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Judge Phillips

to Move Back to Brooklyn
By Mary Alice Miller
NYS Supreme Court Judge Michael L. Pesce has ordered retired Judge John Phillips to be moved from East Haven Nursing and Rehabilitation Facility in the Bronx to Castle Senior Living at Prospect Park, Brooklyn.
Among those in attendance were Phillips’ personal guardian Ms. Symphanie Moss (niece) and alternate guardian Rev. Samuel Boykin (nephew), both of whom live in Ohio.
For the benefit of the relatives and observers who have not attended all hearings related to the care of Judge Phillips and his property, Judge Pesce gave a brief overview of the case.
Pesce stated that a major factor in moving Phillips to Castle in Park Slope is so that Phillips can reside close to his old Bed-Stuy neighborhood. Since both the personal and alternate guardians currently live in Ohio, an issue to be addressed is outside trips for Phillips and “who will have the authority” to take him.
Pesce is aware that both family members would prefer that Phillips be placed in an apartment rather than a nursing home. Pesce stated the ultimate objective is an apartment; however, there are financial issues preventing the move to an apartment at this time. Pesce repeatedly asserted that the monthly budget for Phillips’ care at Castle should be between $3900 and $5000 per month, with a top range of $5500 with permission of the court. Pesce does not want care expenses for Phillips to be $100,000 per year because property guardian James Cahill is “responsible” for Phillips’ tax liability.
Cahill told the court although Phillips’ properties (including the Slave Theater) are valued at $750,000 to $1 million (or more), there are tax liens to be satisfied. According to Cahill, there were things that prior guardians did not do. There was a “failure to perform fiduciary duties; failure to pay taxes.” Cahill stated he filed a tax return last year for Judge Phillips, the first to be filed in many years. Pesce added that Judge Phillips’ tax bill, including interest and penalties, “may consume all assets.” In addition, Pesce stated “when Judge Phillips was capable, he did not pay taxes.”
There are unresolved issues with the performance of prior property guardians for Judge Phillips. Attorney Emani Taylor has not yet provided the court with a final accounting of services she provided for Judge Phillips. There are also concerns regarding the performance of prior guardians, Ray Jones and Frank Livoti. In particular, allegations against Jones have prompted him to retain counsel. According to Pesce, “the process can take years.”
In the meantime, Judge Phillips will soon be a resident of Brooklyn once again.
The next court date is June 12, at 3pm, in Judge Pesce’s court on the 9th floor of Brooklyn Supreme Court.

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