A grieving daughter is fighting against a system that was designed to protect her dad.
She regrets the decision of turning to Florida's professional guardian system for help.
She says that decision cost her father's estate a million dollars, and as the I-Team found out, the guardian was racking up those bills, when her father was living thousands of miles away.
“He was an immigrant, came here with one little suitcase and worked himself into millions of dollars,” said Mercedes Gyorgy, describing her father Akos Gyorgy.
He earned millions as a Sarasota real estate broker, eventually owning 8 homes in three countries..
But his family says his estranged wife exploited him when he got alzheimer's disease.
They asked for the court to appoint a guardian to protect him and his assets, but now believe that was bad decision.
“We turned to the courts to stop the financial abuse, and after that, over a million dollars has been spent on this guardianship,” Mercedes Gyorgy said.
On Wednesday, she asked the court to release her late father's remaining assets to his estate, but the guardian and the guardian’s attorney are fighting against that.
“In the first two months of the case, one attorney billed $30,000,” Mercedes said.
And some of those bills came while her father was not even around.
He had disappeared while his Emergency Temporary Guardian was supposed to be protecting him.
“I Called the police. They never called the police. They never called the police and said this man was missing,” Mercedes said.
In a court document filed weeks later, it was revealed that Akos Gyorgy, who was incapacitated, managed to catch a cab from Sarasota to Orlando, then flew to Frankfort, before catching another flight to Budapest Hungary.
Gyorgy was originally from Hungary, as was his estranged wife.
Mercedes says her father met her when his friend placed an ad in a Hungarian newspaper seeking a new bride for him, after his first wife died of cancer.
He lived there for five years, which family members contend was out of the Sarasota court-appointed guardian’s jurisdiction.
While the guardian supposed to protect him from his estranged wife, she made multiple trips to Hungary to visit him.
So did the guardian.
On one visit, he billed his ward nearly $24,000 for a first class plane ticket, lodging at a 5-star hotel, and other expenses.
“It was a vacation for sure,” Mercedes said.
And that's not all.
The court allowed the guardian to use the ward’s money to buy him a $200,000 home in Hungary just weeks before he died.
“It's a crazy case, but unfortunately, it's not that out of the norm with what's been going on in guardianship in the state of Florida,” said Mark Soss, who represents Gyorgy’s family.
The judge says he's taking all of the testimony under advisement and will rule in the near future when the remainder of the ward's assets will be transferred back to the ward's family.
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