Mickey Rooney's Stunning Elder Abuse
HandelontheLaw.com Staff Writer
Despite a successful show business career spanning nearly all his 93 years, Mickey Rooney’s life is a cautionary tale about the stunning effects of elder abuse. Rooney began performing in Vaudeville at the age of 17 months and was still acting in films at the time of his death on April 6, 2014. His career was lucrative: in 1939, he earned $150,000/year or approximately $2.5 million/year in “2014 inflation-adjusted dollars.” Nevertheless, his estate is reportedly worth $18,000. While that amount is estimated before probate inventory/appraisal and while Rooney may have created a living Trust controlling other wealth, the 18k figure is nevertheless shocking and may be close to accurate. The court-appointed conservator states that shortly before his death, Rooney wanted to buy a new burial plot but could not due to a “lack of cash.”
What brought Mickey Rooney to this nearly-impoverished state? According to Rooney, it was at least partially attributable to his stepson, Christopher Aber and Aber’s wife, who managed Rooney’s care and financial affairs for a time. According to Rooney’s lawsuit, they committed elder abuse: siphoning off $ millions from him, depriving him of food and medications, and even preventing him from leaving his home. The suit was eventually settled for $2.8 million, though the Abers reportedly filed for Bankruptcy and the settlement amount remains unpaid.
Turning his misfortune into a cause, Rooney testified before Congress, stating: “What other people see as generosity may, in reality, be the exploitation, manipulation and sadly, emotional blackmail, of elders...To veterans like myself, I want to tell you this: you’re not alone and you have nothing, nothing, ladies and gentlemen, to be ashamed of...Please, for yourself, end the cycle of abuse and do not allow yourself to be silenced anymore.”
To report elder abuse: if the situation is threatening or dangerous, call 911 or the local police; in all other instances, call 1-800-677-1116 for your state’s Eldercare assistance or find it online here: http://www.ncea.aoa.gov/Stop_Abuse/Get_Help/State/index.aspx
DO’S AND DON’TS
DON’T remain silent about the elder abuse of yourself or anyone else
DO call 911 or the local police if the situation is threatening or dangerous.
DO call 1-800-677-1116 for your state’s Eldercare assistance or find it online here: http://www.ncea.aoa.gov/Stop_Abuse/Get_Help/State/index.aspx
By Kathy Catanzarite
Note from HandelontheLaw.com: This article is to be used as an educational guide only and should not be interpreted as a legal consultation. Readers of this article are advised to seek an attorney if a legal consultation is needed. Laws may vary by state and are subject to change, thus the accuracy of this information can not be guaranteed. Readers act on this information solely at their own risk. Neither the author, handelonthelaw.com, or any of its affiliates shall have any liability stemming from this article.
ELDER CARE/NURSING HOME ABUSE DOS AND DON'TS