From Illinois (via Arizona), follow-up

JUNE 7, 2009

Judge Charges and Fines Women Seeking to Protect Victim’s Interests

CHICAGO – A June 3 ruling by Cook County Probate Judge Maureen E. Connors found two women seeking to protect their elderly aunt and her multi-million dollar estate in “direct criminal contempt” and fined them each $300 for asking how and when their three-year court battle will be resolved.  Judge Connors allowed delinquent fiduciary counsel to press the charges against Mary Lynn Drabik and Mary Sue Richards, both of Phoenix, for continuing pursuit of answers and a lawful accounting within the court in the affairs of their 93-year-old aunt, Lydia Tyler.

Drabik and Richards believe their aunt was targeted with an involuntary guardianship as a tactic for looting assets from her multi-million dollar estate. On May 29, Judge Connors barred Drabik and Richards from further involvement in resolving their aunt’s affairs, leaving those affairs in the hands of fiduciaries presumed fraudulent under Illinois law.  “Essentially, ‘the fox is in charge of the hen house,’” the women report in response to Judge Connors’ ruling that Lydia Tyler’s extensive family will no longer be permitted to know or respond to actions in this matter. Any future family notice of case events has been barred by Judge Connors at the request of additional delinquent fiduciary counsel.

Drabik and Richards’ advocacy efforts began three years ago when they first discovered financial exploitation of their aunt’s estate.  The women initiated court action for fiduciary accountings as required by Illinois law. Since initiating that action and as evidence of additional financial irregularities surface, vicious attacks and punitive measures have escalated.  Fiduciaries have not accounted for years yet upon asking the courts to intercede, the women were ultimately threatened with jail time, fined and barred from participation. Those self-enriching from Lydia Tyler’s estate over the past six years have not been held to account nor has Judge Connors enforced her own rulings against those delinquent fiduciaries.

Drabik, an accountant and IRS Enrolled Agent, and Richards, an advanced practice Registered Nurse, both in their 60s, have become the latest victims of these perpetrators. Their careers and livelihoods are in jeopardy if the criminal contempt charges are not expunged. Drabik and Richards believe “those who dare pursue due process in Illinois, that is, justice for wrongdoers and remedy for victims, become victims themselves.”

A substitution of Judge Connors was requested prior to recent hearings when Connors’ disparate case management appeared irreparable. Appeals are in process for the unwarranted prohibitory injunctions, fines, sanctions and threatened jail time against Drabik and Richards.

Guardianships and fiduciaries have become increasingly controversial as families across the U.S. learn how frequently probate courts exploit vulnerable individuals with assets. Families are not protected by the courts even when their affairs are “in order.”  Web sites addressing probate and estate administration corruption detail the difficulty that advocates or other family members routinely encounter in attempting to fight such actions.  With the aging Baby Boomer population and without legal reform, it is anticipated that increased numbers of Americans – at all economic levels – will share the fate of Lydia Tyler.


Stories of Denial
  • Lucius V.

    Ms. Drabnik and Ms. Richards: Please contact me as we were unfortuntate enough to have Judge Connors fill in for my wife when Judge Kowamoto was absent. Judge Connors chastised my wife for “rolling her eyes” when the judge lauded the efforts of our previous GAL. Ladies, please go to my web site as we may be able to assist each other. We have some super volunteers who have been digging up dirt on these slime bags. Lucius V. (not my real name)