This is what
    trust
               looks like ...

Mercedes at Ranch Party

Could you spot the signs of Elder Financial Abuse?

Who might be an abuser?

     Family, caregivers, household help

     Professionals hired by the elder - accountants, bankers, lawyers, doctors

Has the elder recently changed their doctor, lawyer, accountant or other professional?

Has the elder recently changed their trustee or given power of attorney?

  • isolation
  • promising to take care of them
  • worrying the elder with the fear that they will be placed in a nursing home
  • recent changes in will or trust

Mercedes Kibbee instructed her lawyers and bank, newly-named as trustee, to create a lasting legacy for the neediest children of Sheridan, WY, by creating a health and educational Foundation with her wealth. It was also a safeguard for the the ranch that she and Chan Kibbee loved so and where they are buried.

 

 

Timeline in progress. (Timeline is under construction. It is being constructed in two sections: July 6, 2005 through December 31, 2007and January 1, 2008 to present)


Almost all documents, letters and emails presented in this timeline have been previously entered into evidence in the Peter Kibbee law suit.

button Please click on the button to access the corresponding document

July 6, 2005

Mercedes entered the nursing home with a broken hip. She signed a Medical Power of Attorney over to 2 family members who gave orders one to the nursing home and doctor.

 

December 1, 2005

Mercedes’ secretary was fired by the family members and proceeded to launch an effort to assist Mercedes in locating a lawyer who would assist her in rescinding Power of Attorney. In this effort she put Mrs.. Kibbee in contact with a friend who had recently established a practice in Sheridan.

 

April 8, 2006

Mercedes was literally snuck out of the nursing home, by a kind care-giver and driven to the parking lot of a local restaurant where she was met by the lawyer and signed the document button 2 rescinding the Power of Attorney. After ten months she was free!

 

April 11, 2006

Mercedes was released from the nursing home but, rather than taking her directly home, her attorney took her to at a local Bank, where she had a checking account but no substantial business, to a meeting with two bankers she had never met before.

AN/4—Additionally, Mrs. Kibbee and I met with -- at the Bank. He explained the services the Bank could provide her and what they would need from her....

One of the bankers, in a deposition, states that when he asked Mercedes what she wanted, she answered that "she wanted to go home and get in her own bed." When Sharon asked her why she had changed so manyarrangemenst Mr. Kibbe had left in place to secure her life she said the people in that meeting had told her she would be safer. They got her to her to transfer her portfolio into thee small regional banks wealth mangement department and make the them her co-trustee. The documentation for which was swiftly executed and six days later, on April 17, presented for Mercedes to sign. three After the nursing home nightmare, everyone knew that “safe” was the magic word with Mercedes. Total control of her estate (primarily the MKK trust) was quickly transferred out of the hands of long-standing financial institutions and managers and into the hands of the Bank…

AN/9— (the banker)... explained that the Bank was beginning to understand the size of her assets and was working to collect them

…replacing her attorney…

AN/6 —I had never met (the estate lawyer)..., but he came highly recommended by, I believe, Bob Leibrich…and accountant.

 …replacing her accountant…

AN/9-10—Finally , I asked Mercedes for her permission to move her accounting work from the New York firm to Ken Mellinger. She agreed. I will follow up with a letter to the Bank and the accountants…

Mercedes told her daughter, Sharon de Lobo, that all she had asked for was someone to take responsibility for paying the bills. There would have been no reason for her to think about changing arrangements, established years before by her husband to protect her and maintained over many years by Morgan Stanley, who had more than doubled her money since her husband’s death. The long time family accountant and tax attorney had protected her through all of those years without so much as a bump. She had never had to think about finances.

 

I now know that Mummy and I had "co-trustee" confused with executor and that misinterpretation was never corrected because the Bank had never explained what the obligations and rights of a co-trustees are. My very frail 86 yearr old mother, though competent, needed those individuals that shee employed in an advisory capacity to verify her comprehension of matters and choices being presented to her. Even though 86 and suffering from multiple afflictions, including congestive heart failure, my mother had been reluctant to name a guardian saying relinquishing control was what got her in trouble in the first place.

 

AN/7….I reviewed a guardian designation with Mercedes and she was not interested since she claimed that giving Aurora a Medical Power Of Attorney was "what got me into this mess.”

She had no idea what kind of power she had already given the bank. In addition, it would appear, judging from a video made on February 27, 2007, where she was presented with a document for her signature to "amend those foundation documents," careful explanation of what they were asking her to sign was not something the lawyer believed was her responsibility. There was not explanation as to which foundation documents or what are article 7 and 10 about.



(See full explanation and extended video under 2/27/07.) Even under oath, in deposition, the estate planning lawyer gave an incorrect answer concerning the Health and Education Trust, repeating the same statement that had made to Mercedes.

 

ELD 0055/5-9—

5   Q. So if Sharon, Aurora, or Joshua have a medical
6   bill, and this trust pays directly to the medical
7   provider, they would be entitled to receive that
8  benefit, correct?
9   A. That's correct.

Mercedes was told that the Health and Education Trust would serve as an insurance policy for Aurora, Joshua and Sharon, to pay their medical bills. This was important to her because Sharon has a preexisting condition that makes it impossible to get insurance. The reality is, when Sharon receives a medical bill, she must send the bill along with a copy of her tax return to the bank who will decide whether they feel she has enough money to pay her own bill and if they decide she does, they are not obliged to pay it. This results in two million dollars under the Bank's management that continually is growing with infrequent withdrawals. Mercedes was assured that each of her heirs would have the right to choose the financial institution that would manage their Trusts.

 

The language was pointed out to her I sat and listened to the attorney read the paragraph to her but, she put the emphasis on the word beneficiary so that neither of us understood that what it actually said was that the “the Foundation” could change the trustee. They never explained that we could not change trustee unless the YMCA appointed Kibbee Board of directors but, she put the emphasis on the word beneficiary so that neither of us understood that what it actually said was that the “the Foundation” could change the trustee. They never explained that we could not change trustee unless the YMCA appointed Kibbee Board of directors approve— including: a bank VP who is also president of the YMCA Board; a retired bank VP; the  Scott Foundation executive director; a Century 21 franchise owner who has close ties to the bank; the YMCA Executive Director and multiple YMCA Board members. Even this language, though in all the other trusts, disappeared from the copy of Sharon’s trust that was presented for her mother’s signature (the banker and Sharon had a very contentious relationship by the time that was presented). The amendment 4 they had her sign was just full of surprises.

 

May 16, 2006

Mercedes’ attorney says Mercedes asked the bank to provide an estate planning lawyer but Mercedes told her daughter that when she asked that the bank to be responsible for paying ranch bills, they and her attorney had told her she needed to make changes in her estate planning in order to “keep her safe”. Financially she had never been unsafe. Her accountant and tax lawyer had never done anything to make her unsafe. Family members never had the power that would allow them to touch her Trust so it was not unsafe. She had been locked in a nursing home against her will, her check book had been withheld. None of this had anything to do with the people managing her money or her accounting and tax work. The people managing her finances just kept producing a very hefty profit, even when she was in the nursing home. Nothing done after April of 2006 would constitute “keeping her safe”. It is not know if the investments controlled by the bank made a larger or smaller profit than had they been left with Morgan Stanley. The changes did make a difference to the tax burden upon her death but, in order to save me, my brother, daughter, and grandson some money, they threw away what was most important to her, they did it against her orders, and the only person who profited is the Bank and their friends at the Sheridan YMCA.

 

June 23, 2006 

In the attorney’s deposition and narrative there are discrepancies in factual information given and contradictions to statements made at deposition. The mistakes made in recounting activity before this date could have been mistakes in memory and incomplete record keeping. From this point on they will be noted. The attorney states that on this date, Mercedes was at her home participating actively in a meeting that terminated in the signing of an agreement for an estate attorney…

AN/10…I had a short meeting with Mercedes at the ranch, in her room. I took the Representation Agreement from (the estate lawyer) and went over it with her. She had asked me to provide information on his qualifications and education and asked for that information. I provided the same. She wasn't bothered by his billable rate: $000/hr. She said: "I want an expensive attorney who will do the job right." After review of the agreement together, she signed both copies.

 

 

ELD/0169 —

  • 20  Q. And were you aware it was Mr. Lelbnich that 
  • 21   actually recommended to -- that you be hired
  • 22   to do this estate plan?
  • 23    A Yes, I was.

 

Mercedes was in the hospital between June 17 and 26. Her daughter was called on the 18th and told that she needed to speed up her departure date because they thought Mercedes might not live. Just in case, Sharon asked if someone in Mercedes' room could call her so that she could speak to her mother. They had not been getting along for many years and Sharon wanted to be able to tell her mother that she loved her before she died. The lawyer said she was not in any condition to talk on phone. Though Sharon had originally rejected her mother’s offer of a private jet, now this emergency made it clear that she would need to stay with her mother for more than a quick visit and, if she died, it would take some time for a memorial service, etc. As a result, she would need the private aircraft in order to take her four animals with her. Two days before she left (6/23) Mercedes’ attorney called to say that the banker had gone to the hospital that morning and had not been able to obtain Mercedes’ signature on the contract from the private aircraft company because Mercedes was too ill to understand what was being asked of her.

 

June 24, 2006

Mercedes’ daughter, Sharon de Lobo, arrived in Sheridan. Her explanation of that day differs greatly from her mother’s attorney.

 

Sharon: The attorney picked me up in Billings. I found her pleasant but a bit overly familiar and indiscreet. On the trip to Sheridan she told me the bank had been reviewing my mother’s finances and she offered to tell me what my mother’s total worth was. I said that my mother would tell me herself if she wanted me to know.

 

When I first saw my mother I was very shocked. She was lying on her side with her back to the door. She did not move or acknowledge that anyone had entered the room. She appeared to be very groggy and when I leaned down to kiss her she clearly did not even recognize me. Finally, just before I left, the attorney told her I had a little dog that was hiding in my handbag. She did not know anything about my little Maltese so, at the attorney’s encouraging, I pulling him out so she might see him. Everyone began to laugh and hearing my laugh seemed to spark something because she smiled and pulled her arm out from under the covers, pointed to me, and said to the two nurses present, “do you know who that is?”

 

She was so weak and, other than that one comment said in almost a whisper, she never said a word. On the way to the ranch the attorney, in an attempt to sooth my worries that I would not even have a chance to talk with my mother, said she would bet my presence would help her get better. The doctor also hoped it would help and decided to send her home to live with me and round the clock caregivers. Little did I know that I was not just there to protect my mother and make her happy for the remainder of her life but would soon be consumed with managing the ranch, and serve as a sounding board to her in an attempt to create a Family Foundation—as she would say “my eyes and ears”. Certainly, I had no idea that five years later I would still be involved in a battle to save her again. This time it was her and my father’s legacy that needed saving.

Attorney: AN/10… I took Sharon directly to visit her mother there on my return to Sheridan. Mercedes was thrilled beyond anything I had ever witnessed from her to see Sharon. The two had not seen each other for many years. I recall that Mercedes was alert enough to know Sharon and asked how she was able to smuggle "Coco,- Sharon's Yorkshire Dog, into the hospital room. Sharon joked that if asked she would tell any nurse that Coco was a ''guard dog". This was particularly funny since Coco is very small and in poor health. The two women had a very warm reunion….

 

AD/41…It was really great. It was very nice. They hugged and cried, and Mercedes immediately recognized her.


She asked her where her dog, Coco, was, which is a dog that Sharon carries everywhere with her; and, sure enough, Sharon had smuggled the dog into the hospital and pulled it out for Mercedes to see.


They talked and cried and visited; and then Mercedes was fairly tired, so I took Sharon back to the ranch.

June 26, 2006

In both Mercedes’ attorney's deposition and the estate attorney’s deposition there are many references to, despite family misbehavior, Mercedes never considered changing her will until after her daughter arrived.

 

It is very important to understand my mother and father’s attachment to the Ranch. The Ranch was their dream. The house and gardens, down to the last detail, were designed by my mother and father. They argued and rejoiced over every last detail and decision. They never regretted a single decision and even put a family cemetery on the land, where they both are buried with plenty of room for future generations and the family dogs close, just behind the cemetary fence. It was very important to both of them that the Ranch remain in family hands. When they bought that property I kept saying that I did not want a ranch in Wyoming and my father’s concern that, were the Ranch to passes into my hands I would sell it, is obvious in his will where he makes sure it did not.

ELD 0049/8

8      Q.    Qkay. Didn't both those trusts also say that
9      Sharon De Lobo should never end up with the Ranch?
10    A.    Chandler's did. I don't recall whether Mercedes
11    did or not because, see, Mercedes was restated in 1996.
12    and it was different than Chandler's after that in some

13   areas.

Not passing the Ranch on to the family was unthinkable to both of them. We are a very small family. Until I got there my mother thought she had no options other than to leave her will as it stood, with Peter and Aurora inheriting the Ranch. My presence changed everything for her. Within weeks of my arrival, my mother began to say that she wanted to leave her entire estate to me (there are witnesses or link to AD) and I would always say I had a better idea.

 

On July 4, I attended the holiday fireworks with the ranch manager Craig Maris and his wife Karen. They are both school teachers in Sheridan. We discussed the problems of the children of Sheridan’s poor, many from uneducated and drug addicted families. I began to think doing something modeled on Boys and Girls Harbor project in New York which my mother was very familair with, would be a wonderful thing to suggest to her. I decided, because she was still not completely recovered from her hospitalization and had almost no short term memory, showing it in action would be something she would be more inclined to remember. On July 16, we had a wonderful pool party for about 20 children with horse riding, and games, and a cookout on the terrace with all the fixings. All her caregivers who were available came to be with her. Her hairdresser came to do her hair nicely. We dressed her in her favorite suit and wheeled her onto her terrace. I think she thought it was going to be some sort of welcome home party for her. Instead, there was a mass of children splashing in her pool. "What is this?" she said. And I sat with her for a few minutes, explaining, this was was my "better idea"—a charitable option that would benefit the community she and my father loved so and still fundamentally keep the Ranch in the family. She loved the idea and stopped talking about giving everything to me.

NS/2—When Mrs. Kibbee began to say she wanted to give everything to Sharon, Sharon would always say she had a better idea. Then she told Mrs. Kibbee, instead of explaining her idea, she Mary, Harold, Marge, even Mrs. Farrll. I was not able to attend but Harold gave me a picture he took of Mrs. Kibbee eating with the children. Her face was radiant. She loved having the children come out and was always asking when they would come again.
When Mrs. Kibbee and I would take our lunch to Kendrick Park and watch the children play. She would talk about the Foundation and her Kibbee Kids. She was especially happy when people would comment on how proud Mr. Kibbee would have been and with the idea that many years from now, when people passed the C Lazy M Ranch, they would see what a wonderful thing she and Mr. Kibbee had done for the community just like their friends the Kendricks. This may have started as Sharon's dream but it became Mrs. Kibbee' dream as well.

Though my mother's attorney, in her narrative said the YMCA and Joy Junction organized that party they did not. Karen Maris, our Ranch manager's wife, did the whole thing single-handedly—it was a heroic job.

 

It had many attractions for my mother. It really solved all of the questions that haunted her. First, it was a loving and joyous resolution—It provided her with an opportunity to heal her fractured family through a common purpose greater than their own self-interest—It could redirect her granddaughter’s habitual preoccupation with possessions and money—It would leave her great grandson with a family to be proud of and, hopefully, a dedication to those less fortunate than himself through directorship of the family Foundation on the family Ranch. Rather than leaving Joshua the Ranch to live on, she left him the Ranch as a path to a meaningful life. It protected my parent’s wish to have their Ranch stay in the family by eliminating the possibility that heavy estate tax burdens, coupled with the high cost of maintenance, were the economy to dip, would leave her heirs with no option but to sell. These are my reasons for suggesting that I would prefer a Foundation in my parents name than money and possessions. It was not simply a desire to be charitable but a good conclusion to messy family matters that appealed first to me and then my mother. We both hoped it would heal the family. (Audio tape included) Though angry she still loved us all.

 

Note: The word safe was still in my mother’s thoughts so she mentioned leaving the entire estate to me a couple of times more. Each time I replied that even if she did, I would simply turn around and use it to create the very Foundation I was suggesting. I said that doing it together with me would allow her to enjoy seeing the benefits from it during her lifetime. It was not long until all talk of leaving it to me was replaced by daily talk of her Foundation, how it would function and questions about when the children were coming again.

 

In her narrative, my mother's attorney said:

AN/20…August 4, 2006…. Mercedes asked if I would come on Sunday to help with the children that are coming. She knows I swim. I told her yes….

This is another fabrication. The July party was the only party that we had that summer, and, if you follow her narrative, you will see that no mention of a party is metioned under Sunday, August 6.

 

July 17, 2006

The day after the party, she instructed the attorneys and banker to look into how she could use her Ranch and money to help “needy children of Sheridan.”  Karin Maris, a second grade school teacher, had mentioned that many children were not properly fed when not in school and receiving school lunch. As a result Mercedes was particularly interested in nutrition being a big part of her project.

AN/14…I met alone with Mercedes in her room at the ranch. She requested the meeting to discuss her desire to make charitable gifts to help "needy children in Sheridan". She is particularly interested in helping children that don't get enough food. She asked me to do some checking on local charities.

She asked Sharon to take her power of attorney in order to oversee the project. Sharon said she was not comfortable taking power of attorney but was happy to oversee the details.

AN/19…Mercedes asked Sharon to assist her in making decisions regarding these opportunities and possible others. Sharon will do some additional investigating. I provided a limited introduction to the Wyoming Community Foundation. Sharon will do some work on the Internet to investigate it. I did warn these ladies that Sharon out and about asking questions will get back to Aurora and that will likely cause a new round of rumors and threats. Both decided it could not be helped.

My father really had my mother spoiled; she had always been allowed to make a decision and then have someone else do all the work. Once I suggested the Foundation and she said “let’s do it”, let’s—meant Sharon. I was assigned the duty of seeing it done correctly.

 

I read and re-read every document I was given. I went over them very carefully with my mother and gave notes on her comments to the attorneys and banker involved. They complain about my insisting everything be read out loud to my mother no matter how small the correction.

AD 0112/22

   22    Peter's CRT. Not yet signed because Sharon insists that
   23    I reread the entire document to Mercedes again. and
   24    neither she nor I have had time for this.

 

The reason for this was, no matter what was discussed, items my mother requested be changed, kept showing back up in the “supposed” revisions. This caused frequent contentious discussions between my mother's attorney and myself. I certainly never suspected dishonesty. I just thought the attorney was too busy gossiping to listen to what she was being told. 

 

Over time, I could not understand why getting it right was so difficult or why there were so many contradictions between what the attorney and the banker kept telling me my mother was saying to them and what my mother was saying to me and her caregivers. When I would ask my mother about these things, she would deny having said them. I would ask the caregivers if they had heard any similar statements from her. Each time they would say it was the exact opposite of what she was saying to them.

NS/2 Sharon was very careful about talking to Mercedes about legal things. If Mercedes was not doing well Sharon would sometimes have to wait days before she could talk to her. She would get angry with (the lawyer), (the banker), and sometimes another lawyer, who insisted on seeing Mercedes even if she was not OK, and when she could be easily confused. They would come out and, even though Mercedes had said Sharon was supposed to be with them, they would dose Sharon out of Mercedes's room and after they left Sharon would tell me they had said Mrs. Kibbee was saying all sorts of things that were the opposite of what she was saying to us. I do not remember what Sharon told me they said, but I do remember I was shocked because it was not like anything she was saying to me. Mrs. Kibbee was saying she wanted to give everything to Sharon and then after Sharon showed her the Foundation idea she was talking about that. That is why Mary and Sharon got the tape machine. Until then Mrs. Kibbee thought (the lawyer ) was doing what she asked her to do, she trusted her.

If the attorney had any doubts concerning my understanding of my mother’s wishes, as I doubted hers, why did she not bring the subject up when the three of us were together, as should have the Bank after my mother wrote them on Dec. 12.  In her deposition, the attorney says she met with my mother around 100 times. I counted the dates in the narrative, there were forty some odd days discussed—plenty of time to say “Mrs. Kibbee, you have said you want nothing done without Sharon’s participation, and as there appears to be some confusion, let’s you, Sharon, and me talk about exactly what you want for your ranch, your money and your Foundation.” In 2010, the banker Linda Thompson said to me, "I wish we had just had more time with her." They had four months (85 buisness days) to spend time with her, but instead they would not come. They understood exactly what she was telling them she wanted for her foundation...

ELD/0127

5  ...And, in fact

6  they'd already brought some underprivileged children out
7  to the ranch, I think at that point, and they were
8  bringing more out for this party that was occurring
9 later.

10 She also discussed w1th me detailed changes she
11 wanted to make to the ranch property, to adapt it to the
12 charitable uses. and she was very excited about how this
13 ranch was go1ng to be used for those chantable
14 purposes. And--
15 Q. What detailed changes did she discuss?
16 A. Well, we talked about making the pool safe, for
17 instance. We talked about having some additional living
18 quarters out there, building a little dormitory of some
19 sort back behind the pool.

20 Talked about how the personal furnishings of the
21 house would fit into the charitable purpose, and whether
22 they should remain there or not.

23 We talked about who should supervise this
24 foundation, and we talked a little bit about
25 restrictions. That's the second part of

0128
1 conversation, was how the foundation works.

...but their interests were elswehere.

 

July 24, 2006

The estate attorney came to meet Mercedes for the first time. She was set on the idea of the Foundation and outlined to him what she wanted in the loosest of terms—a camp for underprivileged children that would focus on healthy growth, physically and emotionally—a safe haven for play, healthy meals and supportive direction. She wanted her family to run it and, if possible, for her great grandson to eventually live on it as executive director. In his deposition, the estate lawyer says that meeting included discusion of the YMCA, but indicates it was Mercedes' attorney who brought that up. It would not have been Mercedes because, on July 24th, Sharon had not yet investigated doing anything with the YMCA, had not met the Executive Director, Jay McGinnis, and therefore had not mentioned anything about the YMCA to her mother.

ELD 0025/14-19—
   14    Q. Okay. But you focused on the -- It sounds like
   15    maybe she hap focused or someone had focused on the YMCA
   16    being the conduit to help needy children. Is that my
   17    understanding or am I mistaken?
   18    A . No, you're not mistaken...

At all times Mercedes was very specific that the Ranch was the Foundation, not simply an asset of the Foundation. The asset was the approximately 10 million in stocks in the Mercedes Kibbe trust, plus the income from 8 million in two Charitable Lead trusts and the eventual gift from two charitable remainder trusts worth 8 million and 2 million, after Sharon's death, from a Health and Education Trust. This was to first, maintain the facility (the Ranch), and then fund the projects run on the Ranch. These projects were to be exclusively for the neediest of Sheridan’s children and modeled after Boys and Girls Harbor in New York including tutoring and meals for the children. Mercedes told the children at a party we had in the fall of 2006, “This ranch will belong to you one day. It will change your life”. She kept asking everyone if they had seen the new plaques on the gates. Both were gifts from Sharon, the Foundation plaque she worded, the other came as a surprise.

 

gates of the kibbee foundation kibbee foundation plaque
kibbee foundation plaque

 

 

Having her family direct the Foundation was particularly important to my mother, especially as she believed this provided her granddaughter with an opportunity to find purpose in her life and the effect that would have on her great grandson.

 

The estate attorney sent a letter to Mercedes, on 8/30/06, as a follow up to this meeting.  In it, he laid out his understanding of what she had said to him about her wishes for the structure for the Kibbee Foundation. On page 6, he says, considering her criteria, as expressed to him on July 24, even though it would be more expensive, his advice was that a private Foundation would comply with her wishes. For the most part, he was correct. In the margins of letters, and sometimes as a list in the back of documents, there are notes made by Sharon while going over documents with her mother.

AN/30—... She (Sharon) and Mrs. Kibbee went over it one paragraph at a time and came up with questions. Sharon drafted a 3-page memo that is numbered to correspond with the paragraphs in Bob's letter with questions after each. Mrs. Kibbee asked that I talk with Bob about her questions and comments on the memo and see if he can't start drafting the necessary documents. She wants to get this done

Once these notes were made, they were thoroughly reviewed with Mercedes’ attorney who was instructed to have the estate attorney make the appropriate changes. These notes though in Sharon’s handwriting, have been acknowledged, by both attorneys as being, Mercedes’ comments.

AD 0103/11

   11    Did you ever receive that three-page Sharon
   12    De Lobo memo?
   13    A I remember answering a bunch of questions that
   14    Mrs, Kibbee and Sharon had raised about the August 30th
   15    letter.

In the Dec. 2011 at a Kibbee Board meeting Sharon said to the estate attorney“ in the letter you wrote to my mother on the 30th of August of 2006, you suggested a private foundation”. The estate lawyer answered “because that was a standard format letter I send to everybody who’s considering a foundation.” In his deposition he explains that letter as “I provided her an explanation letter and suggested planning options”. It is very precise, full of details and (though he may have a master plan for these letters, it is clearly not a form letter.

 

The estate lawyer, more than once in his deposition, acknoweledges Mercedes interest in a day camp of some sort. He ties it together with the YMCA, which she did not do (see audio and video). Sharon was the one who did that.

 

It is peculiar that charged with creating a Foundation that wast to be fundamentally a day camp, the estate lawyer never began investigation with the zoning commision to ascertain if it was even possible to do. Would it pass the necessary zoning regulations?

ELD 0127/3

   3    A. I felt the Y would be able to use it as a day
   4   camp or some other part of their activities for children
   5   that are underprivileged in Sheridan. And, in fact,
   6   they'd already brought some underprivileged children out
   7    to the ranch, I think at that point, and they were
   8    bringing more out for this party that was occurring
   9    later.

It would appear the estate lawyer and Bank believe you build the house before you find out if you are on swamp land. WHY NOT? It would appear even at this point they were starting to ignore my mother’s wishes and were already making their own plans.

 

August 1, 2006   

The switch from the families accountant to one of the Bank's choosing was made.

AN/19 & 20 Finally, I asked Mrs. Kibbee for her permission to move her accounting work from the New York firm to Ken Mellinger. She agreed. I will follow up with a letter to the Bank and the accountants. She would like to meet Ken Mellinger...change of accounting firm from New York to Mellinger. I will follow up with a letter for Jerry's file.

Early August, 2006

I met Jay McGinnis in early August. I liked him. I carefully explained this project and what my mother was offering the Sheridan YMCA. Later, as my mother's lawyers were telling us that including another established organization could save us a lot of money, I encouraged her to invite them to participate in the programs run on the Ranch. (audio)  At first she was not keen on the idea, but I reminded her that Daddy had been on their Board so he must have felt that local YMCA was a good organization. What I did not know, was that he had not left a gift for them in his will. Had I known that, I might have had some reservations?


During our discussion, McGinnis was certainly free to say the specifics of our project were not a good fit with the way the YMCA conducted their business. He did not. Rather, he was thrilled with the idea as it was presented to him at that time. His subsequent conversations with my mother, on the two occasions he met with us at the ranch, were absolutely in accord with what I, during our first meeting, had offered as an arrangement between the YMCA and the Kibbee Foundation.

AN/42…Sharon joined us and we had lunch. Throughout the lunch Mrs. Kibbee asked questions about what the YMCA would do with the ranch. She was particularly interested in what type of program they would do. Jay told her about a group in Colorado that the YMCA has connected with that teaches people how to run summer camps. The Colorado people will be here in April. Mrs. Kibbee said it would be fine to bring them to the ranch and show them around. Jay suggested that the kids could do projects on the creek, bird watching, and something with the lamas. Mrs. Kibbee suggested that the kids make bird feeders and hang them in the trees around the ranch.

His subsequent letters to me reinforce that.

 

What is curious is that the letter of November 24 indicates that he knows everything about “the size and scope”of the financial arrangement my mother was making in her will. My mother was still alive and, though we had discussed possibilities and he had a general idea of what we wanted to do, by November 24 he must have seen, or been been told the details of my mother's private documents. Who showed him or told him the contents of "privileged" client/trustee and client/attorney documents?

           
After Sharon told the attorney that she had suggested a foundation, the attorneys and banker would come meet with Mercedes and then tell me that Mercedes had asked them to do things that totally contradicted everything she was saying to myself and others in house.

 

What I was told my mother was saying would change from day to day and evidently my mother’s attorney was not giving consistent signals to the estate planning attorney as well.

ELD 0069/16-25

16 Q. Do you remember expressing that concern? ___ .
17 A. I do. Because this was - This is the first time
18 that I learned that she didn't want to leave the ranch
19 to Aurora and Joshua. l just can't recall, but this was
20 the first time that it dawned on me that that would not
21 be part of the plan.
22 Q. Why did you express concern?
23 A. Well, because I was - previously she'd said that
24 she wanted to leave the ranch in the family, and she was
25 changing that direction.

ELD 0095/22-25

22 A. Well, at that point I was beginning to realize
23 that she hadn't made final decisions on everything yet.
24 So we were still, you know, going back and forth as to
25 what was going to be done.

One might think, considering my mother's age and condition at that time, this was understandable. However, it is not just me but everyone living and working on the ranch at that time who were with her all day every day, say after the 16 of July, 2006, she never expressed any ambivalence—She wanted to make a Foundation for underprivileged children, THAT’S ALL!  and that is what she says in the video made in February of 2007. include clip

 

She spoke constantly to everyone about her plans for the Foundation and asked when the children were coming to the ranch again. Not one person working on the ranch or caring for my mother during those eight months ever heard her mention the YMCA…NOT ONCE. I was the one encouraging the inclusion of the YMCA to plan and run half of the programs, as can be heard on an audio recording show audio

 

August 13, 2006

Sharon’s concern finally led her to make an outline of the fundamentals of what she had understood were her mother’s wishes. The meeting was attended by her two longtime caregivers. Sharon drew up a chart on a poster board got a small recording device (CD find clips) and had a conversation with her mother to review what Mercedes wanted to do with her estate. At the conclusion of this recorded meeting, everyone signed and dated that board along with Mercedes.

 

After this recorded meeting, Mercedes wanted Sharon to take charge. She believed, her heavy pain medication coupled with her lack of experience in dealing with business or legal decisions, left her vulnerable. She was upset at what she was hearing about the discrepancies between what she wanted and what the attorneys were saying she wanted. Mercedes believed that, as the Foundation had been Sharon’s idea, Sharon was in the best position to see that it was structured in a way consistent with the discussions the two women were having. She made the choice to go back to her original idea of leaving everything to Sharon and allowing Sharon to create a foundation, but Sharon felt that would remove all the pleasure her mother could have of seeing it develop. Finally Mercedes decided the best conclusion was to turn power of attorney over to Sharon, as caregivers will confirm, Sharon was not comfortable with that—the Ranch and money belonged to her mother and her mother alone needed to be making the decsions. She did however promise to be responsible for making sure all went as her mother instructed and to participate in all meetings and decision-making and go over all documents before they were presented for her Mercedes' signature. Mercedes was comfortable with that.

AN/25…Mrs. Kibbee has asked that Sharon be present and so we agreed that future meetings with Mrs. Kibbee would include Sharon. Mrs. Kibbee has made it clear that she is able to disagree with Sharon and has done so in my presence. I spoke with(the banker) by phone and explained this to him. He is fine with it.

The bank and attorney's response was not simply to ignore the instructions but deliberately defy them.

 

All ranch employees and caregivers were instructed to call Sharon, if she was out of the house (or hospital if Mercedes was there) when attorneys or bankers arrived.

NS/2...but I do know if she had told me she needed to come to get legal papers signed, I would have told her she needed to call Sharon. Mrs. Kibbee had made it very clear to us that she did not want any meetings held without Sharon being there. She knew she was not always able to follow what people were saying so she relied on Sharon to help her get the legal matters right. I remember once, when something had gone wrong, she said to Sharon "Oh dear, I am not much help to you am I?"
NS/4 ...Because of the many times Mrs. Kibbee said to me, or I heard her say to someone else, that nothing was to be done without Sharon...

She felt if Sharon was responsible for being "her eyes and ears" she would not lose control of her own decisions. Though the employees did follow the instructions, at times they were mislead by bankers and lawyers into believing Sharon knew and approved of their being there without Sharon. Tragically the caregiver did not make the call on those very important occasions. As the attorney mentioned in her narrative.

AN/28—Sharon did not want to be present during the discussions about her trust and left, Mres. Kibbee asker her not to go too far so that she could come back.

On one occasion the Bank did not have to mislead, they just sent a Vice President into Mercedes hospital when they knew Sharon would be in Billings—this stunt almost killed Mercedes. (see December 14, 2006)

 

Mercedes anxiety grew when she knew Sharon would not be present:

AN/25…Sharon did not want to be present during the discussion about her trust and left, Mrs. Kibbee asked her not to go too far so that she could come back.

but Sharon did not want to participate in discussions of money left to her.

 

As I did not want to be involved in any discussions concerning money for me, I would leave the room with an agreement that they would call me back when they went on to discuss of the Foundation or other matters. They would use that as an excuse to get me out of the room and then “forget” to call me back and my mother would not realize they were discussing things I had neither seen approved. One day I sat right outside my mother’s door and still they “forgot”. My mother knew I was the one person who was not trying to get something and would absolutely protect her and see that the myriad details were executed correctly and I would have, had that bank and those two attorneys not decided to do it their way. I certainly tried and, at great expense both emotionally and financially, I am still to this day trying to right this wrong.

 

They give all sorts of excuses about why they kept Sharon out of meetings but the facts are a collaborative effort between the bankers and attorneys, against their client’s orders, allowed them to deprive their client of the protection she had requested.  They then made claims and drafted documents based on statements they allege Mercedes made in isolation in those furtive meetings. These claims about her statements contradict not only what Mercedes told everyone around her but put in writing in a notarized directive to the lawyers and Bank, in an audio tape, in a video tape and what is said in the estate lawyer's letter of 8/30/06. They slipped things past her that, if not corrected, will result in generations of the neediest of children in Sheridan being deprived of nourishment and a chance at a life that will not be offered to them again; will deprive Mercedes’ great grandson of the opportunity to run the family Foundation which had been very important to her, and the ranch itself, with it’s now lonely cemetery, just as isolated as she was and left in peril as she was. Furthermore these “supposed” statements are not consistent with what they themselves have said in documents on file. Where the consistency does lie is how all of this benefits the Bank, enabling them to control a fairly large estate in its entirety for decades to come, and their friends at the YMCA.

 

Originally Mercedes had wanted her husband’s name to precede hers in the Foundation name but a few days after August 13,  a friend pointed out that they felt sure Chan Kibbee would have wanted her name first. She acknowledged that he would have and gave instructions to put her name first.  A very peculiar series of emails went back and forth between Sharon and the estate attorney (and then McGinnis) when, after Mercedes’ death, Sharon asked the estate lawyer to correct the incorrect order of her parent’s names in the documentation: He said that Mercedes wording was incorrect and then wined to McGinnis that Sharon was sending him nasty emails.

scan in emails(25)

Though McGinnis acknowledged he heard her say she wanted it changed, the Board has refused to change the name. Why should they bother—there is not going to be a foundation on the C Lazy M Ranch.  They have now instructed the plaques be taken off the gates. The President of the Kibbee Board , in a meeting in 2010, when Sharon asked why they were not using the ranch and money for that which it was intended, stated “We own it now.”

 

After August 13, spurred on by the frustration caused by their claims of what Mercedes was saying behind closed doors, in addtion to every detail she listed as her criteria receiving a diagnosis of “not legally possible”, Sharon reached out to Deirdre & Don Imus. 

 

It is heartbreaking to realize that the only people who did something to help us were total strangers. I do not know Mr. & Mrs. Imus, but I called the ranch and spoke to the person who answered the telephone. I explained what was happening and asked for help. I really did not hold out much hope of their calling back but someone did call —and right away. Thanks to them, I was able to speak to their attorney, John Silver, who was very gracious and helpful and totally contradicted what both my mother’s attorneys were saying. Compared to the people my mother was paying to be helpful, it was a miracle. I will be forever grateful. I gave the telephone number of the Imus’s attorney to my mother’s attorney and told her, “if your estate attorney is not up to the job, have him call Mr. Silver who will set him straight”.  I also told her that they should follow the structure he had used to create the Imus Ranch Foundation.  The estate attorney, in an email sent Sept. 14, 2006, acknowledges this instruction, though not in its entirety, but never really followed it. Instead they engaged a attorney from Chicago to help when they could have engaged the Imus’ attorney.  I have no idea what they told that Chicago attorney about what Mercedes wanted so I cannot judge his work. It is very possible he gave them good advice that they just ignored him. You see from the emails concerning the name of the Foundation and the isolation of my mother when she insisted that I be present during meetinge, that they are expert at ignoring even their own client and, at one point they had contacted a CPA, Mr. Ed Hoffman, who warned them of the pit-falls of a supporting organization and said he would advise another category of foundation but they ignored him as well.


Mr. Hoffmans' memorandum was never shown to the Mercedes or Sharon. Sharon found it stuck between pages of a yellow pad with notes, included in a box full of documents, sent from one law office to another after Mercedes’ death. It was obviously misplaced and never meant to be seen by Sharon, even after her mother’s death. Why did they withhold that critical information from their client? According to Sharon,  no mention was ever made of a down side to the type of foundation they were encouraging (supporting Type III). It was sold as the perfect fit to fulfill all of what Mercedes called her absolutes—an independent foundation in order to protect the Ranch, as Mercedes states on the video 2/27/07 “have it go on in perpetuity”—accomplish exactly what she wanted to accomplish in terms of her family and the neediest children in Sheridan who by this time she referred to as “my Kibbee Kids”—and, at the same time, save the foundation and the estate a great deal in clerical, staffing and tax expenses.

 

In a 9/14/06 email from the estate attorney, unlike his 8/30/06 letter to Mercedes, now says most of the discussion with Mercedes evolved around this foundation "supporting the activities of the Sheridan YMCA and some of the children’s organizations the YMCA supports". However, he had neither seen nor spoken to Mercedes since he saw her on July 24. Again there are the familiar notes in the margin, next to this statement on page 3 saying “NO,” which was Mercedes’ reaction to that sentence. Something had changed in the conversations between the Bank and the attorneys in that time between 8/30/06 and 9/14/06. Though the talk of Mercedes not wanting a foundation had stopped, the bankers and attorneys actions, narratives and depositions show that there was some sort of agreement amongst themselves to make sure, if they had to go along with the foundation idea, things got done to accommodate their interests and that could only be done if Sharon did not know what was being done and Mercedes was kept isolated from Sharon during meetings and document signings, so that is what they did.

 

I have experience with large not for profits and understand how easily the overhead can become more the focus of attention than the project. I was very interested in how we could save money and discussed this frequently with my mother. She, like me, certainly was interested in minimizing administration costs. But, her desire to avoid paying some taxes did not extend to giving the ranch and Mercedes Kibbee Trust away to strangers in order to do so. She was trying to protect her Ranch, not give it away. She was trying to heal her family, not kick them in the teeth. She wanted us to continue to come and work with the kids at the ranch (see August 30 entry), and be the guardians of both the ranch and the Kibbee Kids. They were advising us that a Type III supporting organization classification would accomplish just that. The explanation given made it sounded ideal. I have since come to understand the actual specifics of a Supporting organization, both Type I and III, as explained to me by New York attorneys, are not even vaguely similar to what Mercedes and I were told. The specifics are however right in line with what the accountant Mr. Ed Hoffman was warning about in his emai l stating that there were pit-falls in a supporting organization and said he would advise us to choose another category of Foundation.

 

Sharon’s notes, in her 2006 agenda, done during telephone calls with Mrs. Kibbee’s attorney, show a Type III supporting organization as a foundation with a Board entirely independent from the supported organization, with the income from investments used first to maintain the Ranch/facility and the remaining revenue divided 50/50 between projects for underprivileged children approved by the Foundation’s Board and run by the supported organization, and a core group of children (The Kibbee Kids) coming daily for projects run by the foundation itself as well as participating in the supported organizations projects when age appropriate. In addition, all projects would to be exclusively for severely at risk children and conducted on the Ranch; the projects run by the supported organization would need approval of the Kibbee Foundation Board and be projects not otherwise done by the supported organization; donors would be allowed to target donations to ‘Kibbee Kids’ programs and the targeted donations were exempt from the 50/50 rule.

“for this reason I had begun to rally friends in NY, like dancers from the NYC Ballet, to agree to come to Sheridan and preform at a benefit for the Kibbee Kids”

 

This is the “professional” information that were giving and every bit of it is untrue. Mercedes and Sharon prepared a list of people that were to make up her Independent Board of Directors and gave it to her attorney. It placed an independent group of people in control , who managed the investments and decided how the funds were allocated and with which financial institutions. Making sure that did not happen was easy. Without the knowledge of Mercedes or Sharon, the attorney signed as incorporator and then between her and the estate attorney numerous stories were told as to why. See November 17, 2006 heading.


In the summer of 2009, I was in Sheridan and having lunch with Tammy, one of my mother’s caregivers. I discovered something I had not known. Tammy told me that she had seen the article in the Sheridan Press about my mother giving the $750,000 to the YMCA.  When later she saw a second article in the Sheridan Press published about the Foundation and ranch, she mentioned to my mother having seen that she was giving a second gift to the YMCA. Tammy said my mothers’ response was “No, I have already given enough to the Y”. Nadine also reminded me that each time Jay saw Mercedes he would offer to give her a tour of the YMCA and then when he left, she would tell us that she had no interest in seeing the YMCA. I know my mother's attorney keeps saying Mercedes requested a tour—that is untrue and all the caregivers will remember that because we thought it was funny—the way she would say it.

NS/2—Sharon had Jay McGinnis come to the ranch to meet Mrs. Kibbee and he offered to give Mrs. Kibbee a tour of the Y. When he left I heard Sharon asked her mother when she wanted to schedule her tour, Mrs. Kibbee said she had no interest in seeing the YMCA and she never spoke about them again, just the Kibbee Kids.

Sharon says there was numerous one conversation about how to protect the ranch from being sold because that was a real obsession for Mercedes. Her husband was buried there and so would she be and future generations of Kibbees. The attorney assured her that would happen only if the income from the trusts could not support it. With ten million dollars invested along with the income from five trusts worth another fifteen million, there was little risk of that eventuality.

 

I remember someone, I think Mummy’s attorney, asking her “What if it only had enough to maintain the Ranch but not all the children’s programs you want?” Her rather cavalier answer was “That’s what Sharon is here for, she knows how to fund raise and she’s a hard worker.” I realize now that there was never any discussion with her about where the money would go in that eventuality. I should have thought of it at the time but, we were both so focused on how wonderful the foundation was going to be, I don’t think either of us ever considered the possibility of failure. She had come to believe that my sole purpose in life would now be her foundation and though that had not been my plan, helping very needy children is not a bad turn for a life to take.

 

In the last months of her life Mercedes spent almost $100,000 to build an apartment on the back of the house for a chef to live on the ranch and to facilitate fund raising and further support of the children’s projects—dinner parties, and corporate retreats and meetings—weddings. She asked Sharon to refresh the house’s interiors and there was a large project on the gardens and greenhouses to make them more childproof and prepare them for educational use with the children.

new Ranch constructiongazeboan interior shot is needed

 

By her death the two guest rooms, the office, the foyer, upstairs hall and stairwell, had all been redecorated.

 

ELD 0127/10-19

   10    She also discussed with me detailed changes she

   11     wanted to make to the ranch property, to adapt it to the

   12    charitable uses. and she was very excited about how this

   13    ranch was going to be used for those charitable

   14    purposes. And

   15    Q. What detailed changes did she discuss?

   16    A. Well. we talked about making the pool safe. for

   17    instance. We talked about having some additional living

   18   quarters out there, building a little dormitory of some

   19   sort back behind the pool.

She loved her room and said she did not want Sharon to do anything there until after her death. They had always had east coast friends come during hunting season and she felt sure they would continue to come and use the house, in exchange for nice large donations to her foundation. Though no shooting is allowed on the C Lazy M, arrangements would be made for them to be taken out hunting, with delicious picnics and return to good a roaring fire and delicious dinner. They had calculated 12 to 15 summer Sundays, when the children were not on the property, for weddings. The summer after her mother died Sharon did one wedding, for the daughter of friends of their ranch manager, as a sort of dry run. It was and a great hit.

 

As was her custom, Mercedes resisted most involvement in what she considered minor details. More and more her health and medication made it difficult to follow conversations. Physically and emotionally she could not read long legal documents. She would tell Sharon “You take care of that…” or “What do you think?” Sharon would continue to answer by saying that it was her ranch and her money and she needed to make the decisions herself, but she made sure that the caregivers kept a careful eye on Mercedes' condition to insure that all discussions were conducted in a way, and at a time, that Mercedes could follow.  The lawyers and bankers did not.

NS/2—Sharon was very careful about talking to Mrs. Kibbee about legal things if Mrs. Kibbee was not doing well Sharon would sometimes have to wait days before she would talk to her. She would get angry with her attorney, the banker and sometimes another lawyer, who insisited on seeing Mrs. Kibbee even if she was not ok and when she could be confused.

She worried about the effect her medications had on her, often leaving her groggy and incapable of focusing, but she felt proud and possessive of what she was doing, especially when she would receive a note telling her how proud her husband would have been, and wanted to be involved and was frustrated by her disabilities. Nadine mentioned her saying “Oh dear, I am not much help to you am I?” to Sharon on one occasion. She believed Sharon made up for those disabilties and provided her with the ability to orchestrate the Foundation development in the direction she intended.


Though I wanted her to make her own choices, I did understand that she needed me to make sure she was clear on the details of the choices she was given and that she was lucid when discussing options or making decisions. This is painfully evidenced in comparing her signature on documents where I was involved versus those where I was not involved. (get documents)

 

Fall 2006

Shortly before Mercedes was hospitalized on 10/28 /06, her attorney came out to the ranch and, sitting next to the bed, read aloud the document that would make the changes in the will to include the Foundation. This sort of thing bored Mercedes, but when Sharon would ask very specific questions or point out wording that did not seem to correspond with Mercedes’ intentions, she would perk up, and join in the discussion. 

 

When I would ask a question and Mummy would also show concern, the attorney answered in such a way as to lead us both to understand that our doubts were simply created by legal wording.  The explanations she gave of how that document carried out my mother’s instructions to the letter, sounded absolutely convincing. When we asked why the YMCA was constantly mentioned in the documents, she said that the YMCA had to be clearly named in order to acknowledge them as a receiver of support to conduct projects for the Kibbee Foundation, but the Ranch and specifics of finances and projects did not have to be mentioned because, as the ranch and money belonged to the Foundation, and all financing came from the Foundation funded by my mother's trust, that was inherent. Neither my mother nor I had any history of experiencing the need to mistrust one's on attorney and it all sounded plausable. At a later date when I questioned why an article in the Sheridan Press appeared to claim that my mother was giving everything to the YMCA, rather than creating a foundation that shared some projects with the Y, the attorney brushed it of saying “the Sheridan Press never gets anything right”.


September 14, 2006

The estate attorney sent an email to the banker discussing Mercedes’ wishes. Again Sharon put Mercedes comments and questions in the margins.  The words “with” were pointed out to Sharon by the attorney as proof that, as “with” is not “for”, they were following orders concerning the YMCA.  Sharon said “We bought it.”
 

October 28, 2006

Mercedes entered the hospital in a grave condition. Her principle caregiver in her statement:

NS/3-4— I remember that time Mrs. Kibbee was in the hospital from October 28 through November 14 because It was a particularly difficult time. When Mrs. Kibbee was not doing well, she only wanted me around her and would give everyone else a hard time. She would become agitated and, if you could not do what she wanted you to do, she would begin to yell Help and Police at the top of her voice. When the medications made her groggy, she would be pleasant but she did not really understand what was going on. So, when she was like that, I would stay with her almost all the time. Sharon, or someone else, would take over for a few hours so I could take a shower and change clothes. Even then, we would try to pick a time when she would besleeping, Harold would come in a few nights while she was sleeping but I had to be there when she was awake. If you look at my time cards, you will see my normal hours were from about 85to 120 every two weeks but the time I spent with Mr. Kibbee from Oct. 27 to Nov. 9 was 252hours. The full time charts of all the caregivers show that between November 2 and November 9 the caregivers were paid for 213 (131 of those were mine). Since there are only 168 hours in a week it shows we were even having to have two caregivers with her a lot of the time that
week....

NS/2— ...She was confused and agitated and could not recognize people. When it was just me with her, she was calmer and would sleep most of the time. Her doctor would make release dates and then delaying them because he did not feel she was able to be at home in that condition. Finally, we got three or four days where she was doing pretty well, more alert and asking to go home, so Dr. Batty let her go home. The sixth of November was eight days before her release, that were the days that doctor Batty kept extending her stay...

The nurses show her disoriented most of the time, not knowing where she was or why she was there. The nurses and doctors say she was "a dead lift and a +2 lift" unable to sit or stand on her own. Her attorney, in her deposition, says that Mercedes friend Jane Ferril did not recognize her when she went to visit her in the hospital.

 

November 3, 2006

Mercedes’ attorney went to her hospital room to get her signature on the final draft of the Amendment #4 to her Trust. In court narrative / deposition the attorney says Sharon was not there but the caregiver and Sharon say she was. The document was presented as being nothing more than a clean copy of the corrected version of the one she had read to Mercedes and Sharon earlier at the ranch.

 

Because my mother was very ill, the attorney said it was urgent that it get signed “right then” for fear my mother could die before everything was settled.


I wish I could say I read the document before allowing my mother to sign it. I did not. Though I cannot prove it, after four years of going over every word said to me, and contained in every document, letter, and email, I will always believe that, because they knew I would be there, the document presented on that day was correct.

 

November 6, 2006 

Mercedes’ attorney went to the hospital in the morning to have Mercedes sign a “fresh copy” (not just the signature page) of Trust Amendment #4 because she had used an unacceptable witness to sign the one done three days earlier. In her deposition, when asked why she had to have the papers signed when Mercedes was sick in the hospital, she says Mercedes called and asked her to come

(AD 79 /13-17)

13 Q Why was it necessary for you to go to
14 the hospital? Couldn't you have waited until she
15 got out of the hospital?
16 A I certainly could have, but Mrs. Kibbee
17 called me and requested that I come.
18 Q Let me go back to something that

In her narrative (put the whole thing in and highlight) she contradicts that statement and says she called the hospital to ask if she might come and she could hear Mercedes saying “yes” in the background. The nurses notes from that day concerning both her physical and mental condition and her caregiver's narrative of that day (get) contradict the attorney's narrative as do the doctor’s notes from the previous day.

 

AD 77 through 79 —

77

   12    Q (By Mr. Goddard) --, we
   13    were talking earlier about your going to the
   14    hospital and having Mrs. Kibbee sign these trust
   15    documents; correct?

   16    A   Yes.
   17    Q   Was she strong and healthy? What was
   18    her situation?
   19    A  Physically she was pretty frail.
   20   Q  Well , take a look at Number 26. Exhibit
   21    Number 26. Tell us what that is.
   22    A   The Peter Kibbee charitable remainder
   23    annuity trust.
   24    Q   And turn to the signature page, if you
   25    would.

78

    1    A   Uh-huh
    2    Q   Do you see her signature there?
    3    A   Yes.
    4    Q   Can you read it?
    5    A   Yes, because I was there when she did
    6    it; but it's not a good signature.
    7    Q   I mean it looks like someone who is very
    8    frail, very something; it's not a recognizable
    9    signature. It looks like chicken scratches.
    10   A Well, you can definitely see the
    11    "Mercedes" and the "K," but it's not a good
    12    signature.
    13    That particular day Mrs. Kibbee was
    14    laying in her bed, and she had her knees propped
    15    up; and she insisted on not letting me bring the
    16    table around so she could put the document on the
    17    table and sign on the table.
    18    lnstead, she tried to sign this document
    19    on her knees, propped up; and it just didn't work
    20    very well.
    21
    22    (Whereupon the documents referred to by
    23    counsel were marked for identification as
    24    Deposition Exhibits 25 and 26, after which the

    25    proceedings continued as follows :

79

     1    Q  (By Mr. Goddard) And Take a look at
     2    Exhibit 25. What's that?
     3    A  The Aurora Lobo Charitable Lead
     4    Unitrust.
     5    Q  Take a look at the signature on that. I
     6    assume the explanation would be the same?
     7    A  Yes.
     8   Q  That she was --
     9    A  She was weak, very definitely. And that
     10  in combination with the fact that she wouldn't use
     11  the table and tried to sign on her knees did not
     12  enhance her signature.
     13  Q  Why was it necessary for you to go to
     14  the hospital? Couldn't you have waited until she
     15  got out of the hospital?
     16  A  I certainly could have, but Mrs. Kibbee
     17  called me and requested that I come.


My memory is of long quiet days with Mercedes mostly sleeping and poor Nadine, who was her security blanket, unable to take time off. I would sit with Mummy while Nadine went home to shower and change.

 

The attorneys claim they always spoke to Mercedes’ doctor before getting papers signed.

AD 0082-3/23-4

 

The written Sr.. nurses' report for November 6 says Mercedes did not even know where she was and there is no report from the doctor because they could not wake her up when he made his rounds.

 

When, in the summer of 2009, I asked to see the original document (Trust Amendment #4) signed on Nov. 3, my attorney, Kim Cannon, said “Under the circumstances they certainly will have kept the original signed document” and then later, when he found out they had not, his story changed to it was understandable that she tossed a useless document.

 

This has caused me to believe there was a plan to get the correct document signed in front of me on November 3, in case I asked to read it, and slip back later, with an excuse that would not send up any flair, and get a different document signed on the 6th. I am not one to read conspiracies into things but over time, and with more information and a better understanding of these people, I have come to believe that there was a conspiracy here between the Bank and all of the attorneys in Sheridan, including my own Kim Cannon. I vaguely remember a call to say something about a problem with a signature not being legal. My agenda shows that on Nov. 6 I had a manicure appointment at 11 and I would have told the attorney who would then know that I would not be at the hospital at that time and Nadine would not know the number of the manicures.

 

My mother would often ask the attorney “You promise me the children are alright?” In fact, I recall her asking, on November 3, and her attorney would always reassure her that they were just dandy. Mummy was so sick, still she asks that sweet loving question— answered with a lie. 

 

One additional item was the Health and Education Trust. Mercedes and Sharon were told that the Health and Education Trust would serve as an insurance policy for Sharon (who has a preexisting condition that makes it impossible to get insurance) to pay her medical bills (0055/5-9). The bank now says that, if Sharon wants to present a medical bill, she must provide her tax return and they will decide, based on her income, if they will pay the bill or not. That Amendment 4 was just full of unexpected surprises. Yet another instance where Mercedes was mislead.  
 

November 15, 2006

Mercedes returned home to the Ranch on November 14, but was not totally recovered. On November 15,

AN pg. 37 —

...Earlier, I had told Mrs. Kibbee and Sharon that I could sign the Articles Of Incorporation for the Chandler H. Kibbee and Mercedes K. Kibbee foundation for Children as the incorporator, but we all agreed that it would be better if she did it since we knew there was always the issue of Peter and Aurora out there. I recall that I was to meet with Mrs. Kibbee on a Saturday and get her signature. I called and she was in town with Harold. I said 1 would come out and visit a friend on the way and call from their house to see if she was home before coming over. I visited the Walters. I called from the Walters" home and Sharon said that Mrs. Kibbee was home hut now asleep. She and Harold had taken a long drive and hit Dairy Queen and she fell asleep as soon as she got home. Sharon asked that I just sign them and get them tiled. I did sign as incorporator....

 

a call came to say both attorneys and the banker wanted to meet with her. She told Sharon “not today” but they insisted saying that the estate attorney was in Sheridan just for the day and needed to see her to return to Laramie. They all went out to the Ranch.

 

In her narrative, the attorney says that Sharon was in this meeting; but the estate attorney, in a Kibbee Board meeting on 12/11/2010 confirms her claim that she was not. She says that when they arrived they told her that they needed to discuss something about her trust so she left the room with the understanding that they would call her back as soon as they wanted to discuss the Foundation. My trust was completed in September 2006 and I had begun receiving payments in Oct 20, but it never occurred to me that they were not telling the truth. I literally sat outside my mother’s room waiting to be called in. Once more, they came out saying they already discussed the Foundation with Mercedes and simply forgot to call me. They now claim that, behind those closed doors, Mercedes said something not one person ever heard her say, not before or after, not ever, that was that she wanted to give everything (including the Ranch) to the Sheridan YMCA and they could sell the ranch and give the money to the Y.  One more conversation no one else heard was the one Jay McGinnis claims he had with her where she told him it was “OK” if the YMCA did not want the ranch. Jay saw her only twice (perhaps a third time Sharon cannot remember if she invited him to Mercedes’ birthday party) and at no time was he ever alone with her. I always stayed close in case she forgot who he was. The attorney’s recounting of the conversation between Jay and Mercedes on March 9, 2007 which turned out to be the last day that either one of them ever saw her, tells a different story: 

(LN pg.41).

...She immediately knew where to sign and asked why there was a place for Sharon's signature. I told her it was because she had given Sharon a POA and I thought it was good to cover the bases. She was fine with that....

...Throughout the lunch Mrs. Kibbee asked questions about what the YMCA would do with the ranch. She was particularly interested in what type of program they would do. Jay told her about a group in Colorado that the YMCA has connected with that teaches people how to run summer camps. The Colorado people will be here in April. Mrs. Kibbee said it would be fine to bring them to the ranch and show them around. Jay suggested that the kids could do projects on the creek, bird watching, and something with the lamas. Mrs. Kibbee suggested that the kids make bird feeders and hang them in the trees around the ranch....

This same attorney was part of that Nov. 15 meeting, yet the video done on Feb. 27, 2007 gives us a record of her discussing what she understood were Mercedes wishes and the entire discussion is about the ranch being given to very poor children, “children who have nothing,” “in perpetuity”.  No talk of selling it or giving it to the YMCA.  Recently, three different attorneys – after going over every document, deposition, letter, narrative, statement, email, video and audio tape – have said they did not believe that combination of bankers and attorneys did what Mercedes had told them to do .

 

IT SAYS IT ALL…When, in 2010, Sharon  asked the foundation attorney to change the order of her parents’ names on the documents to comply with her mother’s wishes as he had been instructed before her mother’s death, it became a multi email squabble. Finally she told him to look at the plaque at the front gates, the wording of which was chosen by her mother. His response, revealing his approach to client service, was to say the plaque was wrong.  This simple quote in this one email from the Bank chosen attorney sums up the entire mess—she had it all wrong so they simply ignored her.

 

After counseling Mercedes on the importance of signing her own her own Incorporator for the Kibbee Foundation, Mercedes’ attorney signed the Articles of Incorporation for the Kibbee Foundation In her narrative of November 17, 2006 she says

AN/37 …Earlier, I had told Mrs. Kibbee and Sharon that I could sign the Articles of Incorporation for the Chandler H. Kibbee and Mercedes K. Kibbee foundation for Children as the incorporator, but we all agreed that it would be better if she did it since we knew there was always the issue of Peter and Aurora out there. I recall that I was to meet with Mrs. Kibbee on a Saturday and get her signature. I called and she was in town with Harold. I said I would come out and visit a friend on the way and call from their house to see if she was home before coming over. I visited the Walters. I called from the Walters " home and Sharon said that Mrs. Kibbee was home but now asleep. She and Harold had taken a long drive and hit Dairy Queen and she fell asleep as soon as she got home. Sharon asked that I just sign them and get them typed. I did sign as incorporator.

In reality, by Nov. 17, she had already signed as incorporator. She signed on Nov. 15, a day when she, the banker and estate attorney were in Mercedes room for over an hour. Why did she not present those papers for her client’s signature during that meeting?


I was in the house sitting outside my mother’s room, waiting for them to finish talking about my trust and call me in to discuss the foundation. Mummy would have asked that they call me back and she and I would have gone over that document. Right there, in the first paragraph “The corporation is organized and operated exclusively to carry out the purposes of the Sheridan County Young Men’s Christian Association related to activities and programs for children and is supervised and controlled by the Sheridan County Young Men’s Christian Association….” Everything she did not want—she would not only not have signed she would have terminated all contact with everyone in that room. Later, in his deposition, the estate attorney said that it had been signed by Mercedes’s attorney because Mercedes had been indisposed the day that document was signed.

ELD 0153 / 4-7—

   4    when we formed the foundation initially, the Articles of
   5    Incorporation were signed by (her lawyer) because for some
   6    some reason Mrs. Kibbee was indisposed that day, but (her lawyer)
   7    had discussed with Mrs. Kibbee those Articles of
   8   Incorporation for the foundation.

Then in a December 2011 meeting of the Kibbee Board, he changed his story to say that on November 15 “...the first article of incorporation that were signed, they were actually signed by her attorney (find ???Leonarddebtoldmkktosign) at Mrs. Kibbee’s direction after being read to Mrs. Kibbee by Mercedes’ attorney..."—even the attorney did not make that claim. At that time, neither Sharon nor her mother knew about the wording in the Amendment #4 or anything about any articles of incorporation.

 

On the 15, after they all left Mummy’s room, she asked me who that man was (the estate attorney). I was not surprised. She had only seen him once four months earlier, and she had just come home from a long and difficult hospital stay which was why she had told them she was not up for a meeting that day.  I can only imagine that whatever conversation they did have went right past my mother.

 

Until late December 2006, when Sharon changed her mother’s doctor, Mercedes was being given large doses of narcotics. Sharon was concerned and showed her daily medication charts to a nurse who worked at the hospital. The nurse expressed confusion as to why Mercedes would be given those particular drugs in the quantities that were prescribed. She told Sharon those drugs, in the dosage Mercedes was being given, were normally given only to end term cancer patients. When she finally changed to Dr. Neithammer, he commented, “Dr. Batty has never seen a drug he does not like” and he repeated exactly that when he was deposed under oath. It took a couple of weeks for Mercedes to go through a very rough drug addiction withdrawal. Before Dr. Neithammer took over, even on the best day, anyone wanting to have an intelligent conversation with Mercedes, had to work around her medication schedule, speaking to her at the very beginning or the very end of the cycle. Sometimes even that was not possible and it was necessary to wait a few days. This is why the letter written on Dec.12, that is discussed later in this timeline, had to be done so quickly.

 

Note: On the audio disk it is commented that they had what?shortly after she had been given her medication. This was the optimal time for a discussion with her because the medication had not started to take its full effect and the previous doses had worn off. In addition, if Mercedes' signatures on documents presented when Sharon was not present are compared to those done when she was, present the difference in the quality of Mercedes handwriting is very noticeable. This is because Mercedes was never presented with a discussion or a document to sign unless she was alert.  Sharon would not address serious matters with her mother unless she could follow the conversation and participate in it.

 

November 24, 2006

After receiving a thank you letter from Jay McGinnis (), Sharon called the attorney to tell her that Jay must be misinformed and that she should “set him straight” to the fact that the YMCA was not being given the Ranch and estate they were just receiving money to help with the children’s projects as he had already been told. The attorney mentioned that the language in Amendment #4, with respect to the composition of the foundation’s board of directors, might have caused Jay to misunderstand. Sharon's reaction was “what wording? She sent someone into town to the attorney’s office to get a copy of the Amendment #4 that had been signed on November 6. Reading that document was one of the most upsetting moments in my entire life and Mercedes was in no condition to go over it with me. A few weeks later, though again in the hospital, Nadine called Sharon in the late morning to say her mother was awake, alert and talkative. I felt she was well enough to follow legal wording and reads it to her.

 

December 11, 2006

In the afternoon of December 11, after a somewhat rocky morning, Nadine called Sharon to say Mrs. Kibbee was doing pretty well. My mother was doing well enough for me to try reading Amendment #4 to her. Because of the state of her health I read very slowly so she was able to follow the language but I was pleased to see that, read this way, she was clear without my having to re-read sentences and we needed very little discussion about “what do we think that means”—she needed no help to understand this document labeled everything as being for the benefit of the YMCA—her Foundation, rather than under the control of her handpicked board under the control of the Y Board’s choices—her money and her Ranch had effectively been given away to strangers in the stroke of a pen. Mercedes was furious and instructed me to get rid of everyone and “have that document destroyed”. (4, page 4)


Not understanding how this happened was frightening to both of us. Mummy was upset that I had not controlled things better and I did feel that somehow I should have seen this coming. Most important to my mother was to immediately take steps to remove any power the attorneys and Bank might have before they made that document a reality. First she asked that I finally take her Power of Attorney so that I would have the authority to control the structure of the Foundation. Unfortunately neither of us understood what a Trustee actually was, we both had trustee confused with executor. There was no time to have an attorney draw up documents. I got a form off the internet (20). Tom Toner, the bank’s attorney, later scoffed at it but, well constructed or no, it and a directive signed were completed by the next day. We both believed that would settle the problem. In the directive, she had made it clear that she wanted me to have total control of the development of the Foundation, both at that time and after her death if necessary until it was completed and under the control of her handpicked Board with her family as directors. I had to work around her medication schedule, she needed to be fully alert and I was praying her health would hold up. She asked me to type a directive to the Bank and the attorneys also not very eloquent (and it has a mistake where I typed “of people who are also on the Y Board” instead of “controlled by the Y Board”) but we were terrified that they had just taken her estate and it might become permanent and so everything was done on the fly. It was the first time she was actually willing to admit that death was a real and present possibility and there was an urgent need to get her signature on something that she actually had read and understood. Both documents have multiple witnesses, are notarized and filed in the Sheridan Courthouse. In the years since, the estate lawyer and the bank have scoffed at this directive and POW   

ELD 0158/3-15—

   3    Q. She also goes on and says, "I come to believe
   4    that the choice of (the lawyer) as a board member was
   5    not a wise one. I or my daughter, Sharon De Lobo, will
   6    choose a replacement"'
   7    A . (the lawyer) was never a board member, never
   8    became one.

   9    Q. Was there any reason, for purposes of her estate
   10  plan, that Sharon De Lobo needed to be Mercedes Kibbee's
   11   power of attorney as of December 12th. 2006?
   12   A. No. And if you think about it, it had no effect
   13   because everything was in the trust and a power of
   14   attorney holder can't do anything with the stuff in the
   15   trust, so it was an empty gesture.

but, if they were so bad and their job was to advise and protect Mercedes (what they were getting paid for), they could see what her intent was and they were obligated to tell her what she needed to do in order to have her expressed intentions validated. They did not do that. No one from her bank ever went to ask why she did not like Amendment #4 which they had co-signed. With the exception of a bank VP taking Aurora Lobo to my mother’s hospital room, she never again saw the Bank employee after this date. It would seem to me that speaks volumes about what was and was not important to the Bank.

 

In the lawyer's deposition?

AD #62 through #65

62
   1    A It looks like a typed document signed by
   2   Mrs. Kibbee and then a name. I don't know that
   3   handwriting underneath it. It's notarized March
   4   16th, 2009. Oh, no. It's notarized 12-12-06.

    5    Q What is that document? How did you
    6    happen to receive that?
    7    A I think Sharon must have mailed this to
   8    me or dropped it by my office.

    9    Q Well, if I read this right, they are
   10   upset with you at that point in time; is that a
   11    fair assessment?
   12  A That's what this document indicates.
   13   Q Tell me about the history of that.
   14  A Well, I think what this issue is getting
   15  at is that the discussions had been about -- by
   16  this time the trusts had all been signed, and the
   17  discussion was how to do the foundation.
   18  The donor advice fund had been set up at
   19  the Y, the trusts were signed; now the question
   20  was, How should the foundation be structured?
   21   Should it be a supporting organization for the
   22  YMCA or should it be some other sort of foundation
   23  --organization.

    24   The main issue of contention, to my
    25   recollection, for Sharon, was that she was afraid

 

63

    1     that if the Y was able to appoint all of the board
    2    members, the Y would have the ability to, at the
    3    drop of a hat, vote to sell the ranch instead of
    4    use it and keep it in the community and use it for
    5    children 's programs and things. They would just
    6    have the ability to sell it and then take the
    7    money from that.
    8    And that was a concept she was not
    9    comfortable with. Apparently from reading this,
    10  that's something that she talked a great deal with
    11   her mother about. But that was the issue: Should
    12  the organization be one where the Y had the
    13  ability to appoint the majority of the board
    14  members or not, not the underlying concept of the
    15  foundation and the ranch going to the foundation .
    16   Q Had you been fired at this point in
    17   time?
    18  A No.
    19  Were you fired?
    20 A Never.
    21   Q It was just a disagreement? Do you
    22  think that was Mrs. Kibbee, or do you think it was
   23   Sharon?
   24  A I wasn't present for any of those
   25  conversations. Mrs. Kibbee never raised this

 

64

1   issue with me.
2   Q   Well, what's your opinion?
3   A  I don't have an opinion. I wasn't
4   present there to express one.

5   Q  Well, did you ever discuss this letter
6   or the contents of the letter with Mrs. Kibbee?
7   A I did talk with Mrs. Kibbee after --
8   Let's see. You know, I don't have any notes that

9   indicates I talked with Mrs. Kibbee specifically
10  about this issue. I do have a note on December
11  18th that I visited with Sharon about this issue
.
12  Mrs . Kibbee -- early on, Mrs. Kibbee's
13  issue was, How do we protect against-- you know,
14 the foundation required that there be a family
15 member on the board if a family member chose to be
16 on the board.
17 And her concern was, how do we protect
18 against, essentially, a rogue family member that
19 doesn't have the same vision that I have. And so
20 the discussion typically centered around, Well,
21 they are only one vote on the board.
22 But that's what led to this issue that
23 Sharon was worried that the board could
24 immediately then vote to sell the ranch .
25 Q Well , the document says that you

 

65

1 prepared documents that were changed in a way that
2 didn't express her wishes; unbeknownst to her, you
3 did that.
4 A I would disagree with that.
5 Q And that she wanted Sharon or herself to
6 be able to choose, not the way you had it set up.
7 A If that's what that document says, I
8 disagree with that. I should -- I want to just
9 clarify for the record, that I didn't prepare any
10 of the estate or foundation documents.


the attorney is asked about this letter and she admits the problem with the supporting organization idea and the YMCA having control. She talks (#64???) about Mercedes mentioning a rogue family member making trouble but, according to Sharon, does not complete my Mercedes’ sentence “a rogue family member or Board member who does not want to do the same thing I want to do.”
 
The attorney is asked,

AD #50 / 13—

13    Q   So it went from staying in the family to
14    being delivered out, away from the family?

“So it went from staying in the family to being delivered out, away from the family?” she answers “Based on how she had been treated by her family that was her decision.” But Sharon had not treated her badly. Estrangement or no, when she was in need Sharon was right there to help and make her life as happy and pampered as she was able. She had originally wanted to give everything to Sharon but when Sharon said she would rather a create? foundation in her mother and father’s names, based on Boys Harbor, she chose that. Many who were around Mercedes over that period feel that she chose the Foundation for a number of reasons, and one was as a gift to Sharon for being unselfish—Sharon says she feels it was her gift to mother and father and perhaps both answers are correct. Whatever their past differences had been, the Foundation was a common bond far more important to both of them than old wounds. Mercedes repeatedly told everyone that her decisions were not so much based on a wish to punish anyone for their treatment of her (video tape 2/27/07), but that their actions had forced her to rethink her will, she had decided not to give the ranch to anyone but instead keep it as a place of hope for needy children “in perpetuity” in their names—“that is what they should have”. She had great hope that it would not only make a great difference in the lives of Sheridan’s most needy children but in the lives of her own children.  It was the attorney, not Mercedes, who constantly introduced Peter and Aurora into the conversation, speak critically, pointing out things like Aurora being her same age and comparing her achievements to Aurora. When Mercedes would ask in reference to Peter and Aurora “What do they want?” the attorney would laugh and say “They want you dead”.

 

The attorney mentions Mercedes,

AD#77/3

1   And she wanted to make certain that I
2   pointed out to her that the charity that was going
3   to be the benefitted was the YMCA.

asking her to show her where it said the charity that was going to be benefited was the YMCA. Benefited is the key word here not Given, not Gifted. 50% of the income, after expenses, was a very nice benefit. Sharon was there during that conversation; they had been talking about the independence of the Foundation and who they were considering for the Board. What Mercedes kept asking to see was where the YMCA’s participation in all of this was made clear. She would frequently ask if it said in the documents what kind of programs they would run and would ask to have Jay submit a list of his ideas for her approval. Little did she know that not only did he not have to ask her approval be he would have the right to disapprove of every one of her plans, and he would do just that. She was able to finally ask him in person on March 9, 2007.

AN pg. 41—

Throughout the lunch Mrs. Kibbee asked questions about what the YMCA would do with the ranch. She was particularly interested in what type of program they would do. Jay told her about a group in Colorado that the YMCA has connected with that teaches people how to run summer camps. The Colorado people will be here in April. Mrs. Kibbee said it would be fine to bring them to the ranch and show them around. Jay suggested that the kids could do projects on the creek, bird watching, and something with the lamas. Mrs. Kibbee suggested that the kids make bird feeders and hang them in the trees around the ranch.

Mercedes' movement was so restricted making it necessary for Sharon to handle almost all of the planning. This was the one place she could be involved and she wanted to be involved, to approve or disapprove of their plans for programming. In March, 2007 the Y too was under the understanding that she, followed by her Board, had to approve the programming they wanted to run. This is evidenced by the proposal they submitted for the 2007 summer session in response to her meeting with Jay on March 9.

 

She wanted her questions answered and her wishes acknowledged and honored. It was the lack of answers and the Amendment #4 being changed and slipped in on her that had Sharon and Mercedes wondering if perhaps a supporting organization was not a good idea if the YMCA’s half of the projects could not be spelled out very precisely in the documents. Unfortunately, the attorney continued to misrepresent the role of the YMCA with respect to their position as the Foundation’s supported organization.

 

December 12 -19, 2006

Mercedes originally wanted to get rid of everyone but, after some advice from the Sheridan attorney Dick Davis, Sharon talked her into not to dismissing anyone other than the banker because that would mean starting again from scratch with a new attorney and for the same reason Sharon did not used her power of attorney to get rid of the the Bank as Mercedes had asked her to do—The sea was already choppy and I needed to put all my efforts into getting things done correctly, not firing people and starting again. We believed that the solution was simply to hire another attorney to go over all the work that had been done and make the necessary changes.

I remember very well the call I made to the attorney on the 11th of December?. It was a very angry call reflecting our frustration. When I chastised her for making changes without speaking to my mother, she excused her actions by saying that the estate lawyer had made the changes to save the estate money. I reminded her that it was my mother’s estate and my mother paid their fees, and when she gave instructions she expected them to be followed. Once again the attorney was told, as she had been many times before, that my mother did not care what the classification of the foundation was called, as long as it complied with her criteria (what she called her “absolutes”). She certainly wanted to save as much money as was possible, but not at the expense of giving up her wishes for the structure of her foundation and certainly not by simply giving everything, including the place where she and my father would be buried, away to strangers. I said we were engaging another attorney and we expected the changes that attorney would outline to be executed. In response to my mother’s directive, the attorney asked if she could come to the ranch to talk and she did.

AN pg. 39 —

I met with Sharon at the ranch to discuss the type of foundation that would meet Mrs. Kibbee's directives. The issues that Mrs. Kibbee said she wanted addressed were: assist the YMCA, provide an incentive for Aurora to work for others, keep the reigns on a rogue family member, provide flexibility that a family member could live at the ranch if they wanted to (this goes to the issue of Aurora getting involved), and maximizing the money to the charity instead of spending too much on administrative costs. Mrs. Kibbee was definitely on board with the foundation being a supporting foundation with YMCA as the primary supported charity.
Sharon was worried about the YMCA board being able to force a sale of the ranch. She finally hired Dick Davis to answer her questions about this issue. Dick was a good choice because of his experience in this regard.

At least she wanted to talk to my mother about that directive which is more than her banker/trustee, and the estate-planning lawyer they had introduced to my mother did. She immediately told my mother that the directive had made her feel as though she had been kicked in the stomach. My mother ignored that comment.

 

December 13, 2006


In order for the Bank to retain all management of all the trusts, they had to either have the family inherit, as per the 1996 will, or the Foundation be a supporting organization for their friends at the YMCA with a Board controlled by the YMCA and comprised of bank retired and present employees, Bank family foundation employees and Y involved people (the Y Board president is a bank VP and has been put on the Kibbee Board by the Y). As a result, just four days after an emergency so grave as to necessitate six attempts with a defibrillator to revive her, Mercedes received a visit from two bankers accompanied by Aurora. They were there, in an effort to stop the plans for a foundation coming to fruition by providing Aurora with an opportunity to make a tearful plea to her grandmother to leave the Ranch in trust to her and giving Mercedes a letter from Peter. An affirmative response could get everything back under the control of the Bank.

Merecedes in bed

 

 

   ...Mercedes received a visit from two bankers...
   ...This was done in defiance of Mercedes' instructions...
   ...this visit sent her condition into a deep dive..
   ...the doctor sent her home in hopes that the children at the Christmas
    Party would spark some recuperation...

With caregivers Morning, December 17.
home from hospital, barely conscious.

AN/???...(the estate lawyer) said she could not talk to her (Mercedes) because she was "comatose".

This visit was done in direct defiance of Mercedes’ instructions concerning visits from Aurora to the banker on August 15, 2006 in a conversation witnessed by her principle caregiver, Nadine, (4 pg. 4???) and mentioned in the attorney’s narrative.

AN pg 24 —

Aurora and Peter. (the banker) came out later and talked to Mrs. Kibbee himself and Mrs. Kibbee confirmed that same message.

They had chosen a day when Sharon was in Montana shopping for the children’s Christmas party—a fact known to all—and could not get to the hospital to defend her mother.  Moreover, this was done without consulting with the physician to see if Mercedes was strong enough for a visit that would undoubtedly be emotional, against the recommendation of the attorney.

AN pg 38—

One night early in December, (the banker) asked me if it was okay to bring Aurora to the hospital. I told him he should talk to Sharon. I had been visiting Mrs. Kibbee every day and I knew that she had been very agitated and not sleeping well. I knew that Sharon would have the latest information from the doctor. I left my office and shut off my cell phone because I was attending my sons' orchestra concerts that night.

They had to know that such a scene could put Mercedes’ life in jeopardy—and it did. She had been improving nicely but this visit sent her condition into a deep dive decline. Also, this visit was one they intended to repeat. After Mercedes asked Nadine to show them out, the banker announced, “We’ll come back on Thursday”. They did, but by that time her doctor, who was furious, put a sign on her door saying no visitors with the exception of Sharon. When after three days she didn't improve, the doctor sent her home in hopes that the children at the Christmas Party would spark some recuperation. Nadine called Sharon in Billings immediately after the visit. The doctor now claims he did not put that sign up but Sharon was in Billings and the hospital says they would not have done it without an order from the family or doctor.


The banker says that before entering the room, he asked if he and Aurora might come in and Mercedes said yes. Nadine, who was standing right next to her, says he did not ask.

 

Sharon went to the Bank to complain, and stated (with her mother’s Power of Attorney) that the banker was not to be involved. Not only was he not dismissed but, behind Sharon's back, remained involved.

ELD0075/7

7   And I think, if I recall correctly, that he wasn't
8   removed, but that Linda Johnson came in as an additional
9   person, but I'm not -- I'm not sure of that.

It would also appear he was telling people I was arguing with him about money

ELD 0076—

2   A. Well, the -- (the banker), as trustee, was
3   approving payments for certain things in the household
4   and Sharon was disagreeing with the amount of payments
5   or what was being paid for. That's what I think it was,
6   but I'm not sure.

I never once spoke to anyone about money. At that time, I never saw the household bills which were collected by Laura. Mary Sene took care of the caregivers billing schedules, and I was paying for all household food, cleaning etc. until my mother found out and objected. Her attorney mentions that somewhere in her narrative. (find) It was clear the Bank did not feel they had loose cannon in that man, but approved of his actions. He was the bank’s messenger boy and, in terms of my mother’s safety, he was a hatchet man—she almost died.


At this same time, once again Peter called his friend Bob Ferril. He asked Bob to convince my mother to not continue with the Foundation. Bob covered all bases by telling Wendtland about the call, but maintained his friendship with Peter.

I now realize that, having her power of attorney, I should have removed all accounts and power from the Bank and I should have asked for them to return the signed copy of Amendment #4. I was excessively concerned with not creating yet more waves. Though I knew the Bank was a problem, I felt using my power in a measured way, by only insisting they remove the one banker from all Kibbee affairs, and leaving everything else “as is” was the reasonable choice.  Nevertheless, did understand there was a need for a new attorney to protect Mercedes’s interests, she said to go ahead and do whatever I needed to do to put things right.  

 

December 18, 2006

An article appeared in the Sheridan Press, which said Mercedes had given the ranch and ten million dollars to the YMCA. Listed on Sheridan media.com Sharon called her mother’s attorney to ask what this was all about. The attorney’s answer was “ The Sheridan Press never gets anything right.” This article had appeared after an article about a gift of $750,000 she had given to the YMCA endowment fund. Mercedes had complained to Sharon about the need for such a large gift but attorney had told them the estate lawyer had said the IRS insisted that a sizable gift be given to charity to demonstrate intent when creating a Foundation. In his deposition however, he makes no such claim he just said they needed “some beneficiary".

ELD 0086/15 —

   15    A.   Yes. We had to have some beneficiary.

In his letter of September 14, 2006, he says Mercedes wanted to begin giving funds to the YMCA as soon as possible but Mercedes was asking her daughter why she had to do this and why such large amount. That is why it is underlined, in his letter, for discussion.


The attorney came to the house in answer to Mummy’s directive. She told the attorney she was tired and, as she had given me the power to deal with the Foundation completion, “She is in charge now”. Though weary and passing the buck to me to do most of the talking, the meeting was in her bedroom and, spurred by her anger at the lawyers and the Bank, she made her intentions clear. With my encouragement, my mother liked the idea of using the Y to save money “use the Y’s resources,”

LD #0128 line 21

       21   that. I want to use the Y's resources.

but she was spooked by Amendment #4 having been slipped past her on November 6. She asked me what I thought and I answered that if, as they had explained, our expenditures would consume more than half of our budget and working with the Y would reduced that number, it seemed like a fair trade. I mentioned that we had been told we could do targeted fundraising for the Kibbee Kids (which turned out to be untrue). I reminded her that many of the questions that we had been asking had never really been answered so said I thought we should revisit the whole Supporting Organization “thing”. She told me to make sure that what ever was done it complied with “absolutes” so I went over them again with the attorney and my mother listened.

 

1.) The YMCA have absolutely no power over decisions concerning, the finances, the ranch management, or the programming of the Kibbee Foundation
2) Monies donated to the Foundation that were targeted to specific projects/ purchases/or additions to or for the ranch or Kibbee Kids did not have to be shared with the YMCA

3) Family members must be allowed to stay on the ranch when “provably” conducting Foundation business
4) A family member, unless unavailable, must always be Executive Director of the Foundation
5) At least one family member on the Board of Directors at all times, unless unavailable
6) The ranch could be sold only if the income of the MKK Trust, and the additional family Trusts, could not support its maintenance
7) The ranch be maintained in the high-quality condition as it had been in Mr. & Mrs. Kibbee’s lives
8) Scott Stewart and Darryl Kurtz be allowed to continue in their positions maintaining the ranches high quality, unless there was proof of bad behavior on their part.
9) Any adjustments to the ranch to facilitate the foundation would not change the view from inside the white fence and would not change anything within the white fence with the exception of the relocation of the pool
10) The Foundation protect her pets in their (her) home for the remainder of their lives and bury them with headstones, behind the cemetery, along with all of the other family pets.

 

My mother spoke up to ask that estate lawyer reinvestigate the situation of Joshua living on the ranch as part of his Executive Director salary. She said she was certainly interested in saving the Foundation money and therefore was not opposed to the Type III supporting organization but would not approve any classification that did not include her (above mentioned) “absolutes.” I told the attorney that if a Type III supporting organization did the not conform to these requirements my mother wanted them to find a classification that would. She was insistent the Foundation classification fitted her specifics not that she adjusts her criteria to conform to it. Both my mother and I agreed were it revealed a Type III supporting organization would not do that, the Kibbee Foundation, whatever it's classification, could still run mutually productive programs with the YMCA and generously support the Y in return for that help. In addition, I told the attorney that my mother had instructed me to find another attorney to clean up the mess that she, the estate lawyer, and the Bank had made and that I had chosen Dick Davis as the attorney whose instructions they should follow.

 

The estate lawyer, in his deposition, claims the attorney had paid a great deal of attention to my Mercedes’ concerns

LD 0155-56/14-12—

14   A. Yes. But subsequently (the lawyer) spent some time
15   talking with her about this because you'll notice the
16   amendment was not done until February, if you've got a
17   copy of the amendment
18   Q. Don't know that t do.
19   A. And that amendment was signed by both (the lawyer) and
20   Mercedes,. changing it to a type 3
21    Q. Okay.
22   A. So what we did in the Interim, from when this
23   occurred, 2/26/2006, was have a number of discussions

24   with Mercedes, not we, but (the lawyer), and I believe Jay did
25   too.

but the attorney never saw Mercedes again until Feb. 27, 2007 (see below). No attention was paid to her at all!

 

December 19, 2006

Sharon went to see Dick Davis, an attorney who had been recommended by a friend. At that first meeting, she explained all the background that caused her and her mother concerns involving the attorney, the estate lawyer and the Bank. She provided him with all the paper work, including the directive her mother had written a few days earlier. The directive made it clear exactly what it was Mercedes wanted, which was to have a Foundation with an autonomous board and in compliance with her clearly stated criteria (her “absolutes”). Sharon told Davis that her mother said if a supporting organization would not allow for that, it a different classification, that would, should be found. She was most explicit that her mother did not care what the classification was called; she simply wanted a Foundation structured according to her directions. Sharon instructed him to go over all the documents and make sure the structure of the Foundation did exactly that. She showed him, in the directive, where Mercedes had said she was to give instructions concerning the forming of the Foundation and had given Sharon the power of attorney to accomplish that. She gave him a copy of the Power of Attorney.


At that meeting, Davis did not mention any ties to the Bank and that he thought might constitute a conflict of interest.  He never told Sharon that her mother needed to be told that a POW would not provide Sharon with the legal authority to accomplish what Mercedes was asking for her to do in the directive. In follow up conversations, he said he was working with the lawyers and bank to correct the errors in Amendment #4. After her mother died, Sharon asked Davis if, because Amendment #4 had still not been changed and the gifts Mercedes wanted to give to Ranch employees had not been put in the will (see below March 10), she should contest the will. He said there was no reason for her to do that as they were all working to make the appropriate changes to the Foundation documents and the gifts. He said the estate lawyer had told him they had plenty of time to get the Foundation documents correct as they did not have to file with the IRS until 12/31/08). Later, when questioned about things he did not do, he is evasive and, at times, ignores Sharon’s question.

 

All the people employed by Mercedes and Sharon to protect Mercedes and make sure she got what she wanted, had copies of Mercedes’ 12/12/06 directive but not one of them said anything to either of the women about any legal steps that needed to be taken in order to ensure the orders in that directive would be followed. Independent attorneys, who have thoroughly reviewed this case, say it was a simple matter of making Sharon her co-trustee—that would have created the legal atmosphere to insure her instructions were followed a POW does not. The estate lawyer, in his deposition, mentioned that the POW was toothless “an empty gesture.”

ELD 0158/9-15—

9    Q. Was there any reason, for purposes of her estate
10  plan. that Sharon De Lobo needed to be Mercedes Kibbee's
11   power of attorney as of December 12th. 2006?
12   A. No. And if you think about it. it had no effect
13   because everything was in the trust and a power of
14   attorney holder can't do anything with the stuff in the
15   trust. so it was an empty gesture.

He was her lawyer, why didn’t he tell her that instead of keeping that information to himself?  Was it because his loyalties were not with her but with the Bank? Although Davis had a copy of the December 12 directive, once Peter Kibbee began his litigation in February 2007, he never seemed to feel it was his responsibility to make sure Mercedes knew what the ramifications the Bank being her trustee should she become incapacitated or die before the suit was settled or what that would mean to the Foundation and the children. Mercedes was still alive, everything could have been straightened out any time between December 19 and April 15 when she died. In December of 2007, when answering Sharon’s above mentioned questions, he acknowledged he missed the problem with her trust (referencing the language that did not allow her to change the institution) but neglected to mention all the other things he missed.


No one provided Mercedes or her daughter with the expertise that they were being paid for or information they had an obligation to give. Mercedes had no idea that, were she to die with all of the Peter Kibbee litigation still unsettled, the Bank would be in charge of everything and the children would not be allowed on the property, perhaps for years. Had they explained all of this and told Mummy where she stood and what her options were, Mummy would have made that correction and, though I might have had to spend the next four years in legal battles with Peter, I would have also spent that time following Mummy’s wishes to bettering the lives of the most needy children in Sheridan. Instead I spend all my time and money trying to pry her gift to them out of the grasping hands of greedy, dishonest, unethical people

 

After the 19 of December Mercedes believed, as did Sharon, that Davis would get everything straightened out and she said she did not care to see the attorney again, or sign any more documents that came from her unless it was absolutely necessary. Other than three short visits, she did not. The attorney came once to tell her about Peter Kibbee’s litigation; another time she came with what she said were the first changes Mercedes had requested be made to Amendment #4, but as will become evident—they were not changes to that amendment. If they had been, again, this tragic situation would never have happened. She came one last time to finish some correspondence she had begun with Aurora concerning her finances and, at the same time to bring Jay McGinnis for a meeting, Mercedes had been asking for since December, to provide a proposal for the 2007 summer projects the Y wanted to run on the C Lazy M so that Sharon could make whatever arrangements were necessary to facilitate that.

 

February 9. 2007

Peter Kibbee sued.

 

February 11, 2007

This was the first of the attorney’s last three visits. Davis was not engaged to deal with the Peter Kibbee litigation so Mercedes needed to see her to learn the details of this suit. Not once did the attorney find the need to mention the dangers presented to the future of the children’s programs going forward as planned should the Bank remain trustee. As the attorney was leaving, she again mentioned Jay’s offer of a tour of the YMCA, Mercedes again asked, “Are you sure the children are safe?” The attorney again answered “absolutely” and again,  Mercedes told Nadine and Sharon she had no interest in seeing the YMCA.

 

February 27, 2007

Sharon had gone into town when she received a call in the car from Nadine to say, without warning, the attorney had appeared.

 

When I got to the Ranch the attorney’s car was in the drive but Mummy was alone in her room and said “you are a good girl” to me. When I asked why, she said the attorney had come with the papers to straighten out the mistakes in the Foundation. When I went back down to the driveway the attorney was there taking things out of her car. I asked to see what she had brought and she handed me a document.  I asked why the document did not have a number like other amendments and explained that this was just an adjustment in order to comply with my mother’s instructions to get rid of the power Amendment #4 gave the YMCA. She did not explain that it was not an amendment to Amendment #4 or the will, that it was just an amendment to the Articles of Incorporation, something we did not know existed. She did not explain that this change, unlike an amendment to the will, could be later reversed by a Board that did not want to use the money and Ranch the way Mummy wanted them used. I asked why we still did not have the answers to the list of questions given to her on Dec. 18 and she said she needed to come back on Monday to have Mummy re-sign some documents and intended to bring them at that time. She again acknowledged that, on my mother’s orders,  I was in control and said that what she had brought for my mother’s signature was just “the first step” but, “at least it gets rid of the Y’s control” . 

 

Though I no longer remember why, I went back to Mummy’s room a couple of minutes before the attorney. Once she understood that the attorney had not brought the documents to fix everything, she became nervous and said she did not want to sign. I said the attorney and (the estate lawyer) appeared to be behaving themselves and I thought she should sign but, for safety sake, I would insist that a video tape be made of the entire meeting. That way we would have the attorney on record as thoroughly understanding of her intentions. In that video, the attorney can be seen to present the document with little explanation and without reading it. It also shows that Mummy was still reticent to sign until I gave her the thumbs up.

 

Though badly damaged in shipping from Wyoming to NY, there were some salvageable segments and, to avoid the possibility of being accused of tampering with the tape, we have saved only the few short segments where the entire statement can be demonstrated as “of a piece”. Never-the-less, my mother’s wishes are clearly stated both by her and the attorney. I am sending only those clips. If you wish to see it all I am happy to send it to you.

 

On Feb. 27 I had had my mother’s power of attorney for over two months, just as on March 9 I had my mother’s power of attorney. The only difference was that on March 9, the attorney felt it was important to “cover the bases”

 

AN pg.41—

She immediately knew where to sign and asked why there was a place for Sharon's signature. I told her it was because she had given Sharon a POA and I thought it was good to cover the bases. She was fine with that.

 

and include a line for my signature on a representation agreement for a somewhat inconsequential Cheyenne lawyer. On February 27, she did not seem to feel the same need for covering bases and included no line for me to sign even though this was a very important document that was the result of, as she is seen saying in the video, “you and Sharon decided you did not want the Y to have so much power”. Perhaps this oversight in covering bases had something to do with the fact that my signature on that document would have given me “standing”.

 

The attorney never came back on Monday and I left for New York a few days later. I was not worried by this because we had Davis getting everything sorted out—or so we thought.

 

March 9, 2007


Finally, after repeated requests by Mercedes, the attorney brought Jay McGinnis to lunch to explain what sort of projects he wanted to run on the ranch.

AN pg 41—

Throughout the lunch Mrs. Kibbee asked questions about what the YMCA would do with the ranch. She was particularly interested in what type of program they would do. Jay told her about a group in Colorado that the YMCA has connected with that teaches people how to run summer camps. The Colorado people will be here in April. Mrs. Kibbee said it would be fine to bring them to the ranch and show them around. Jay suggested that the kids could do projects on the creek, bird watching, and something with the lamas. Mrs. Kibbee suggested that the kids make bird feeders and hang them in the trees around the ranch.

He left promising Mercedes he would get a proposal made, along with a cost break down, for her approval. His assistant, Sandy, brought the list and the cost breakdown about six weeks later. Sharon can no longer remember if that was just before or just after Mercedes died. She thinks it must have been after, because she remembers having lunch in the bay window of the living room—going over the proposal with Sandy and approving it right then at the lunch table. Mercedes had been asking for this proposal for a long time, had she been in the house, unless she was asleep, it would have been given to her for her approval. I remember Sandy saying that the children the Y brought would bring bagged sandwiches from home and I said we would prefer they joined the Kibbee Kids on the terrace for lunch rather than have them peeking over the hedges watching the Kibbee Kids enjoy their cookout. I also said that I personally would purchase Teepees from the Crow reservation, because, though a great deal more expensive, it would be much more fun for the children than the platforms the Y was planning to use for the overnight camping.

 

March 10, 2007

Back in April???Shortly after Sharon arrived in Sheridan, the attorney told her that there were no gifts for Ranch employees in her parent’s wills. Subsequently, Mercedes, who never was involved in family finances, asked Sharon’s advice on what those gifts should be. At the time, Sharon was not at all familiar with the employee’s responsibilities or how long they had been employed.  The attorney misled her when she asked her about the secretary, Laura. She said that Laura had worked for 33 years and, while that was true, Laura worked only one, occasionally two, days a week (often not full days) and there had been a few years when she did not work there at all. Based on this erroneous information, Sharon suggested $1,000 for each year of work for the men and $3,000 for each year for the Laura. By March 2007, Sharon had a much clearer view of these people and realized, not only had a huge mistake had been made in those allotments but one person, John Shreve, who had been working on the ranch since even before the house was built, had been totally overlooked. The two grounds keepers had not only worked five days a week but had much more responsibility than Sharon had understood. She spoke to her mother and together they reassessed the division of those funds, based more appropriately time put in by each person. These changes gave the two grounds keepers and Laura, though she had worked less, $40,000 each. Sharon had not mentioned to Mercedes that Laura, had collected her monthly salary and done absolutely nothing to try and help Mercedes get out of that nursing home,until she wanted to do something to get even with Peter and Aurora for firing her. Mercedes was fond of her and Sharon believed there was no point to hurt her with that information.

 

Mercedes asked Sharon to type out the correction for each person involved. She signed the documents and asked to have them given to the attorney, along with instructions to make the appropriate changes to her will. A ranch employee hand delivered the envelope containing the documents and instructions and copies were given to Davis and the Bank. A few days later, Sharon called Davis from her break in NYC, to say she had called Mercedes’ attorney about the changes and the attorney was refusing to make them. He too said that he believed they should be made because it might cause Laura Galloway to behave badly in court. He was told to change them anyway. On April 10, Sharon received a letter from Davis’ partner Kim Cannon again discussing Laura’s testimony. She spoke to her mother and, making the usual notes in the margin, called him about it saying they would not make comfortable decisions at the expense of the employees, for whom that was a great deal of money, and they were to make the changes. Mercedes said she had not told Laura the amount of her gift. Sharon then received a call from retired banker VP Bob Ferril saying the bank’s lawyer Tom Toner wanted it left alone and Sharon should not argue with Toner as she would need him in the Peter Kibbee court case. Sharon says she still does not know what he was talking about—Toner was not her lawyer for that case Cannon was. I had nothing but distance??? for Bob Ferril so I paid no attention. He had promised my father to look after my mother when she no longer had Daddy and then he made good pals with Peter and ignored my mother’s pleas the very few times he and his wife visited Mummy in the nursing home. You don’t get resounding enthusiasm when you ask people in Sheridan about them. One of the few times I got a real belly laugh from my mother was when I made a comment about feral animals looking for the warmest spot.

 

The final agreement was to leave Laura’s gift as it was and simply increase the other employees as per Mercedes’ wishes. They never did that either. These people simply do not care about anyone who is not part of their “important old boy’s” group.

 

When Sharon returned to Sheridan, the attorney still had not made the changes and again argued with her about them. She said, if they reduced the gift to Laura, she could make trouble when Peter’s suit came to court and that Mercedes had already told Laura what she was getting. Since that was untrue (Sharon believe the attorney, who is indiscreet, had told her) Sharon again asked Davis to handle it with the Bank. When Mercedes died on April 15 those changes had still not been made.  This is discussed in her narrative,

AN pg 41 —

Without input or my involvement, Mrs. Kibbee signed four letters where she made gifts as follows: Darryl Kurtz Jr. - $40,000, John Shreve - $30,000, Scott Stewart -$40,000, Laura Galloway - $40,000. I was provided a copy of the four letters after she had signed them. Scott brought them by my office while running errands in town.

and her deposition

AD 58 through 61

1.... The balance of things were to go --
2 Mrs. Kibbee was to receive the income; and upon
3 her death, then the ranch and other assets were to
4 go half to Aurora and half to Peter.
5 A Okay.
6 Q And at some point among the many changes
7 that were made, were changes to reward, apparently
8 pay people who had worked at the ranch . For
9 example, Laura Galloway is to receive, I think her
10 testimony was something approaching $100,000.

11 A Bob -- so your question is what?
12 Q How did that come about?
13 A Bob Leonard had said to her, if you want
14 to make any gifts to anybody, this is the time to
15 let me know while I'm drafting documents; and
16 we'll put all of that in those documents.
17 Q So she said, let's give Scott $20,000
18 and let's give somebody else so much?

19 A Well, over a period of time that kind of
20 evolved. It took her several weeks to kind of
21 work through exactly who she wanted to gift and

22 how much she wanted to gift.
23 And there was some exchange in terms of
24 what is the best way to go about doing that. How

25 do you essentially honor an employee who has

59

1 worked for you for several years. So that took
2 her a while to come to those conclusions.

3 Q There was a final amendment, I think it

4 is Amendment Number Five. Yes, Amendment Number

5 Five to the trust documents. You are aware of

6 that, are you not?

7 A Yeah.
8 Q That was never signed, correct?
9 A No.
10 Q Let's go ahead and mark it.

11

12 (Whereupon the document referred to by
13 counsel was marked for identification as
14 Deposition Exhibit 21, after which the proceedings
15 continued as follows:)

16

17 Q  (By Mr. Goddard) Go ahead and take a

18 look at that. That's the Amendment Number Five? ~
19 Yes

20 Q  And that was not signed

21 A   No

22 Q And I see from your notes -- and I don't

23 want to look for it -- but there is a memo or a

24 note in your files that indicated Sharon was very

25 upset because of that . Tell us about that.

 

60

1 A Because of this (indicating)?
2 Q That it was not signed, was not
3 executed.
4 A You know, we need to find that, because
5 I need to -- I don't know that.
6 Okay. Maybe it's this memo.
7 What's the date?
8 June 14th, 2007.
9 A Oh, I. would need to see that. I don't have that with me
10 have that with me.
11 MR. CANNON : What's the date of it,
12 Greg?
13 THE WITNESS : June 14, 2007.
14
15 (Whereupon the document referred to by
16 counsel was marked for identification as
17 Deposition Exhibit 22, after which the proceedings
18 continued as follows :)
19
20 Q (By Mr. Goddard) Okay. Tell me what
21 that discussion was.
22 A Discussion with Linda Thompson?
23 Q Yes

24 She had called me and said that notices
25 went out to all of the beneficiaries under the


61

1 trust. And Scott Stewart was listed as a

2 beneficiary; and, so, he got a notice and showed
3 it to Sharon.
4 Apparently this was the impetus for
5 Sharon realizing that a fifth amendment to the
6 trust was never executed. This is what I'm
7 hearing from Linda; and that, according to Linda,
8 she was very upset.
9  Q So did you ever talk to Sharon about
10  that?
11  A Yes. According to my memo-- you know,
12  I don't know that I talked to her after June 14th
13  after I learned this from Linda. I can't say that
14  I did.

and is what I was asking about in the third question of Sharon’s emailed questions to Dick Davis.

 

Later, in 2011, the Bank, after sending the two grounds keepers a letter saying they each would receive $20,000, follow-up with a letter saying woops it’s actually $16,000, and finally, on April 25,2011, informed them that they would each receive $40,000 and gave John Shreve his gift of $30,000. This was only after Sharon had said she would provide a lawyer to bring suit on the employee’s behalf. In the final letter to employees from the Bank, they denied any knowledge of Mercedes March directive. Sharon gave them those papers in March 2007 and, over time, had several conversations with them about this. In her deposition

(WD 60 & 61 just above???)

the attorney, in response to a question, relates her discussion of this matter with the Bank. This is a good example of what Mercedes and Sharon were dealing with all along—the truth gets lost when the Bank has another agenda—a contagious affliction among the “old boys” of Sheridan, Wyoming.   

 

April 15, 2007


Mercedes died early in the morning. During the previous four months, Sharon had 4 billed office meetings with Dick Davis (totaling 6 hours and 35 minutes), 6 billed telephone conferences with Dick Davis (totaling 7 hours and 30 minutes) and he had billed for numerous calls to Mercedes’ attorney, the estate lawyer, and the Bank. Irrespective of all that time spent, not a single change had been made to Amendment #4, not a single discussion with Mercedes about the need to take legal steps in order for Sharon to comply the instructions in her directive.  The entries in his legal bills (28 not there) and the 12/31/07 letters from the Bank to Davis, covering the time between Sharon’s first meeting with Davis and Mercedes’ death, make it clear that Sharon had gone to him for precisely what Mercedes wanted—to clear up the items that were in contradiction to her expressed wishes concerning the autonomy of the Foundation, it’s mission, and its board of directors and none of that had been done. He kept passing along the message from the estate lawyer that they were working on it and there was no rush “we have until December 31, 2008" they said and reassuring her that there was no need for her to contest the will.

 

delete below

 

Following Mercedes' death

The Foundation work was not finished—Sharon had just come back from NY and they were still waiting for answers to our questions sent to the estate lawyer through Mercedes’ attorney on December 18, 2006 and the Bank continued to ignore her. It would appears the estate lawyer believed that one hour in December with her attorney (not the lawyer doing the work and not the Bank/trustee who co-signed amendment 4), and then presenting a “start”, as the attorney said on February 27, constitutes impressive client service.

 

AN0155-6  — But subsequently her attorney spent some time talking with her about this because you'll notice the 16 amendment was not done until February”

Davis bills show he talked to the estate lawyer a good deal during that period as did Mercedes’ attorney and the Bank. They all had conversations about the foundation; at least that is what the bills say. I would venture to guess those discussions had little to do with getting my mother what she had asked for.