Monday, August 14, 2017

Martin Howard Colin

187700
501 N Country Club Dr 
Atlantis, FL 33462-1005 
United States
Office: 561-379-2833
Cell: 561-379-2833
https://www.floridabar.org/mybarprofile/187700

Friday, August 4, 2017

Dominoes Falling INDEED. Landmark, Game Changing Case. VERDICT "“It sends a message to these unscrupulous lawyers and guardians that they are not going to be able to get away with it anymore.” I See Pattern and History Here and WISH for a Racketeering RICO Complaint to Be FILED by Victims and WON.

"Jury says attorneys for guardian mismanaged money of millionaire Texas oil man"


"Guardianship case came from courtroom of Judge Martin Colin, 
featured in a Palm Beach Post investigation"


"Colin praised the attorneys in his courtroom, calling them honest and trustworthy"


“This first salvo sends a serious message not only to the predatory guardians and lawyers who have been exploiting families all over Florida for decades but especially to the probate judges without whose complicity these cases could never happen.”

"Advocates for guardianship reform clamored in vain for years that Florida’s system failed to properly protect incapacitated seniors, that its primary purpose had been perverted to line the pockets of greedy attorneys and professional guardians with the hard-earned life savings of the elderly.
Brian O'Connell
Now they can point to a new federal verdict awarding a whopping $16.4 million in a lawsuit claiming that two West Palm Beach attorneys breached their fiduciary duties while running up “unnecessary and excessive fees” of $1 million.
“It’s really kind of a landmark case,” said Julian Bivins, who brought the suit as the personal representative of the estate of his father, Oliver, a Texas oil man.

“It sends a message to these unscrupulous lawyers and guardians that they are not going to be able to get away with it anymore.”
The Bivins guardianship case emanates out of the court of Circuit Judge Martin Colin, the subject of an investigation by The Palm Beach Post into the judge’s conflicts of interest because his wife is a professional guardian.
Colin in open court had heaped praise on the attorneys who lost the case and refused to hold a hearing to decide whether the attorneys had “secretly” kept money from the sale of one of Oliver Bivins’ properties in an escrow account for more than a year, according to court documents.
The Post’s award-winning series featuring Colin, Guardianships: A Broken Trust, resulted in an overhaul of guardianship rules in Palm Beach County. Colin retired last December after he was transferred from the Probate & Guardianship Division because of The Post’s reporting.
Weeks after The Post published, Julian Bivins filed a motion to disqualify Colin, saying his concerns about the “close-knit atmosphere of the Guardians, their attorneys” and Colin had been “glaringly brought to light” in the stories.
The younger Bivins said he felt his father was “held captive” in South Florida by the guardianship so the attorneys could liquidate real estate assets — including a New York City Upper East Side mansion — and charge more fees.

Colin granted an emergency order prohibiting the senior from returning to Texas.The jury found on July 28 that attorneys Brian M. O’Connell and Ashley N. Crispin of the Ciklin, Lubitz & O’Connell firm not only breached their fiduciary duty but committed professional negligence.

The lawsuit claimed they failed to get appraisals on two high-end New York City properties being divided among family. They were not of equal value and as a result, Julian Bivins ended up with one that was worth millions less than other.

The jury’s decision to award $16.4 million makes up the difference.

But the fight over the property is far less important to reform advocates than the fact that attorneys who carry out the wishes of professional guardians and are paid with the ward’s money were held accountable.
“This case in one of the longtime hotbeds of guardianship abuse is a tipping point,” said Sam Sugar, director of Americans Against Abusive Probate Guardianship.
“This first salvo sends a serious message not only to the predatory guardians and lawyers who have been exploiting families all over Florida for decades but especially to the probate judges without whose complicity these cases could never happen.”
Oliver Bivins died at age 97 in March 2015. He ended up in the court-ordered guardianship when he visited his condominium in Palm Beach in 2011 and a social worker became concerned with his well-being, according to court documents.
Oliver Bivins appeared to be coming to Florida for a weekend vacation, leaving his refrigerator in Texas fully stocked, plaintiff attorneys told the jury. His son said he often didn’t visit his Palm Beach condominium for years at a time.

The verdict takes a further step toward re-establishing that attorneys are supposed to represent the incapacitated ward, not the court-appointed professional guardian — a position many lawyers have argued in court to thwart families trying to rein in a fee frenzy.

“If it wasn’t for me, they would have completely depleted my dad’s estate,” said Julian Bivins, who now lives in Palm Beach. “I’ve been fighting them from the beginning to just get him back to Texas. Finally, I got him back there 35 days before he passed away.”

As with many family members who challenge the status quo in guardianship in Palm Beach County, Julian said he found himself relentlessly attacked in court. He was even sued by one of the guardians in the case, Curtis Rogers.

The biggest toll, he said, though, was his relationship with his father as Rogers told the elder Bivins that his son only wanted his money. “He turned my dad against me,” Julian Bivins said. “I could never explain to my father how he was being held for ransom, how they wouldn’t let him go.”

The Ciklin firm said it is confident it can prevail on post-trial motions 
in front of U.S. District Court Judge Kenneth Marra.

“We think the verdict was not in keeping with the law or the facts and, in fact, was considerably more than the plaintiff even asked for,” said Alan Ciklin, the firm’s managing partner. “We feel pretty good about our ability to have this reduced dramatically.”

Rogers, one of two professional guardians dismissed as defendants in the lawsuit, testified for more than two days at the trial. He told The Post he believes the younger Bivins financially took advantage of his father. “The verdict was a total shock to me,” he said. “I anticipated there was no way that type of verdict could be made.”


It may come as a shock to Judge Colin, as well.

Colin during a Feb. 3, 2016, hearing in the guardianship case bristled at the suggestion that the Ciklin Lubitz firm was not acting as a good custodian of Bivins’ assets.

The senior’s son questioned why the firm had failed to turn over $472,000 from the sale of his father’s commercial property in New York City, requesting Colin refer their actions to the Florida Bar or keep them from holding onto the money.

“The Ciklin Lubitz law firm has a well-earned reputation of honesty. And this is honesty,” Colin said in court. “Not for a moment do I have any concern because their reputation is well-earned in this respect.”

Colin denied Julian Bivins’ request without hearing any evidence but ordered the firm to return about $400,000.

An attorney for Julian Bivins filed a motion to disqualify Colin because of those statements, but the judge denied it.

“We never got anything done in his court,” Julian said. “We complained about the amount of the fees and he (Colin) cut them down 25 percent, but then we had to pay their fees for them to defend those fees. So they just made it back.”  "

Guardianship Catch-22

It is in this Catch-22 that families often find themselves when trying to decide whether to fight unethical actions by a professional guardian: Either way they pay, and either way the lawyers’ wallets grow fatter.

The guardianship issue is being looked at by a task force formed by Florida Supreme Court Justice Jorge Labarga. The state Legislature established the new Office of Public & Professional Guardianship as a result of lobbying by advocacy groups and others about lawyers and guardians siphoning off fees.

Attorney Greg Coleman, past president of The Florida Bar, wrote to the work group in June to alert it to “inappropriate, improper and illegal activities of a very small number of Florida attorneys” practicing in the guardianship arena.

“Unfortunately, the way guardianship statutes and rules are currently constituted allows for a window of exploitation by bad attorneys and bad guardians for their own personal monetary gain,” said Coleman, who was not associated with the Bivins guardianship or any of the relating litigation.

Coleman said everything is moving in the right direction for seniors. “The issue has the (Florida Supreme) Court’s attention, I can tell you,” he said. “It is not something that is being ignored or swept under the rug.”

Oliver Wilson Bivins Sr. was an oil man whose family were pioneers in Amarillo, Texas. He visited his Florida condo infrequently.

Dominoes falling?

Sugar’s grassroots-group based out of Hollywood was the force behind legislative reform last year. He said the verdict in Bivins is a sign “the dominoes are starting to fall.”

Several years ago Sugar could barely get a conference with key Florida lawmakers. Now his group has spearheaded legislation and made guardianship an issue around the country. Sugar pointed to the recent federal indictment of a professional guardianship firm in New Mexico, charging the owners with stealing millions from seniors, as an example that justice could be done for these seniors.

Attorneys who represented the Bivins family — Charles D. Bavol and Ron Denman of The Bleakley Bavol law firm in Tampa — compared the trial to a climactic brawl from the movie Rocky.

The Ciklin defendants knocked out their expert witness and cited attorney-client privilege in refusing to turn over crucial emails between the Ciklin lawyers and the guardians. 

The son’s testimony persuaded the jury, his lawyers said.

“What the defendants did in this case was wrong,” Denman told the jury. “It was legally wrong, what they did was ethically wrong, and what they did was morally wrong.”

Bavol and Denman said the verdict builds off a 2015 state court appellate finding out of Palm Beach County, ruling that the guardianship attorneys’ duty is to the incapacitated adult, not the professional guardian.

The 4th District Court of Appeal in recent years has reined in circuit courts in Palm Beach County that reform advocates say patently favor professional guardians and their attorneys. Still, advocates such as Sugar say they hear about abuses almost daily in the guardianship courts.


Bavol and Denman said the verdict underscores 
the need for accountability from guardians and their lawyers.


“Based on this significant jury verdict and the ongoing investigative journalism in Southern Florida concerning professional guardianships, the need for reform of the guardianship system to protect Florida’s elderly citizens is again underscored,” the lawyers said in a news release."

Source of Article and Lot's More
http://www.mypalmbeachpost.com/news/jury-hits-lawyers-with-for-doing-senior-wrong-guardianship/6CnikAZ7x3K9z960lz09BN/

Regardless of What Move managing Partner Alan Ciklin, brother of Judge Cory Ciklin, want to make next, It is DONE. There is a Path to Justice cleared now and HOPE for the Victims of attorneys and guardians such as Brian O'Connell and Ashley Crispin.

Also NOTE that Florida Supreme Court Justice Jorge Labarga is the top of the Florida Corruption Food Chain, just look at the iViewit Patent Theft Case and Proskauer Rose and the gang.
http://deniedpatent.blogspot.com/search?q=Labarga

Also NOTE that Florida Supreme Court Justice Jorge Labarga was Judge Martin Colin's MENTOR "He finds a great camaraderie among the Judges in this Circuit and considers Judge LaBarga to be his mentor. "  As Seen at the Link Below

http://www.palmbeachbar.org/judicial-profiles/judge-martin-colin/

Supreme Court Justice Jorge Labarga was Judge Martin Colin's Mentor.

 NOTE that Florida Supreme Court Justice Jorge Labarga is the top of the Florida Corruption Food Chain, just look at the iViewit Patent Theft Case and Proskauer Rose and the gang.
http://deniedpatent.blogspot.com/search?q=Labarga

Also NOTE that Florida Supreme Court Justice Jorge Labarga was Judge Martin Colin's MENTOR
"He finds a great camaraderie among the Judges in this Circuit and considers Judge LaBarga to be his mentor. "  As Seen at the Link Below
http://www.palmbeachbar.org/judicial-profiles/judge-martin-colin/

Monday, July 31, 2017

"Corrupt judges have no place in a democracy that depends upon them to maintain law, order, justice and the principles of the constitution of the great United States of America.""

"Judge French ruled against the qualified beneficiary and qualified distributee that had never been challenged, ruled for the lawbreakers and paid his friends at Richman Greer — $183,811.48."

Full Article
http://tedbernsteinreport.blogspot.com/2016/02/judge-david-french-judge-martin-colin.html

Jury’s $16,400,000 verdict award against Brian O’Connell and Ashley Crispin of Ciklin Lubitz & O’Connell. “through the jury verdict, it appears the people of south Florida demand accountability from the lawyers (and guardians) appointed by the legal system to represent the interests, and protect the assets, of its incapacitated citizens.”

"Florida: Jury awards $16.4 Million against guardianship attorneys

"On Friday, July 28, 2017, a unanimous jury in the U. S. District Court, West Palm Beach Courthouse, awarded $16,400,000 to the Estate of Oliver Wilson Bivins, Sr., and against West Palm Beach guardianship attorneys, Brian O’Connell and Brian O’Connell of the Ciklin Lubitz & O’Connell law firm. 

The hotly contested two-week jury trial was handled by BBLF partners Ron Denman, Chuck Bavol and Grant Kindrick.

The jury found that attorneys Brian O’Connell and Ashley Crispin had breached both their professional and fiduciary duties to Oliver Wilson Bivins, Sr., an incapacitated ward of the State of Florida. 

The complaint against Brian O’Connell and Ashley Crispin and their law firm, Ciklin Lubitz & O’Connell, alleged that they engaged in actions that increased their own attorneys’ fees to the detriment of Mr. Bivins’ guardianship estate.

In the federal lawsuit filed by his son, Julian Bivins, in his capacity as personal representative of the Estate of Oliver Bivins, Sr., lawyers for the Estate argued during the trial that guardianship attorneys Brian O’Connell and Ashley Crispin, litigated to keep Mr. Bivins located in Florida and to prevent him from returning to his decades old home in Amarillo, Texas, in order to maintain control over the Florida guardianship so they could generate legal fees. 

Attorneys for the Estate argued that throughout the four-year guardianship, Brian O’Connell, Ashley Crispin and the Ciklin Lubitz & O’Connell law firm charged Mr. Bivins’ guardianship estate over $1,000,000 in legal fees while liquidating real estate assets at values detrimental to the estate and entered into self-serving agreements with third parties that failed to serve the best interests of the guardianship estate.
During the guardianship, the court record reflects that Mr. O’Connell and Ms. Crispin also filed lawsuits against both of Oliver Wilson Bivins Sr.’s children and funded the litigation through the substantial assets of their incapacitated father.

The jury’s $16,400,000 verdict award against Brian O’Connell and Ashley Crispin, for actions taken in connection with the guardianship, presided over in the guardianship court by Judge Martin Colin, marks yet another entry into the intrigue surrounding professional guardians in the Palm Beach County Guardianship and Probate Courts.

Based on this significant jury verdict and the ongoing investigative journalism in Southern Florida concerning professional guardianships, the need for reform of the guardianship system to protect Florida’s elderly citizens is again underscored.

After the verdict, the Estate’s lead counsel, Ron Denman, commented “through the jury verdict, it appears the people of south Florida demand accountability from the lawyers (and guardians) appointed by the legal system to represent the interests, and protect the assets, of its incapacitated citizens.”

Press Release from the
The Bleakley Bavol Law Firm
Tampa, FL
www.bleakleybavol.com"

Source
http://aaapg.net/florida-jury-awards-16-4-million-against-guardianship-attorneys/

Sounds Like Pattern and Practice to Me. Racketeering perhaps? RICO?

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Why is Ted Trustee? Judge after Judge Protected Ted's actions, Why? "specifically preclude Theodore from acting as Trustee"

"MOTION TO COMPEL TRUST ACCOUNTING UNDER 
FLORIDA STATUTE 736.0813 AND 736.08135

COMES NOW, Eliot Ivan Bernstein ("Eliot" or ''Plaintiff), individually and as a
beneficiary of the "SHIRLEY BERNSTEIN TRUST dated May 20, 2008, as amended" and
ELIOT IVAN BERNSTEIN as Trustee of the "ELIOT BERNSTEIN FAMILY TRUST dated
May 20, 2008", PRO SE, and Eliot as Guardians for his three minor children, as alleged
beneficiaries of the "SHIRLEY BERNSTEIN TRUST dated May 20, 2008, as amended'' and
hereby files this "MOTION TO COMPEL TRUST ACCOUNTING UNDER FLORIDA
STATUTE 736.0813 AND 736 08135'' and in support thereof states, as follows:

1. It is alleged that Ted Bernstein began acting as the alleged Successor Trustee of the "SHIRLEY
BERNSTEIN TRUST dated May 20, 2008, as amended" on or about September 13, 2012 and
this despite language in the alleged trust that specifically preclude Theodore from acting as
Trustee, as he is considered predeceased for all purposes of disposition and distributions of the
trust.

2. That the current alleged Successor Trustee, Ted Bernstein has violated Florida Statute 736.0813  l(a), by failing to within 60 days of acting as Trustees provide beneficiaries notice of the trust the full name and address of the trustee, and that the fiduciary lawyer-client privilege ins.
90.5021 applies with respect to the trustee and any attorney employed by the trustee. In fact Ted
has worked in opposite of this code to intentionally and \vith sci enter, suppress, deny, alter and or
destroy dispositive documents and accounting records leaving the administration Md accounting
in a virtual black hole for over two years.

Florida Statute 736.0813 Duty to inform and account -The trustee shall keep the qualified
beneficiaries of the trust reasonably informed of the trust and its administration.

736.0813 (l)(a) Within 60 days after acceptance of the trust, the trustee shall give notice to
the qualified beneficiaries of the acceptance of the trust~ the full name and address of the
trustee, and that the fiduciary lawyer-client privilege ins. 90.5021 applies with respect to the
trustee and any attorney employed by the trustee.

3. That the current alleged Successor Trustee, Ted Bernstein has violated Florida Statute 736.0813 l(b), by failing to \vi.thin 60 days of acting as Trustees provide beneficiaries notice of the trust, the identity of the settlor(s), the right to request a copy of the trust instrument, the right to
accountings under this section and that the fiduciary lawyer-client privilege in s. 90.5021 applies
,vith respect to the trustee and any attorney employed by the tmstee. In fact the fiduciaries have
worked in opposite of this code to intentionally and v.~th sci enter, suppress, deny, alter and or
destroy dispositive documents and accounting records leaving the administration and accounting
in a virtual black hole.

Florida Statute 736.0813(l)(b)

Within 60 days after the date the trustee acquires knowledge of the creation of an irrevocable
trust, or the date the trustee acquires knowledge that a fonnerly revocable trust has become
irrevocable, whether by the death of the settlor or otherwise, the trustee shall give notice 1o
the qualified beneficiaries of the trust's existence, the identity of the settlor or settlors, the
right to request a copy of the trust instrument, the right to accountings under this section, and
that the fiduciary lmvyer-client privilege in s. 90.5021 applies ,vith respect to the trustee and
any attorney employed by the trustee.

4. That the current alleged Successor Trustee, Ted Bernstein has violated Florida Statute 736.0813
1 (c), by failing to provide beneficiaries with a complete copy of the original .2008 trust
instrument v,ith all codicils, amendments, addendums, etc. despite repeated ,vritten and oral
requests by beneficiaries. Further, inspection of the original 2008 trust document has been
denied despite Tescher and Spallina admitting that their law firm ALTERED POST MORTEM a
document in the Shirley Bernstein Trust and FORGED and FRAUDULENTLY NOTARIZED
six documents for SIMON POST MORTEM to close Shirley's Estate, all as part of a larger fraud
to illegally alter and change beneficiaries of the Simon and Shirley Trusts and convert assets to
improper parties, including Ted, causing beneficiaries ihe need to verify the original documents
and have them inspected as to their validity.

Florida Statute 736.0813(1)( c)

Upon reasonable request, the trustee shall provide a qualified beneficiary with a complete
copy of the trust instrument.

5. That the current alleged Successor Trustee, Ted Bernstein has violated Florida Statute 736.0813
l(d), by failing to provide beneficiaries "Trustee with a trust accounting as set forth ins. 736.08135 from the date of last accounting, which there has been none since December 08,
2010 when the decedent died and since Ted became alleged Successor Trustee on September 13,
2012. No statutorily required accounting was done annually by the former Trustees or the
current alleged Successor Trustee, Ted.

Florida Statute 736.0813(l)(d)

A trustee of an irrevocable trust shall provide a trust accounting, as set forth ins. 736.08135,
from the date of the last accounting or, if none, from the date on which the trustee became
accountable, to each qualified beneficiary at least annually and on termination of the trust or
on change of the trustee.

6. That the current alleged Successor Trustee, Ted Bernstein has violated Florida Statute 736.0813
l(e), by failing to provide beneficiaries with relevant information about the assets and liabilities
of the trust and the particulars relating to administration and have refused repeated written and
oral demands to comply with this section.

Florida Statute 736.0813( l)(e)

Upon reasonable request, the trustee shall provide a qualified beneficiary with relevant
information about the assets and liabilities of the trust and the particulars relating to
administration.

7. 'That the current alleged Successor Trustee, Ted Bernstein has violated Florida Statute
736. 08135(1) by failing to provide beneficiaries a reasonably understandable report from the dale
of last accounting, which there has been none done ever from the date the trustees became
accountable and thus there was no disclosure whatsoever of the assets and liabilities of the trust
corpus.

736.08135 Trust accountings.- 
Cl) A trust accounting must be a reasonably W1derstandab]e report from the date of the last
accounting or, if none, from the date on which the trustee became accountable, that
adequately discloses the information required in subsection (2).
8. Ted Bernstein have all v.iolated Florida Statute 736.08135(2)(a)(b)(c)(d)(e)&(:f) by failing to
provide ANY timely and legally required a countings lo the beneficiaries.

736.08135
(2)(a) lne accounting must begin \.vith a statement identifying the trust, the trustee
furnishing the accounting, and the time period covered by the accounting.
(b) The accounting must show all cm;h and property transactions and all significant
transactions affecting administration during the accounting period, including compensation
paid to the tmstee and the trustee's agents. Gains and losses realized during the accounting
period and all receipts and disbursements must be shown.

(c) To the extent feasible, the accounting must identify and value trust assets on hand at the
close of the accounting period. For each asset or class of assets reasonably capable of
valuation, the accounting shall contain two values, the asset acquisition value or carrying
value and the estimated current value. The accounting must identify each known
noncontingent liability with an estimated current amount of the liability if known.

(d) To the extent feasible, the accounting must show significant transactions that do not
affect the amount for which the trustee is accountable, including name changes in investment
holdings, adjustments to carrying value, a change of custodial institutions, and stock splits
(e) The accounting must reflect the allocation of receipts, disbursements, accruals, or
allowances between income and principal when the allocation affects the interest of any
beneficiary of the trust.

(i) The trustee shall include in the final accounting a plan of distribution for any
undistributed assets shown on the final accounting.

9. That on September 13, 2012 Ted Bernstein began acting as the alleged Successor Trustee of the
Shirley Trust, despite language in the trust that precludes him from acting as Trustee.
WHEREFORE, Eliot requests that this Court enter an order;

1. To compel trust accounting under Florida Statute 736.0813 AND 736.08135 and
within 10 days of the Court Order as enough time has passed since the death of the
decedent (over two years) to demand an expedited accounting,

ii. to on the Comi's own initiative remove Ted Bernstein as alleged Successor Trustee
for failing to follow Florida Trust Codes and Statutes,

iii. for legal fees of EliotBemsiein ro Se,"

Source of Above  and Full Document is Exhibit B Linked at Bottom of Link Below
https://drive.google.com/file/d/0Bzn2NurXrSkicXNRdngwMEVpSjg/view?usp=sharing


TO my Knowledge there has never been actual accounting in these matters, not sure how the Self Claimed Trustee Ted Bernstein or his befuddled Attorney Alan Rose are getting away with that, nor how PR Brian O'Connell is getting away with no actual REAL accounting of the Estate Assets.

Also Check Out

"Mr. O'Connell read the 2012 restated revocable trust of Simon and brought to the attention of Judge Colin that it does not appear that Ted is qualified to be appointed as trustee based on the trust language. "
http://tedbernsteinreport.blogspot.com/2017/07/statement-from-bill-stansbury-florida.html