Civil rights heroine’s godchild, who has cerebral palsy, not seen by family, friends since “guardian” Atty. Mary S. Rowan seized her June 14
Judge Kathryn George was earlier removed by state Supreme Court as Macomb Chief Probate Judge, barred from handling wills and estates
Attorneys will demand Mailauni’s return to mother and home
Williams family long the subject of racist abuse in Grosse Pointe Farms
By Diane Bukowski
July 20, 2014
Grosse Pointe Farms, MI — Five weeks after attorney Mary S. Rowan’s seizure of Mailauni Williams from a foster care home, after police forcibly took her from her own home May 21, her family, friends and attorneys do not know where the 32-year-old woman with cerebral palsy is.Her mother Lennette Williams said she is frantic and worried about her daughter’s well-being.
“I can’t eat or sleep,” Williams said. The two have been inseparable throughout Mailauni’s lifetime. Williams calls her daughter “Pookie.” A beautiful portrait of Mailauni in her green high school graduation gown dominates the living room of their home in Grosse Pointe Farms.
Community activist Arnetta Grable, a long-time friend of the family, told VOD that Mailauni met Rosa Parks at the age of 5, and that Parks adopted her as her godchild later. She said the two frequently visited.Elaine Steele and Anita Peeks of the Rosa and Raymond Parks Institute for Self-Development are active in support of the family.Rowan finally allowed Mailauni to talk to her sister Monique Williams July 19 over the phone. Rowan earlier had not returned any of the sister’s daily phone calls.
“Mailauni didn’t tell her sister where she was at, but said that she missed her and wanted to see her mom,” Grable said. “Mailauni already has told many people that she wants to go back home to her mother. She told the lady at the foster care home that she wants to be with ‘my mama and my doggie.’”
The Michigan Bar Directory lists 1303 Nottingham Rd. in Grosse Pointe Park as Rowan’s business address, as do other legal sites. That address is only blocks away from the Williams home in Grosse Pointe Farms, where neighors earlier carried on a campaign to move the Williams family out of their neighborhood.In a 2006 “Handbook for Guardians of Adults,” Michigan Long Term Care Ombudsman Bradley Geller advised, “If the individual is living at home, it is likely her or his strong wish to remain there. You should explore what financial programs and services are available to effect this goal.”
The handbook says guardians are to report the residence of their wards to the court promptly, but George has not notified Mailauni’s family or attorneys of her whereabouts.
Geller said the wishes of the individual under guardianship are to be taken into account at all times. The establishment of Geller’s office and legislative reforms regarding guardianship policies resulted after exposures of decades of abuse of individuals by guardians, attorneys and trustees in Michigan, involving among others the Wayne and Macomb County Probate Courts.
Williams’ attorney Allison Folmar said she plans to file court actions this week to produce Mailauni and return her home, to remove Macomb County Probate Court Judge Kathryn George from her case and Rowan from guardianship, and other appeals of George’s rulings from a raucous June 13 court hearing.
George’s order on police removal of Mailauni May 21 read only, “The Court directs Grosse Pointe Farms Public Safety to enter the address of [street address], Grosse Pointe Farms, MI 48238 to ensure the safety of Mailauni Williams. Grosse Pointe Farms Public Safety may break into the residence if necessary.”At the June 13 hearing, George jailed Lennette Williams and fined Folmar for speaking on behalf of her client, while Mailauni clearly spoke out on behalf of her mother and her desire to remain with her.
Attorney Folmar said later that it is clear that Mailauni’s mother has taken excellent care of her daughter throughout her life and questioned whether the Probate Court even has any jurisdiction over the young woman.
Williams said that after Mailauni’s birth, doctors never expected that she would even be able to walk, but that Mailauni has in fact thrived with her love and support.
The young woman walks, speaks clearly and coherently, and expresses her thoughts, emotions and desires well. She is a graduate of Grosse Pointe North High School.It is unclear why George has handled the case out of Wayne County Probate Court Chief Judge Milton Mack’s courtroom for the last eight years. Mack himself asked the State Court Administrator’s Office to approve the appointment.But the Michigan Supreme Court removed George as Macomb Probate chief judge in 2008 amid a storm regarding a host of improprieties, including assigning wards primarily to one guardianship agency. George’s successor as Macomb Probate Chief Judge, Kenneth Sanborn, removed her permanently from handling estates and wills.
The Williams case involves a $30 million estate deriving from a medical malpractice case settled with Henry Ford Hospital for neglect during Mailauni’s birth. Williams and her daughter were to be provided a monthly life-time annuity from the settlement through the ELNY Administrator Hardship Fund.
But court-appointed estate-planning attorney Walter Sakowski, of Livonia, informed George in a letter July 14 that he had withdrawn $869,382.40 from the Hardship Fund and placed it in a checking account held by the Mailauni R. Williams Irrevocable Trust, which he controls.“I am requesting direction from your honor as to whether the funds received ($869,382.40) should be placed in a restricted account, should I file a bond for an amount equal to this amount or should the funds be invested in mutual funds or the like,” he asked George.
In her order of June 19, 2014, George said among other matters, “the Trustee shall not pay to Lynnette (sic) Williams the monthly allowance previously ordered by this Court nor is the Trustee to pay the mortgage payment on Lynette Williams home as previously ordered, both Orders are hereby set aside.”
According to the Wayne County Register of Deeds, that home, in Grosse Pointe Farms, was deeded by Lennette Williams to Lennette and Mailauni Williams JTWRS in 1992.
Lennette Williams said she has been the subject of constant harassment by the courts, police and neighbors since she moved into the home, to provide her daughter with beautiful surroundings and a world-class school district. The U.S. Census shows that in 2010, Grosse Pointe Farms had only 1.8 percent African-American residents.
In 1990, an anonymous group of Williams’ neighbors mailed a letter to “The B’s” at her home address.It said, “How does it feel to be the most hated family on [street name]? Your house is the biggest eyesore here. No one wants to live here because of you. Half the homes are now for sale with no signs because of you people. Just because you won a settlement for a fake medical care you had to move here. It is a joke to the entire city. You don’t fit in nor belong here with your trash and junk cars. Why don’t you live in the Detroit area as your kind made Detroit the mess it is in now. You don’t know how to act or fit in here. You are not wanted here. This used to be a beautiful area but no more. Please go away.”Williams said she gave a copy of the letter, which today qualifies as a hate crime, to the Grosse Pointe Farms police, but they took no action. She also said that while Mailauni was attending school in Grosse Pointe, police stripped her naked at the school to look for signs of abuse because she had a keloid scar from an earlier accidental burn on her body. No Child Protective Service case was ever opened.
Mother and child rebellion Lennette Williams Metro Times, by Curt Guyette