Part I –
Public Guardian takes control of Gisela Riordan
San Jose, California resident Gisela Riordan, 84, prays every night for God to take her. Imprisoned and isolated, she is denied visitors, phone calls, and mail. Her arms are boney, and her cheeks sunken. Her features stir memories of Holocaust survivors. Forbidden companionship of her loved ones, Gisela languishes in despair.
Gisela has not been charged with a crime. She has not been sentenced to prison. No judge ordered her isolation. Gisela lost her freedom with the stroke of a pen, when Judge Thomas Cain approved a conservatorship petition submitted by Santa Clara County Public Guardian Donald Moody.
Moody seized Gisela’s bank accounts in 2010 and sold her home in 2011. Moody now uses Gisela’s own estate to keep her imprisoned at Villa Fontana, a residential care facility that will violate resident’s rights in exchange for payment. Taxpayer dollars, authorized by the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors, fund the Public Guardian’s abusive activities.
Gisela Riordan was an active vibrant woman who lived life to the fullest. Gisela and her companion of 17 years travelled the world together. She zipped around town in a convertible, the wind in her hair and the sun on her shoulders. Like many California transplants, she loved the beach and the waves breaking around her ankles. Retired comfortably, Gisela and her son Marcus Riordan shared a pleasant townhouse in a desirable area of west San Jose.
March 12, 2010: Petition for Conservatorship & Court Investigator’s Report
Kaiser Permanente contacted Adult Protective Services when Gisela was subject to physical and financial elder abuse by her bi-polar daughter. At the time, Gisela had a full estate plan in place. Her son, Marcus Riordan, was designated in her Advance Health Care Directive, and Marcus was successor trustee for Gisela’s living trust.
Kaiser Permanente restricted Gisela from seeing Marcus. The Public Guardian petitioned for temporary and general conservatorship. Court Investigator Herlinda Acevedo attached a report to the petition stating:
Ms. Riordan has been admitted to Kaiser Hospital 19 times in the last 12 months for depression, anxiety, atrial flutter, COPD, and issues related to complex family dynamics.
Gisela responded in a recorded phone conversation with Marcus.
Where did she get her numbers? Out of thin air?
Acevedo’s report to the court further stated:
Ms. Riordan would like to return to her home, but has expressed reluctance to do this while her son is residing in the home.
Gisela responded in her phone conversation with Marcus.
She is a liar. No way would I say that! We have lived together before. That’s nothing I ever said. That’s stupid.
It’s just stupid. That’s false witness. She could go to jail for that.
I’d like to come home and live with my son. I want my money released…
I didn’t save that money for the, what are they called? They took my money away from me. They have no right. I worked for that money.
It should be noted that Court Investigator’s reports were signed under penalty of perjury. More