Bank Fiduciaries: What a Horror by James Jaeger
Trust No Banks - Especially Banks That Act As Your Trustee
Here's a little bedtime story (with names modified to protect the "innocent" until found guilty), based on my personal observations, experiences and opinions, of what has happened to me and my family in connection with The Imprudent National Bank, the law firm of Duanes Moron & Hecklers and the Orphan's Court of Montgomery County as such relate to Trust Banking (the "opposite" department of Commercial Banking).
I provide this to you in the hopes that you may avoid the pitfalls we have experienced with Trust Banks and their Law Firms, so that it may be helpful in changing what I, as well as thousands of others, believe is a negative, archaic and corrupt system.
The allegations and portrayals of the people and entities mentioned in this letter are my personal observations about what they have done and has not necessarily been confirmed in a court of law, thus they should be considered to be my opinions and constitutional right of free expression. If you do not agree nor accept this premise - please stop reading now.
If in reading this, you disagrees with it or find anything inaccurate or would like to add to this, I welcome your comments.
I, my family and its professionals allege that the Imprudent National Bank owes us as much as $3,254,438, due to breach of fiduciary responsibility, fraud, mismanagement, and/or outright embezzlement in connection with our late Grandfather's trusts. We have evidence, as well as the testimonials of others in similar situations, to support this claim. The specific objections I, as a remainderman, have made in connection with this matter are filed with the Orphan's Court of Montgomery County. However, because of technical errors made in presentation, the court may not even acknowledge the existence of some of the evidence supporting my claims. Thus, I would be glad to provide such to you directly.
My late Grandfather, James R. Jaeger (real name), was internationally known for innovation in the treatment and cure (with a 99% success rate) of ticdouloureaux and other neurological disorders. He was the author of many articles which formed the basis of motion pictures on the diagnosis, surgical techniques and most of the surgical disorders of the nervous system. He came to Philadelphia in 1943 and established and headed up the Department of Neurosurgery at Jefferson Medical College and Hospital. He was president of the International College of Surgeons in 1944, the Medical Club of Philadelphia in 1960 and the Philadelphia Neurosurgical Society in 1961 and 1962. He founded the Mid Atlantic Neurosurgical Society which now has thousands of members and is the largest in the country.
He pioneered many techniques such as the spinal tap and invented the surgical head lamp. He was the first physician to produce 16mm color movies to train doctors in surgical techniques and he sent these films, produced at his own expense, around the country to students at no charge. Prior to 1945, Grandpa lived and taught in Denver, where he received the Distinguished Citizen Award of Denver. At one point he was the only surgeon west of the Mississippi River.
My grandfather hired William Whit, a senior attorney with the firm of Drained Morons & Hecklers, to represent him and draw up a will for himself and his wife, which he did around 1960. These wills were interrelated, provided for generation-skipping trusts, appointed executors and trustees and were formidable instruments to read without the help of a specific - and expensive - kind of attorney. My father, his sister and the Imprudent National Bank were appointed executors and trustees in my grandfather's will.
When my grandmother died on August 31, 1987, (just before the stock market crash of October 19th) we got involved in a very difficult settlement which revolved mostly around the value and disposition of real estate and the negligent way we believed Imprudent, as co-executor, was handling several real estate assets. Again, details are filed in the Orphan's court.
Because it was becoming clear that Drained Morons & Hecklers, as represented now by Bob Devious, who took over for Bill Whit when he died, was acting mostly in the favor of one of the Executors, Imprudent National Bank, to the detriment of the others - I hired Ed Lon Alen, an attorney in West Chester, to represent my father as co-executor in the settlement.
Eventually Imprudent bowed out as co-executor and we settled the estate. As part of the settlement, Imprudent was asked to bow out as co-trustee as well. When they finally agreed to do so, they had to file, by law, a "first and final" accounting of their investment activities as trustee over a period of about 20 years. This accounting, by law, had to be sent to all parties of interest, including me as a remainderman.
The person at Imprudent who seemed to be the senior executive over our trusts was Lou Ozio. However there were other trust officers who deserve special note: Frank Furious, who could not have handled our real estate less professionally. (I have post-office-dated photographs that prove the negligent way Imprudent handled real estate assets during the time they were trust assets), and Bill Chopestick, who was extremely discourteous in attitude whenever we were asking vital questions about the settlement.
With but one exception, ever in my life have I or my family, ever encountered a more arrogant, less service-oriented organization than the Imprudent National Bank and its "highly trained" employees. (I have full proof of this for anyone who wants to hear it and see photographs.) That one exception is Roberto Devious of Drained Morons & Hecklers whose dishonest machinations and arrogant manner in manipulating our family settlement to the advantage of the Imprudent is documented at the Orphan's Court in Norristown, PA.
After reviewing the accounting of 20 years with an accountant, several lawyers, a stock broker and an ex-trust officer of a major bank, we found that what Imprudent was reporting was grossly inconsistent with what was actually going on in the market during the same term. Therefore, I and my brother, a remainderman also, filed Objections on November 1st, 1989 with the Orphan's Court of Montgomery County asking the court to surcharge the bank the sums of:
o $1,977,219 for reasons in 1 and 2 in the Objections.
o $63,643.34 for reasons in 3 in the Objections.
o $126,436 for reasons in point 4 of the Objections.
Such total surcharge, as of 1 Nov 1989, was $2,167,298.30.
Because it was an audit, I did not take legal counsel to the hearing. However as a witness supporting my claims, I took Eugene Steger, a tax attorney with an MBA who attended Wharton and Villanova University. As I walked into the hearing I heard Bob Devious say that he was representing the Accountants (at the Bank) and that he planned on handing in additional appearance slips and affidavits to add to the record. My understanding from this and other comments, was that this was just the first hearing of perhaps several.
Orphan's Court "Justice"
Judge Axis asked me what I wanted to submit. I told him that I wished to submit to the Court a "top sheet summary and that I had supporting information if he wanted any of it." When he asked me if he had it all here, I said yes - meaning he had all of the Summary here. Later for clarification, I stated to the Judge the following: "I can provide verification of any figures you want. Just ask and I'll show you the papers."
Through out the hearing the judge was very inconsistent in his intention as to whether he wanted me to submit more material (evidence) or not. He implied that I had already submitted to him an overwhelming amount of material for him to assimilate (for instance calling the material "a sheaf". He would ask if I 'had any papers he didn't have' and 'do I have it all here', and then he would turn around and make the following statement: "I'm hear to hear evidence and listen to that evidence, but you don't have evidence that I can make findings upon.... (I only brought in a tax attorney who corroborated my computer spreadsheets showing Imprudent's negligent performance) ..."I'm going to have to decide on what the record shows as it is now, as it exists right now...." (indicating he wanted to get rid of this case without a fair trial)..."Now you don't do it by just compiling all this and stick it under the nose of a Judge and say, here it is, Judge. That's no way to do it, not for me it isn't, because I can't take this. These aren't facts that I know of. They may be, but somebody's got to tell me what they are..." (We all were telling him, see rest of the transcript) "...and that is where you are now. So your chances to show me by testimony, or documents, or witness, whatever, in support of the four major claims that you have." At this point Judge Axis's sentence stops dead. Re-read the Judge's last sentence and see if it makes sense to you!? I think what he was starting to say, before either he caught himself or the "official one-record-court Reporter" left out a sentence - is the following: 'So your chances to show me by testimony, or documents, or witness, whatever, in support of the four major claims that you have - are zero?'
After re-reading the court transcript - it seemed to me that the Judge had the case decided before it even came before him and that he was nervous about receiving additional evidence and that he was determined to "dispose" (his exact words) with it as quickly as he could.
In other words, what right did I have to speak out about the Imprudent National Bank and Drained Morons & Hecklers's poor fiduciary performances?
At the hearing the Judge said that the "record is in a very unsatisfactory posture for the Court to resolve, or answer, or rule upon" and that he had 'no records of the bank nor did he have any idea of what the bank has done.' - direct quote and paraphrase from the court transcript.
So what business does the Court have in adjudicating on a multi-million dollar surcharge under this condition? This is irresponsible "justice".
After the audit hearing, when Eugene Steger told me that I could have submitted more evidence, I told the judge, in his chambers, that I had supporting evidence for all my claims, and that I wished to submit it and petition the Imprudent for additional evidence. He said this was fine and that I had "all the time I needed". This statement of the Judge directly to me, (in the presence of his secretary) plus the fact that Bob Devious stated the following in the hearing:
Your Honor, if I may, I'm going to hand in additional appearance slips and affidavits of notice of this continued hearing to add to the record." - indicated to me that there would be a future hearing.
In preparation for the next hearing, and in reliance upon the Judge's word, I had my Objections and Evidence hand delivered on or about the 2nd of November 1989, (about four days later) to Alfred Axis. (See Objections dated 1 November 1989.) Simultaneously I mailed Requests for Admissions or Denial to Imprudent via Bob Devious.
That same day, before the Judge could possibly have received and reviewed the Objections and Evidence, let alone received Admissions or Denial from the Imprudent, I, my brother, sister and father all simultaneously received an ADJUDICATION, each under separate cover. After opening two of these, and seeing they were all duplicates, I decided NOT to break the envelop of the postmarked adjudication to me. Thus I have proof that the Judge adjudicated BEFORE receiving my Objections and Evidence of 1 November 1989 - in effect dishonoring his promise to me.
Upon receiving this "adjudication" the Imprudent, via Bob Devious, immediately withdrew their desire to hand in "additional appearance slips and affidavits to add to the record." It seemed to me that this whole "hearing" was carefully orchestrated by the Court for the Bank. One got the distinct impression that these people have been down this road before and that this is how they "disposed" of these situations in other legitimate cases.
I immediately sent Judge Axis a letter asking if he would reconsider and keep his promise to receive my Objections and Evidence. He did not even answer me. I sent a second letter asking for an appeal, but still no answer.
Outrageous Legal Fees
While in Orphan's Court, I said that I felt that the practice of using money from trust funds to litigate against the legitimate grievances of beneficiaries and remaindermen was a conflict of interest and I asked Judge Axis to disapprove both the fees being requested by Duanes Moron & Hecklers, and the extra fees being asked by the Imprudent. This practice amounts to a form of extortion because the money does not belong to the fiduciary and the fiduciary has been and is being paid to perform for the beneficiaries so any objections against their performance should be a part of their operating costs.
On or about the first week of February 1990, the Imprudent prepared another accounting of our trusts. Included in this accounting was a request that an additional $32,000 be okayed by the Orphan's Court (Judge Axis) for payment to Drained Morons & Hecklers, Lon Horseass and Ed Lon Alen, attorneys for the trustees. (The attorneys and executors had already taken about $160,000 out of the estate to settle it, not including death taxes. This amounts to a settlement expense of over 18% - an outrage in light of the fact that the Attorney General allows in his guidelines between 3 - 5%.)
When I queried Ed Lon Alen as to the extra fees, he said that it was for all the extra work done. So I asked, as did my father, for an itemized bill. Instead of sending a current bill describing the fees in question, a reissue of a paid up bill for the two prior years was sent. To date we have never received a properly itemized accounting of this $32,000 fee in connection with this Orphans Court "hearing" from any of the attorneys. (The extra $32,000 was split $12,000 for DM&H and $10,000 each for Horseass and Lon Alen and taken out of Beneficiaries' trust fund.)
Since the only "legal work" done by the attorneys to "earn" part of this extra $32,000 was merely showing up at the Remainderman hearing just described, we have to conclude that Horseass and Devious intended the bill to be charged to our trusts to punish us for speaking up about our legitimate objections and to inhibit or prevent us from appealing.
In short, the Bank and Drained Morons & Hecklers got their desired result as we did not "object" to the next Imprudent Accounting as we knew it would be useless and that they would only continue to debit what little money there was left in the account. Ethically, the first hearing should not be over as the evidence which was promised to be heard by the Judge has not been heard at all, the admitted several times in the Record that he was unbriefed and unfamiliar with the case and the bank records, (which to this day he has never even seen) and we were in essence harassed out of court by Robert Devious acting for the Accountants of the Bank, (which he states on the record) and Alonzo Horseass, who was working in concert with Bob Devious because he has a vested interest in preserving a corrupt orphan's court and trust system.
This is one of the ways the courts and bank fiduciaries intimidate beneficiaries and remaindermen into submission, and it is very frustrating.
The Formula for Your Doom
Here is the exact formula Bank Fiduciaries and their conflict-of-interest law firms use to inhibit justice and investigation, and to control, intimidate and extort money from dissenting beneficiaries and remaindermen. (The following action was taken on us several times.)
1) Bank lobbies all trustees that support their point of view, if any. (E.g., Real Estate dispositions of the Estate)
2) Bank takes any action or makes any charge to our trust they so desire. (legal fees for DM&H, additional accounting fees, sweeping fees, etc.)
3) If objected or contested by Trustee or Beneficiary, Bank has Law Firm (DM&H) submit their proposed action or charge to Orphan's Court for authorization. (Usually the threat of going to Court is enough to intimidate Trustee or Beneficiary into submission to Bank.)
4) Orphan's Court usually upholds Bank and Law Firm's point of view as they have a long, entrenched, symbiotic relationship.
5) Judge bangs gavel in favor of Bank & Law Firm.
6) Bank debits Remainderman/Beneficiaries' Trust and pays Law Firm for their "services" in "protecting" the trust or "fulfilling their fiduciary responsibility".
7) Remaindermen make further Objections to the above and have to...
8) ... GOTO 1 above and repeat 1-8, until...
9) ... Remaindermen and Beneficiaries are:
a) Broke or exasperated,
b) Bank and Law Firm are compensated and employed, and,
c) The details of exactly how the beneficiaries and remaindermen were victimized remain obfuscated because the family does not know how to challenge the probate and trust system.
The banks, their law firms and the orphans court know very well that the beneficiaries and remaindermen have recently suffered a loss of a loved one in the family and thus are dispersed, drained and disorganized. Thus most families, beneficiaries and remaindermen are found to be at a severe disadvantage in making any objections stick. They delay... time goes on... the pain diminishes... they forget a little... more time goes on... they eventually drop it. But basically the SAME banks, the SAME higher up trust officers, the SAME lawyers and the SAME judge continues to victimize each new unsuspecting beneficiary and family appearing on the audit list.
This is their formula. This is currently being done to hundreds, if not thousands of innocent people in Pennsylvania and in other states across the country.
Meanwhile, trusts in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania - some $50 billion dollars worth - are constantly being churned in special mutual funds setup like the BNC fund, which is only for Bank clients. PA Dept of Revenue Fiduciary Income Tax for Capital Gains are siphoned from these trusts by the hundreds of millions per year. Some part of this money, one could imagine, supports the Orphan's Court of Montgomery County and pays Judge Axis's salary. This is what probably keeps this incestuous system all "legally" in place.
False Help, No Help, Some Help
All the people I interviewed who said Imprudent National Bank and/or Drained Morons & Hecklers have a "good" reputation in the town ultimately get paid out of trust funds. Even several lawyers which we have retained or had meetings with, such as John Suria of Saul, Ewing, Remic & Saul; Ralph Teeters of Teeters & Harvey; Richard Greenfield of Greenfield & Chimicles; Bob Freeman; Bill Lamb and Barbara Wolf; John Stein of Price Waterhouse; and Eugene Gillian; as well as Ed Lon Alen all agree to a greater or lesser degree that we have been victimized by this system and the Imprudent National Bank. Some of these lawyers are not bad people and they tried to help us, but they throw their hands up when it comes to doing anything effective or anything approaching justice, especially when asked to help on a contingency basis.
Ed Lon Alen, who understands the above system well, has tried to help in what he believesis an uphill battle. He has indicated that his family has been victimized by similar circumstances and estimates that it could take a lot to change the system and make reparations to those that have been hurt and to those who are still being victimized. He is willing to fight it himself, or with his litigators, but he says he must have a few key witnesses who will testify as to what happens behind the scene at the Banks and we must have other case examples, such as this one, to re-open the case in the Orphan's Court or file class action suits in federal court.
One firm I have to commend, however and that is the late Greenfield & Chimicles. About one and a half years after I, my brother and our tax attorney, went to visit Richard Greenfield to explain the situation we were experiencing, his firm, due to the efforts of Ted Pollard, Parker Packard and John Upp, filed a class action suit against the Imprudent National Bank and Mellon Bank on August 15, 1991 and were successful in getting a $55 million judgement against the Bank for "double-dipping" into trust funds. This suggests that the wall can be cracked and that the judicial system can do something about this problem, but just like Al Capone who was caught evading taxes while he got away with murder, the Banks were caught for double dipping (sweep fees) while they are still getting away with the murder of your trust funds. If more people come forward and talk about this situation, a healthier trust system could be built.
Unfortunately, many of the lawyers and firms in Philadelphia (and other cities) that I and members of HEIRS & BENEFICIARIES have talked to won't come forward or seek true justice because either:
a) they have a vested interest in maintaining this system, (i.e., formula steps 1-9, above), or;
b) they do not find enough precedent to warrant the expense of fighting it. (In other words, they are chicken.)
No Justice in the Orphan's Court
We conclude that, in our case, there was no justice in the Orphan's Court of Montgomery for Remaindermen as far as legitimate redress for the improper handling of trusts being administered by the Imprudent National Bank. Further, we conclude that the law firm of Drained Morons & Hecklers, is abetting the above injustice by defending the Bank as Accountant & Trustee.
Further, we conclude that it is a form of extortion for the Bank Fiduciary and the Law Firm to use Remainderman's trust funds to litigate against legitimate remaindermen objections especially when the Bank has refused or will not provide information about their specific actions without charging exorbitant fees. (See letter from Bob Devious stating that the Bank would have to charge me $10,000 for summary of their activities.)
The probate and trust system, as administered by the Imprudent National Bank and Drained Morons & Hecklers are a menace to the family unit, a legalized "racket" if not outright fraud, and a detriment to the public at large because these practices preempt the money and productivity of citizens.
It is not true that only the rich have trusts or are involved. There are over $500 Billion dollars in trusts across the country and most of the trusts are small ones intended to take care of loved ones and provide reasonable growth of principal to surviving beneficiaries. By reasonable growth, I am saying that a fiduciary who manages trusts should return to beneficiaries and remaindermen a corpus that has grown at a rate equal to or better than the Standard & Poor Average over the same term as was entrusted to their care - not what the law allows now - and that they only return the same amount entrusted to them - regardless of inflation. This is in effect loosing money and the test of this is: Ask your bank fiduciary to return to you, as a beneficiary, the actual number of shares of stock you gave them when the trust was created. Note the blank stare they give you in response to this question. I asked the Judge in Orphans Court this question. If you read the Record transcript - you will see that Judge Axis just ignored this request and moved on to continue to obfuscate the "hearing".
In addition to the above alleged points, I allege that The Imprudent National Bank, (as a Trustee), the Pittsburgh National Corporation (the "BNC") and/or Drained Morons & Hecklers, through their individual employees and corporate policies, adopted by individual board members, have managed to, legally or illegally, withhold, overcharge or embezzle between $700,000 and $3,254,438 (as of 1 November 1989) from me and my family, (such sum not including the sums delineated in points 3 & 4 of the filed Objections.)
Trust Funds Lag S&P
Between 1968 and 1978, the Standard & Poor Average has gone up by more than 12%. The stocks that comprise the S&P Average are all known as "blue chip stocks" and make up what some wills call "legal list investments".
Under the will of my late grandfather and grandmother, the Imprudent National Bank was required to invest only in "legal list" investments or Blue Chip stocks. Therefore, if Imprudent was properly carrying out its fiduciary responsibilities as trustee under the Will of my late grandfather, they invested his assets in blue chip stocks. Since we know that blue chip stocks have experienced an average annual growth of more than 12% over the past 20 years - does it not stand to reason that the principal placed under the care of Imprudent should have grown by the same amount - less any distributions or disbursements of principal, income or taxes, respectively?
I allege they did - but Imprudent did not turn the money over to the Beneficiaries. Instead they placed many overt and covert fees and expenses on the principal, thus reducing it to the extremely low levels we experienced. This, then, looks or is reported as simply "poor performance" and, under current law, a beneficiary cannot go after a trustee for "poor performance" provided the trustee invests as a "prudent man" would invest, does not lose any money and does not violate any of its fiduciary responsibilities.
No Poor Performance
Therefore, I allege no poor performance (from the Imprudent's receipt point of view) as Imprudent and/or BNC has made 12 - 30 percent with our money because they were requited, by law, to place my grandfather's assets into legal list investments or the equivalent.
They have not turned these earnings over to us in full - less their rightful fees represented to my grandparents in their compensation agreement. They have ignored my requests to prove they did not make 12 - 30 percent with our money. We have proof, from Imprudent Statements that Beneficiaries earned only 6% - 7%. The missing difference has probably gone to someone's pockets at Imprudent or BNC or Drained Morons & Hecklers.
When we realized that we could not get justice in the Orphan's Court - because each time we objected the Bank and Drained Morons & Hecklers (via Bob Devious) used our trust funds to fight us - we decided to not appeal. An appeal would have meant further drain from the trust and we would not have prevailed, we felt, as there were no precedents where beneficiaries or remaindermen had prevailed.
HEIRS & BENEFICIARIES
The only recourse we had was to find others who we believed must be having similar problems and form an action group. One of the first people I found, (through an introduction from Jay olfe), was Ted Pollard. Together we put together a handful of friends and acquaintances we each knew were victimized and founded HEIRS & BENEFICIARIES. Ted Pollard was made chairman of the group and he has since been active in building it and getting the word out in newspapers across the country and abroad.
Hopefully the public will be made aware of the situation and laws will be changed to make the Fiduciary Act more responsible and force Banks and Law Firms to serve their clients as they claim in their advertising pamphlets and television commercials.
Trust your Problems to no Fiduciary
Needless to say, if you, or anyone you know, has any trust account (or any other account) with The Imprudent National Bank, I urgently recommend you close it immediately - IF YOU CAN! The catch is, you might NOT BE ABLE TO close a trust account because a "Drained Morons & Hecklers" type lawyer may have wired you into the Imprudent through a Will and/or Deed of Trust. Now you are in bed with Imprudent as Trustee and/or Executor, until your corpus is depleted or until you confront a similar struggle of your own, as described herein.
Also, needless to say, if you or anyone you know has any dealings with Drained Morons & Hecklers, I strongly recommend you terminate them and find a medium size firm or lawyer that has your actual best interests at heart - not its deep-pocket clients interests and "billable" hour targets at heart. My research indicates it is safe to assume that most of the big law firms in Philadelphia are on the take as described herein. There may be a few that recognize this problem and are ethical - but I doubt it as my phone has not exactly been ringing with positive news or sincere help, except in a few cases. If you know of any law firms that would deal with this matter - especially on contingency - please let me know.
If you have a problem similar to the one described above AND want information about how to join HEIRS & BENEFICIARIES, please send me a letter describing your situation. I will try to help.
A Hollywood movie company is producing a movie on the above subject, tentatively called FIDUCIARY. This feature film will be made for network television or theatrical release. A smaller documentary prior to this feature called, DON'T BANK ON IT!, may also be produced.
If you would like to get involved with either movie project, you can help by donating help in financing, story development, research, legal assistance or your good will and name. Please write or call me.
If you agree with at least 51% of this article, please forward it to your mailing list. The mainstream media may or may not address this subject, thus it's up to responsible citizens to disseminate important issues
so that a healthy public discourse can be pursued.
Don't forget to click on the below link to watch FIAT EMPIRE - Why the Federal Reserve Violates the U.S. Constitution
so you will have a better understanding of what fuels many problems under study by the Jaeger Research Institute.
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