Demand for Retraction of Article by Terri Alvillar "The Lost Estate of Sophie Tucker Greenberg"
Demand is hereby made for a retraction of
the false statements contained in the Article written by Terri Alvillar
appearing in the March, 2005 issue of the Coastal Post.
Demand is further made that the Coastal Post immediately remove Ms. Alvillar's article from any search at its website. Finally, demand is made that the Coastal Post publish this letter, in the interest of balanced reporting, in a place as prominent as Ms. Alvillar's article.
The article is a fabrication and a regurgitation of the objections and petitions of Susan Elliot filed in this estate proceeding. Those objections were considered by the Court and found to be unsubstantiated. All of my actions were reviewed, approved by the Court and found to be appropriate. The article is unresearched, misleading and false.
To set the record straight, the following are the facts which refute those false statements made by Ms. Alvillar:
1. Claxon hired the Administrator: Curing the Court hearing in May, 2003, when it became clear that the three siblings could not work together, I was appointed as Administrator by Commissioner Mary Grove in open court, with the consent of counsel and the parties.
2. Claxon did not disclose to Susan that Caron Schmierer had been his secretary for 19 years: The fact was fully disclosed at the outset. I make no secret of my early years as a legal secretary.
3. Claxon instructed Elliot to turn over the keys to the Administrator: The Administrator's responsibilities in any probate action are to secure the assets of the estate. This is my standard procedure in any estate proceeding.
4. Threats by the Administrator to call the police and have Susan Elliot removed: This is a total fabrication and never happened.
5. Personal property: Susan Elliot and her husband were present during the removal of all personal property from the residence. All personal property was placed in storage by Susan and her husband, except for one storage unit rented by the Administrator when Susan Elliot refused to cooperate with the Administrator during the removal of the personal property in furtherance of the Court's order to list and sell the residence. There were no valuable lamps or blankets.
6. No inventory taken: The required Inventory & Appraisal was filed by the Administrator and is a matter of public record. The three siblings agreed that the contents of the house should be valued at $3000, and that was the amount reported to the probate referee. There was no need to itemize the personal property under those circumstances.
7. The Will: Despite the claims of Ms. Alvillar and Ms. Elliot, the 1984 Will did not leave the house exclusively to Susan Elliot. In fact, the house was never specifically mentioned in the Will. As can be seen from my declaration in response to Ms. Elliot's opposition to my First Report and Account filed on October 13, 2004:
(1) The 1984 Will was discovered on June 11, 2003;
(2) Mr. Claxon, Ms. Elliot's counsel, was notified and received a copy on June 12, 2003.
(3) The Will was filed with the Court on June 13, 2003.
(4) Norman Greenberg and Edward Greenberg were mailed copes on June 16, 2003;
(5) Norman Greenberg filed Notice of Intention to Contest Wills on June 20, 2003;
(6) Ms. Elliot herself signed a Proof of Holographic Instrument on July 16, 2003; and
(7) Mr. Claxon filed a Petition for Entitlement on Ms. Elliot's behalf on July 17, 2003.
Therefore, the statement that I did not inform the Court or the beneficiaries about the existence of the 1984 Will until October, 2003, is completely and utterly false. The independent documents that fully support and confirm this timeline are a part of the Court's file, and are attached to my declaration, and are a matter of public record. If Ms. Alvillar, or anyone else for that matter, would have bothered to simply read the Court's file, these facts are easily verified.
8. No sign on the residence for sale: Attached to my declaration of October 13, 2004 is a letter from the Realtor attesting to the fact that a sign was placed on the property on Monday following execution of the listing agreement on Friday. The property received a total of 22 offers. If the property was resold by the purchaser, it was only after it was repaired and put into proper condition. The condition of that house in June, 2003 was deplorable and there were no estate funds with which to do the repair work.
9. The Estate was never worth $400,000. The total inventory as evidenced by the Inventory and Appraisal, if Ms. Alvillar would have bothered to look in the Court's file, was $247,779.59, not $400,000 as reported. With respect to the fees in this matter, the information concerning the total value of the estate and the detailed description of our request for fees is also a matter of public record. This case involved the necessity of filing 5 years of back tax returns, an Appeal of the Probate Court's previous decisions to the District Court of Appeals and the California State Supreme Court filed by Ms. Elliot's brother, contested matters filed by Ms. Elliot against the Administrator and by Ms. Elliot's brother against Ms. Elliot, requiring repeated hearings on the same issues.
The Coastal Post should require corroboration on articles submitted by its reporters prior to publication. Ms. Alvillar should have read the Court's file and conducted proper research, instead of parroting the unsubstantiated allegations filed by Susan Elliot.