We have two ongoing local stories about geezers and the effect of money, more precisely the lack of money and a little influence, on said geezers.
First up is, Luis Baro, 71, a career criminal, late of Cuba, most recently a resident of the Douglas County, Georgia jail on drug trafficking charges. Mr. Baro after his arrest had a massive stroke and “cost” the County some $400K in medical bills. Actually, the County had a $500K insurance policy with a $100K deductible; thus, Mr. Baro is about to cost the County some serious money.
Solution? The prosecutor dropped the charges against Mr. Baro. He’s now a free and sick man.
Then there’s the “Phantom.” Joe Patten is 83. For the past thirty years he’s lived in a 3,640 s.f., ornately-furnished apartment, 70 stair steps up in the Fox Theater, an Atlanta landmark. Mr. Patten has “saved” the Fox twice. Once by discovering a fire and once by leading efforts to rehabilitate it. For his service to the Theater he was given a lifetime, free lease on the apartment. Kinda.
Mr. Patten has diabetes and a few other conditions. Those stairs are a workout for him. He had to spend some time this summer in the hospital and a nursing home. On his return to the Fox, he was greeted by a letter from the Theater’s board. It seems he was becoming a “burden” on the staff and that his apartment was “sorely” needed for other purposes. And that lifetime lease? It seems there was a catch. It can be terminated by a two-thirds board vote.
Mr. Patten told the board to take a hike and hired a prominent senior partner in a prominent local law firm. There was a meeting and the board excluded the lawyer (though it had two of its lawyers present). The board voted to terminate the lease and offered a new lease with a lot of restrictions designed to send him packing fairly soon.
Public outcry ensued. The board now says everything can be worked out and it would let the lawyers handle the details. It seems Mr. Patten will spend a good number of his remaining days in his free “walk-up” apartment.
Mr. Baro? He’s with family probably looking for a welfare source of medical care.
If you’re going to get old, it pays to have money and influence.