Monday, April 13, 2015

The estate in the Iron Mask. Fairly sealed Bradshaw case.

Now-deceased Rankin County Chancellor Dan Fairly sealed the estate of Thomas Bradshaw, Jr.  Mississippi State University disputed the actions of conservator Murphy Adkins in the estate opened in 2013.  The will was changed to award $1.6 million to Mr. Adkins.  JJ would like to tell you when the estate was sealed.  JJ would like to tell you the reasons cited by Judge Fairly for the sealing of the case.  Hell, JJ would love to show you a copy of the protective order.  However, there is literally no information available at the clerk's office other than the fact the file is sealed.  JJ reported the details of the case on October 1, 2013:

Was former Rankin County Chancery Clerk Murphy Adkins the recipient of fortune's smile or did he take advantage of his position as conservator to obtain $1.6 million? Such is the question swirling around a will contested in Rankin County Chancery Court. Thomas Bradshaw, Jr. died on New Year's Eve, 2012. He outlived his wife and left behind no children. However, he did have an estate worth approximately $1.6 million. Mr. Bradshaw  changed his will to make Mr. Adkins sole heir six months after he became the conservator for Mr. Bradshaw in 2009. The former beneficiaries objected in court.  The case has not been resolved.

Mr. Bradshaw suffered from declining mental capacity in 2008. His best friend, Larry Bradley, filed a petition to establish a conservatorship for Mr. Bradshaw on November 5, 2008. The petition included a letter from Dr. Tammy Young declaring he suffered from polycythemia vera.* She stated "I have evaluated him and determined that due to his advanced Alzheimer's disease, he is incompetent in making his own decisions, including financial decisions." Attorney John McLaurin acted as guardian ad litem for Mr. Bradshaw during the proceedings. The court appointed Murphy Adkins as conservator on October 15, 2009. The order stated Mr. Bradshaw was "presently incapable of managing his own estate due to advanced age and mental and physical incapacity. Two doctors provided certificates to support the ruling.

Mr. Bradshaw executed a trust in 2007 and amended it in April 2008 to include a $1.598 million bequest to Mississippi State University, as well as lesser amounts to other people such as Larry Bradley. The court established the conservatorship six months later. However, only six months passed before Mr. Bradshaw changed his will again to leave everything to Murphy Adkins, the conservator handling his affairs. MSU, Bradley, even the family mutt, were left out in the cold under the new will.

I hereby give, devise, bequeath, and gift all of the property that I may own at the time of my death, whether real, personal, or mixed, wherever situated, sometimes referred to as my residuary estate to MURPHY ADKINS, my friend and conservator who has helped me greatly in the last years of my life. I understand that this gift may seem unusual.... Murphy Adkins has been a friend to me and cared for me. I have other friends who I would like to mention but I leave them no gift, devise, or bequeath in this Last Will and Testament. Larry Bradly, Don McLemore, Hal Parker, and others, have all been friends in my life and I thank them for their friendship but no gift, devise, or bequeath is made here in to them
Mr. Bradshaw died on New Year's Eve in 2012. Then the fun really got started.

Mr. Adkins filed a petition to probate the will on January 15, 2013 (p.24). He included a copy of the new will and supporting documents.  Mississippi State and other beneficiaries in the earlier trusts filed an objection to the probate of the will on April 19, 2013. MSU accused Mr. Adkins of using undue influence over Mr. Bradshaw to enrich himself and breach his fiduciary duty to Thomas Bradshaw (p.41).  The objection also states Mr. Bradshaw lacked the mental capacity to change his will as the court declared in the 2009 order establishing the conservatorship.

The battle continues in Rankin County Chancery Court before Judge Fairly. 

March 28, 2007: Bradshaw executes a Trust.
April 29, 2008: Bradshaw amends trust. Leaves $100,000 to Bradley, $25,000 to Louise Wilson, $100,000 to dog, and $1.598 million to MSU.
November 15, 2008: Larry Bradley petitions for conservatorship
October 15, 2009: Court appoints Murphy Adkins as conservator
April 15, 2010: Bradshaw changes will and makes Adkins sole heir
December 31, 2012: Bradshaw dies
January 15, 2013: Adkins petitions court to probate will
April 19, 2013: MSU objects to probate of will

Rest of October 1, 2013 post.  
Jerry Mitchell reported on this story as well.  

Kingfish note: Here is the court file this correspondent copied back in 2013.  JJ considers this file to be public record, and will make available to the public despite any future actions by the Rankin County Chancery Court.  If the court wishes to hold this correspondent in contempt, this correspondent will freely admit to the contempt, for he has nothing but contempt for the court on this matter.

The fact remains there is no public accountability for the actions of this conservator. Attorney John McLaurin filed the petition for the establishment of the conservatorship and the nomination of Mr. Adkins as conservator.  Mr. McLaurin also filed the petition seeking admission of the will to probate and appointment of Mr. Adkins as executor.  Sources have informed this correspondent Mr. McLaurin is seeking the appointment to the Chancellorship formerly held by Judge Dan Fairly.


Anonymous said...

There is a special cubbyhole in Hell for dishonest people.

Anonymous said...

Kingfish, do you not understand what a sealed file is? Your ranting makes no sense.

Murphy's Law said...

Is this Murphy Adkins who was a reporter in Natchez forty years ago?

Anonymous said...

The feds are usually pretty strict about meeting requirements for sealing a record - "open courts" is supposed to be part of the American system of government. (Except for S.D Miss.'s wacko paranoia about pretrial orders.) State judges in my limited experience are rather cavalier about it.

Anonymous said...

How much did Swales get??

Anonymous said...

There's a lot of this sort of thing happening.

Anonymous said...

Adkins is a truly honest man.I would trust him beyond measure.

Anonymous said...

Sleazy lawyers. Too many sleazy lawyers. Gluttons

Anonymous said...

Additional not in your posted document:

"For those who want to read it, here is MSU’s Objection to Petition to Probate Will and Appoint Executor to the will and here is Adkins’ Answer to the Objection to Petition."

Anonymous said...

1:07 AM please grow up and learn HTML.

Often Challenged said...

6:45; Learn to copy and paste.

Anonymous said...

A sealed file doesn't mean its not available only to news people or bloggers. A sealed file means it is sealed to EVERYONE - including lawyers.

Crying over a file that is sealed is not going to do anything to get it unsealed. Instead, the more trouble you create to get it unsealed, the more likely it is going to remain sealed.

Anonymous said...

Pretty simple explanation for the order sealing file. Dr. Murphy Adkins has enjoyed a stellar public reputation in the Brandon community as an honest, sincere, high integrity servant leader. The facts of this case appear to paint Dr. Adkins in a much different, and if true as alleged by MSU, deeply disappointing light. The facts as alleged by MSU also tend to cast doubt on the judgment of other Brandon notables such as Johnny McLaurin and David Morrow, Jr. (who drafted and oversaw the execution of a will for a man previously diagnosed with dementia). While the allegations made by MSU are only one side of the coin, the reality is that it is very hard to imagine a plausible explanation for the apparent outcome other than that some noteworthy Brandonians with decent to excellent public reputations appear to have taken advantage of a situation that presented itself, a situation that should have been stopped in its tracks. One need not labor long on the point that Judge Fairly felt pressure to seal the file to spare his friends and acquaintances from more public embarrassment. And, of course, that is absolutely no basis upon which to justify sealing a file. KF, you should contact the lawyers for MSU and ask them whether they opposed the effort to seal the file and, if not, why not. If they did not fight it, then in my opinion, they are at least complicit in violating the spirit of the rules regarding the sealing of files.

David Frazier said...

To be sure, at first whiff, the scenario has an odor. From reading KF's article, I take it that there has not yet been a trial on the matter. In order to uphold the validity of a will at trial, the initial inquiry is to determine if the testator had the capacity to know the consequences of his decisions at the time he signed the will--"Testament are capacity". A person can be capable of executing a valid will and be generally incompetent (as was Mr. Murray), so long as the testator was lucid at the moment he executed the will. That is a question of fact. Assuming that hurdle is cleared, when there's a fiduciary or confidential relationship between the testator and the beneficiary, the beneficiary must prove by clear and convincing evidence to the satisfaction of the trier of the facts that the beneficiary did not engage in any coercion or undue influence where he imposed his interests or desires over the free will of the testator. Although these are high hurdles to leap over when a the testator is the ward of a conservatorship, and especially when the conservator is also the main or sole beneficiary of the
will, the presumptions can be overcome when the attorney who prepares the will also lays the groundwork for overcoming the
presumptions at the time the wills are prepared and executed.

Anonymous said...

Why would you go pissing on the leg of the court in this matter, KF? This is a private matter involving individuals and only one public institution - MSU, which itself has competent attorneys to represent its interests. There is no legitimate public interest here, certainly not one worthy of picking a fight you have no chance of winning should the court care to engage you on this matter, or am I missing something?

Anonymous said...

9:55 You are missing or deliberately ignoring the 800 pound gorilla in the room. Chancellor Fairly recently killed himself, and he is the other "public institution" involved in the Bradshaw case. Maybe this unusual case had some bearing on his state of mind - WHY did he seal this case? Was he feeling guilty about that decision? Who knows?

But it is a fair question KF is asking.

Anonymous said...

10:21 - Chancellor Fairly's suicide doesn't justify unsealing this or any other cases. That's simply absurd. All of the questions you pose demonstrate nothing more than a fishing expedition. There is a difference between asking the questions - which is perfectly sensible, and assuming there's no validity to the underlying decision and defying the court's order.

Anonymous said...

9:55. "No legitimate public interest" and a "private matter" involving an elected public official who is accused of using his elected position to personally benefit himself to the tune of $1.6 million? Right...

Notably Deficient In Challenge said...

10:57; You must not be from 'round these parts. If you were, surely you'd know that 'fishing expeditions' around here are typically very productive.

Anonymous said...

I like the way you think, 2:51. Unfortunately, the fact that you can catch fish doesn't give you the right to open locked gates to get them. The judge locked this gate to keep everyone out except those he thought had an interest. He's the judge, he gets to decide those things until he's overturned, whether you like that or not, 11:08.

The fact that the judge no longer on the bench doesn't create a docket free-for-all in his sealed cases, period. Some respect for the court should be observed, regardless what you thought of the presiding judge in that court.

Anonymous said...

After reading your slanted comments, you could be Murphy Atkins, David Morrow, Larry Swales?
Swales appoints Murphy, David changes the will, and Dan Fairly seals the case!

Anonymous said...

Hate to disagree with the Atkins/Morrow/Swales group here, but just because someone might be 'upstanding' or 'important' or 'rich' - better yet, just say 'well connected' doesn't mean that court cases involving you and yours should be sealed but all of us 'normal' people can have all our matters fought out in the public domain

In fact, it probably should be the other way. In this case Atkins used his PUBLIC office to enrich himself. Maybe legally. Maybe even in a proper interest, although I cannot see any reason why he should have been able to be the beneficiary of $1.6 million just because his political connections got him appointed as a 'guardian'. But that should be for a court to resolve. And court proceedings should be in the public view. All of mine are - whether it is the settling of my parents estate, divorce proceedings, or other matters. Why should the rich and powerful get their activities 'sealed' while the rest of us aren't allowed that privelege? If you read the above, its only because they are -- rich and powerful.

Anonymous said...

Rankin County is incredibly corrupt. This is just another example of it.

The Old Boy Network on full display.

Anonymous said...

I believe Mr. Swales has a opponent for reelection.

It might serve him well to view the people who have been appointed as guardians under Larry Swales

Anonymous said...

Some commenters are mischaracterizing comments that support the COURT as supporting (or being a part of) the "Atkins/Morrow/Swales" group. Personally, I don't know and couldn't care less about these people. I hope MSU gets the money because there seemed to be some shenanigans at play in changing the will.

However, officers of the court are called uphold, if not respect, the rulings of judges. Individuals, if dissatisfied, can participate in an appeal of those decisions (if they're a dissatisfied party and it's an appealable issue) or seek to be heard as an amicus curiae (if they're not a party). Those are the rules of the court.

I'm not sure if KF is a member of the bar or not, but assume he is not given his antics here.

Anonymous said...

Why was Morrrow dismissed as the BOS attorney?

Anonymous said...

@9:34. David Morrow was let go shortly after a new board of supervisors was installed after the 2007 election. The balance of power shifted after Morrow's wife's relative, who was president of the board of supervisors, had been defeated in the 07 election. David was really in a bad spot because he had to support his wife's relative in the election and that sunk him with the new board. The new board hired new legal counsel as is a new board's prerogative. David is actually a very capable and respected person and lawyer.

Anonymous said...

Changing of board minutes

Gammill Montgomery said...

Lawd knows I have seen my fair share of what the what in Rankin

Kingfish said...

What does Larry Swales have to do with this? He can't seal a file nor did he participate in this action.

Anonymous said...

He appointed Murphy and employs David Morrows son as his deputy

Kingfish said...

At the time, there was no reason for him not to appoint Murphy.

Anonymous said...

Murphy backed him in his bid to become Chancery Clerk, probably just a coincidence he chose Murphy and Murphy chose David the former BOS attorney to redo Bradshaw's will making Murphy the beneficiary. Just a coincidence David's son is Swales deputy. A turn of events as they say.

Anonymous said...

In Jerry Mitchell's article he noted Don McLemore was Bradshaw's attorney. Why do you think Bradshaw changed from McLemore to Morrow? Do you think Murphy had a slight influence on Bradshaw changing attorneys for the results that were needed?

Anonymous said...

Who Got Paid !!

Anonymous said...

What happened to the dog

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