Inga Eggerud says she just wanted to take care of her longtime elderly friend, Paulette Kohler, in her final years.
In March 2021, the 93-year-old, who has no living relatives, designated Eggerud as her power of attorney and her beneficiary. But the management of the rent-controlled Manhattan condominium where Kohler lives suspected something more sinister.
While Kohler was in a rehab center following surgery last March, the Manager of West End 84 Units LLC filed a petition requesting a Manhattan judge appoint a temporary guardian for the senior citizen. The landlord claimed to have information that “Paulette is no longer able to manage her personal and financial affairs and that she may be the victim of elder financial abuse by her alleged housekeeper and attorney-in-fact, Inga.”
The petition also noted Eggerud is the subject of a “criminal investigation,” but provided no evidence of that investigation with the filing (?). The court appointed a temporary guardian.
“I was shocked,” Eggerud told the I-Team. “I have never taken a dime from Paulette.”
Inga’s longtime employer agrees.
“Inga has been with our family for 20 years and raised my children,” said Barbara Goodstein. “The petition is full of lies.”
In April, the Judge barred Inga from contacting Kohler, and the next month added Goodstein and another friend, Marie Jensen, to the stay-away order. A court spokesman said there was concern the women were acting in concert with Eggerud, who was still under investigation.
No proof has ever been provided of the alleged financial misconduct or any “criminal investigation,” with no evidence presented in any court papers. No specific allegations were ever mentioned in court papers reviewed by the I-Team or in the landlord’s response.
“How can they do this to an elderly woman and take away her rights,” said Eggerud through tears.
Said Barbara, “The guardian system is all about money and Paulette is the one paying all these fees,” said Goodstein. “The proceedings are all secret, so no one knows what’s going on. It’s outrageous. The whole system needs to be exposed. .”
Kohler, who returned home in June, is now hospitalized with pneumonia. The guardian recently decided to let Eggerud visit.
“I just want her to go in peace,” Eggerud says, “and know that there are friends who love her like family.”
Another guardianship hearing is scheduled for Monday, Oct. 17th — but considering Kohler’s rapidly declining health, the legal battle over her care may be over before then.