Ron Cuthbert: Criminal to the Courts, Father to His Son
A Verbal Assassin Commentary
In a prior Verbal Assassin Commentary, I exposed some of what I believed to be the predatory and self-serving practices of Beagle, Burke and Assoc. (BBA) in their treatment of Ronald Cuthbert, and ultimately their charge, Ryan Cuthbert. But, in my opinion, BBA and other court appointees wouldn’t be as successful as they are if Clark County’s superior court judges didn’t appear to enable, and in some cases, seemingly, actively participate, in the exploitation and fraud against the handicapped.
For example, in the State of Washington, Superior Court Rules (state CR), court rule 1(b) (2) states “Guardian ad litem shall mean any person or program appointed in a Title 11, 13, or 26 RCW action under the Revised Code of Washington to represent the best interest of a child, an alleged incapacitated person, or an adjudicated incapacitated person. The term guardian ad litem shall not include an attorney appointed to represent a party.”
Definitions in Black’s Law Dictionary, Barron’s Dictionary of Legal Terms, and every other legal definition of “Guardian Ad Litem” I can find are similar to the state CR 1 definition.
So when it comes down to it, superior court judges will not classify BBA as a guardian ad litem because BBA would then become subject to the laws in the Revised Code of Washington (RCW) written by the legislature to govern the business and protect the handicapped from exploitive and predatory court appointees. Such as, RCW 11.88.097 which states “The court shall specify the hourly rate the guardian ad litem may charge for his or her services, and shall specify the maximum amount the guardian ad litem may charge without additional court review and approval. The court shall specify rates and fees in the order of appointment or at the earliest date the court is able to determine the appropriate rates and fees and prior to the guardian ad litem billing for his or her services…”
So why didn’t Superior Court Judge Wulle require BBA to comply with the RCW? The only logical explanation is that Judge Wulle would not pre-approve approximately $120,760.71, of which $67,645.05 was paid to BBA’s attorney Jessica Dimitrov, had BBA requested that amount in advance, as required by the RCW. By waiting until after the fact, Judge Wulle can show genuine surprise at the size of the bills, $44,619.19 for Dimitrov on April 26, 2007, before approving them, as he did when he said “I’m telling you all, this is the end of the road. I’m not approving any other fees for anybody at this juncture, unless some one can demonstrate to me prospectively that there is some need. Ok. Will someone remind me that I said that, Mr. McCray, I would suggest sir, that you be the one to remind me and with the same passion you displayed this morning”.
Jessica Dimitrov, BBA’s Attorney
And this, of course, was just blowing smoke for the cameras because on September 4, 2007 (just 4 months later) Dimitrov submitted another bill for $3,746.22, and when Mr. McCray complied with the judge’s order and reminded him of what he said – with the same passion – the judge became very angry and said, “I know what I said, and I know what I meant.” He then approved the bill and walked out of the courtroom while Mr. McCray was still trying to reconcile the two statements. This is especially troubling when the bill includes a teleconference with the IRS about Ronald Cuthbert’s (Ron) tax liabilities, (a violation of the rules of professional conduct 4.4, and clearly outside Dimitrov’s scope of employment) and $1,082.25 for talking to four attorneys (Jahn, Christel, Hamilton and Tubbs) about the “reasonableness” of her bill, showing that even Dimitrov must have been somewhat embarrassed and worried by the size of her bill. But, what you, the reader, must understand is that the court appointed BBA and Dimitrov to be “heroes” who can do no wrong. And, like all of Clark County’s handicapped citizens with big bank accounts that have been pilfered through this process, BBA, and even the courts, must think that Ryan Cuthbert (Ryan) must just be another “dumb retard” who won’t know the money is missing, so why not let Dimitrov use the money to enjoy her vacation in Mazatlan, Mexico … or wherever.
Also at the April 26th hearing, there were two other motions before the court. One by the guardian of the person to increase the amount of compensation Ryan pays to his parents for his 24/7 care. This care includes supervision, meal prep, cleaning his room and bathroom, even wiping his butt and 100’s of other services performed to maintain Ryan’s secure, safe and sanitary life style. The other motion was brought by Ryan’s parents for an increase in compensation, as well as for compensation for the period from June 10, 2004 to April 26, 2007 when they furnished these services for their son without compensation because they were necessary for Ryan’s survival. Judge Wulle reserved the right to rule on these motions at a later date and ordered BBA to submit a cash flow statement and balance sheet, so he could make an informed decision. BBA has still not complied with those oral instructions even though it has been a year and a half. In my view and in street language, at the April 26th hearing Judge Wulle’s rulings were indisputable, he will never allow the cost of Ryan’s care to impede, in any way, the right of BBA and Dimitrov (some of the court “heroes”) to collect their fees, no matter how allegedly exploitive and fraudulent they may be.
That was only one example of the Judge Wulle’s callous disregard of the RCW in favor of the “court’s heroes.” On three separate occasions, in written declarations, Ron complained that the financial statements BBA submitted were false and misleading because they listed Ryan’s liabilities as -0- (zero) while BBA and Dimitrov had outstanding bills (sometimes 20% of the stated net worth) distorting the accuracy of the net worth. Judge Wulle simply said “I have no reason to believe your statements are not accurate” when the proper response would be, “RCW 11.92.040 requires that you report ‘…or other encumbrances against the guardianship estate…’ so if there are any bills you know of, for which there is a reasonable expectation that you will pay them, you must disclose them on the financial statements.” Since these are bills accrued by the BBA and Dimitrov there is not a “reasonable expectation”, there is “absolute certainty” because the court never denies payment of their “heroes” billings, no matter how allegedly exploitive or fraudulent.
When you add all of the other “heroes” bills to BBA’s $120,760.71, the professional guardians have taken a total of $136,223.31. So, what did Ryan receive for his money? In April 2004 Judge Wulle stated that his primary purpose was “to preserve this young man’s estate.” Ryan is now paying his parents (caretakers) $1,500.00/m reimbursement for Ryan’s share of the household expenses, $1,500.00/m for 24/7 care, $695.60/m (24 month average) reimbursement for Ryan’s out of pocket expenses, $400.00/m anger management counseling (brought on by this whole affair) and $65.34 for blood pressure medicine (related to trauma allegedly caused by BBA) for a total monthly expenses of $4,160.94. That is $296.85 more than the $3,864.09/m Ryan’s father used when he was in charge of Ryan’s money. The bottom line is that Ryan has reportedly paid the professional guardians $136,223.31 to increase his cost of living, destroy his peace and security, jeopardize his health, and destroy his family.
Apparently, Judge Wulle is not the only Clark County judge smitten by hero worship. On September 10, 2006 Judge Barbara Johnson signed an order titled “Order Approving Second Annual Accounting and Report of the Guardian and payment of Guardian Fees” which includes the following language, “The Guardian is authorized to pay the anticipated monthly expenses outlined in the Annual Accounting and Report of the Guardian and Proposed Budget in the amount of approximately $2300.00 per month of the routine cost of the guardianship until the next annual accounting, including $1500.00 per month paid to Ron Cuthbert, together with $1000.00 for non-routine guardian fees incurred in the civil and criminal litigation arising out of the former guardian’s actions in this matter.”
Dimitrov evidently knew that Judge Johnson would not bother reading the order, which apparently she didn’t, or she would have noticed that Dimitrov had mixed routine and not-routine costs, or that $1500.00 together with $1000.00 does not add up to $2300.00 which apparently she didn’t, or be curious enough to look at the “Proposed Budget” to see exactly what she was authorizing, or to compare the current BBA request of $500 per month to the $217.68 per month in the previous accounting period, which apparently she wasn’t or she would have known she was authorizing a 130% raise in compensation for BBA.
The superior court judges are not the only ones in the Clark County court house that enable the “court’s heroes” to succeed. The County Clerk’s office has, what is called, a guardianship monitoring program. It is not a true monitoring program though, because it only monitors the responsible citizens who care for their own relatives without government help and interference. And when it finds an account where a relative of the handicapped person has not filed all of the “proper” reports required by the court, they immediately call in Hatzenbeler and the court seemingly empowers her to strip the intended victim and the relative of their right to protest, appeal, or even hire an attorney to protect themselves from Hatzenbeler and the other “heroes” while they strip the bank account.
According to Ron Cuthbert’s research of accounts similar to Ryan’s, he found thirteen accounts paid by private funds, and in all thirteen accounts Hatzenbeler contracted with the court to provide her services for $550. In twelve of those accounts she exceeded her contract (in amounts up to $11,753.00) while never filing for an extension of her contract, as required by RCW 11.88.097, and her own contract attached to the acceptance document.
So, apparently, the monitoring program is nothing more than a volunteer section of the Clerk’s office whose primary purpose is to find private pay accounts for the “court’s heroes” to exploit. The monitoring program has never held the “court’s heroes” to the same standard of compliance as a private individual, and a reasonable person can only wonder why. In fact, they seemingly reward Hatzenbeler, a “court hero”, with additional lucrative accounts for allegedly destroying the families of handicapped individuals who actually dedicate their life to caring for their own relatives without government help.
Ryan’s case is by no means a one of a kind occurrence. In the Carr account, the judge approved a fee for Hatzenbeler of $550.00 if the county pays the bill or $950.00 if Mr. Carr pays the bill. Obviously the court did not think that charging a handicapped person $400.00 more than the county would pay for the same services is gouging the handicapped. But, even a $400.00 gouge was not enough for Hatzenbeler as she charged Mr. Carr $1,978.00 (document 28) a full $1,028.00 more than the court approved. But who cares? It can only be deduced that the court’s opinion is that Hatzenbeler is a “hero” and Mr. Carr is just another “dumb retard” who pays the bills.
Another account, that is very similar to Cuthbert’s, is the Trost guardianship. It has been reported that between July 2004 and May 2008, the guardians and attorneys charged a total of $150,074.42! While the guardians and attorneys were living fat on Joe Sr.’s estate, Joe Sr. was blind, deaf, and living in a building so filthy and dangerous it would embarrass a Mexican Ghetto dweller.
That raises numerous questions about what Joe Sr. was paying for and there can be only one reason, in my mind, why they apparently ignored the filth and dangerous conditions in which Joe Sr. lived – they were just concerned with stripping the estate. What makes this even more despicable is that Joe Jr., who lived with his father in that filth, only had a $520 per month income through a Social Security check, which apparently none of the guardians or attorneys were interested in. Now that he is the probable heir to an inheritance from his father, there are guardians and attorneys trying to have Joe Jr. declared incapacitated, and are accruing huge bills against him so they can take the inheritance before Joe Jr. receives it.
As for Ron Cuthbert, who was convicted of 7 felony thefts against his own son, there was never a malicious intent to defraud his son, who is still physically under his care. He simply did things which he thought were appropriate to care for Ryan.
The real crme is that there are profiteer “heroes” out there feeding off the weak, and they just happen to be part of the system that is supposed to protect individuals who can not protect themselves. Who protects them from them?
It is blatantly obvious that the system is broken; that good families get taken advantage of; that the weak are still fodder for those crafty enough to position themselves in roles of authority.
It is my hope, that through exposure and public involvement, that the system will change and reflect the standards of good people acting in good faith for their loved ones, and not the cold legal entities that seek to profit from an individuals misfortune by absconding with their funds through outrageous fees.
For an time-line of Ron’s case read this article on-line at usobserver.com.
To understand how the court actively participates in the exploitation and fraud I will have to give a time line of the criminal charges against Ron.
April 2004 Hatzenbeler was appointed guardian ad litem and requested that BBA be appointed guardian of the estate and BBA receives permission to hire Dimitrov as their attorney.
June 2004 Hatzenbeler asked Detective Jeff Nichols of the Vancouver police department to begin and investigation of possible theft by Ron and BBA seizes Ryan’s assets and income.
December 22, 2004 Detective Nichols submitted his report to the prosecutor’s office and it was assigned to Phil Meyers.
November 5, 2005 Judge Wulle called Meyers into the courtroom and asked about his progress on the criminal case. There was none.
January 2006 Ron was informed Meyers did not want to prosecute the case and transferred it to another prosecutor named Jim David who intended to bring one charge concerning one check.
February 6, 2006 Ron wrote a letter to Vern McCray explaining the circumstances of the check and McCray discussed the letter with David.
February 2006 Late in the month Ron was informed that David no longer wanted to prosecute the case and transferred it back to Meyers where it once again became inactive.
June 2004 – May, 2006 Billings to Ryan’s account show there was a continuous and intense lobbing effort by Hatzenbeler, BBA and Dimitrov to have the prosecutor’s office bring charges against Ron. These lobbing efforts were unsuccessful.
May 22, 2006 Ron filed a complaint against Hatzenbeler with Jeff Amram, superior court administrator.
May 26, 2006 In a morning hearing Judge Wulle disclosed the existence of the complaint by informing those present in the courtroom that he had read the complaint. In the afternoon Hatzenbeler wrote a letter to Amram accusing him of violating local court rules and stating that she would hand deliver a copy of the letter to Judge Harris, Amram’s direct supervisor, to ask for Judge Wulle to be removed from the case.
May 27, 2006 Hatzenbeler met with Judge Harris, involving Judge Harris in Ryan’s case, and thus, made him a “judicial officer” in this case, and her meeting with him an “ex parte” meeting which is forbidden under RCW 11.88.093 and State CR GALR 2 (m). But the violation of the laws and rules are not applicable to the “presiding judge” or a “court hero” because they are empowered to enforce laws and rules (whether they exist or not) against anyone who opposes them, and there is nobody in Clark County empowered to enforce the same laws against them.
June 12, 2006 Ron is charged with 18 felony counts of theft by the prosecutor’s office, a division of the superior court of which Judge Harris is the presiding judge.
June 16, 2006 The twenty-five days allowed State CR GALR 7 (g) and Local CR 7.6 (1) for a response from Jeff Amram (a subordinate of Judge Harris the presiding judge) in response to Ron’s complaint against Hatzenbeler expires. After 2 ½ years that complaint has still not been answered.
It is beyond comprehension to believe that Judge Harris did not abuse the authority of his office to protect Hatzenbeler. After two years of constant and unsuccessful lobbing of the prosecutor’s office by Hatzenbeler, BBA and Dimitrov it only took one unlawful ex parte meeting with Judge Harris and sixteen days to have charges brought against Ron and his complaint against Hatzenbeler totally ignored.
The question that any reasonable person would ask and the Washington Commission of Judicial Conduct should ask is: What could have Hatzenbeler (a court hero) have possibly offered Judge Harris (the presiding judge) in that unlawful ex parte meeting on May 27, 2006 that would have enticed him to violate so many laws and state and local court rules jeopardizing both his career and reputation.