Seven years and counting…

Seven years and counting…

Note: The following letter was written by me and reviewed by my attorney, for her approval, to be submitted by her to the appropriate probate court judge, in Louisiana. I’m a believer that everything in life is a learning opportunity whether its a big problem or a small one. This is highly personally, but I choose to share it with you because its the nature of this writer. Maybe someone in this audience is struggling with a similar problem involving a lawsuit, the lawyers and/or the judge. While I’m not a lawyer there’s no one else involved in this case who has a better understanding of the subject matter, my adversary, than me. He’s my 74-year-old uncle, a practicing Louisiana attorney who was recently stripped of his executor-ship over his parent’s estate, by the court. His father died in 1988 and his mother died, in 2010. This case should have been settled six years, ago.

For the first three years, my uncle lied to me that he was working on the family succession. Whose wants to sue a relative, plus I was two states away and I didn’t known another lawyer familiar with Louisiana’s Napoleonic Code of Laws? In December 2013, I finally hired a law firm, out of Baton Rouge, to represent me. We sued for copies of the financials, I got half of the cash and stock me then the process slowed down. In the fall of 2016, my new lawyer filed a motion to remove my uncle as the executor citing a conflict of interest. By December 2016, with the impending hearing, my second attorney received an offer to settle the case, agreeing to turn over the remaining cash and stock, if we would just give them six months or by the end of June. I agreed. That deadline came and went without any penalty to the other side. Seven years has passed, another deadline was missed. Now, running low on money, I quickly got angry. I thought it was time to let the judge, in my case, know how my uncle’s behavior was impacting my life. I’m not just another case file in his court file, I’m a person who has put his life on hold for too long.

October 4, 2017

Hon. [redacted]
[redacted] Parish Probate Court
1st Judicial District Court
501 Texas Street
3rd Floor
Shreveport, LA 71101

Re: Succession of [redacted]
#: [redacted]

Dear Judge [redacted],

I’m writing to the court out of great frustration and concern over the slow and deliberate pace of the Succession of [redacted], my paternal grandmother, who died on March 11, 2010. I would argue that the source of this intentional bottleneck is being caused by my 74 year old uncle, James Albert Burnett, who is controlling the succession’s pace and not this court, by dragging his feet at every request made to him for documents by the CPA and new executor, Ed [redacted]. Jimmy, a Louisiana-licensed attorney and until recently the executor, continues to sit on documents critical to the proper transfer of cash and stock out of my grandmother’s name and into an investment account that will be divided later between the two naked owners, Jimmy and myself, as stated by the will.

Beginning in the summer of 2010, Jimmy lied to me for the next three years saying that he was working on getting the stocks reissued into each of our names when I never got a single stock put in my name over this period (2010-2013). In December 2014, this Alabama-resident finally hired a Baton Rouge-law firm, Kean Miller, to represent me in this matter. It was slow going with them to the point that I filed a complaint with the Louisiana State Supreme Court Office of Disciplinary Counsel against my uncle, Jimmy Burnett and Kean Miller. Kean Miller immediately terminated their representation, in June 2016. In my search for another attorney based in Shreveport, I ran across an attorney who had previously defended my uncle in another case, which didn’t surprise me given his track record in family matters and with friends.

Jimmy has a history of failing to lookout for the interest of the succession’s naked owners including his own interest, as the executor. Jimmy failed to make timely deposits of dividend checks. They expired and the checks were sent to the Louisiana State Treasury, in our name. In the course of retrieving this money from the state, we learned that Jimmy allowed for $150,000 in dividend checks and a check from a life insurance policy to accumulate in the Louisiana State Treasury. As executor, he never once produced a financial statement while my grandmother was alive or after her death, Jimmy failed to properly manage her estate.

I’ve been told that the checks that the state was holding have already expired in Jimmy’s possession and have been reissued and sent back to the state treasury in our name. In the seven years, I’ve had to put my life on hold while not being able to make any financial plans or investments. I’m asking the court to use its power to the fullest to investigate this matter by interviewing all the attorneys, the executor to uncover the facts and reasons regarding what’s the hold up or who’s the hold up.

If what I’m saying holds true, I ask you to hold Jimmy Burnett “in contempt”. He needs a little taste of jail time for all the people he has screwed-over in the course of his career. In hiring Rita [redacted], through no fault of her own, the pace of this case really hasn’t changed. I haven’t gotten any more money. I thought having Jimmy removed as executor would be the cure-all to this logjam, but it really hasn’t. I thought accepting his attorney’s offer to settle this case in six-months would result in me having all my money and stock by the end of June 2017. It didn’t. It’s October 2017, I have no more money than I did when I accepted their offer last December nor was Jimmy penalized for failing to hit the June deadline. I continue to get harmed by this lawyer and uncle as makes a mockery of the legal process while the Caddo Parish Probate court, the Shreveport Bar Association and the Louisiana State Supreme Court Office of Disciplinary Counsel sit impudent and do nothing.

Seven years is not justice, this is abuse or another form of injustice. I’m on the verge of going broke by the end of this month or by sometime in November because I trusted a bunch of lawyers and this system. This letter is a cry for help to get this court to financially penalize my uncle for failing to live up to their offer or by ordering the executor to release money from one of our accounts so I can pay my bills all the while throwing more principle down the drain in living expenses verses getting the opportunity to invest this money as I see fit and live on the dividends it produces.

In 2002, I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder. I have been hospitalized numerous times. In 2009, I was approved full-disability by the Social Security Administration. I began receiving a monthly SSI check for $[redacted] plus Medicare and medication. That’s doesn’t cover all my living expenses and thus I have had to call Jimmy to me some of my inheritance, each month. Without seeing the first financial statement, I worked with the small checks that he would send to me until the truth came out regarding what I stood to gain.

My father, Thomas Edward Burnett, was a Marine and a Vietnam Veteran, who died at the age of 53, in 1998. He died broke while drinking himself into the grave from the wounds of war. If he were alive, Tommy would be the rightful naked owner instead of me and he would be splitting the money and stock with his brother, Jimmy. My grandfather’s forty-year labor with Louisiana’s South Central Bell and his wise investment in AT&T is the source of all of this family’s wealth. He and my grandmother didn’t know what the future would hold regarding the health and wealth of their children and grandchildren. They didn’t know one of their grandchildren would get sick and suffer a mental illness leading to the end of his career and his marriage. That whatever money and investments they left behind that this child would need to live on each and every day until my death.

My uncle’s actions towards this naked owner and his brother’s only child (me) has been nothing less than gross negligence, both, on a personal and professional level. He’s proven to be a cruel man, a sociopath. I want to be restored to financial wholeness and the remaining payout that I’m due would not achieve that. If this court can’t correct this wrong, I would like to know what court can. My grandfather must be rolling in this grave at giving this responsibility to their “favorite” son, the fuckin’ lawyer!

Sincerely,

Ted Burnett
500 Lincoln Street
Suite B-105
Daphne, AL 36526
W: www.tedburnett.com

 Ted Burnett: I'm an American thought leader and pioneer on the subjects of human, organizational and societal development and health. I write about the role that integrity, dignity, sanity play, as well as, on the topics of spirituality, faith, freedom, happiness, problem solving and risk taking. I produce and deliver original, world-class commentaries on business, political, social and spiritual matters to a global audience of world leaders, chief executives and key decision makers, top faculty and notables in the fields of academia, banking, business, foundations, government (including heads of state, lawmakers and governors), healthcare, media, non-profits and policy institutes. Website: www.tedburnett.com