March 13, 2024

Los Angeles California; Portland, Oregon

***This is a re-post of a Tumblr story authored by Colin Evans

ImageMeet 87-year old Dr. Maynard Orme. 

Dr. Orme is a well-known character in Portland, Oregon. He was CEO of Oregon Public Broadcasting for over 20 years and was prominent in public television in California before that.

He is a civic leader, was on the board of NPR and PBS, was president of Portland Rotary, and served many causes from jazz radio to historic preservation of railways.

In the 1980’s he produced the documentary “Day After Trinity” about Robert Oppenheimer which was nominated for an Academy Award. At the award ceremony, he wore his High School prom tuxedo with a pale blue ruffled shirt. He is smart, witty, highly regarded and the proud father of two daughters.

If you met him you would love him. 

But being 87 years old has its drawbacks and he needs help with managing his finances and, for sure, managing his blood-sugar levels.

Last summer, his two daughters who live a thousand miles from their dad, were concerned about the decline in his health despite his being looked Imageafter by an old friend who took on the role of live-in paid caretaker a few years ago. After one too many trips to the ER, the family had enough. One family member, a retired doctor, said, “His lack of care is life-threatening. I think this may be the last time I see Maynard alive”. 

The daughters consulted with an Oregon trust attorney to setup his daughters as guardians and Dr. Orme’s caretaker hired a probate elder attorney who insisted on a Guardian/Conservator who would protect his health and his finances.

“We thought we were asking for help and it totally backfired”.

The first recommendation for Conservator turned out to be the woman whose practice was the inspiration for the movie, “I Care A Lot,” that dramatized her career of abuse and corruption in Clackamas County. This should have been a warning. The second suggestion was removed from involvement by the presiding judge for breach of fiduciary duty for offering financial inducement to the paid caretaker, likely in exchange for signing up with him. 

The third recommendation turned out to be no better and the judge named her to also serve as the Conservator to work with the newly hired lawyer.

Let’s check on how they are doing. 

In the months since the probate court appointed “professional fiduciaries”, Dr. Orme has been saddled with an estimate of $500,000 of expenses and fees. The details of his private Living Trust have been made public, a huge part of his valuable personal collections has gone missing and local police have been told not to investigate. Dr. Orme and his family’s complaints have been deliberately ignored, monthly bills have not been paid, his 401K and bank accounts have been liquidated, his mortgages are in default, his real estate has been claimed by the Conservator, his chosen Trustees have been barred from attending to their duties and responsibilities. Friends and family have been denied contact, Dr. Orme was not allowed to spend the holidays with family, and is only allowed to leave his residential unit with the paid caretaker. Dr. Orme suffered depression, his health declined, and he was neglected. 

This is a truly an astonishing catalog of abuse and incompetence that is hard to read and even harder to believe. All of this has been reported by the family to law enforcement, the FBI, and the Adult Protective Services departments in both Oregon and California. 

Old but independent, to sick and broke in six months. A new world record. 

In every imaginable aspect of his life, Dr. Orme was made substantially worse off than before. The private “probate professionals” are billing Dr. Orme thousands of dollars every month whilst neglecting all of their fiduciary duties and neglecting his health.

All this collusion of those paid to protect Dr. Orme took place while the presiding judge of Clackamas County oversees Dr. Orme’s probate case.

“This is judicially enforced exploitation. A Clackamas County probate racket.”

ImageA few months ago, Colin Evans and Michael Kern, two long-time friends of Dr. Orme heard about some of this and arranged to have lunch with him. When they heard from their friend that he was not allowed to visit his daughters and grandkids over Christmas, they supported his wish to leave town and travel to stay with his family in Pacific Palisades, California. He is now safe, happy and with his family, but penniless; prevented from even accessing his Oregon home or his resources from a lifetime of work, he now depends on his family and friends for his care and wellbeing. 

Despite all this depredation, his health and mental faculties have recovered tremendously with help from doctors, family and caregivers. He remains ever cheerful and states repeatedly to everyone including the judge, that he wishes to stay in Pacific Palisades. He has further indicated that he is afraid to return to Oregon, into the hands of paid caretakers and professionals who have medically neglected and exploited him, and whom he certainly no longer trusts. 

One old friend who talked to him after his move to Pacific Palisades said, “I was worried he was failing before. He was foggy but I just talked to him and now he’s BACK”. 

Shameful Probate Horror Story Continues.

Subsequent to his move to Pacific Palisades and despite his repeated statements that he is happy and healthy there, the professionals in Oregon in charge of his wellbeing have engaged in pervasive bullying and harassment in order to force his return to Clackamas County into their clutches. They downplay their bullying, asserting they have a higher status and authority than the family to decide Dr. Orme’s fate.  

His friends and family have been visited by LAPD and Protective Services departments multiple times in Pacific Palisades; the FBI even showed up with accusations that he had been kidnapped and held against his will and without his medications. All of these people found Dr. Orme in great spirits and in great health, with all his required medications, and being looked after with regular visits from two caregivers. They all reported that he is happy and surrounded by joy, grandkids, pets, love, and care.  

Dr. Orme vested a great deal of trust in his Oregon caretaker, and he voluntarily agreed to the professional fiduciary and her retained legal counsel. He does not want to believe that they have conspired to manipulate and defraud him. Yet here we are. From his perspective, all the evidence points in that direction. 

Despite all this, the Conservator has persuaded the Probate Court judge to issue an order for Dr. Orme to return to Clackamas County and to hold his daughter, Jennifer Erwin, in Contempt of Court with a $18,000 fine and additional $500 per day fine until she returns him to the judge. 

Maynard Orme’s only crime is growing old. 

Remember … Dr. Orme has no medical opinion declaring him incompetent, there are no court-ordered restrictions on his travel or association, none of his medications have been defined as life-threatening, and he has a well-designed Living Trust for his property that allows him to decide how his assets are used. Yet he is being treated as if none of these were true.

All of us should be terrified by this. We all aspire to be this well organized so that our autumn years are comfortable and stress free; that our children are left with clear instructions. 

Step back a second to realize how repugnant this court order is.  The Probate Court has no power to arrest or extradite Dr. Orme, so the judge has chosen to solely punish Ms. Erwin until SHE returns him to the Clackamas County Courthouse. It’s a Solomon’s Choice. If Dr Orme is forced to return to Oregon, his will, well-being, and civil rights are sacrificed. His daughter may be subject to criminal charges for abuse, exploitation, and kidnapping.  If Dr. Orme remains in California, as he is entitled to do, his daughter is held in Contempt and the court can order fines, attorney fees, compensation for damages, and even confinement to jail. 

Indeed this judge has the power to arrest Jennifer Erwin should she come to Oregon and not give up her father into the hands of predatory professionals who see him as nothing more than a revenue stream. This is an impossible choice for Dr. Orme’s daughter that amounts to judicial blackmail and over-reach from the bench and an abuse of the judicial process. 

The family is traumatized but saddled up and into the fight.


Rest assured that this is not the end of this story. Dr. Orme is lucky enough to have access to expert legal counsel, and a network of friends ready to help. One of his daughters has made a career of crafting true crime stories for film and television and works tirelessly with the FBI to support anti-human trafficking efforts. They will fight back against a predatory system and pursue any and all appropriate legal recourse. 

The judge is up for re-election in May of 2024 and the professionals shall be reported.

But the message for anyone getting older or anyone looking after elder relatives – and that means everyone – is that they should avoid at all costs engaging with professional guardians, conservators, and especially their bullying lawyers in any part of America. 

Kristin Booth Glen, a former New York judge who helped craft oversight in that state said, “Keeping people out of guardianship in the first place is the single most important thing to do, because once you’re in it, it’s the toilet you get flushed down.” 

Photos: Above: Maynard and me reading this article. Below: Video o Maynard fact checking, Maynard and Jennifer at his grandkid’s baseball game, Maynard escaping Oregon with Jennifer, Maynard showing me around his friend’s collection of automata, Maynard with one of the engines at his Oregon Rail Heritage Foundation.

(Editor’s note: If you or someone you love has been targeted in the courts of Oregon, we want to hear from you. Please reach out to our website:

About Edmund Burke 116 Articles
Volunteers working to help people spot, stop and recover from fraud and corruption in probate, trusts, estates & guardianships.