Skip to main content

Hello Fellow Members,
I will start this message out by noting that I am pretty new to this site, and as a new member may be ignorant on passed discussions that I may have missed. Maybe. Hopefully someone else has posted this same type of message and things are being done already. Maybe. Hopefully I am the last one to know about this movement and am searching in the dark for someone to lend me a hand and show me how I too can become involved. But if those things have not happened and this is the first time that these words have been said then please help them become a reality.

Once again with me being new to this site many may have no clue what my motivation is or may be wondering what makes me think that I have the right to stand on my high horse and speak on such issues. I know that some of what I may say may offend. Trust me I don't do this on purpose and much of the critisms I have for anyone I hold myself to those same standards. I too need the motivation of these words and also the collective wisdom of those that may read this post.

Let me take a second to explain where I am coming from. Last year I had the pleasure of going to a function that was hosted by a young black poet named Khari B. He spoke on many issues affecting the Black community as a whole and politics in general. After which I paid $10 for his C.D as many of the views that were expressed in his poems were things that I had said in mumbled words in my own circles. It felt good to hear my thoughts put to iambic pentameter. At the end of the night I couldn't wait to get to the car to listen to the rest of his works. That's when I was able to hear the second poem on the disc entitled "The Nigga that does Nothin". This poem resonated with me as it detailed a lazy and conviction less black person that has witnessed many atrocities against his own kind, yet felt no need to get involved in change. He went on to detail that this "Nigga" had the knowledge and the means to help but was so content in sneaking below the radar that he continued to do nothing. Was he talking about me? Sure I have helped campaign for my political candidate of choice, given money to Christian Community Youth Groups, and tried to live my life accordingly, but is that enough? In this day and age where there seems to be a War on the Intellectual Black men and Women in this county and most of the Enemy Combatants are Black Men and Women isn't there more that can be done?

In his book "Stupid White Men....and other sorry excuses for the State of the Nation" (I love that title) Michael Moore wrote that many of the problems with this country have been created by White Men i.e. the A-Bomb, Chemical Weapons, Racism to name a few. He detailed a litany of bad things that happened to him as the result of actions by a White Man. He talked of the person that tried to dump his latest book, a person that stole his checks etc.... He further spoke that he never had anything bad in his life that happened to him happen at the hands of a Black man and ended with the rhetorical question "Why are they (Blacks) so feared by the nation since most of what is wrong with this nation was caused by Whites?". Well as much as I like Mr. Moore and applaud his attempts at awakening his people our people need an awakening too. Sadly enough I can speak on negative acts that have been done to me by Blacks and I know that I am not the only one that can say the same. The girlfriend that cheated on me, the person that broke into my apartment, the person that hit my niece with his car and drove off because he didn't have insurance all were Black. These events were personal but there are those that affect our community. Just like the rapper that openly preaches breaking the law, the R & B singer that glorifies objectifying our women and emasculating our men. They are the dangerous ones in my eyes. These are also the ones that need awakening.

This philosophy of Niggas that do nothing has even crept into our political system. We used to have positive groups that stood up for our community the NAACP, SNCC and the much vilified Black Panthers. But what do we have now? Do you completely trust those out there that are supposed to represent you? When one of our more vocal supposed leaders has to admit to having a child out of wedlock and keeping his mistress on the payroll and another is looked at as a trouble maker with a bad perm it has to make a person wonder if the message is being looked at seriously. I have called the political organizations. I have written letters to those groups that say they are for the same things that I am for. I have screamed at the television when the Bill O'Riellys and the Sean Hannitys speak and found myself exponentially angrier when those politicians that are supposed to represent me and those Black leaders that are supposed to be able to speak for the community have no responses to their inane talking points. Isn't there more that could be done and should be done? I know the answer is a resounding Yes!!! I know that there is more that we could and should be doing to further advance our efforts to place ourselves in a more positive light than the dim one that glimmers in the distance above us. We have to do more than post our collective thoughts on a web page. Are we the Niggas that are doing nothing??....well nothing to bring about change anyways, and if we are then what can we do to change that fact. Additionally what can we do to can change our sad realities that we face in our community? How can we begin an era where we have safe neighborhoods for our children to play in, better schools, increased social awareness and less children born out of wedlock? What can we do to help against the erosion of the family, foster financial prosperity and bridge the divide between our men and women? I am at my wits end of saying that something needs to be done and not knowing what or how. With this post I ask for all that are out there that agree with what I have to say to help. Help get our voices out. Help promote a situation where the knowledgeable are the ones that represent us instead of the negative images from BET, NBA, NAACP, and all the other acronyms that do our community no justice. We should be the ones leading our young community instead of those that wish to exploit it. The rap artists, the comedians, the alcohol distributors are right now planning their next spiel to bombard on our people with their means of control by telling them that it's cool to shirk responsibility, dishonor our women, and have no plan for the future. These are the things where WE should be leading the discussion. So this is my formal appeal for Help. Help me with the knowledge needed to inform, help me bring others to see the light. Help me find a way to bring this message to the masses. Help me help ourselves! I mean I hate being called a Nigga (by anyone White or Black) but I for Damn sure don't want to be the Nigga that Does Nothin!!!
Original Post

Replies sorted oldest to newest

NFarious, although I'm not a 'regualar' poster on this forum, I still feel qualified to say 'welcome' to you. I enjoyed reading your post and appreciate your willingness and desire to 'do something' towards the uplift of our people. I won't make any attemps to tell you 'what' to do because I think that there is sooo much that needs to be done that any postive individual actions on your part will be well worth the effort you put behind matter how large or small.

One of the habits that I personally have been able to develop over the years is simply the ability to muster up the courage needed to 'stop being quiet and idly silent'. When I am in the midst of brothers and sisters exhibiting antisocial/anticivil, self & collective destructive behavior, I try my damnest to bring some positive uplifting, constructive criticism to their attention. Never calling anybody out in public and never embarassing or humiliating anyone. Now ofcourse, I try my very best to be as tactful, diplomatic, and respectful as I can. Sometimes I'm met with hostility, sometimes I get an ass load of attitude no matter how gingerly or tender I try to be. But what makes it worth all the risk is when you engage a young brother in conversation and find out that he is really burned and stressed out from trying to be 'hard' all the time and simply wants to be himself. It's worth it when you can talk with a young sister and show her how the foul words coming from her mouth sullies her elegant beauty. I know without a doubt, that although many times I only get 'attitude' as a response, that my message really gets through and appeals to the best in people and am further encouraged by the friendships and peaceful associations I've developed with many who I've had to approach this way. I sincerely beleive in the lessons found in the story of the 'jelly fish on the beach' because at one point in my life, I "was" that jelly fish, and a brother reached out to me with some....well, let's just say some 'Tough Love', and it has made a big difference in my life.

Go on brother, find your own unique way to contribute to the uplift of our people. I salute you.

Welcome NFarious,

You don't have to twist my arm to make me a believer.
Sleaze, criminal activity, treason, etc., is very much alive in the Black community.

Eventually though, this disgraceful activity catches up with the perpetrators. It is all the more pleasing in the event an individual or group of individuals have the backbone, and factual evidence to blow the whistle on such an individual, or group of conspiring individuals, which is indeed a sure way to put them all out of business.

The Los Angeles Times, published an article on yet one more example of the sleaze, greed, and criminal activity used by deceitful Black people, to cheat or steal from disabled elderly war time veterans, out of greed to live in luxury.

Missing Money, Unpaid Bills and Forgotten Clients

Anne L. Chavis, a churchgoing nurse, had sweeping power over wards' lives. It took years for the VA and others to rein her in.

By Evelyn Larrubia, Jack Leonard and Robin Fields, Times Staff Writers

November 15, 2005

At the end of the month, her money dwindling, Carolyn Osterhout would survive on peanut butter sandwiches.

She had trouble paying for both the Prozac she took for depression and the prescription spray she needed for her asthma. For a time, she went without either.

The widow of an Air Force veteran, Osterhout was not penniless. She had money in the bank and received veterans benefits of more than $1,000 a month.

The source of her troubles was Anne L. Chavis, the court-appointed guardian who controlled her money and was supposed to look after her.

Chavis was late paying the rent on Osterhout's apartment in Colton. She was late sending a monthly living allowance. She was late paying for her medical insurance, which at one point was canceled.

"I just felt like I wanted to lay down and go to sleep and die," recalled Osterhout, 62.

For more than a decade, the Department of Veterans Affairs and California's probate courts entrusted Chavis with dozens of vulnerable adults, most of them disabled veterans and their survivors.

She exploited and neglected many of them with seeming impunity "” conduct that highlights the flaws in a broken system.

While supposedly under the supervision of the VA and the courts, Chavis often failed to pay her clients' bills and refused to tell them what she was doing with their money, interviews and records show.

She arranged to buy the home of one elderly client at a discount "” while pretending that someone else was the real purchaser.

She helped a business associate inherit the estate of another client "” a senile, nearly blind World War II veteran.

She once paid a lawyer with money she took from the bank account of an 80-year-old widow.

When VA officials and the courts finally demanded answers after years of inaction, they discovered that Chavis had failed to account for more than $1 million of her clients' money.

Courts have ordered her to come up with the funds.

To date, she has not paid a cent.

Chavis, 72, denied any wrongdoing and said she did her best for her clients. "When I started doing conservatorships, I wasn't that smart," she said in an interview. "There were probably a lot of things that I overlooked or didn't do."

She said she lost track of her wards' finances after her bookkeeper died in 2002 and her longtime lawyer, who helped her run her practice, lost his license a year later. Nevertheless, Chavis said, "I don't want to blame nobody for something I should have been on top of myself."

Chavis said she loved her clients, many of whom suffered from mental illnesses. She visited them regularly, she said, and always returned calls that seemed important.

"Gee whiz, I think I've done a good job with the type of clients that I had and the amount that I had," she said. "It's really crazy, but I really care about those guys."

She vowed to account for all of their money.

"I'm going to pay it," she said. "The Bible says you have to pay what you owe. And, if I owe it ... I'll sell my house."

A New Career

Chavis has a smooth, round face and kind brown eyes. A devout Baptist, she often closes conversations with a pat of her hand and a warm "God bless you."

Born in North Carolina, she moved to Los Angeles in the 1950s and raised seven children while juggling different jobs. She worked as a nurse's aide at what is now County-USC Medical Center and later became a licensed vocational nurse.

She took a second job at the California Department of Transportation, wearing a hard hat on road crews before moving to a desk job. After a day at Caltrans, she often pulled a night shift as a nurse.

Moonlighting at a Pico Boulevard nursing home in 1984, she filled in patients' charts with work she had not done. Investigators said she wrote fake blood sugar readings for eight diabetics and recorded insulin doses that she never administered to five of them.

She then put on a patient gown and slippers and curled up to sleep in a hospital bed, according to a complaint by state regulators. A state nursing board placed her on probation for two years.

In 1988, Chavis filed for bankruptcy protection. Her car had been repossessed, she owed $7,100 on her credit cards and a mortgage lender was about to foreclose on her home.

Despite these difficulties, she helped found Victory Institutional Baptist Church in Hawthorne. After Sunday services, she served refreshments from the back of her Jeep Cherokee.

"They called it Cafe Chavis," recalled Pastor Richard Williams, who has known her for 30 years. "This church wouldn't be here without her."

Williams said the complaints from Chavis' clients did not square with the woman he knows. "I don't buy it," he said. "If I needed a conservator, despite what you've told me, I'd trust her with my assets."

As she was helping found the church, Chavis moved into another line of work. She turned her three-bedroom home in the West Adams district into a boarding house for veterans.

State inspectors who visited in 1990 reported finding soiled rooms with torn, dirty linens. But Chavis made a favorable impression on a VA employee who dropped in to check on a boarder. He suggested that she become a conservator.

"What is that?" Chavis remembered asking. "What do you do?"

No Background Check

The VA was "” and is "” constantly looking for caretakers for veterans too sick to care for themselves.

For some, the VA appoints fiduciaries, who collect veterans' benefits and pay their bills. For those with considerable savings or large benefit checks, the government wants an added layer of protection and seeks a conservator.

Conservators are appointed and supervised by probate courts and draw their fees from their clients' assets. They are required to file detailed accountings at least every two years, showing what they are doing with their wards' money.

John Paxson, head of the VA's fiduciary unit in 1990, said a subordinate recommended Chavis as someone who could be trusted.

"She was presented as a very religious person and a retired nurse who really, really cared for veterans," he recalled.

Had VA officials conducted a background investigation, they might have learned about Chavis' bankruptcy and the disciplinary action by the nursing board. They did not.

Instead, with Paxson's approval, they made her fiduciary for three veterans during a trial period, then sent her more cases. Paxson soon left the fiduciary unit for other assignments and did not encounter Chavis again for years.

Chavis, meanwhile, got additional referrals from outside the VA and began securing court appointments as a conservator.

One of her first clients was an 89-year-old woman living in a nursing home. Her most valuable asset was her house. It was vacant when Chavis took charge of her affairs. It did not stay that way for long.

An Untruthful 'No'

Helen Smith moved to Los Angeles from Kentucky as a young woman. She and her late husband, Luddie, worked laundry and construction jobs to buy a modest white bungalow on Denver Avenue in South Los Angeles.

By 1993, Smith was in the Marlinda nursing home in Lynwood, suffering from dementia, with no one to manage her affairs.

Chavis said she learned about Smith while chatting with an elder-care investigator in a supermarket checkout line. In August 1993, she filed a petition with Los Angeles Probate Court to become Smith's conservator.

She was required to obtain a surety bond. The application asked whether she had ever filed for bankruptcy.

Had Chavis answered truthfully, her career might have ended right there. Instead, she marked "no."

Chavis allowed her son, Orlando Johnson, then 29, to live in Smith's house rent-free. She paid the utility bills from Smith's bank account.

In the summer of 1994, Chavis sought a restraining order against her son, whom she described as a paroled murderer and drug user. In court papers, she said he had threatened her.

She also said he was stealing Smith's belongings.

That fall, Chavis asked the Probate Court for permission to sell the house to pay Smith's nursing home bills.

She said she had found a buyer willing to pay $85,500. That was $9,500 less than a court-appointed appraiser had said the house was worth.

Another unusual feature of the sale was that Smith was lending the buyer 20% of the purchase price.

Also surprising was the identity of the buyer. Chavis swore in court papers that it was her lawyer, C. Brian Smith.

In fact, it was Chavis herself.

In an interview, she acknowledged that her lawyer agreed to serve as a straw purchaser because she could not obtain a mortgage. Chavis said that she, not Brian Smith, made the mortgage payments.

"I couldn't qualify for it," she said. "My debt ratio was too high."

Brian Smith declined to comment.

In explaining the bargain price, Chavis said no buyers had come forward, though the house had been listed for months.

Neighbors, however, said they saw no for-sale sign, no visits by prospective buyers or any other evidence that the property had been on the market.

Chavis gave the court a document consenting to the sale, purportedly signed by Vatie L. Rogers, identified as Helen Smith's cousin and heir. Chavis provided Rogers' address in South Los Angeles.

Contacted by The Times, Rogers, 73, said she did not know Chavis or Helen Smith and knew nothing about the Denver Avenue house.

Shown a copy of the consent form, she said: "That's not my handwriting, and I never signed that paper."

Rogers, a retired nurse, was puzzled as to how her name had turned up in connection with the sale. Then she remembered having signed up for a Red Cross first-aid class at a Baptist church.

The instructor was Anne Chavis.

'It Was Miserable'

Gregory Maynus was a Marine at Camp Pendleton in the late 1970s when he began hearing voices.

Diagnosed with schizophrenia, he was living on a disability pension in San Bernardino in 1996 when Chavis knocked on his door and said the VA wanted her to become his conservator.

"We talked about Jesus Christ," he recalled. "We did pray together."

Chavis moved Maynus from his apartment to a run-down two-story boarding house on West 37th Street in South Los Angeles. It was called At My Home.

Verlene Cameron, who runs the facility with her mother, said in an interview that Chavis helped her set it up and taught her to recruit disabled veterans.

Chavis also served as administrator of the home during a period when Cameron lacked the necessary credentials.

Maynus' room cost him $1,300 a month, three times what he had been paying in San Bernardino.

He complained that Chavis neglected his needs and begrudged him his own money, providing a living allowance of just $10 a day.

Having lost his spleen to cancer, he needed regular checkups at the VA hospital in Loma Linda. In a sworn court declaration, he said he missed several appointments with his oncologist because Chavis wouldn't give him bus fare.

Maynus also wanted to see his seven children, who were in San Bernardino, 60 miles away. Chavis refused to let him move back or buy a car so he could visit them, he said.

"It was miserable," said Maynus, 46. "I felt ashamed. I felt like I wasn't a parent, like I wasn't a dad."

In January 1997, he found an apartment in Loma Linda with help from his mother and daughter. Maynus said Chavis would not give him $20 to pay for a credit check, and he lost the apartment.

Two months later, he arranged to move into the home of a Rialto minister, a man he described as "my second father." Chavis thwarted him again, Maynus said, refusing to provide $150 to move his belongings.

In August 1997, Maynus' mother died. He went to Loma Linda for the funeral and told Chavis he was not going back to At My Home. She finally relented and allowed him to rent an apartment, he said.

Maynus hired a lawyer and asked the Probate Court to remove Chavis as his conservator. In early 1998, she agreed to step aside, and in return Maynus dropped his demand for an accounting of his money.

Chavis denied mistreating Maynus and said many of his complaints stemmed from drug use. She said he had been evicted from his San Bernardino apartment and that At My Home was the only place that would take him.

"I didn't bring him to Los Angeles because I wanted to," Chavis said. "I had nowhere else to put him."

Maynus said he has used drugs but not while he was at the boarding house.

Around the time Maynus left, other Chavis clients sought to break free of her control, complaining that she ignored their calls and was mishandling their money. In many of her cases, she failed to file required financial reports with the VA or the court. Of those she did file, most did not account for all the money she had received.

But the VA continued to send her clients, and the courts kept approving new conservatorships.

By 2001, she was conservator for 27 people, nearly all of them veterans. She was overseeing the government benefits of two dozen other veterans as a fiduciary. In all, she was managing at least $1.4 million in assets and $800,000 a year in benefits.

Dubious Inheritance

Louis P. Williams, a Navy veteran and former longshoreman, was 79 and nearly blind. His dementia was so advanced that a judge had stripped him of the right to vote. His kidneys were failing.

He was living at the Hayworth Terrace boarding home for the elderly in the Fairfax district when Chavis became his conservator in 1999.

She placed him in the care of Verlene Cameron, the operator of At My Home. Court records show that Chavis paid the boarding house as much as $2,600 a month in rent from Williams' bank account.

Cameron said Williams was actually living in her private home on Mullen Avenue in Mid-City.

Williams liked to go on drives to the beach and watch the Rams on television, she said. He went to a clinic several times a week for kidney dialysis.

In September 2000, Cameron composed a will for Williams on her computer.


Cameron said that Williams told her he wanted to leave his estate to her and that Chavis suggested she draft a will and have him sign it.

"I asked him, 'Are you sure you don't want anything else to be done with this money? Are you sure you don't have kids out there?' " said Cameron, 40. She said she "kind of felt uncomfortable" until she learned that Williams had no surviving children.

"I know that he loved me like a daughter," Cameron said. "This is a man who for five years I got him up, dressed him, laughed with him, watched football with him."

Chavis sent her bookkeeper to notarize the one-page document, according to both women.

The will bears two scrawled signatures. One appears to be Williams' full name, the other his last name.

The document is dated Sept. 21, 2000, but was notarized on Sept. 20, 2000.

Chavis said she spoke to Williams before he signed the will and was satisfied that it reflected his wishes. "He said, 'She takes good care of me,' " Chavis recalled.

Chavis did not consult Williams' relatives about the will. They learned about it when a Times reporter called, seeking comment.

"That's some fraud," said Idell Alexander of South Los Angeles, Williams' cousin. "Louis was very sick. There's no telling what they had him sign."

After Williams died in January 2002, Cameron filed the will in Probate Court, represented by Chavis' lawyer, C. Brian Smith. Cameron was appointed administrator of Williams' estate.

Chavis submitted a final accounting of Williams' assets and, with court approval, paid herself and her lawyer, Smith, $12,500 in fees.

Chavis was required to turn over the rest of Williams' estate to Cameron. After nearly two years, Chavis still had not made full payment.

In the end, she kept more than $15,000, a court-appointed lawyer found.

Cameron decided not to pursue that money and asked the court to award her what was left of the estate: $61,593.

Superior Court Judge Aviva Bobb, newly arrived in Probate Court, approved the distribution in February, rejecting complaints from Alexander and the VA that the will looked phony.

Last month, after The Times submitted questions to her about the case, Bobb stayed her ruling and said she would hold a hearing to determine whether Cameron should be allowed to inherit the money.

'A Real Good Front'

Chavis might still be accepting new clients if not for a burly Vietnam veteran and his well-connected lawyer.

Patrick Murphy was 18 when his Marine unit came under fire in Quang Nam province in 1968. A grenade explosion shredded his legs. Today, he gets around on crutches and a motorized scooter. The shrapnel in his body sets off airport metal detectors.

Murphy was at the VA hospital in Loma Linda, suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder, when Chavis became his conservator in July 1999.

"She put on a real good front," Murphy, now 55, said in an interview. "She can look you in the face and you can think this woman is really out to do the best for you."

Murphy said Chavis was late paying his bills and rarely came to see him. When he asked her to account for his money, she stopped returning his calls, he said.

"I'd be in turmoil," Murphy said. "You feel like this piece of garbage and anyone can walk all over you."

He vented his frustration during group therapy at the VA hospital, complaining about "his conservator ignoring his needs, that she never responds to his call," according to a therapist's summary.

In 2000, he got married and asked the VA and the Social Security Administration to stop sending his monthly checks to Chavis. He wanted his wife, Guadalupe, to collect the money.

In response, Chavis wrote federal officials that Guadalupe was unfit to manage Murphy's finances and had bounced a $6,017 check at a car dealership where the couple bought a used minivan.

The VA took Chavis at her word and refused to send Murphy's checks to his wife.

In June 2001, Murphy's court-appointed lawyer, E. Joan Nelms, petitioned the court to end the conservatorship. She said Chavis' story about the bounced check was a "blatant falsehood" and produced a letter from the car dealership that said Murphy and his wife had done nothing wrong.

The dealership did have complaints "” about Chavis. She failed to make installment payments on the minivan, as she had promised, the dealer's finance director wrote.

Judge Michael A. Smith ended her conservatorship over Murphy, calling her conduct "unwarranted and unprofessional."

Smith ordered Chavis to file a full accounting of Murphy's money. Months passed and she failed to do so. Nelms had taken a new job, so the judge appointed another lawyer for Murphy.

Roy H. Nierman, a Navy veteran, was a member of the Republican National Committee, and he had dealt with Chavis before. He couldn't believe the VA and Southern California's probate courts were still putting disabled veterans in her hands.

The Bureaucracy Stirs

Two years earlier, Nierman had been involved in a legal battle with Chavis over who would serve as conservator for Michael Dolan, a veteran suffering from schizophrenia. Dolan's mother wanted to manage his affairs. So did Chavis, his VA-appointed fiduciary.

Nierman, representing the mother, discovered that Chavis had collected $21,000 of Dolan's money but had not paid his bills. He complained to U.S. Rep. Jerry Lewis (R-Redlands), a former chairman of the House subcommittee overseeing the VA. The dispute was resolved without Lewis' involvement: Dolan's mother became his conservator, and Chavis returned his money.

In 2002, now representing Murphy, Nierman sent the congressman another letter. "It appears the problem with Anne L. Chavis has not disappeared," he wrote. "Anne Chavis is again refusing to account for the funds she has expended on behalf of a VA recipient."

Nierman expressed dismay that the VA "continues to appoint her as [fiduciary] for veterans in the Inland Empire area."

A Lewis aide called the VA in Los Angeles, and at last the bureaucracy began to stir. An investigation found that Chavis had failed to submit accountings for many of her clients, and the L.A. regional office had let her slide.

John Paxson was brought in to clean up the mess. He was the VA official who, back in 1990, had approved Chavis' first cases. A slim man with a mop of graying hair, Paxson, 57, had earned two Purple Hearts and two Bronze Stars in Vietnam.

He called Chavis and demanded to know why accountings for more than 50 of her VA clients had not been filed. Chavis said her bookkeeper had died recently, but she would quickly pull the paperwork together, Paxson recalled.

He gave her a deadline, then extended it twice when she pleaded for leniency, citing health problems.

"I even let her stall me," Paxson said in an interview. "It was misplaced compassion."

The promised reports never materialized. Fed up, he barred Chavis from receiving VA benefits on behalf of any veterans beginning in October 2002.

Chavis was also behind in filing financial reports with the probate courts in her conservatorship cases. VA officials reasoned that judges might succeed where they had failed. They asked the Los Angeles court to order her to produce reports in eight cases. A hearing was set for Jan. 24, 2003.

Chavis did not show up. Alan Achen, a VA lawyer, accused her of dodging the agency's process servers.

A judge postponed the hearing until March. By then, the VA had decided to give Chavis yet another chance. Chavis' lawyer, C. Brian Smith, told the court that she would file all the overdue accountings in 45 days.

"Is there a point to ordering Ms. Chavis back?" the judge asked.

"I don't think so, your honor," Achen replied. "I think she's got the message."

The next day, Smith's license was suspended. The state bar said he had stolen $274,000 from clients in cases unrelated to Chavis. He was later charged with grand theft, forgery and perjury and has pleaded not guilty.

The 45-day deadline came and went with no reports from Chavis.

She hired a new attorney, Billy Hall Hairston, and wrote him a $1,750 check. It was drawn on the bank account of one of Chavis' wards, 80-year-old Rheajean Redmon.

Redmon, widow of a soldier killed in the Korean War, suffered from dementia and lived in a nursing home in Joshua Tree.

"I'm just flabbergasted," said her daughter, Penny Waite. "I'm astounded that she has the audacity to use my mother's funds to pay her bills."

Pulling the Files

By February 2004, the VA had finally had enough. Three agency officials appeared at the Hill Street civil courthouse in downtown Los Angeles and asked to speak privately with Thomas W. Stoever, then the supervising probate judge.

The three were ushered into the judge's second-floor chambers. They said they had grave concerns about Chavis' cases and what was happening to her clients' money.

"After they left," said Sandra Riley, the court's supervising probate attorney, "we started pulling the files."

Court officials discovered that Chavis had not filed financial accountings, inventories of clients' assets or other records in 27 cases. This was a serious breach. Conservators are required by law to keep the courts informed of their activities; the courts are supposed to make sure they do.

"I honestly can't tell you why this happened," Riley said. "I wish I [could] because we would do something about it."

In March 2004, Stoever summoned Chavis to a hearing. Her case files were piled on a metal cart and wheeled into Department 11, his wood-paneled courtroom.

Scanning the room, Stoever saw several of his staff members and representatives of the VA. He did not see Chavis.

"Alrighty, bench warrant issued for Anne Chavis," Stoever said.

Chavis appeared two days later. Stoever ordered her to file the accountings by May and attend another hearing in June.

"We're going to do what we can to put a full rein on the conservator's actions in this and other cases," Stoever said.

Chavis missed the May deadline.

She was busy, but not with her clients' finances. She transferred to her daughter, DeLisa Easter, the Denver Avenue home she had secretly bought from Helen Smith back in 1994. A month later, Easter sold the house for $260,000, three times what Chavis had paid.

Chavis did not show up for the June hearing. Again, Stoever issued a warrant for her arrest.

Five weeks later, she appeared unexpectedly in Department 11 with a letter for the judge. He refused to accept it and ordered his bailiff to arrest her.

She spent the day in a cell at the sheriff's Inmate Reception Center before posting $10,000 bail.

At a hearing on Sept. 28, 2004, Stoever asked her to explain her behavior.

"I had a stroke and another stroke. A lot of stuff was going on with me as far as my diabetes," Chavis said in a barely audible voice.

"I just got overwhelmed."

Stoever ended her career as a conservator that day. He called case after case and ordered her removed in each one. It took more than an hour.

Under order to repay more than $1 million, Chavis has filed reports accounting for some of the VA benefits and other income she collected on her clients' behalf. But nearly $750,000 remains unaccounted for.

Bonding companies that insured her clients' money have paid less than $90,000, settling cases for a fraction of the missing money.

To recover some of their losses, the companies are searching for Chavis' bank accounts and other assets. Gary Wayne Burger, a lawyer for two of the firms, said the insurers had determined that they could not lay claim to the real estate she transferred out of her name.

Carolyn Osterhout is among the former wards still scarred by their experience with Chavis.

With help from a friend, she managed to get free of Chavis' control after seven years under conservatorship. But her lawyer's review of financial records found that $31,706 of Osterhout's money was missing.

In 2003, a judge ruled that Chavis had "misappropriated" the money and ordered her to repay it. She has yet to pay a penny.

Times researcher Maloy Moore contributed to this report.

Planning ahead

To avoid a conservatorship, or to ensure that someone you trust is put in charge of your affairs, attorneys recommend one or more of the following steps.

A durable power of attorney designates someone to manage your finances. It does not have to be drafted by an attorney, but it must be notarized if real estate is involved. If you don't plan on using an attorney, ask for a "statutory" form at stationery stores or look for it on the Internet.

An advance healthcare directive authorizes a friend or loved one to make medical decisions for you. A kit for creating one can be ordered online through the California Medical Assn. at .

An advance nomination designates someone to serve as your conservator if a court deems one necessary.

A revocable trust, also known as a living trust, designates an individual to manage your assets outside court jurisdiction while you are alive and after you die, thereby avoiding the cost of probate. Trust documents must be filed with your bank and other financial institutions.

Sources: California Medical Assn.; Irell & Manella; Mitchell A. Karasov; American Bar Assn.

Copyright 2005 Los Angeles Times
The perpetrators being a so-called religious Black woman, and a greedy now disbarred Black lawyer, both destined to truly warranted penal incarceration, and deserved felony jackets.


Michael Lofton


Last edited {1}
But what do we have now? Do you completely trust those out there that are supposed to represent you? When one of our more vocal supposed leaders has to admit to having a child out of wedlock and keeping his mistress on the payroll and another is looked at as a trouble maker with a bad perm it has to make a person wonder if the message is being looked at seriously. I have called the political organizations.



Isn't the POPULARITY of their ideology among Black people PROOF OF THEIR EFFECTIVENESS AS LEADERS? This is the point that is argued by so many on this board.

It seems to me that you are hinting at the notion that there needs to be some other measures in place to choose our leaders (or those who stand on stage and act the part). No man is my leader, however.

Is it possible that the more broad and probing question needs to be raised - WHAT DOES THE BLACK COMMUNITY BELIEVE and is it WORKING? At points of frustration I hear a call to part from the Democrats. I RARELY hear talk about putting the prime ideology on the table and giving it a "physical" at the age of 50+. Until this is done you will not see a change in the trajectory of those who cleave to this ideology. REAL WORLD EXPERIENCES will not be enough to change their minds unless they commit themselves to REAL WORLD CHANGE and then back it up with the concept of "Any Means Necessary".
I too think eliminating the n-word from daily speech is an excellent beginning for any person of African ancestry.

I will deal with the others as I always have.

Many of the posters on this site have decisions to, and are taking, action on a personal level.

Mine is to further reestablish ancestral nationality for we who are Americans of unknown African ancestry.

To that end I participate, daily, in conversations on this website,, because I want to add to the thinking of the thinkers who interact with our people on the street everyday. This enables input into the language and thought of our society.

Prior to that, I created an ancestral national heritage flag for African American-Americans.

I have since added a 'pledge of unity' which I used in my signature for this board.

I also operate and maintain a website dedicated to that end at

I also have created a political body in the name of African American National Committee, and am in the process of developing support structure for its success.

I list these things to reinforce my contention that the most critical thing we need to do is divorce ourselves from the 'race and color' that was constructed to bind us, and to set about the business of reestablishing our identity as a people.


Jim Chester
As I originally posted I knew that to some I would offend with my critism. I do appreciate the posts which have helped to spur debate. I believe that this debate and others just like it are exactly what is needed to bring about change.

To the issue taken with the n-word, it should be known that I despise the word itself. I don't believe that it is a term of endearment or that the more it is used the less it hurts. If those statements were true then we (Black America) wouldn't be up in arms whenever a White person uses it. How can we be so hypocritical that we spout the word on every street corner and comedy routine, and Rap song but get mad at those that try to emulate these actions based on their race? The word was used in my post as it was used in the poem. It was used as a put down of those that have the means to bring about change but do nothing. It was meant to shame all of those that sit and watch as our people are systematically eliminated from within. I am glad the word stung! Hopefully it stings all just as it did me. It stung so bad that it has forced me off my back side to seek enlightenment on how to bring about change.

I disagree with the idea that the People in Power represent the popular sentiment of the Black community. This statement avows that their actions also have our approval and we can do no better which is a slap in the face to all that are a part of that community. While some in the community may be represented trust me it is not the masses. Those in power simply spoke the loudest and volunteered for the job at a time when many were too worried about keeping food on the table to speak out. Now I agree that this was a piss poor way of appointing our leaders, but I have faith that the Black community is having its best voices snuffed out. More must be done to allow the real voices of our community to be heard. Then we will see the true sentiment of the culture instead of the bone that is being tossed in our direction. It is my belief that those leaders have stolen the debate; this is why I asked for help in raising a voice to the opposition of our so-called leaders.

To content that no man is your leader is good, it means that you are a leader yourself. However if this is true then you too should help to get your voice heard just as loudly or even louder than the ones that have stolen the debate.

Finally Mr. Chester,
I agree with much that you have done and applaud your efforts to work against the grain to allow your voice to be heard. I have visited your website and I see that I could learn much from you. I welcome any information you can assist me with allowing my voice to be heard. How did you organize your AANC? What steps have you taken to secure support? Are they working, and if so how and why? These are the things that I wish to know so that we can begin to shape the debate and take over the power from those that have no desire to see us succeed.
If you're not looking for what's being done for the good of your community, you won't find anything. Seek and ye shall find. The last place you need to LOOK is on an internet messageboard. Look locally, they're there, I have no doubt.

I don't buy into the nihlistic view that Black people are not doing for themselves, or that the more well known organizations or activists want to see us fail. I know of too many grassroots organizations struggling and succeeding in making a difference in their respective communities on a large and small scale, and if any issue has even the look of impropriety Black folks in leadership positions will be brought down hard and fast.

This type of lament is historical. What do you think brought Marcus Garvey down?
Finally Mr. Chester,
I agree with much that you have done and applaud your efforts to work against the grain to allow your voice to be heard. I have visited your website and I see that I could learn much from you. I welcome any information you can assist me with allowing my voice to be heard. How did you organize your AANC?---NFarous

I simply did it. As it turns out, existence of an idea is in the control of the one who conceives it. Sustaning the idea is the ultimate problem.

What steps have you taken to secure support?

I try to keep the 'word' in the eye of the public. I have no planned campaign. I think it is the absolute political alternative for us as a people.

Are they working, and if so how and why?

I think my efforts are working. The website traffic is up, significantly. I am very happy with that demonstration of interest.

These are the things that I wish to know so that we can begin to shape the debate and take over the power from those that have no desire to see us succeed.---NFarious

Your goal sounds like my goal.

The control I am seeking is tha over the African American vote, and the ability to assure things that benefit African America.

Controlling that which belongs to us is the first task.

Thanks for your interest.

Please tell others like us.


Jim Chester
I disagree with the idea that the People in Power represent the popular sentiment of the Black community.

Whoa dude - how can you say this?

If these people are ELECTED and still in power then CLEARLY the community is having them to return to office.

If they are UNELECTED with the "Leader Until They Die" syndrome (Jesse, Al, Joe Lowery and others) then THE COMMUNITY would make note of how these people "don't represent our views" and they would experience MASS REBUKE as would be the case if Ward Connerly or others stood up and CLAIMED to speak for Black folks rather than just himself.

There was a recent MMM in which these same individuals took to the stage with scant protests against them.

It seems to me that IF THEY DON'T represent the COMMON POLITICAL IDEOLOGY among Black people then they are doing a HELL OF A JOB in misrepresenting this.

I find it interesting, however, that Al Shartpon and Jesse are so frequent in their dual role as Black "Leaders" and Leading Democrats. Sharpton recently attacked the "race traders" who CROSSED THE LINE and voted for the Republican mayor's reelection - absent any reference to his qualification for reelection other than the (R) after his name.

Jesse Jackson, at this year's "State of the Black Union" conference said "WE COULD TAKE BACK THE CONGRESS IN 2006" in front a room full of Black people. Now - why was he so comfortable in saying WE? I wondered who was "WE"? BLACKS have never had control of the Congress. Clearly he was not taking about "We Blacks". Only the DEMOCRATS have ever controlled the Congress. What allowed him to make such a slip?

When there is a choice to be made between pursuing PERMANENT INTERESTS of Black people and not doing anything counter to upset his "Permanent Friends" I question which route these two will take.

We can start with the relative SILENCE about Public School reform during the Clinton Administration for starters. When compared with the all out frontal attack that Bush receives I have to question the motivations of these people as they were nearly silent during the 1990's. IF there were remarkable improvements that could be detailed I would be understanding of their silence. Sadly - their actions cannot be justified as anything but a STATE OF PACIFICATION.

(And you all are talking about the NAACP guy in FL fearing that he may sellout. Please)

Add Reply

Link copied to your clipboard.