Cathy Schottenstein Blog

About Cathy Schottenstein

A ‘Dawning’ Instinct Sheds Light in a Dark Place

Beverley Schottenstein walks alongside her caretaker Dawn Henry in the kitchen of her condominium in Bal Harbour, Florida, U.S., on Wednesday, Dec. 30, 2020. Photographer: Scott McIntyre/BloombergFive years ago, my grandmother whom I call Nanny, Beverley Schottenstein, had no idea that anything nefarious was going on within her account. Though she did ask her grandsons Evan and Avi why she wasn’t receiving monthly statements, they assured her that J.P. Morgan no longer sent paper statements to their clients, and since Nanny didn’t have a computer, they said they were diligently reviewing her holdings and overall account performance on their own. They swore they were doing an incredible job, that her account was appreciating considerably, and that she was outperforming major market indexes on a regular basis. Actually, none of that was true. Both grandsons were living high on the hog with her money—she just didn’t know it yet.

In 2016 Nanny broke her hip and began looking for daily care. She asked around, and several acquaintances highly recommended a woman named Dawn Henry. Dawn was a highly experienced caretaker with several licenses and a long history of caring for the elderly. Dawn, born in Jamaica, West Indies, now lived in a lovely home in Hollywood, Florida, a thirty-minute drive from Nanny’s home, with her husband, Lance Henry, a general contractor, and her college-age son Zach. When Dawn and Nanny first met, there was an instant connection. “I fell in love with this lovely little woman immediately,” Dawn said. “I knew she was a real mensch.” Read more

About Cathy Schottenstein

Elder Abuse Impacts the Famous and Non-Famous Alike

Mickey Rooney

Actor, Mickey Rooney

Many seniors are fortunate. They are being well cared for, whether in assisted-living facilities or in their own homes, even though some may be mentally or physically compromised in their advancing years. By contrast, other vulnerable elders are being neglected, abused, isolated, and financially exploited. The sinners committing these crimes may be care facility workers, home health aides, financial advisors—or yes, sadly, even family members.

Elder abuse, which is on the rise during the COVID-19 pandemic, is an ongoing, often hidden social, cultural, and ethical problem. It affects as many as five million people each year, according to the National Center on Elder Abuse. Another non-profit watchdog organization, The National Council on Aging, lists seven aspects of elder abuse, which are often commingled: physical abuse, sexual abuse, emotional abuse, confinement, passive neglect, willful deprivation, and financial exploitation.

Being rich and famous is no protection from predators. In 2011 the Los Angeles Superior Court issued restraining orders against Chris and Christina Aber, the stepchildren of Mickey Rooney. Rooney’s lawyers claimed they emotionally abused and financially exploited the beloved actor. Rooney’s stepchildren were even accused of denying Rooney basic food and medicine. The legendary star died a few years later in 2014. Read more

About Cathy Schottenstein

My 94-Year-Old Grandmother Wants to Wake Us All Up to the Tragedy of Elder Abuse

beverley schottenstein watching the trialOver the last few months, the media has been covering my grandmother’s court case against her two grandsons, Evan and Avi Schottenstein, for massive financial fraud. After over two years since the initial discovery, they, along with J.P. Morgan, were found liable for misappropriating tens of millions of dollars of her money. Together, they were ordered to restore over $19 million to my grandmother. But something else happened in that courtroom that is far more important than any amount of money. The three presiding arbitrators described her experience as a clear case of “elder abuse.”

In a cruel attempt to excuse their criminal activities, Evan and Avi tried to paint my lovely, always meticulously groomed, sharp-as-a-whip grandmother as a liar who suffers from dementia. I was with her throughout this entire journey, and I felt her anguish, sleepless nights, stress that resulted in hair loss, loss of appetite, and other side effects including the anguish that came from having to weather the slanderous lies her grandsons fabricated. These were the heartbreaking results following Nanny’s refusal to let Evan and Avi “off the hook” for the sake of the family name and reputation, as some urged her to do.

Though none of Evan and Avi’s accusations about Nanny were true, the irony is, if they had simply come clean, she would have forgiven them. They did not need to lie or cheat or steal. They just needed to level with her and treat her with the dignity she deserved. She trusted them, and they took advantage of her. No senior deserves this treatment—especially not from one’s own flesh and blood. Read more