Thursday, July 21, 2016

Fighting corruption and making inquires is never a waste of time

Fighting corruption and making inquires is never a waste of time.  You never know when and where a particular line of study is going to be helpful.

The practice law is voyeuristic and provides opportunities that are sometime unbelievable.

My father was a very skilled surgeon who blew out after four years of doing meatball surgery on an LST stationed in South Pacific during WW2.   He wanted both my brother and I to be medical professionals.   I am/was a rebel.   I had little interest in school and even less in science; however, in spite of myself I received an acceptance to medical school and a degree from a small Baptist college on the South side of Chicago.   The University of Chicago was the perfect place for the likes of me.  In spite of myself I received an education.   The U of C was interested in filling its students with facts, or even teaching them something.   Its interest was opening the doors so that its students were able to be comfortable in whatever setting they found themselves.    We learned basics, how to study, and where to study.   We learned to distinguish between the angels on the head of a pin so that we could focus on the problem and not on the distractions.   

I am more ignorant about more subjects that just about anyone you can imagine.   I know less about more than you can shake a stick it.   However, the very little that I know can lead me to answers to major problems.

Let me give you an example.   Mrs. Neprozatis (Neprozatis vs White, or in re: Estate of Neprozatis) was a elderly lady who was extremely lonely and a bit incompetent.   She owned her own home and lived their by herself.   She did have family, but like many elderly people most of her time was spent alone.

Robert White was a con=man who sold furnaces.   White visited Mrs Neprozatis one summer afternoon, gained access to her home and gained access to her furnace.  He opened the door to the furnace, put in a rag and lit it on fire.   As the rag burned he explained to her that the smoke that leaked out was due to a faulty heat exchanger and she was in real danger unless she replaced the furnace.  White took his time and extended the visit so that Mrs. Neporazatis could go to the bank and draw out $17,000 for a new furnace.  

That very day, a new furnace was delivered and installed.  

Fortuitously one of the neighbors became suspicious and called my client who was a shirttail relative of Mrs. N.   They went over to the house, inspected the new furnace and noted that the old furnace was still under warranty and was much more substantial.   When the investigated further they discovered the scam and found out that the profit of the contractor was very disproportionate.    The Attorney General's office had a large file of complaints on White going back years.  So did the States Attorney and the Postal Service.   White made the standard argument that his customers were 3X7 and ******.

I was contacted, spoke to Mrs. N and her doctor.   She had a disability according to the doctor and was so easily influenced by people who were friendly or pretended to friendly that there was a real danger of her being victimized.   We filed for a guardianship, and filed a complaint against White based upon the theory of constructive fraud.    

We were assigned to Judge Kogut, in the Probate Division.   Kogut was a heavyweight in the Circuit Court - he actually knew the law, was not afraid to apply it, and had "balls!"   White's attorney moved to dismiss the claim, but by the skin of our teeth we survived the motion practice and were set for trial.   Kogut was impressed by the argument - it looks like a duck, smells like duck, swims like a duck, has feathers like a duck - it must be a duck.

White as an adverse witness was my first witness.   He was smooth.  Butter would not melt in his mouth; however, the $17,000.00 for a furnace that his cost was less than $500.00 stuck in the Judge's craw and he was visualizing White as a 'duck!'    White produced to my utter amazement an executive engineer from People's Gas.   This 'expert' testified that he was head of engineering for the Gas company for umpteen years and he was aware of substantial problems with gas furnaces with defective heat exchangers and ******.    When he got done testifying during his direct examination the courtroom observers were all ready to go home, burn rags in their furnaces to check to see if they had leaky heat exchangers; however cross examination was to follow.

To the surprise of the witness and the attorney for White, this expert did not recognize Boyles Law or Charles Law and to the delight of Judge Kogut I beat him over the head with the Gas Laws of elementary chemistry.  PV/T equals PV/T.    My expert witness totally contradicted the expert from the gas company and explained how Pressure, Volume, and Temperature were all interrelated and ******.    We won, Kogut awarded the return of the $17,000.00, White appealed and lost.   The Attorney General's office went after White and put him out of business.

All this came from me as a freshman at that small Baptist college not understanding the gas laws and taking literally the offer from the professor - Harold C Urey - to drop in an see him if I did not understand something in his course.   Professor Urey, just happened to a Nobel Prize winner and one of the scientists on the Manhattan project.   He took an entire afternoon to explain to an ignorant freshman in the college the basics of freshman chemistry - i.e. the gas laws!    

No inquiry and no discussion is ever a waste of time and energy.   Indeed there are few Professor Ureys around, but one of the best computer teachers I know is my 11 year old grand=daughter.

(My wife has been pushing me to write a book  - detailing some of my experiences - I have however run into a problem = believably!    The story is accurate and it can be verified - there is an Appellate Court of Illinois decision as to the Neprozatis case; however, how many college freshman walk into the office of an internationally famous scientist and ask for help in learning the 'gas laws!'    I did -  Add some of the other facts and even though accurate they sound to me as unbelievable.   Indeed, White himself sounds unbelievable; however, for many years he literally got away with murder)

Incidentally - Judge Kogut was assigned to the 18th floor of the Daley Center and was further assigned to the Probate Division.   We have been complaining about the corruption in that division and particularly in relationship to guardianships.   This is another of those cases that is the exception to the rule.

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