When we started looking at real estate transactions in guardianship cases in Pinellas County, FL, we found some disturbing trends.
We discovered that judges routinely approved the sale of wards' homes (in most cases, their largest asset) without obtaining appraisals from a certified appraiser.
Guardian Patricia Johnson has used fellow Pinellas Park City Council member Richard Butler (who was her campaign manager) to conduct nearly all of the sales of ward's homes since 2010.
Records show Butler has sold 14 of Johnson's ward's homes for a total of $1,252,500.
On Sept. 13, 2013, Richard Butler listed Jennie Shabych's home located at 2863 26th Ave N., St. Petersburg and got a contract on it the same day. Shabych, however, was not incapacitated by the judge's order until September 16th, 2013.
Claudette Batton's home 216 54th St. N., St. Petersburg sold twice on Nov. 8, 2012. The first time, it sold for $52,500, then again for $58,500.
Rebie Jimenez's home at 5965 15th St N., St. Petersburg sold for $85,100 on Oct. 5, 2012 and was resold on Feb. 28, 2013 for $170,000.
Ronald Till's home at 6141 26th Ave N., St. Petersburg sold for $69,000 on Sept. 27, 2012. It was resold for $132,000 on Mar. 22, 2013.