Pamela Price, who is running for district attorney of Alameda County, says that as D.A. she would look into allegations that the probate court is guilty of “elder abuse,” acting under color of law to seize the money and property of older people, often without giving them an adequate voice in their own defense.
“As D.A., I will take this issue very seriously,” said Price.
“As we address the different challenges communities of color and the indigenous community in Alameda County are facing now, it is important that we take aggressive steps to help elderly people maintain their homes and to hold onto property they want to pass on to their children and grandchildren,” she said.
“Too often, these property owners are being denied that possibility through no fault of their own.”
“Too often, the courts lose sight of what they are supposed to be preserving,” Price said. “Their ultimate goal should be to preserve the assets.”
The effort to raise public awareness of these allegations of elder abuse is spearheaded by a group of 75 senior citizens, calling themselves the Probate Court Reform Movement, who have lost their estates at the hands of the court.
The group, which has been meeting weekly for five years and is beginning to make an impact, recently met with D.A. Nancy O’Malley, who has appointed an investigator and shaid she would take the issue to the Alameda County Grand Jury.
Both the Oakland and Berkeley Councils passed resolutions urging the district attorney to investigate the allegations.
“So many elders have lost their homes and businesses. We see estates taken with impunity,” said Maxine Ussery, co-founder of the group.
It’s easy to see we all can’t be inept. After all, some of us had million-dollar businesses,” she said. “They’ve taken all of our property and our money. We’d like to be reimbursed for some of our losses.”
The impunity of the probate court judges and their court-appointed conservators is connected to the ongoing wave of gentrification in the Bay Area, as the property of individuals and families, frequently belonging to African Americans, is seized and sold, she said.