A pissed-off judge, a $3 million inheritance, and a neglected autistic man

When Judge Kristen Booth Glen walked into her Manhattan Surrogate's courtroom one day in 2007, she had no idea she was about to challenge the nation's top banks on behalf of tens of thousands of disabled people.
Mark Holman, millionaire orphan
Courtesy Sharon Awad
Mark Holman, millionaire orphan
Judge Kristen Booth Glen picked a fight with the banks.
plsny.org
Judge Kristen Booth Glen picked a fight with the banks.

Before her stood lawyer Harvey J. Platt, who was petitioning to become the legal guardian of Mark Christopher Holman, a severely autistic teen who lived in an institution upstate.
Holman had been left an orphan nearly three years earlier after the eccentric millionaire who adopted him passed away. According to doctors, he had the communication skills of a toddler, unable to bathe, dress, or eat by himself.
But before Judge Glen would grant this seemingly perfunctory petition, she had a few questions for Platt.
"How often have you visited Mark Holman?" she asked the lawyer.
"Since his mother died, I have not visited him," said Platt.
"And when you say you haven't visited him since then, how often had you visited him prior to that?"
"I haven't seen him since he was eight or nine," responded the lawyer. "His mother used to bring him to our office with his brother, just to show him my face and so forth and so on, so I haven't seen him probably since 1995 or 1996."
It was around that time that Platt helped Mark's mother, Marie Holman, draft her will and create trusts for him and his older brother. A decade later, when she was dying, Platt promised Marie he'd apply to become Mark's guardian.
"And have you visited the institution which he currently resides in?" Glen asked.
"No, I intend to, but I have not as yet," Platt said, sounding weary. "I don't think even a visit has much significance anyway. He's totally nonverbal—he's never spoken a word. He's potentially aggressive."
This didn't sit well with Judge Glen. When it came to signing away the rights of disabled people to guardians, she was perhaps the most cautious judge in New York. But what came next would floor her.
Read full story at Village Voice 

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