Who Bought the Free Press?



Archived here with permission

of the author, Janet Phelan

and Robert Kelly, Publisher,

The American's Bulletin

telephone:  541-779-7709



 “Conservator Provided Proper Treatment, judge rules” declared the headline in the Press Enterprise on July 20, 2007.


The article, by PE reporter John Berry, was brief and to the point.  San Bernardino County Superior Court Judge Michael Welch ruled that Elizabeth Fairbanks, who suffered a head injury in 2005 before dying from pneumonia in 2006, received appropriate medical care from her conservator, Melodie Z. Scott, President of C.A.R. E. Inc.


The article by Berry omitted one basic fact.  Elizabeth Fairbanks died of pneumonia because Melodie Z. Scott ordered antibiotics withheld from her charge, when Fairbanks fell ill.


When confronted with the omission in Berry’s story, the managing editor of the Press Enterprise, John Gryka, had only this to say:  “No comment.”


Back in 2005, the Los Angeles Time ran a much touted series on conservatorship, entitled “Guardians for Profit.” Once again, Melodie Scott was in the spotlight.  The kick-off story to the four part series focused on the plight of Helen Jones, under conservatorship with Melodie Scott.  While the Times claimed that they “examined the work of California’s professional conservators, reviewing more than 2400 cases, including every one they handled in Southern California between 1997 and 2003, the Times reporters failed to report on the repeated complaint of the family members — that their beloved parents were dying prematurely due to the actions of  the professional conservators.


It didn’t take much time or effort to figure that out.  A few visits to the basement of Riverside Probate Court produced names of family members of conservatees of Melodie Scott.  A review of local phone books provided numbers.


The stories were notable in their similarity.  Dora Baker’s catheter was ordered removed against Doctor’s orders, but on order of Melodie Scott, who had obtained Power of Health Care over the elderly woman.  As a result, according to Baker’s daughter-in-law, Johanna , Dora died an excruciating and premature death.  According to Judy Lampuu, her aunt, Ann Cole,  wasn’t even unhealthy when Melodie Scott obtained conservatorship over her.  As the family was kept away from Ann, Judy states she has some concerns as to how she died, so quickly, under the care of the woman whose nickname is “the Black Widow.”


The continued cover-up in the mainstream media of “the Probate Murders” provides insight into the political nature of these crimes.


The First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution follows:


“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”


The behavior by the press reveals complicity in covering up these crimes which is perpetuated by the State Attorney General, who is refusing to legally accept or acknowledge petitions for redress.  The Press is failing in its mandate to watch-dog the courts, the AG’s office and the activities of agents of the court, the professional conservators.


The San Bernardino Sun has been equally culpable in failing to report the conservatorship issue.  Jeff Horwitz had been assigned to this story, but according to his editor, Frank Pine, Horwitz had failed to substantiate any of the allegations.


In conversation last Spring, Horwitz expressed to me that he had concern that C.A.R.E. was using unlicensed contractors to make repairs to the homes of the elderly conservatees.  Having documentation of far more serious violations, I then personally delivered to Horwitz court and other documents conclusively proving theft, embezzlement and worse by C.A.R.E., and collusion with members of the justice system in covering up her crimes.


No subsequent story under Horwitz’s byline, or any other byline, ever appeared in the Sun about Melodie Scott.  In an email to a Jeremy Price, Sun Managing Editor Frank Pine insisted allegations against C.A.R.E. and Melodie Scott had been unfounded.  Pine has not returned calls from TAB requesting verification on the accuracy of his statement, given this reporter’s personal knowledge of what Horwitz had in his files.


Back in 2002, I had scheduled an appointment with a television news reporter to turn over my files on Melodie Scott.  The appointment was firm, but on the day of the appointment the reporter never showed up at her office.


The L.A. Times again soiled itself through the behavior of Times reporter Evelyn LaRubia, who showed up at a demonstration in front of the San Bernardino County Courthouse in October of 2006.  The demonstration was planned by and held in support of Beth Fairbanks, who was contesting Melodie Scott’s dispensation of her mother and her mother’s estate, previously mentioned in terms of Berry’s coverage.  The picket signs held by the demonstrators pointedly addressed what the Times had failed to address in their much-hailed series:  that the elderly were dying prematurely under the "care" being dispensed by Scott. The picket signs blared out the message and no one could possibly miss it:  "HOW DID ELIZABETH FAIRBANKS DIE?"  "HOW DID DORA BAKER DIE?"  "STOP KILLING OUR PARENTS FOR FINANCIAL GAIN!"


LaRubia failed to file a story on the demonstration, which was covered by the Press Enterprise and the local ABC affiliate.  When this reporter contacted LaRubia to find out what impelled her decision not to cover the event, she stated that the L.A. Times doesn’t cover the Inland Empire.


The Los Angeles Times Inland Empire edition is published Monday through Friday.