Saga Continues For Maine Family Victimized By State Bureaucrats Who Allegedly Used Conservatorship Proceedings To Move In & Hijack Possession, Then Unload, Waterfront Home, Other Assets At Fire-Sale Prices Of Man Who Was Involuntarily Admitted To State-Run Psychiatric Facility While Giving Beloved Pet Date With 'The Euthanizer'
In Rockland, Maine, the Bangor Daily News reports:
- The sale of a Rockland man’s waterfront home in Owls Head by the state for less than half its value was only the beginning of a nightmare that has seen an undetermined amount of valuable personal items sold for little in return, according to attorneys working on the case.
“You couldn’t have dreamed this up,” said attorney David Jenny.
Jenny, who lives in Owls Head and Maryland, is referring to the case that involves the sale of property belonging to William T. Dean Jr. and his sister Claire Dean Perry of Liberty.
Dean was hospitalized in 2012 at the state-run Dorothea Dix Psychiatric Center in Bangor. He has since been released and lives in a group home in Camden, according to Jenny, who is a longtime friend of both siblings.
Jenny said that the state has taken a man who had more than $650,000 in assets and virtually assured that he will he become a ward of the state because of its management of his estate.
Attorney Cynthia Dill, who represents the sister in a lawsuit against the Maine Department of Health and Human Services, said in her legal career she has never seen a case like this.
Not only does Dill say the state illegally sold the home owned by William Dean at 9 Castlewood Lane in Owls Head, but that it has since hired an auction company to sell the remaining family belongings and has done it with few records to show what has happened to the items or the money received from the sales.
The Deans’ parents in 1972 bought the Castlewood Lane home, which has since been a place for family outings. Claire Dean Perry had been living in the Owls Head home while her brother resided at 298 Broadway, Rockland, which had been their parents’ primary residence and owned by the Deans since 1957.
The state obtained conservatorship of Dean’s finances in September 2012, four months after he was involuntarily admitted to the state-run mental health hospital. When the state learned that back taxes were owed on both properties — $5,192 on the Owls Head home and $2,329 on the Rockland property — it sought and received permission from the Penobscot County Probate Court to sell the properties for a fair market price in order to cover those costs.
An affidavit filed Sept. 5, 2012, in probate court by Janice Archer, a licensed social worker for DHHS who was Dean’s caseworker, stated that there was already a buyer interested in the Owls Head property. The name of the interested party was not listed and a call to Archer early Wednesday has not been returned.
Claire Dean Perry was kicked out of the house and the locks changed, Dill said.
Perry and other family members, however, contested the move by the state, saying they could raise the money to prevent both properties from going into foreclosure for nonpayment of the approximately $7,500 in property taxes.
The state, however, moved ahead quickly and sold the Owls Head waterfront property to James Taylor of Danvers, Mass., and Owls Head for $205,000, less than half the $476,840 value placed on it by the town.
The human services department moved the date of the sale up by a day to Jan. 9, knowing that the family was going to court the following day to block the transaction, Jenny said.
The Owls Head property consists of nearly 1 acre with 100 feet of ocean frontage and a two-story, 1,000-square-foot home.
After selling the Owls Head property, the state turned to disposing of the Rockland home. The state had reached an agreement with a party that was willing to pay $65,000 for the Rockland property that was assessed at $177,200 — again less than half its value. Dill said the potential buyers backed out after learning of the family’s looming legal challenge.
The state surrendered its conservatorship in March. On Aug. 1, the probate court appointed Dean’s cousin, Pamela Vose of Union, as conservator over his remaining properties.
But Jenny and Dill said that after the sale of the Owls Head home and before the change in conservatorship, there was a fire sale of possessions owned by both Dean and Perry for reasons they cannot understand.
- Dill also noted that when state officials took control of Dean’s properties, they had his beloved cat, Caterpillar, euthanized without asking family members if they could care for the animal.
For an earlier story on this fiasco, see Family claims state held fire sale of patient’s coastal property, euthanized pet.