Elderly woman's POA sues assisted living facility for denying him access to his client

$200K contract at center of dispute

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. - A high profile professional guardian, who faces criminal charges, is now taking a Pinellas County assisted living facility to court, and a six-figure personal services contract is at the center of the dispute.

Fernando Gutierrez was charged late last year with battery and trespassing for an incident that happened at Patrick Manor ALF in St. Petersburg.

Now he's filed a lawsuit, claiming the facility is preventing him from providing services his client already paid for.

According to court documents, an 86-year-old woman who lives at Patrick Manor signed a document making Gutierrez her power of attorney in June of 2012.

Gutierrez used that POA to hire himself to provide services for her, including monitoring her health, providing for her hygiene needs and even attempting "to amuse and entertain"  her.

Gutierrez paid himself $180,000 for his services, which represented all of her available funds, according to the contract included in the lawsuit.

He also signed a nearly $42,000 promissory note with an 8 percent annual interest rate on her behalf, which would be satisfied by future payments to himself.

The contract indicates the client would pay him at a rate of $35 per hour for 18 hours of services each week.

The price was arrived at using an insurance actuary table estimating her additional expected lifespan at slightly more than five years.

The elderly client revoked the POA last fall, at which point Patrick Manor banned Gutierrez from the property.

Police charged him after they say he trespassed and battered a staff member.

Gutierrez is suing the ALF and the woman's new POA, professional guardian Irene Rausch, alleging they are keeping him from serving his client.

Gutierrez didn't respond to interview requests today, and his attorney declined an interview.

We talked to Gutierrez about his billing practices last September, after learning he was under investigation by the Florida Attorney General's Office for alleged exploitation.

He was also banned from visiting Morton Plant Hospital, after hospital officials alleged he impersonated a physician by wearing a white coat and was improperly making medical decisions for patients.

“When you go to visit patients once a week, every seven to 10 days, attend their care plans, go to hospitals when they're admitted to the hospitals, that deserves compensation, if, in fact, they have money,” Gutierrez said.

He said the majority of his clients are pro-bono Medicaid patients.  

Both of the parties named in the complaint were served last week, but neither has responded.

Gutierrez is scheduled to make a court appearance in connection with the criminal charges in early march

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