Friday, August 3, 2012

Feldkamp estates - Motion continued

In the first 15 minutes of today's hearing on a Motion to Vacate the July 20th appointment of Jaclynn Feldkamp as executor of both estates, Judge Chmiel took some big bites out of Attorney R. Duane Slayton, of Hampshire, Ill.

When the Feldkamp estates were first opened in June and July of 2011, the Marengo law firm of Schmitt & Filler represented the initial executor, Scott Feldkamp, son of John G. (Jack) and Audrey Feldkamp, who had died on June 7, 2011. Schmitt & Filler, however, withdrew on August 30, 2011, citing lack of communication and lack of cooperation from their client, the executor, Scott Feldkamp. They also wanted to get paid.

Since August 30, 2011, no attorney was on the record with the McHenry County Circuit Court for either estate. Even though estate and probate matters are complex, the executor did not replace Schmitt & Filler. The executor acted as his own attorney; i.e., pro se.

Even last week, when Attorney Slayton filed a Motion to Vacate the appointment of Jaclynn Feldkamp, daughter of John G. and Audrey Feldkamp, as successor executor, he was not "really" the attorney for the executor.

The way you get to be the attorney for the executor is to file an Appearance with the court, and that's what Attorney Slayton did at the beginning of today's hearing. And Judge Chmiel took big notice of that fact.

The hearing had started before Jaclynn ("Jackie") Feldkamp arrived.

Judge Chmiel expressed great concern about Attorney Slayton's failure to file his Appearance. He asked Attorney Slayton how he could represent the estate for two months (or more) without filing his Appearance. The judge brought up that Notice of the July 20 court date need not have been given to Attorney Slayton (even though it was given), but he was not on record as the attorney for the estates.

Judge Chmiel also made a big point out of the absence of the initial executor during the time he was on record as serving as executor. Judge Chmiel wanted to know where he was and why he wasn't in the courtroom. He wanted to know why Scott Feldkamp had left the State of Illinois and why Scott had not filed a current address with the Court.

(Editor's note: The court has had no way to contact Scott Feldkamp, executor, since about May 5, when he is believed to have left Illinois for Florida. Normally, the Court might be satisfied, if it knows the name and address of the executor's attorney. In this case, there was no attorney on the record.)

Now, here is a really strange part of today's court hearing. Just before 9:30AM Donald Leist, who is the civilian Equal Employment Opportunity officer for the McHenry County Sheriff's Department entered the courtroom and approached Attorney Slayton, and they stepped outside the courtroom. At 9:37AM Slayton and Leist returned to the courtroom, just before the Feldkamp case was called.

There was a man in a suit with Leist; I didn't recognize him and don't know his name. They sat on the rear bench throughout the Feldkamp hearing. What business of the EEO officer of the Sheriff's Department could possibly required or warranted his attendance at this probate hearing? The EEO officer is a civilian employee of the Sheriff's Department. He is not an investigator or even an attorney for the Sheriff's Department, although he is an attorney by education and admittance to the Illinois Bar. But Leist is not employed by the sheriff as an attorney.

Or, at least, not so far as the public has been told.

Rather than tossing the Motion to Vacate, Judge Chmiel ordered the parties to contact a Woodstock attorney on the Court's Guardian ad Litem (GAL) list and begin a discussion with him as to whether he would serve as executor of the two estates.

A few people in McHenry County have told me of their experiences with GALs. My advice to both sides to find out exactly what a GAL will charge. While it might be great to have an independent executor, if his participation would suck $30,-50,000 right off the top of the estate assets, that should be avoided.

I could not hear everything that Attorney Slayton said to Judge Chmiel. Apparently, he too was having trouble hearing, because he stood with hand cupped to his left ear while he spoke to Judge Chmiel. And I sat in the front-row bench with my own hand cupped to my left ear, trying to hear. I could hear Judge Chmiel and Jackie Feldkamp.

I did hear Attorney Slayton say something about Scott's being hospitalized for his injuries. I did not hear him make clear to the judge that Scott was hospitalized 14 months ago, not now. I thought I heard Attorney Slayton say something about Scott's having been in a coma. Oh, really? When was that? Not in connection with any stabbing wounds he says he suffered in this case, so far as I know.

Next court date: Tuesday, August 7, 2012, 10:30AM, Courtroom 202.

A Chicago Sun-Times article early on Friday morning said that 6'5", 325 lb. Palomino was held in lieu of $10,000 bail. It also said he was stripped of his police powers and suspended with pay. Shades of McHenry County! With pay...

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