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“Civil Death” of Katherine Carter: Part 3

Alleged Elder Abuse & Extortion by Probate Court Commissioner

Katherine Carter’s estate is now targeted by the system that preys upon families of color in Alameda County.  Predation on Katherine’s estate allegedly began with former probate attorney Ruben Sundeen (Bar No. 184261). 

In November 2017, Judge Reardon appointed Licensed Professional Fiduciary Michelle Tiernan as conservator over Katherine’s person and estate.  Sundeen gained access to Katherine’s estate as legal counsel for Tiernan. 

California Conservatorship in Crisis: Alameda County Fact Sheet

Issues Driving Exploitation and Abuse

National Issue

Professional conservators (Licensed Professional Fiduciaries) use client assets for fiduciary’s legal defense.

Conservatorship is the only business enterprise that grants a vendor complete access to their client’s funds, including funding litigation against the client and funding legal defense for the vendor’s wrongdoing.  All other business entities must support their own defense on ethical, regulatory, or civil matters. 

The court grants a conservator (of the estate) unlimited access to the conservatee’s funds.  The conservator can use those funds to litigate against the conservatee and against the conservatee’s family.  Fees to the conservator and conservator’s attorneys can greatly exceed expenditures for the conservatee’s care.  Courts provide essentially no oversight of expenditures by conservators.

“Civil Death” of Katherine Carter: Part 2

Temporary Conservatorship Of The Estate Threatens Family Assets

On January 22, 2019, former probate attorney Ruben Sundeen (Bar No. 184261) became a commissioner (temporary judge) in Alameda County Probate Court.  Court records and letters raise concerns about Commissioner Sundeen’s alleged involvement in elder abuse and financial predation on the estate of an elderly African American couple. 

In late 2017 to early 2019, Sundeen represented and advised Licensed Professional Fiduciary Michele Tiernan (License No. 548).  Katherine Carter’s daughter Venus Gist said the following of Tiernan.

She tried to kill my mom.

“Civil Death” of Katherine Carter: Part 1

Temporary Conservatorship of the Person was Nearly Fatal

A year before Sundeen ascended to the bench, he was a probate attorney representing Licensed Professional Fiduciary Michele Tiernan (License No. 548).  Venus Gist said the following of Tiernan.

She is evil.  She nearly killed my mom.

Letters from Sundeen establish that Sundeen advised Tiernan on the actions that nearly led to the death of Venus’ mom, Katherine Carter. 

Alleged Elder Abuse by Oakland Non-Profit Legal Assistance for Seniors: Part 3

When Elinor Frerichs (95) married her neighbor and close friend Kennett Taylor, they knew there could be resistance to their interracial marriage.  They did not anticipate Legal Assistance for Senior (LAS) would launch a multi-year campaign to keep them apart and to discredit Kennett.

Court records indicate James Treggiari, Executive Director of LAS, developed strategy to isolate Elinor from nearly all contact with the outside world.  Kirsten Voyles, LAS Managing Attorney, facilitated Treggiari’s strategy.  Scott Phipps, Vice President of LAS Board of Directors, implemented their strategy.

Alleged Elder Abuse by Oakland Non-Profit Legal Assistance for Seniors, Part 2:

When Elinor Frerichs married her long time neighbor and close friend Kennett Taylor, they had no idea California Licensed Psychologist Nancy Hoffman, PsyD (License No. 20516) would oppose the mixed race marriage.  Elinor could not have known that Oakland based Legal Assistance for Seniors (LAS) would launch a multi-year campaign to keep Elinor imprisoned and isolated from Kennett.

Alleged Elder Abuse by Oakland Non-Profit Legal Assistance for Seniors: Part 1

When Elinor Frerich’s estranged husband passed away in 2011, Elinor set her sights on her neighbor and close friend of ten years, Kennett Taylor.  Elinor and Kennett laughed about how he caught her attention by answering the door in red pajamas.  Elinor openly shared that she chased Kennett and suggested they get married.  They both spoke of sharing many interests and many happy times together.

Their happiness was quickly extinguished.  Court records show California Licensed Psychologist Nancy Hoffman, PsyD (License No. 20516) started the campaign to take Elinor from her home and isolate her from Kennett and their friends.  Just six weeks after Elinor and Kennett celebrated their marriage vows, Alameda County Probate Court placed Elinor under conservatorship or civil death.

Oakland based non-profit Legal Assistance for Seniors (LAS) launched a multi-year legal battle to strip Elinor of her remaining rights.  In 2012, LAS Executive Director James Treggiari (Bar No. 263228) and LAS Managing Attorney Kirsten Voyles (Bar No. 231906) sought a court order to isolate Elinor from Kennett.  In 2013, LAS Board of Directors Vice President Scott Phipps had the marriage annulled.  In 2014, Phipps and Treggiari sought a court order denying Elinor nearly all contact with friends or advocates. 

Oakland Police Department Ignores Conservator’s Crimes

In 2012, Kennett Taylor reported crimes perpetrated against his wife, Elinor Frerichs.  (Conservatorship of Elinor Frerichs, Case Number RP12615698).  Oakland Police Department gave the standard response. 

That’s a civil matter.  You’ll have to get an attorney.

In 2014, human rights advocates reported that Elinor was imprisoned and isolated since 2012.  Advocates reported that Licensed Professional Fiduciary (professional conservator) Scott Phipps used Elinor’s own assets to perpetrate abuse.  Oakland Police Department’s Officer Vierra refused to take a report.

"Civil Death" of Elinor Frerichs

On September 12, 2014, Judge Sandra Bean stripped Elinor Frerichs (then 92) of her right to have contact with family, friends, clergy, human rights advocates, or friendly visitors.   With the stroke of a pen, Judge Bean took away rights that most Americans take for granted. 

In 2018, Elinor resides at Lakeside Park, a locked dementia facility in Oakland.  Elinor’s conservator denies Elinor contact with the outside world.  Elinor’s estate pays Lakeside Park, conservator Scott Phipps, and a cadre of attorneys who sought the court order authorizing imprisonment and isolation.