “exit date” by shelter staff, even though he had nowhere else to live. Lee Stevens was then forced to stay in a tent without any other place in which to reside. Promises of assistance with housing rentals were never kept. Lee Stevens should receive a formal apology from Fairfax County due to the loss of his condominium home of which he was a co-owner and had fully paid for.
16. Ensure that Fairfax County fully complies with Senate Bill S. 178, the “Elder Abuse Prevention and Prosecution Act,” which was recently signed into law as Public Law 115-70. Conduct a complete overhaul of the County’s Office of Adult Protective Services to ensure that the types of abuses suffered by Mrs. Stevens in this case can never happen again. Consider collaborations with groups such as the Americans Against Abusive Probate Guardianship (AAPG), the National Association to Stop Guardian Abuse (NASGA) and similar victims’ rights organizations.
Friends of Mary E. Stevens
– the undersigned are mostly Fairfax County voters who are members of New Hope Fellowship Church in Chantilly, and other friends of Mrs. Stevens’ son who attended Falls Church High School with her son.
– LEGAL DISCLAIMER: information in this Petition should in no way be regarded as defamatory to Eugene D. Robinson, III, Esq.