Sunday, June 24, 2012

Beth Bentley - gone 112 weeks now

Last week the Bentley reward trust document came up in a reader's comment. That prompted me to re-read it and to think again about who might have drafted the trust. (If you are brave enough to try to understand it, clear on the image to enlarge it.)

As another reader commented offline, "I didn't know 'successor' could be spelled three ways." And don't miss "refereed".

About all I can say is, it's a good thing this trust agreement never found its way into court. A judge would have been banging his head on the wall, wondering who had tried to patch this thing together out of a form book.

It's clear that the document was never run through SpellCheck or Grammar Check. I'd say it probably wasn't even proofread.

I don't know or care whether any money ever became an asset of this trust (or whether it was ever returned to donors or distributed to charities).

This is the document that was described in a Facebook comment (summer 2010) as having elaborate terms and conditions, including return of donations if Beth wasn't found within a year. Numerous other details were offered in the Facebook comment, all of which I figured would be nuts to include in a Reward Trust. As it turned out, none of those elaborate terms and conditions was in the trust.

The only thing happening in this matter is a case (Case No. 12CR000250) involving Beth's BBF, Jennifer Wyatt-Paplham. She is to be back in court on Wednesday, June 27, 9:00AM, McHenry County Courthouse, R 302. Maybe Judge Condon will just set a trial date and not allow the usual pattern of months of continuances.

Schedule a trial for July and let's find out what she really knows about Beth's disappearance.

Are Woodstock Police Department detectives continuing to investigate this case? In missing persons' cases the police usually seek the involvement of the public. That has never happened in this case. Why not?


Ray said...

Meh, and sigh....

Ok, you want to play "Does this legal document suck?" MMMKAY!

To the two other readers out there, here is exactly what happened. A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away ...

Sorry, I got distracted. Back whenever, there was this missing lady. One of her friends started a "This lady is missing" facebook page, and her friends all had a fundraiser to raise money ....

One of the first ladies' friends liked to run her mouth on facebook (not a friend of the missing lady -- in fact she lived more than a hundred miles away), and about that time Gus inserted himself into the fray because that's what Gus does.

So Gus gets into this big argument with the other lady about what's gonna happen with all of the money raised to find this missing lady. Well this goes back and forth for awhile and for reasons that I can only guess at, this other lady says that the "trust agreement" contains all of these "legal terms" and of course when she says that Gus can't help himself he says show me the document.

Now let's take a pause here for a moment and understand what's going on here. The lady who says the things about the "trust document" obviously has never seen it -- she is just a random poster on facebook(somebodys friend trying to be helpful), and just so we keep track ... Gus is a poster on this facebook page. Short version ... both of these people don't know anything about what they are talking about but they are starting to argue like they do (which was kinda funny to the rest of us).

Gus can't drop anything ... really he can't, so he continues to post about this "missing" document ... after a couple of weeks of this. I meet with the husband of the missing lady and tell him that I would like to shut Gus up (because I would be the only person in the history of man to do that) and publish the document.

The background: So there are these fundraising efforts (which at the time I thought were misguided, and time has shown me to be a super psychic genius on that count) and the husband believes that he should make a bank account for the proceeds to flow into, because (you guessed it) before any of this Gus was demanding to know if there was going to be a 50/50 at the fundraiser, and wanted to see an accounting, etc. etc. etc. (ad infinitum). So there was some attempt to comply with the laws concerning fundraisers, because there was a nut on the loose ....

Well of course the husband goes to the bank and tries to set up an account, and the bank manager says you need a trust document, to which the husband says do you have a preprinted one? Of course the bank manager does not, so the husband being a lawyer, just cold bangs one out on a nearby typerwriter.

Back to our story. So I get a copy of the trust agreement and immediately post it in an attempt to shut Gus up (a mistake on my part, maybe I am not such a super genius). And all of a sudden Gus's focus shifts from what is or isn't in the trust document, to how poorly drafted it is. Which is the thing he has been crowing about ever since.

Now Gus suggests that "it's a good thing that this document never made it in to court." I have to ask, "Why?" Do you think a judge looks at spelling errors and would invalidate the document? If you think that you would be wrong. Do you think that judges don't run into poorly drafted documents everyday? And the judge would somehow "bang his head from frustration?" You truly do not think much of judges ... do you?

Yawn... no Gus, that wouldn't happen. And three cheers for you for jumping on the husband of the missing lady for his poor draftsmanship ... and even more kudos for beating up on the random facebook poster that lied about seeing the document.

So good journalism, Gus!!!

Ray said...

Oh, and Judge Condon will not be on this case long enough for it to get to trial ... he is retiring, I think I learned that from your blog?

Gus said...

Ray, not sure how "Kool Breeze" would feel about your "run her mouth" comment.

You know there was no "big argument" about how the money was going to be used. It was to be a Reward.

Kool Breeze wrote at the time that she had been told the terms of the Trust by an employee in Scott's office. I believed she was merely repeating what she had been told by someone who had seen the trust agreement. (Until now I have not questioned the propriety of a law office employee discussing an office matter with an outsider.) I also believed that no Grantor would ever would want a trust with such terms.

The trust agreement, when revealed by you, disclosed its very basic nature. That "basic nature" was not the problem, but its drafting was a disaster.

How does a legal document ever leave a lawyer's office with two misspellings of "successor"? Or "referred" misspelled? Or "pursuit" in place of "pursuant"?

You also know that I never asked IF there would be a 50/50 at the fundraiser at Gus's Roadhouse. The fundraising committee had announced that there would be, and that was when I inquired whether it had the permit required by law.

You're a lawyer, Ray. Why didn't you tell them it was illegal to hold a 50/50? And that they would not qualify for a permit?

Ray said...

First you ask how does a legal document ever leave a lawyer's office ... I answered that, it was never in the office to begin with, as I said it was drafted on the fly.

Second the 50/50 raffel was axed because you inquired ... once again justice has prevailed ... I guess?

Lastly, why didn't I tell them it was illegal? You must have missed the 50 or so times that you have referred to me as a criminal defense attorney ... I do not advise whether a particular action is consistent with the law, I defend persons accused of specific laws (not all laws), and the few laws that I do use in court have a thousands upon thousands or permutations, defects and interpretations in them ... I can't imagine adding any more laws to keep track of, I actually attend a 7 hour course every year that just discusses the changes in DUI and statutory suspension law alone.

Your misperception of lawyers, what they do and what they know, is quite frankly charming ... it also demonstrates why your guesses about the law often fall so short.

And, actually Gus I thought the whole fundraiser was a terrible idea, at the time, we didn't know enough (but Beth's friends were undeterred) and I didn't think any amount of money would persuade anyone to give any more information than they had. And if you failed to raise enough -- all it would do is cause a finger pointing party.

And it didn't take a lawyer to figure out that the result would be as occurred.

Lastly, maybe it's the way you drafted it, maybe it's just a lie but when you say you never asked if there was a 50/50 raffle ... that statement was in error.

You asked the city if there was a permit for the 50/50 raffle. Period. It was one of the lowest things I have ever seen one person do to a group they didn't know. You didn't attempt to help the group you didn't find away to help these girls raise money to find their friend, you just announced your intention on facebook and fired away ...

It's exactly like when the police officer shuts down the little girl's lemonade stand. Sure, it's illegal for her to sell lemonade without a license from the health department, but the harm is small ... and really nothing forgives the officer this over use of State power.

Each night as I pray to the God in heaven that in this universe that he has created everything will even out, I trust this will catch up to you.

P.S. Also, the way that you and several others try to drag me into this sewer, by suggesting that I am somehow at fault for not advising them. Hey, when the little girl is out on her front yard trying to sell lemonade ... I have the heart to stop, pay for a cup and thank her.

P.S. That's what it's like to be on the right side of an issue ....

Ray said...

You know what ... there was a big fight about what the trust did and what the money was going to be used for. Caused by you, of course.

First there was a dispute about whether it would be used as a reward or to print flyers or maintain billboards or hire a private investigator.

Then there was who would be the trustee and what their duties and obligations would be.

Because if there wasn't then what was the use of seeing the document.
Which I maintain there was no purpose but to appease you and your "by the book" spirit.

You may argue that there is nothing wrong with the "by the book" spirit, but here is an example that I think will convince others (not you) how wrong you are.

Everyone likes to pay low prices. As a matter of fact Walmart's slogan is as much. So Walmart tells there suppliers, "Hey we want the lowest price for our customers (nothing wrong with that), so the manager of the dish soap factory says, "Lower the prices!" (nothing wrong with that). Then the accountants say that to lower the prices we have to cut the hours or lower the pay of our employees. (nothing wrong with that). Then the workers at the factory get less money. (nothing wrong with that). You were one of those workers. (Hey, there's something wrong with that--I did nothing to deserve less money for my work!).

Sometimes even the purest motive can result in general craptasticness. And that's how yours panned out in this case.