Wills, Trusts & Estates Prof Blog

Editor: Gerry W. Beyer
Texas Tech Univ. School of Law

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Councilman accused of misuse of power of attorney and trust funds

Mccullough_charlesAllegheny County Pennsylvania Councilman Charles P. McCullough has recently been charged with 23 criminal counts involving his alleged misapplication of trust property.

The following details are from Paula Reed Ward, County councilman charged, Post-Gazette, Feb. 20, 2009:

  • Charles was elected in 2007.
  • According to the grand jury presentment, Charles took over $154,000 from Shirley Jordan's trust.
  • Shirley is a 91-year-old widow who resides in a nursing home.
  • Charles, a lawyer, was her agent under a power of attorney and represented her with regard to the trust.
  • Shirley claims that the $40,000 of political donations made with her money were not authorized.
  • There is evidence that checks were altered and that another check was payable to a charity of which his wife was executive director.
  • The power of attorney Shirley signed was "springing," that is, it did not give Charles authority under Shirley was incapacitated.  The grand jury determined that she was not incapacitated at the times in question.
  • Although the power of attorney states that the agent (Charles) was to serve without compensation, the claim is being made that Charles took $4,000 per month as his fee.
  • Evidence was also presented to the grand jury that Charles received excessive legal fees for his work.
  • Charles's sister, Kathleen, was charged with a variety of theft offenses involving Shirley as well as a former employer from whom she is accused of stealing $1.25 million.


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While my mother was taking Exelon, a drug for alzheimer's, and in and out of the hospital numerous times my sister, who had durable power of attorney, took money from my mother to purchase a new car, a lincoln. While my mother lay in the hospital nearly unconscious from a staph mercer infection my sister took approximately $400,000. from my mother's bank accounts. My mother stayed in the hospital for 2 months then passed away. My sister, also took all of the contents of my mother's home. Mom's will and trust as of Jan 31, 2004 states that all 3 of her daughters are to share equally in all of her assets. The case is nearing summary judgement in the florida Ft. Lauderdale probate court
and scheduled for civil trial june 25th of 2010.

I am seeking representation.

I am seeking a qualified attorney to represent me.

Posted by: Bev Page | Jan 13, 2010 6:19:40 PM

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