Nov 082012

Sacramento Superior Court Judge Gerrit W. Wood condoned misconduct in trust administration case, says letter from decedent’s daughter

Jamie Lamborn, whose victimized elderly father set up a living trust to distribute assets after his and his wife’s deaths, has authorized Elder Abuse to publish in its victim stories section a scathing letter that Ms. Lamborn wrote to Sacramento County Superior Court Judge Gerrit W. Wood.

In her February 9, 2011 letter, Ms. Lamborn told Judge Wood, who was handling the trust administration case in the William R. Ridgeway Family Relations Courthouse in Sacramento, California, that he had exhibited blatant bias against her and toward an unethical and inept professional fiduciary acting as trustee of the living trust. Ms. Lamborn, who lives in the Sacramento area, said to Judge Wood that he had essentially condoned abusive and corrupt practices by the professional fiduciary and an unethical, less-than-honest attorney associated with the fiduciary. Ms. Lamborn also said that Judge Wood had failed to make fair rulings according to the wishes of the creators of the living trust.

“I have pointed out the numerous unethical and inexcusable acts committed by Carolyn Young as trustee, with attached supporting documentation, in my past filings,” Ms. Lamborn wrote Judge Wood. “You have allowed and ordered Young to stay in place,” she continued, “ignoring the facts I presented and the wishes of the creators of this trust, Mr. and Mrs. Clarence Johnson.”

Ms. Lamborn ended her letter to Judge Wood by saying:

I find it unnecessary to appear at future hearings to witness, what I see as, predetermined rulings and the ongoing corruption involved. It is my understanding, Carolyn Young and Tosh Yamamoto as a team, have established their secure standing in the eyes of the court. However, it’s my opinion; the court refuses to expose this corruption as witnessed by many citizens inside and outside the probate arena.

I remain convinced of the abusive and obscene activities supported by the decisions of the Sacramento Probate Court.

Jamie Lamborn’s complete letter to Judge Gerrit Wood is available on Elder Abuse’s “Victims of Probate Judges” webpage.

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  10 Responses to “Did Sacramento Probate Judge Gerrit Wood Allow Corruption in Trust Case?”


    Ms. Lamborn’s story, sadly, is not an isolated situation. Predatory corruption is commonplace in Sacramento probate. Rights of elderly citizens are taken away while those like Ms. Young and Mr. Yamamoto deplete life savings of victims. Families and lives are destroyed. There is no oversight or accountability. These predators make up stories and will not let go of their victims, often isolating them from family members. This must stop. My own family was destroyed by these same people, but if more stand up to this abuse, perhaps we can prevent this from happening to someone else.


      Thank you Grace for taking the time to share your comments with us and our website visitors.

      We’re so sorry about the grief you’ve had to endure when your own family was destroyed by a professional, but predatory, guardian/conservator and some associated attorneys.

      As you know, you are, unfortunately, not alone. This is a widespread problem, as detailed in the September 2010 U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) report to Senator Herb Kohl (D-WI), the chairman of the U.S. Senate Special Committee on Aging, entitled Guardianships: Cases of Financial Exploitation, Neglect, and Abuse of Seniors.

      But as we make very clear on our website, your and others’ anguish and double victimization (first by the predators, and then by the probate court) happen because of some apathetic, biased, or corrupt probate court judges handling elder abuse cases or conservatorships. These “rotten apples” turn their backs on vulnerable elders, abandon their sacred duty to protect victims, and thereby directly and indirectly facilitate further physical, psychological, or financial elder abuse.

      But don’t take our word for it. The GAO’s Guardianships: Cases of Financial Exploitation, Neglect, and Abuse of Seniors states:

      However, we observed several common themes: (1) state courts failed to adequately screen potential guardians, appointing individuals with criminal convictions and/or significant financial problems to manage estates worth hundreds of thousands or millions of dollars; (2) state courts failed to adequately oversee guardians after their appointment, allowing the abuse of vulnerable seniors and their assets to continue; and (3) state courts failed to communicate with federal agencies about abusive guardians once the court became aware of the abuse, which in some cases enabled the guardians to continue to receive and manage federal benefits.

      We encourage you and others visiting our website to send us your documentation (e.g., court filings, transcripts, etc.) proving that some corrupt judges are, according to the GAO’s report, “allowing the abuse of vulnerable seniors and their assets to continue.”

      We want to aggregate and publicly expose your information on our website’s victim stories pages. We want to ensure that California government’s broken and corrupted elder abuse prevention, reporting, and enforcement system is more open and transparent. As U.S. Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis said in his article “What Publicity Can Do,” in Harper’s Weekly for December 20, 1913, “Sunlight is said to be the best of disinfectants; electric light the most efficient policeman.”


    More power to the lady for the courage to speak up, regardless who is the perpetrator of elder abuse and exploitation. I am in Oregon, and have experienced the same abuse of judicial authority in both the local Circuit Court and Probate Dept. I am 86 yrs old, and am not a ward of the State, nor am I mentally incapacitated.

    My son and his attorney have prevailed in taking my most valuable asset, an inheritance in a (San Francisco Corp) and placed it under an irrevocable trust to secure HIS inheritance. All this, without my prior knowledge and consent. I have been fighting for my Civil Rights to my own assets, for the past 12 years in the Oregon Courts. I do not have the funds to hire an attorney, so I am easy prey to seasoned officers of the court as pro se litigant. I have a recorded judgment, that all assets are under my control, but they are ignoring that fact….

    Therefore, we need to have stricter control over the judiciary and whatever makes them redistribute an elders assets without approval. EB


      Thanks a lot Erna for your valuable comments.

      We’re very sorry about your horrible experiences with judicial misconduct up in Oregon. Although you are in Oregon, and not California, you too can send us your evidence (e.g., court filings, transcripts, etc.) proving what you said is “the same abuse of judicial authority” in the Oregon courts. Then we can publicly expose your case and the judge’s misconduct to the bright light of day.


    Jamie’s case is absolutely not an isolated incident. Carolyn Young was also our fiduciary. According to my reading (admittedly as a layperson), the Probate Code requires a trustee to provide, on reasonable demand by a beneficiary, an accounting of the trust. We asked. We asked our attorney to ask. We asked my mother-in-law’s attorney to ask. We tried to even get the mediator to ask (he wouldn’t even return our call).

    Guess what? We never did get an accounting from Ms. Young. But she happily served one up to the court (which it rubber stamped).

    A paid fiduciary is supposed to step down when asked by the beneficiaries to do so. If you don’t like a professional’s service, it should be your prerogative, as the client, to fire him/her and hire someone else. Shouldn’t it?

    Such is not the case with an appointed fiduciary. In fact, be prepared for him/her to use your trust money to pay for their attorney to fight you in court. How is this possible?

    The lunatics really are running the asylum and laughing all the way to the bank.

    If there is a family here in Sacramento that has been able to remove Carolyn Young from their finances without expending tens of thousands (or hundreds of thousands) of dollars of their own (non-trust fund) money, I would certainly like to know about it.

    How many out there were forced to mediate their claims or risk double-or-nothing, paying not only their attorney’s fees but Carolyn’s also, in a stacked court? That would just be adding insult to already considerable injury.

    Good for Jamie for standing up to the judge. Somehow, I imagine her complaints fell on deaf ears. What’s the incentive to change how they’ve been operating for years? Besides, Carolyn Young likes to brag about how much she contributes to the judges’ pet causes. Jamie — how much have you donated recently? LOL.


    This is not an isolated incident in California. Sonoma County Probate Court Judge Mark Tansil is so biased against those who speak out against their court appointed fiduciaries, guardians, and or trustees, he recently has given away thousands of dollars to a court appointed trustee by him, and instructed the 62 yr old woman with traumatic brain injury, and memory loss, to represent herself against her Judge Tansil-appointed fiduciary and her highly paid attorney.


    My family too was a victim of Carolyn Young.

    My mother’s estate was worth well over $800,000. $700,000 was cash held in bank accounts. Yet only $90,000 was distributed among my parents’ heirs.

    In addition, my parents’ will came up missing. Ms. Young would not disclose any information on the stock held by my parents nor provide an accounting of my parents’ estate.

    I would like to file a complaint. It has been two years. Who do I submit my complaint to? Not the courts?


      Hire a trustworthy litigation attorney ASAP.

      What is needed is for someone to step up to the plate and inform the court, on behalf of the elderly person, that a conservatorship may not be necessary and that other alternative options are available in order to handle the elderly person’s finances and medical needs. Always, a conservatorship should be a last resort and all possible alternatives should be explored that can provide for the elder’s needs without court involvement.


      Cathy D, are you still pursuing your case?


    You could try filing a criminal complaint (aggravated theft), and put a lien on her house or car. (I’m not a lawyer.) NASGA is a good website. Also estate of denial. Maybe you could put a lien on the judge’s house…surprise!

    They’re all bullies, and bullies always compromise the system so you can’t hold them accountable.

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