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State Guardianship Commission meets again

Posted at 5:53 PM, Jan 22, 2016
and last updated 2016-02-18 22:18:18-05

Abuse, isolation, exploitation, lack of oversight.

That's what Contact 13 Chief Investigator Darcy Spears uncovered in her ongoing investigation of the guardianship system. 

The Nevada Supreme Court created a state commission to address those problems after we exposed private guardians double-dipping clients and homes being sold without court approval.  

The commission's first meeting of this year on Friday was wrought with emotion.

Supreme Court Chief Justice James Hardesty, who chairs the commission, said, "We're going to clean up this mess."  

But that was after a tense exchange between one of the vulnerable people the system is supposed to protect and a member of the commission.  

"I am confident. I am intelligent and I know my civil rights," says Jason Hanson who was one of the first people we profiled in our investigation.

He spoke Friday about $80,000 his grandmother left for him in a trust.  But he says he hasn't seen a dime. 

"I have not received any accounting or information from Elyse Tyrell. It's painful for me to know that Ms. Tyrell is on this commission."

Elyse Tyrell is a lawyer who represents private guardians and was appointed to the State Guardianship Commission. Tyrell said she offered to help Jason for free as trustee of his account but claims Jason failed to show up to meet with her to settle his case.  

"I told you out in the hallway, I have a check that's been written for you since March of 2015," Tyrell said to Jason before the commission. "It's in my office. And it's available for you to pick up or I'm still happy to discuss with you about the benefits of the special needs trust."

"What I want to know is why you need someone else to come with you?" Jason demanded to know. "If you wanted to speak to me, why didn't you contact me?"

While Jason is still seeking resolution on his case, there was some good news about progress on other cases announced by Legal Aid Center of Southern Nevada. 

"Our organization was fortunate enough to receive a grant from a local lawyer who is concerned about the elderly and adults with disabilities in guardianship proceedings," said Barbara Buckley. "...and agreed to fund one attorney to begin providing legal representation to individuals in guardianship."

Buckley says her office has taken on ten cases since just the beginning of this year involving people who want out of guardianships. 

Clark County District Court also got a grant to help buy and upgrade software which is supposed to flag cases with concerns and standardize accounting