Law Office Report 8, December 26, 1977

[Editor’s notes: This report was transcribed by Heather Shannon. The editors gratefully acknowledge her invaluable assistance.

[This document and portions of it appear five times in this section, at B-5-a(19) – B-5-a(27), B-5-a(5) – B-5-a(9), B-5-a(36) – B-5-a(42), B-5-a(43) – B-5-a(53), and B-5-a(54) – B-5-a(57) with the second copy seeming to be the original. The typewritten text for each page will appear first, with any annotations listed afterwards.]

Law Office Report #8                         December 26, 1977                                         from June

COVER SHEET:

  1. Series of travel situations with legal problems
    1. Michael Daniels, Annie Mae Harris
    2. Alfred Smith
    3. Diola Christmas & children; Betty Fountain & children
    4. Aurora Rodriguez, Terry Steward, Aurora Stewart, Lisa Whitmire
    5. Florence Heath, Mary Morton, Mary Cottingham, Grover Washington
    6. Exie Eleby, Melita Gibson
  2. Irene Edwards – irs tax situation

Annotations:

B-5-a(19):

Paragraph a. “yes”
Paragraph b. “yes”
Paragraph c. “But that they return to LA [two words illegible] their situation that they are gone. Regardless, we take a risk if they come now or later & it might be better to send them over.”
Paragraph d. “What about the children’s father? Are they a problem? If not, all right for them to come. What [is] their relationship to the whole thing? Compared to Roseanna [Roseana] Dickerson which is a guardianship case & needs court approval.”
Paragraph e. “Do any of them get [several words illegible] income? Can Florence get a father’s consent for the child. Leaving [two words illegible] okay.”
Paragraph f. “Need court approval for child [word illegible]”

B-5-a-(36)

“Harriet – Please write answers to these questions – or suggestions where needed. Needed for when boat goes back in.”

B-5-a-(43)

“Duplicate copy
Given copy to Harriet”

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To Carolyn Layton

Law Office Report #8                         December 26, 1977                                         from June

  1. Following are a series of situations which we want to present to you for consideration re whether ok to travel or not, considering possible legal problems involved with them:
    1. Michael Daniels, Annie Mae Harris – Michael is 13; he has lived with his grandmother, Annie Mae Harris, since he was a baby. When he was 3, he was placed by the court in Los Angeles in the custody of his natural dad, because his mom was judged unfit. But his natural dad later had Annie Mae have Michael, and she’s had him ever since. This year Michael’s natural dad signed f.l. power of  attorney and has told Annie Mae and Michael he wants Michael to go to Guyana. Michael has acted out at school in past months, was suspended for a time; but for the past month or so he has been better, works on the microphone crew. Michael’s dad has no court papers in his possession of Michael’s placement with him.
    2. Alfred Smith – became 18 Christmas day, 12/25. His relatives are hostile – he’s related to Jessie Boyd, his aunt, who left a long time ago, and he’s related to Jackie Freeman, whose mom collects money on her behalf, saying Jackie is mentally retarded.
    3. Diola Christmas, and children; Betty Fountain, and children: Betty is Versie’s sister. Betty and Diola lived in same house in L.A. Last month Diola’s husband threatened to serve her with divorce papers because he heard everyone was leaving for Guyana. She called late one night from L.A.; Versie took the call and consulted with me, Alice, Florida, Phyllis H.. We discussed what the woman possibly could do, and eventually decided on the temporary thing for her to just evade service and wait it out and see if her husband really followed through with what he threatened to do. At that time we also discussed Betty Fountain, because she has similar situation; both Diola and Betty are separated from hostile husbands prone to violence, both have children, and both live together. We talked about perhaps sometime in the future when it came time for them to go, they could go somewhere on their own first and Versie suggested her dad in Portland Oregon. We did not decide on anything and it was not my impression that it was time yet for either Diola or Betty to go anywhere. But the next thing I heard was the week before Versie left, and Betty and Diola were already in Portland; they had traveled there with some of our money which Versie requested for them. Now we have an awkward situation of these 2 women way up in Portland, no real contact with the church, and I don’t think we’re in a position to send them over yet. Alice is the one they can contact by phone; Sandy and I have talked about perhaps their best alternative is to come back to L.A. and wait til things cool down here for us.

page 1

Annotations:

B-5-a(55):

Paragraph a: “OK”
Paragraph b: “OK”
Paragraph c: Starred, with the comment, “But they return to L.A.? Won’t improve then do we take the risk? Ask Dad.”

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Law Office Report #8                         December 26, 1977                                         from June

d: Aurora Rodriguez, and her grandchildren, Terry Stewart, Aurora Stewart, and Lisa Whitmire
The children’s natural mother, who lives in Santa Barbara, signed f.l. papers, in the presence of Gloria Rodriguez, Tim Carter, and Aurora, here in S.F. early this year. Aurora received AFDC for the children for awhile; then the welfare department demanded that the natural mother contribute $150 to their support. The natural mother asked Aurora to return the children because she did not want to pay $150. Aurora, after counseling, cancelled the AFDC and told their mom she wanted to keep the children. Both of the 2 girls were molested by a male friend of their mom’s, one after the other, at the same time in their moms house. The eldest child finally told Aurora, long after it happened, when they had moved up here. Aurora’s husband stopped coming to church several months ago; served her with divorce papers last month. But since then he’s come up to SF service twice and stays close to her whenever he comes up. He came up for this last weekend, Christmas. We do not know how to handle this case in light of your decision not to send over Roseanna Dickerson and her grandchildren. Roseanna had legal court custody of her grandchildren; Aurora has nothing but an f.l. power of attorney. Maybe Gloria can give a better impression of the children’s natural mom, and of her dad.

e. Florence Heath, Mary Morton, Mary Cottingham, Grover Washington
Florence Heath, of Pittsburg, sold her property, split the sale with her divorced husband as part of the divorce decree, and turned over $7,000 after paying her personal bills of $1,000. She was very pushy about going over immediately as she had to move out of her 3 bedroom house after escrow closed so the new buyer could move in. We have put her up in an apartment at 998 Divisadero. She was also very pushy about taking along with her senior citizen mom, Mary Cottingham, a member, and her 40 year old brother, Grover Washington, who has a mental problem and is slow, a member, her adult daughter, Mary Morton, and 2 grandchildren. Mary Morton has 2 children, 1 of which she wants to take with her, and 8 year old daughter. She wants to leave her 16 year old daughter, who does not attend p.t., with her sister in Pittsburg, and had us draw up a paper to that effect. Leona is against this; she does not approve of Mary leaving a child back here. Florence also wants to take her 13 year old son, of whom she has physical custody after the divorce and her husband has visitation rights. She says the husband never visits the son; and that the husband has even told her mom that he’s not the natural dad of Michael Heath. We have not cashed the cashier’s check Florence turned over from the sale on her house as we are worried about her being up here, not going over immediately, and being a property giver. Florence is bourgeosie, asked Hue to send over her stereo component set, wears a lot of wigs, and has lots of clothes. But Florence also has been a mainstay in Pittsburg, was the person who drove Pittsburg members in, is a member of

page 2

Annotations:

B-5-a(56):

1. Paragraph d: Last three lines underlined
2. Paragraph d, first notation: “What about the children’s father? Are they a problem? If not, o.k. for them to come. cf  [Roseana] Dickerson which is a guardianship case and needs court approval?”
3. Paragraph d, second notation: “Who are the girls fathers? What is their relationship to the whole thing?”
4. Paragraph e: Sentence beginning “Leona is against this” underlined, with notation: “Do any of these get SSA? Seem that we could load ourselves down with non-productive people we can’t afford. Don’t know. Can she get a father’s consent for the child? Leaving 16 year old is O.K.”
5. Clause “her husband has visitation rights” is underlined, with notation: “Get consent from father. Otherwise, no legal problem, just more mouths to feed. Can any of them work?”

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Law Office Report #8                         December 26, 1977                             from June

the Apostolic Singers, and is generally positive. We had Debbie Evans check out the brother Grover Washington. He is treated at a Pittsburg clinic; they informed her he takes no medication, he is just slow. His physical health is good, they do not perceive any potential harm in his traveling anywhere. He is not violent, he is a mild sort, has come to the church for years with Florence.

f. Exie Eleby, Melita Gibson – As soon as we schedule the guardianship annual accounting which is a minor event but must take place to satisfy the court and which Frolich will handle in Ed’s place, she’ll be free to go. BUT how can she go and leave Melita here? Melita’s natural mom is Jean Gibson aka Jean Alexander. Jean Gibson is still in again/out again; didn’t come to church for the last 2 weeks but was here Christmas day, playing piano as usual. Jean’s ambivalence makes it difficult to project when and if Melita and Lisa can go; as of now we won’t send either Melita or Lisa without their natural mom. This past week, Lisa’s dad sent for her to come to Louisiana; she isnt going but his appearance now makes it more difficult than ever. Exie has had Melita, who’s about 8 now, for the past 3 years. She is Melitas legal guardian. It would not be difficult to replace Melita back with her mom; when Melita comes up from L.A. I notice she hangs around with her mom a lot. But Exie may take it hard.

g. What is your position now on parents with children, one parent gone or out of the picture, and the parents were never married? We have a number of situations like that. See attached copy of Civil Code sections 7000…which declares marital status of parents irrelevant in determining parent/child relationship. What significance does this have on our particular situation?

page 3

Annotations:

B-5-a(57):

Paragraph f: Clauses “Lisa’s dad sent for her to come to Louisiana” and  “Melita, who’s about 8 now, for the past 3 years” are underlined, with notation: “Don’t send the kid with her without at least court approval.”

“Maybe try to get court approval for Melita to go with Exie? Attach mother’s consent and affidavit that father has not seen child in years and she doesn’t know his whereabouts…”

Paragraph g: “I guess we might consider a 5-year no contact rule of thumb as a safety factor…”

Different handwriting: “Five years is too long. I’d suggest going case by case & see how long it’s been since any contact. I don’t see how we can make a hard & fast rule.”

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Law Office Report #8                         December 26, 1977                             from June

2. Irene Edwards – Attached is a notice from the IRS that they never received the employers quarterly federal tax return for the period ending 3/31/77, and for 6/30/77. Please have Irene Edwards sign both forms, at the pencilled X, and PLEASE SEND US ANY DIRECTIONS she can remember in filing quarterly returns for the rest home. Who were the employees? Were there any employees? The resthome was sold in April, so both of these forms need to be signed because she was technically still owner and operator til escrow closed.

page 4

Annotations:

B-5-a(23):

“Have this signed and sent back”

B-5-a(5)

“Harold si as bookkeeper – list “nothing to report” on the form. Business was operated by owners only & no longer had any outside help at this time – closed down business, so could get rid of patients by transferring to other care homes.”

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Following the report are several supporting documents, some duplicated numerous times. They include:

  • A notice from IRS regarding quarterly tax return, referenced on page 4 of report;
  • Two pages from Deering’s California Code on civil law regarding the “Uniform Parentage Act”;
  • An official notice from the California State Franchise Tax Board, dated 12/09/77, referenced (and also reproduced) in Law Office Report #7. [Handwritten note: Words “private foundation” are circled] [Handwritten note: “Check w Gene on structure! H”] [Handwritten note: “done! db”] [Handwritten note: “Legal Traffic SF”] [Handwritten note: *: [shorthand notation] dad]
Originally posted on February 15th, 2021.

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