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Long IslandInvestigations

Review of guardians finds financial reports lag

Dysfunction is evident even in the state guardianship system’s most visible and elementary features, raising questions about what’s hidden from public scrutiny.

While directing the Brookdale Center for Healthy Aging at Hunter College, Jean Callahan and then staff attorney Raquel Romanick examined how closely guardians in 14 New York counties adhered to financial reporting requirements – a basic measure of adequate fiscal stewardship.

Guardians are supposed to file their first reports, called accountings, within 90 days of being appointed. Callahan’s review found that first filings in Nassau were on average 111 days late, in Suffolk 162 days. In 22 percent of Nassau case files and 29 percent of files in Suffolk, no financial accounting was found.

And that’s in unsealed cases that Callahan, now an attorney at Brooklyn Legal Aid, could see. What’s happening in sealed cases is unknown.

“Are the guardians reporting? Callahan asked. “Is anybody looking at the report?”

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