In a unanimous 7-0 decision by the Alabama Supreme Court, the temporary and emergency guardianship over Joann Bashinsky (Mrs. B) was tossed out yesterday. Mrs. B is worth $218 million and the widow of the Golden Flake Foods founder.
The alleged elderly exploitation scandal has shaken the probate courts of Alabama and the embattled law firm Balch & Bingham.
Alabama Today, which broke the story of Mrs. B’s plight and the questionable actions of Balch & Bingham partner Amy Davis Adams, writes:
[Alabama Today] heard from others whose cases eerily track with the same M.O. used by Judge King and the same conservator of her case, Greg Hawley. These individuals show up to court with lawyers of their own only to have King disqualify them, and Hawley being given a conservatorship “temporarily.” As in her case, the temporary orders lasted well past the 30-day limit the court intended. There were also emergency petitions granted when no emergency existed.
The Alabama Supreme Court ripped Judge Alan L. King for his unfairness and trampling of Mrs. B’s constitutional right to due process, writing:
[T]he manner in which the probate court handled the issue of the motion to disqualify Ms. Bashinsky’s attorneys — granting the motion and then choosing to proceed directly with the hearing on the issue of Ms. Bashinsky’s competence — created an unnecessary complication that was highlighted by the probate court’s subsequent scheduling of a hearing in January 2020 to discuss how Ms. Bashinsky’s new attorneys were to be selected. That is, because the probate court disqualified Ms. Bashinsky’s attorneys and then declared Ms. Bashinsky to be incompetent, it raised the specter that she cannot enter into a contract to hire new counsel to represent her interests in this matter. This complication would have been avoided if the probate court had followed basic procedures of due process and fundamental fairness with respect to Ms. Bashinsky.
Ms. Bashinsky’s constitutional and statutory rights of due process were also violated through a deprivation of counsel and a lack of opportunity to present evidence and argument before the probate court.
King retired in late May just hours after Alabama Today published audio recordings of County Conservator Greg Hawley’s and Balch partner Adams’ conversations with Mrs. B.
We, the CDLU, reached out to federal investigators yesterday asking them to probe The Birmingham Triangle, writing:
“We believe now is the time for the FBI to probe all transactions, track wealth building, and conduct a forensic audit of all conservator estates and the personal finances involving Judge Alan L. King, Balch & Bingham’s Amy Davis Adams, and JeffCo Conservator Greg Hawley.”
Coincidently, at the conclusion of their decision, the Alabama Supreme Court mandated the following:
“We… require the temporary guardian and conservator to account for all of Ms. Bashinsky’s funds and property….”
Even the seven Alabama Supreme Court justices can read between the lines, and understand that liquidating assets and pocketing fees and commissions under phony “emergency” orders appears to be more important to some than defending or truly protecting the elderly.