13 Investigates


Family awarded $8.5 million in guardianship abuse case says it's not about the money

Posted at 5:41 PM, Nov 21, 2017
and last updated 2018-11-21 16:56:37-05

$8.5 million dollars. It's a figure almost impossible to fathom for 81-year-old Rudy North.

"And it's time," North said. "It's taken over four years."

The autumn 2013 day that April Parks came to take guardianship over Rudy and his wife, Rennie, is a day they'll never forget.

"We were kidnapped from our house," Rudy said.

After Contact 13 exposed allegations of fraud against Parks and her company, A Private, Professional Guardian, the court took her off the case.  

But in the time Parks controlled every aspect of the Norths' lives, they lost their home, their car, their life savings and their dignity.

"Our souls were scarred," is the only way Rudy can describe it.

April Parks is behind bars, awaiting trial on dozens of felony charges for theft, racketeering, perjury and exploitation of older and vulnerable persons.  

Now, in a civil case, Judge Doug Smith says Parks has got to start paying the price.

"Yeah. So let's see if she does," says a skeptical Julie Belshe, the Norths' daughter with whom the couple now lives. 

Belshe knows the road to realize that $8.5 million dollars will be long.  

Still, the family is looking at the positives the civil judgment brings.

"It's about giving people hope," Belshe says.

Hope for others fighting abusive guardianships, financial accountability for April Parks and validation for everything the Norths have endured.

"What we want to do is bring this terrible, horrific racket down," Rudy says. "We want it to stop."

Judge Smith awarded double damages against Parks for the abuse, neglect and exploitation of Rudy and Rennie North, who are considered special victims due to their age and vulnerability.

Parks' criminal trial is set to begin in May.

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