WASHINGTON, January 22, 2017 – In a stunning reversal, the former Army Ranger previously held in guardianship for more than five years is nearly free of the system.
Martin Patterson, 37, is a former Army Ranger living in Pennsylvania who was placed into guardianship at the behest of his parents who claimed that brain damage from a lightning strike caused him to be incompetent and unable to manage his finances.
On August 2016, CDN featured Patterson’s story with allegations of a corrupt process and that his money has been misspent while he’s been in guardianship.
Patterson said he was initially placed in temporary guardianship during a status conference when his parents and guardian bad mouthed him, though they did not testify or were cross-examined; he also said about $75,000 of his funds has gone missing.
In October 2016, CDN reported that the guardian, Laura Eaton, had hired an attorney, Mary Alfieri, who filed a motion asking that Eaton be removed from the case due to a “conflict of interest.”
Eaton was also initially appointed by the Veterans Administration to be Patterson’s conservator.
Alfieri did not respond to an email for comment.
That hearing was held on January 11, 2017, Judge Elizabeth Kelly issued an order removing Eaton from the case.
The hearing was initially held at the end of November 2016 but was continued until January.
Patterson’s new wife, Kristen Davis, has been named his temporary guardian and he’s scheduled for an examination which, if it confirms he’s competent, will lead to his removal from guardianship in April.
Patterson told CDN that Eaton never disclosed the nature of the conflict and he said a forensic psychologist from another state has been appointed to do the examination.
The VA Fiduciary Hub manages guardianship issues for veterans and the VA Fiduciary Hub in Indianapolis helped to manage Patterson’s- Patterson believes mismanaged.
Lisa Goebel, the press person for the VA Fiduciary Hub in Indianapolis issued this statement:
“Mr. Patterson was rated competent to handle his VA finances in January 2014. The issue of competency for the VA fiduciary program and the issue of state court guardianship are separate and distinct. The Department of Veterans Affairs is not involved in, nor is a party to, the state guardianship issue you referenced.”
In fact, part of Patterson’s frustration stemmed for the fact that the VA found him competent but that this competency finding was given no weight in determining whether or not he should remain in guardianship.
“…the VA did not even follow their own guidelines and requirements when they made the unfounded decision to place my finances in the hands of a fiduciary in the first place. And that just opened a Pandora’s box of problems. Not only did the VA fail to establish a legitimate argument for a fiduciary, they failed to provide any form of oversight to ensure that I had access to the funds I was entitled to as well as prevent the blatant misuse of my benefits.”