Thursday, May 12, 2011

A Message from Paradise Center's Teresa Davis

Last night a message arrived from Teresa Davis in which we get updated on what's been happening with Paradise Center, comments on some blog comments and learn the Paradise Center Scandal is now under the care of lawyers.

Below is the message from Teresa Davis...

Mr. Durango,

Sorry it's taken so long for me to update you.

It has been a huge undertaking to set up our Center.  Exhilirating, complex, fulfilling.

Although we aren't really "open" yet, members keep showing up.  They complain about the "old place," the MHMR drop-in center.  Just today, one fellow came for the first time.  He said the other place "wasn't paying me" for work that he says he did.  He's young and wants to stay busy but doesn't feel like they folks over there appreciate him.  Even though we're not really open, I'm proud they have the option to come here.

I admit I've stayed away from the scandal blog.  I'm focusing my energy on getting the Center set up and making it available to our members as soon as possible.  We're letting the lawyers handle everything, which is a huge relief.  Hopefully all of the rigamarole with MHMR will be settled soon. 

Most of our guys don't really understand what all happened still.  They seem scared to ask me about it.  One guy today told me he heard I was in the hospital for a stroke.  Another said he heard I stole something, but he's not sure what.   Another said no one ever told him anything, he just noticed all the changes and that it was really different.  He said he didn't really feel welcome there since he's not an MHMR client. 

You know, I think it says alot that, even though they think I may be impaired from a stroke or even a thief, they feel more comfortable here with me than over there. 

I said I don't read the blog, but a relative of one of the guys forwarded me a link to someone's comment about her brother.  Yes, it's true, I helped and am helping him get into a safe, secure place to live.  He is frustrating, though, I'll tell you that.   All the things that they said are true:  he smells bad, he talks alot and doesn't make much sense, and he can't manage his money.  But these things are true about him too:  he's a gifted artist whose prints were widely distributed in Pier 1 "back in the day".  He's a graduate of UT, has a wicked sense of humor, and even when you think he's not listening, he is.  He just may not like what we're saying. 

He can argue about the silliest, or not so silliest, thing and make sense.  You just have to be willing to listen.

And yes, it's true, that his sister was told by his MHMR caseworker that if he is not taking his medications, then he would not get his trust fund check.  This is very illegal. 

MHMR is the "trustee" for many patients who are determined by a physician unable to manage their disability income.  If they have no one locally who is able or willing to be their financial payee, MHMR will be the payee. 

And the way these clients get their money is by keeping their appointments with their caseworkers, nurse, doctors, etc.  Even though it's a practice, I have never heard of a professional telling a family member that they will withhold money from the client if they don't show up for appointments or don't take medications.  Not only is this illegal, and a violation of his patient rights, it is also very brazen.  If this caseworker is willing to tell a family member this, wonder what she's been saying to the client? 

Well, this fellow is going to be okay.  His family is involved and are making great efforts to make sure he is safe and that his rights are not violated.

And for him, Paradise Center is once again what it always for him:  a place where everyone knows his name, where he is safe, and where, if he needs it, we will help him to help himself.

His sister has told me via telephone how grateful she is for Paradise Center and for our efforts on her brother's behalf.  I can tell that she wonders why I do what I do at Paradise Center.  She mentioned, sheepishly, that she had read your blog, as had her other sister.  She wasn't sure if  she should mention it to me or not, indicating that she still wasn't sure about why or how everything happened with MHMR. 

I assured her that Paradise Center is still the same non-profit that we were in the other building.  We're just more independent now, without MHMR's grant.  And a little poorer, too!  But you can't put a price on freedom, that's what our guys here are saying.  They've never been happier than they are now. 

And truthfully, I'm pretty happy, too. 

I'll tell you more about what motivates me personally another time.  But these guys, showing up everyday and knowing they are welcomed, safe, and among friends, with opportunities to help themselves and contribute to our organization, is a big part of why I get out of bed every morning.

Thanks, Durango, for your blogs.


Grateful family said...

I must admit that many family members like mine admire Teresa's courage and selflessness. However, we are still afraid to speak out or comment on here using our names because we know MHMR is monitoring this blog and we're afraid they will retaliate against us by taking it out on our loved ones. Teresa and Paradise Center woke us up to the oppression and manipulation by MHMR, but until their leaders are no longer in positions to hurt our family members, we just can't risk offending these so called bullycrats and their network of cronies. What we're doing is quietly providing them financial support and praying that their lawyer will act aggressively to bring about justice. Thank you for your public service and advocacy, Mr. Durango.

CatsPaw said...

This was wonderful to read. I'm so glad to know that there are legal proceedings underway and hope that justice will prevail BIGTIME in favor of Teresa and the people of Paradise Center.

Anonymous said...

For someone with two masters degrees, Teresa Davis isn't real smart. Like doing thongs for free, putting up with filthy people, and getting used by smart people like the financially well off family of that disgusting excuse for a human being. His family have the resources to do more to help him or to pay someone to help him with his many needs, but as long as a dumb bleeding heart like Mother Teresa does things with getting some kind of compensation or government reimbursement, these families and group home operators will use the hell put of her and her group and use the money they saved to get themselves something nice or just put the money they saved from not doing the hard dirty work into making more money.

Because we have a super wicked smart CEO, the MHMR "Community Center" now keeps the place pristine and brings in revenue by making sure we have only the right kind of people come here who make money for MHMRTC while the filthy riffraffs and loud
ghetto gangstas are passed off to kind but
very dumb Mother Teresa ...LOL!!! That Dr.
McDermott is a genius. Keep on feeding the
homeless like that disgusting alley rat you rescued and you and your group will take his place roaming the streets scrounging for
food. LOL!!"! Meanwhile we're living on easy
street--seen our shiny new cars?--here at the NEW "Community Center" under Dr. McDermott's protection from any dirty work like you (LOL!) ...and provision of the finest
things. Even funnier is that families like your loco hobo's will be enjoying their
extra long, and extra luxurious vacation. The
group home owners will be trading in for a
new ride, going to Vegas...or even take in
more of your "rescues" off the street since
you end up doing most of the work for them, especially having a cool and safe place during the day when they're not allowed to stay in the home. And you, hahahaha, get to pay the
utilities to keep the place cool and (L.O.L....can't help it), beg for money to pay rent, and even asking for dnations of toilet paper!!!"

Anonymous said...

Typo, last sentence should say "donations of toilet paper"...was laughing too hard.



CatsPaw said...

Jeeeezus, "Anonymous" ... you are a nasty, soulless troll. Why only fix one typo? I hope that someone where you works that actually has a intact conscience calls you out and that you end up out on the street on your "wicked" large booty ... because you really are showing your ass here.

If you love McDermott so much, are you really so stupid as to think putting something like this mess out into the ether makes your side look good? I do feel sorry for the mental health professionals, some of whom we've heard from, who are trying to do a good and competent job in our community.

As I said in my previous comment before Blogger choked, I am glad to read that Teresa and the Paradise people have legal representation and hope that they will eventually prevail. There is a cancer inside MHMR-TC and the previous posts are shining a big freakin' spotlight on it. We need MORE "Mother" Teresas, not more like you. I'll take her brand of "not smart" any day of the week.

CatsPaw said...

And, by the way, "Anonymous" ... where do you think MHMR-TC gets its "donations" of toilet paper? That's right, from taxpayers like me.

Not Afraid to be Anyonymous: LARRY said...

That post by anonymous cannot be real. It is so silly. It negates any legitimacy that MHMR has regarding its claim that they were justified in firing their employee. Come on, Durango. How about you take a little peek at their IP address and find out who this person is? Just verify if it is a legitimate address of someone who could possibly work at MHMR. Because I for one do not believe that "anonymous" comment is legit. It's just too over the top! There is no good logical reason why they would write that. NONE.

Durango said...

I had the same reaction Not Afraid to be Anonymous LARRY. But this was not the first time a comment of this sort has been made. There have been a lot of them.

Google provides no way to track IP Addresses.

CatsPaw said...

I couldn't believe what I read at first either. I'd love to think we'd been punked ... but regardless, the person who left these remarks (and yes, Durango, they have all the earmarks of many earlier comments) appears to be more mentally ill than any of the consumers he/she denigrates. Or just morally bankrupt.

Durango said...

CatsPaw, that latest bad one was so bad I also wondered if we were being punked. But it so similar to so many earlier comments and thought, why would someone go to the bother of being so vicious just to play some demented trick on people? Is it someone trying to make the MHMR people look even worse than they already do?

Do you think I should delete these type anonymous comments?

CatsPaw said...

No, I'd leave 'em right where they are. Shine the light on what appears to be a real sickness within an agency that is supposed to serve and protect vulnerable people in the community.

The author of these posts thinks they're exposing deficiencies in Teresa Davis and her people. This person would be wrong.

Cockroaches don't like the light. I hope that the Paradise lawyers are taking a good look.

Michael--former program manager forced out in 90's said...

It's repugnant, so I would concur with CatsPaw and Durango. If Larry or any one else wonders about how this gutter level attitude and commenting are consistent with other mhmr cons nastiness, just go to the first few comments on Durango's first blogging in his main blogsite.

From then on these creatures have consistently spewed the same poison---not even sparing a sweet innocent little child and her parents and their very private business of living their lives and rearing their child and even practically invading the sanctity of their home by blatantly claiming/thinking "out loud" about "how cluttered and nasty" their home is...that's crossing way over the line.

But they didn't stop there. They had to mock the little girl's father repeatedly for his expression of deep (and actually very manly)fatherly emotions in reaction to seeing his little baby show/write deep compassion, good intelligence, maturity beyond her age, and her spirit--in stepping forward and speaking up for herself, her parents, and her "second family". As a gruff man, I choked up whenever I read that precious child's beautiful defense of the people she loves...literally all her life it sounds like.

I can't even get into their trying a few times to DIRECTLY address and manipulate the little girl (doubt these parents allow her to read things that's not appropriate or healthy for her at this age) and shamelessly abusing her brief reference to her confidential health information in order to assault her parents, esp. her courageous mom. With mostly lies, it seems.

These thugs went even lower when they callously used confidential medical info about a deathly ill woman in hospital to deride her weight and THEN laugh gleefully about her precarious life condition. THERE ARE SO MANY MORE EXAMPLES ... THE CLEAR THING is that these hateful comments were made by those on the Dark side BECAUSE THEY USED SPECIFIC details (EVEN NAMES) THAT only they AND the Paradise group would know PRIVATELY.

Bottom line,I believe that the more the Paradise group chose not to stoop to their level and focused instead on building up their operations again that the mhmr cons showed even less restraint (forget "class")in their vulgar expressions and just plain anger-hate-fear-desperation as they realize that the paradise folks are gaining strength and working steadily to pursue justice.

I'm especially troubled by undercurrents of bigotry (re NOT just race) and moral bankruptcy.

At least no one has been hurt physically...that we know off, and pray to be the case.

But then again, the reports about this poor man from Mother's Day weekend sounds like one many others that we don't hear or know about?

Just curious, what is his racial background?

VERY DISTURBING that mhmr leadership has endorsed/tolerated these acts of, well, depravity and that they seem to not care how they hurt people's lives, and in turn hurts the whole community.

mental health pros said...

Besides showing many specific likeness to other mhmrtc inhumane and immoral comments, this particular commenter also is showing symptoms of what's sometimes referred to as "an episode", mostly with a manic episode where they have googles of energy, creativity (used to good OR evil), activities ("get back to bidding"), and irresponsibility due to impairment from the manic episode, which could be caused by medication issues, stressors, illicit drug use, or sometimes just part of a recurring cycle....which makes recovery and regaining their full place in the community so daunting --e.g. doing well for months and serving on boards,volunteering, and even getting paid jobs, etc. BUT then the monster returns and everything comes crashing down.

That why bipolar disorder/manic-depression, schizophrenia ...NOT pop culture's definition as split personalities BUT literally= broken or split mind/psyche, where the wiring in the mind or brain is so messed up that they "lose their minds" from the uncontrolled hallucinations, delusions, and disconnection in even simple thought processes.

If you could only see how little sweet church women, strait-laced professional men, and even-keeled people behave when they're in one of these "decompensation episodes" which can include one or more of some of the following shocking behaviors: wickedly mean and profane, grandiose thinking and sometimes overly kind and gives away everything, hypersexual--overt, menacing and combative/violent, overwhelming energy, catatonic, spending (even crime) sprees, etc.

Point being that the stressors and changes (even positive ones) over the past three months could very likely pushed one of the "peer leaders" that mhmrtc leadership has pushed into the midst of a bitter controversy and as their PR shield MAY HAVE CRACKED in their own mental health and stability. The negative attitude and meanspirited words and deeds that mhmrtc leaders approved of certainly was like tossing in an extra gallon of gasoline into a flickering fire.

Abuse and exploitation of disabled people keep coming into my mind and my colleages' minds as we've discussed this scandal.

Lee said...

It makes me sick to read that comment. Physically ill.

Anonymous said...

Teresa, I'm glad you finally got this matter put with Lawyers. I know Jim McDermott, has lawyers, too. I still feel it's best to let the Courts deal with the issues. Blogging certainly has not accomplished anything except a place to let off steam ! LOL

Well, hopefully, in the near future this can be settled and both centers can go on helping the clients of MHMR and others who choose also to attend.

Wishing you the best.

Scandal Watcher said...

The anon. commenter on 5/17 sounds like an "insider", which would naturally lead to the following question: Is there significant evidence that legal actions, or at least the official "appearance" of legal counsel, are under way in this ongoing exposure of abuses and injuries??

Having followed this scandal and blog, there has always been an undercurrent of possibility, if not expectation, that the resolution of this ugly public-interest matter would expand from the court of public opinion to the court of law. This scenerio certainly became very much stronger after it became apparent that Ms. Davis and the Paradise Center nonprofit were not going to just go away and give up on an obvious David v. Goliath fight. The announcement that the Paradise Center found a really nice facility just blocks away from the "scene of the crime" was like the final act that indicated how determined these people are despite their many disadvantages and disabilities.

May justice prevail for Teresa Davis, Paradise, and others injured by this massive abuse of power and exploitation of the weak and "least among you".

Kev said...

Dear Scandal Watcher, you're on target in concluding that the anonymous on 5/17 is an MHMR-TC "insider". S/he pretty much stipulated that in the second sentence. Reliable people in MHMR have pretty much confirmed to me that this representation ("I know Jim McDermott ...") is truthful. Meaning that commenter was a sort of mouth piece for McDermott and Co., sending a deliberate and clear message to Theresa Davis, and maybe the Paradise organization, that the mhmr side are finally seeing the sign of what they've been anxiously praying for not too long after they realized that their "slam dunk" of a scheme had gone horribly awry ...more terrifying than they had even imagined due to the tough little director and the determined little nonprofit she had been serving.

Someone summed it up very well in previous comments : that MHMR and those who chose to support their attitude and actions want lawyers to quietly arrange a quick settlement in order to stanch the bleeding, so to speak.

When this is finally over, you should write a book about the detthis of this scandal and historic victory for the little people and good American values like standing up to a bully and the rule of law (no man, or executive, is above the Law!).

Charlie said...

Yep, that typical anonymous mhmr people commenter was issuing a very direct AND very personal message to the director lady Jim McDermott had foolishly and improperly fired (but not nasty like most others). Heck, the writer could be the embattled CEO himself for all we know. Whatever the case, the mhmr Wizard-of-Oz is trying to find a face saving way out of his precarious position after the many revelations on this blog of his well-constructed illusion of being the all powerful "Dr."

A case of an emperor with no clothes ....and a blogger using this modern tool to allow the villagers who had been duped by him to point out in different ways that he is "naked"--as in the arrogant emperor being exposed for who he really is by the proverbial "naked truth".

Wonder how NAMI-TC and other of his "courtiers " will overcome the shame from exposure of their flimsy moral integrity? ??

Wayne said...

Once the shock from that nasty mhmr comment wears off, there is one issue worth pursuing. Are families and group home operators and other beneficiaries in the community of the good work of Teresa and Paradise contributing any sort of financial support so that the organization could continue to help other needy PEOPLE?

Friend of MHMRT pros said...

Just got confirmation from an mhmrtc source that (1) the anonymous commenter is in fact "an operator for Jim McDermott" during this whole painful saga; (2) this person has served McDermott by continuing to communicate with the Paradise group as a supporter of the group but without disclosing that their true loyalty is to McDermott; (3) that this anonymous post addressing Teresa directly was spurred by two major developments: a major setback for mhmrtc in an official proceeding, which could get many more people into real hot water for carrying out different parts of the ceo's scheme; AND that the expected official appearance of legal counsel finally materialized--this way McDermott's and/or mhmrtc's lawyer could communicated lawyer-to-lawyer regarding how best to repair the damages done to Teresa and the Paradise group---and ASAP, before more disclosures and questions about things like what was going on with BRAVO and NAMI-TC, the appropriation of the bond-funded community center facility at 300 Pennsylvania Ave from the mental health consumer group, the funding source and method used to acquire the extravagant Hulen Tower, etc.

The ceo wants to ride off into the sunset without everyone thinking that this scandal and blog site--and that spunky woman and a group of severely ill people--working in synergy WAS THE reason for his untimely and disgraceful departure.

So for him and those who backed him and his decisions, paying lawyers and whatever sum of settlement/s money to "end" this ongoing scrutiny is well worth the face-saving result that they expect from going through the legal process (i.e. lawyers from both camps). This way the ceo can continue to avoid dealing directly with the disturbing facts and questions because "the attorney/s are handling this, so I can't discuss it".

Anonymous said...

A financial settlement is going too easy on those bullycrats. But that's how the system works, though. Like others, I hope that the attorneys for Ms. Davis, the consumer-run organization, and even individual harmed by the despicable actions of the McDermott gang will make them pay...BIG TIME and til it hurts, so these people, or others like them won't hurt so many disadvantaged people again.

I.M. Pain said...

How interesting that Teresa reports clients somehow believing that she had suffered a stroke or some other impairment that would render her incapable of continuing her professional duties.

There were brief rumors from the County Commissioners offices and even from Jim McDermott's inner circle that the CEO was the person who had showed signs of having suffered a stroke (TMI or "mini stroke") or some other physical or mental "impairment". This occurred during the first week following the hostile takeover that he had ordered when he apparently was shocked and panicked by the audacity of the Paradise group and Teresa in publicly confronting him and his collaborators for what they did to those perceived weak people.

The other interesting thing is that Teresa reports people thinking, saying, insinuating that she had stolen something of significance. In fact, the alleged "impairment" on Jim McDermott's part was largely related to his being publicly called out for "stealing Paradise Center's building, name, supplies, community center...", based on the protest signs and the embarrassing video on YouTube where the CEO in waiting was caught trying to confuse a Paradise leader by asking "What are 'supplies'?"

There seems to be a pattern to MHMR and Jim McDermott's m.o. of trying to communicate to their clients and the local mental health
community that Teresa and the nonprofit were involved with negative or improprieties when in actuality it was he and his collaborators who were guilty of improprieties or negativities.

To borrow from a client commenter: THAT IS JACKED UP, JIM MCDERMOTT AND CO.

Concerned citizen said...

I find it very disturbing that this mhmr authority is so brazen about state and federal laws, particularly in misusing their fiduciary role as "payees" for their clients. You see, the checks that are sent to mhmr (or limited other approved "payees") each month from SSI, SSDI, or other sources HAVE NOTHING TO DO WITH WHETHER THE INTENDED RECIPIENT TAKES MEDICINES OR NOT, LIVING ON THE STREET OR THEIR OWN APARTMENT, etc. It is their money and their money alone. Period. Not much qualifiers allowed. It's kind of like the bank serving as a fiduciary or trustee. The bank simply follows the predetermined schedule and amount ...they cannot without the payments, say, if the recipient does not have a savings or other accounts with them. Just make sure the money is available at the promised time and promised amount. To deny the recipient what rightfully belongs to them is unethical and against the law.

People with disabilities still have rights. Those rights are even more significant to them since they're at a major disadvantage and they need every penny of their money because every penny is needed to simply get by from week to week.

I am even more surprised that an mhmr personnel would have the confidence to tell a disabled client's family member that they are ignoring the law. Of course my conclusion is based on the fact that Ms. Davis is a competent professional reporting accurately what she was told. AND THE FACT THAT THE MHMR TROLLS HAVE NOT UTTERED A PEEP TO DISPUTE SUCH A SERIOUS REPORT/ALLEGATION.

Ms. Davis raised a very compelling question : if these mhmr staff felt so secure in telling a family--who is healthy mentally-- what and how do they say to the disabled client in the privacy of their offices. That is extremely disturbing...and consistent with how the consumer-run organization and their director were mistreated in this scandal. Systematic culture of arrogance and really bullying against very disadvantaged people.