These are the facts from February 2002 thru October 2004
* On February 26th, 2002, a US Bank trustee was appointed by the Court as trustee of my grandfather's Trust upon the initial
consent of all of the beneficiaries. The letter of appointment was issued by the Court on February 28th, 2002.
Update: Just to make this issue very clear, US Bank was originally chosen by the beneficiaries, based upon misleading information
provided by US Bank. US Bank was *not* chosen by the Court. US Bank was *appointed* by the Court after its selection
by the beneficiaries. US Bank keeps lying on this issue. US Bank would not have been selected if they had been honest
with the beneficiaries about their intentions and if the beneficiaries had known that all of these problems were on the horizon.
A different trustee would have been chosen by the beneficiaries instead.
*The Trust was already fully operational at the time of appointment. The Irrevocable Trust had went into effect at
the time of my grandfather's death at the end of April, 2001 with the trustees that had been selected by my grandfather
and the trust had already been administered and managed by one of those trustees prior to US Bank's appointment.
* At that time, the income beneficiary was my grandmother. The other beneficiaries were their two daughters and son.
* My grandmother was a very frail, elderly, long-term dialysis patient and a dependent adult.
* My grandfather had handled all of the business and legal matters for my grandmother throughout her lifetime.
* At the time that US Bank was appointed trustee, the son, who lived in the basement of my grandparents' home for most of his adult life,
had been preventing all other family members from visiting with and seeing my grandmother. He had total control over my grandmother
insofar as she was a dependent adult. He was also making false statements to her about the intentions of other family members.
This same attorney began acting as if he was representing both the interests of the son and my grandmother.
* This same attorney also began assisting the son in keeping my grandmother away from her family. I have a tape recording of my
grandmother saying that she was told by this attorney that she was not allowed to see her family. Again, this is on tape.
Update: This information is being provided as background to the matter. In other words, these are the circumstances that existed at the time of
US Bank's appointment, and US Bank was fully informed of these circumstances. It is especially important to note that my grandmother
had no business nor financial experience and was being entirely isolated from those family members who did have financial experience.
As you will see in what follows, US Bank fully took advantage of these circumstances for the bank's own financial benefit.
That is to say, US Bank took advantage of the fact that my grandmother did not have any financial/business experience, and
that she was too frail and too impaired by dialysis to ever question the bank's actions and/or audit the bank's accounting.
* During the Spring of 2002, the trustee with US Bank was supposed to have begun managing the assets of the Trust,
including the farmland that was in the Trust.
* The farmland constituted well over 25% of the Trust's assets, and it was the most profitable, aggressive asset in the Trust.
The value of farmland in Iowa has risen substantially in recent years. Indeed, the high-yielding farmland
was easily worth at least twice as much as it had been last appraised.
* One of the trustee responsibilities entailed in managing farmland includes serving a Notice of Farm Tenancy to the existing
farm tenant and drawing up a Farm Lease Agreement with the tenant. These are standard
operating procedures for Trusts. In this case, the farm tenant happened to be the son.
* The two daughters requested an appointment with the trustee for March 18, 2002. At that meeting, they gave him Trust information,
including information about all of the assets. He told them that he had already arranged a meeting with the son's attorney, the son and
my grandmother. The daughters asked if they could attend, but he said that he didn't think they should. They did not
understand why they were not being invited to meetings about the Trust. The trustee did say, however, that he would be
drawing up the Notice and the Farm Lease as soon as possible.
* On May 14, 2002, two months later, one of the daughters left a message for the trustee. He did not return her call.
* On May 16, 2002, the two daughters stopped by the trustee's office to inquire as to whether he had yet done the Notice and the
Farm Lease agreement. He had not. He told them that he had been busy working with [the son's attorney] on other matters
but that he would be working out the details on the lease with the attorney. The daughters told the trustee that they wanted to be
included in the meetings, since they were beneficiaries, as well. The trustee did say, once again, that he would be preparing a Notice
and Farm Lease Agreement with the tenant/son. However, he was very abrupt with them at this meeting.
* After not receiving any communication from US Bank regarding the Trust for three months, the two daughters once again
scheduled an appointment with the trustee for August 12, 2002. During that meeting, they again requested that a Notice
of Farm Tenancy and a Farm Lease be prepared, which he had not yet done. In addition to the lease, the farm-lease termination
notice, i.e., notice of farm tenancy, needed to be completed by a September 1st, 2002 deadline since the previous "lease" had been by oral
agreement. By Iowa law, this had to be done by the first of September in order to be effective for the next year. The trustee then began
suggesting that maybe the farmland should be taken out of the Trust, even as it was the most profitable, aggressive asset in the Trust.
The daughters said that they understood that the farmland was already a part of the Trust and that was how it was supposed to stay.
The daughters pointed out to him that the land was the most profitable Trust asset, and as trustee, he should be well aware of that. This
suggestion from the trustee did not make any sense, and he provided no explanation as to why he was just now suggesting this, six months
after he had been appointed and after he had repeatedly told them that he would be drawing up a Farm Lease agreement.
The daughters explained how they were concerned by this suggestion because their father had specifically created the Trust so as to protect the
farmland from estate tax expenses. The only party who would benefit from the removal of the land from the Trust was the son because then
there would be no need for a Farm Lease agreement and with the transference of the land to my grandmother's name, he would then
be in 100% control of the farmland, as he desired. The daughters were concerned by the extent to which the U.S.Bank trustee was being
influenced by the son's attorney. The trustee announced at this same meeting that he was now working with this attorney on managing
my grandmother's financial affairs, in addition to those of the Trust. In other words, he was being employed by the son's attorney to
manage my grandmother's assets (which had all been put into her name by my grandfather).
August 12th, 2002. Indeed, when the daughters had double-checked the brokerage account in my grandmother's name after this
August meeting with the trustee, they had discovered that the bonds (again, placed in her name by my grandfather) were still being managed by
my grandfather's investment firm. After the August meeting, the daughters couldn't figure out which assets of hers he was purportedly managing.
We have now discovered, after receiving the 2003 accounting in November 2004, that the U.S. Bank trustee was actually anticipating
managing the money that had yet to be transferred from my grandfather's Trust to my grandmother. Those funds (i.e., different bonds) were
not transferred to her until May of 2003. And as we now know, they (i.e., the U.S. Bank trustee and the son's attorney) did not make the
management agreement until February 11th, 2003, per U.S. Bank tax records. Thus, the U.S. Bank trustee, as of August 12th,
was not managing the funds placed in my grandmother's name by my grandfather. Rather, he was anticipating -- presumably based upon
some oral promise from the son's attorney -- managing the funds that, again, had yet to be transferred from my grandfather's Trust
to my grandmother. And, more significantly, the daughters were never told at any time that U.S. Bank had had my grandmother
sign an agreement with them effective as of February 11th, 2003. This was all kept secret from the daughters.
This seemed like a conflict of interest and it was alarming to the daughters because this was the same attorney who had told my grandmother
that she was not allowed to see her family and who, alongside the son, was actively involved in isolating her from all other family members.
This attorney seemed only to be after my grandmother's money, as my grandmother was extremely inexperienced and naive about financial
and legal matters. The son likewise had very little financial or business experience, as he had relied upon my grandfather to manage
the farm business. The daughters had shared their concerns about this attorney and what he was doing to my grandmother
with the trustee at the March 18th meeting. Thus, it was now alarming to hear that the trustee had been working with the
son's attorney, and in the meantime, the daughters had not been receiving any information about the Trust from the
trustee. The daughters also found the trustee's attitude towards them as somewhat arrogant and demeaning during this August 12th
meeting -- as if he did not need to account for the Trust to them. The trustee also tried to say that there should have been a deed
transferring the farmland from the Revocable Trust to the Irrevocable Trust. This did not make any sense because a Revocable
Trust automatically becomes Irrevocable at the time of death. The Trust itself does not change and the titles to the property
within the Trust do not change. When the daughters later questioned this with my grandfather's Trust attorney, he said that
he had never heard of such a thing. At this same meeting, the daughters requested copies of the trustee's file for
the Trust. The trustee actually told them that he did not have anything on file.
This was now six months after he had been appointed, and he had no records on the Trust in his files.
* After again receiving no communication about the Trust for two more months, one of the daughters scheduled a meeting
with a US Bank trustee official who is supposed to oversee the work of this trustee. This meeting was held on October 24, 2002.
This meeting was prompted by a telephone call she had received from the investment firm for the Trust, in which they informed her that
direct deposits into the Trust checking account at US Bank were bouncing back to them with the message that the checking account
for the Trust had been closed. She had not been told that the account was closed, thus had no information. She wanted to know what
had happened to the money in the closed account, which was nearly a quarter of a million dollars. At this meeting, she explained her
concerns about how the trustee was not taking care of business and was not communicating with the daughters. She expressed concern
about how the trustee seemed to be giving unfair privilege to the son's attorney and seemed to be exhibiting partiality towards
the son's interests, as the trustee had talked about meetings with the attorney to which they were never invited or included. She noted
the continual lack of a farm lease agreement or even any information about farm business after eight months. She requested
that US Bank replace this trustee with a different trustee. She also asked this trustee official about whether a deed was
needed between a Revocable Trust and an Irrevocable Trust, as the trustee had stated. This official said that a deed was not needed.
The official said that he would give the trustee a telephone call and visit with him.
* On November 5th, this US Bank official called the daughter and said that he had spoken with the trustee. All he said, in
essence, was that there needed to be better communication between the trustee and the daughters. He said to give the
give the trustee a second chance and to wait for the annual accounting report from the trustee.
* On January 9, 2003, after not hearing from the trustee for another two months, the daughter left another message with the
trustee official who was supposed to be overseeing him. On January 10th, she received a call from the trustee himself. He
told her that he had "volunteered to return [her] message" to the trustee official. The trustee then informed her that he had hired a
new Trust attorney for my grandfather's trust, and thus he had dismissed the Trust attorney with whom my grandfather had worked
and whom my grandfather had selected for the Trust. He also said that this new Trust attorney would be preparing the annual
accounting report. Furthermore, the trustee told her that a Farm manager with US Bank in Lincoln, Nebraska would be taking
care of the farmland in the Trust. The daughter asked what the fee expenses would be for the Farm Manager and for the new Trust
attorney. The trustee said that he did not know but that this information would be in the annual accounting. During this telephone
conversation, the trustee acted abrupt with her, as if he didn't have time to answer her questions. At one point, she actually had
to call him back after he had cut off the conversation, when she was not yet finished with her questions. The daughter requested a
meeting between all beneficiaries of the Trust and the US Bank farm manager. The trustee said that he would arrange a meeting.
During this same phone call, the daughter also expressed concern to the trustee about having been recently informed by the Trust's
investment firm that all of the Trust's investments had been pulled out of their firm by the trustee. The daughters had never been
notified of this action by the trustee, and she was perplexed as to why he had done this. She was concerned about this because
the majority of the investments were tax-free municipal bonds, and she wanted to know if the investments were going to remain the
same now that they were no longer with the firm. Moreover, her father had done business with this firm for many years, and there were
no annual maintenance fees on the investments. However, the trustee would not tell her what he intended to do with the investments.
* On January 17, 2003, the daughters had scheduled a meeting with the new Trust attorney. At that meeting, they asked the attorney
when they were going to receive the 2002 accounting report. The attorney told them that he had not received any
numbers or information from the trustee yet.
* The meeting with the farm manager was scheduled for February 5th. At the meeting on February 5th, the US Bank farm manager
suggested either cash renting the farmland or crop share. The son's attorney insisted that the farming arrangement should
remain the same as the son had been doing it, with farm expenditures and income divided three-ways. As a side note, when my
grandfather's and grandmother's first companion Trusts were established, my grandfather had transferred half of his farmland
into my grandmother's name, as a way to protect the farmland from estate tax expenses. Since that time, the farm arrangement
had been that expenditures and income were divided in thirds, with 2/3rds going to my grandfather and 1/3rd going to the son,
who assisted my grandfather with the farming. After my grandfather's death, the arrangement was that expenditures and income
from the farmland were divided in three-ways between my grandfather's Trust, my grandmother's Trust and the son, who continued
to do the farming. However, after my grandfather's death, the son and his attorney had had my grandmother do away with her Trust and
replaced it with a Will (because probate would be more lucrative for the attorney. The son's attorney had not bothered to tell the son how
many hundreds of thousands of dollars this was going to cost in unnecessary estate taxes. Thus, the son's attorney was ultimately
only looking out for his own interests.) Now, the daughters were not necessarily opposed to this farming arrangement,
as it had been working out fine when their father was alive; however, they did want to make sure that the farmland and farm
finances were being managed appropriately and prudently, especially now that my grandfather was no longer alive to manage
the business details of the farming operation. My grandfather had managed all of the business affairs and accounting
of the farm by himself, and only in his last few years did he seek assistance from one of his daughters. (In addition
to farming, my grandfather had also sold grain bins and seed corn for many years. He was a full-fledged, much-admired
businessman.) In fact, the daughters had already told the US Bank trustee official that they preferred for the son to continue
farming the land under a cash-rent lease agreement, so that the farmland could receive the Family Farm Tax Credit.
At the conclusion of the February 5th meeting, the farming arrangement was to remain the same as it had been.
* On February 10, 2003, the son secretly acquired guardianship of my grandmother, without informing any family members. The
family did not discover this guardianship until surveying court records under my grandmother's name at the end of June of 2003.
* According to Iowa Probate Law, all beneficiaries of an Irrevocable Trust are entitled to an annual accounting from the trustee.
However, by the time February of 2003 had come and gone, US Bank had not provided an accounting for the recent year.
* Out of the blue, on February 21, 2003, the daughters received a copy of a letter that the US Bank trustee had addressed to their
mother on February 18th. In the letter, he had suddenly decided that the farmland should be removed from the Trust.
The only explanation given was that it was not administratively convenient for the trustee to maintain the farmland in the Trust. In this
letter, the trustee acted as if he was advising my grandmother, and he said that she was now the one who "would be in charge" and
"would be responsible for the decision-making concerning the farm real estate" once it was transferred into her name, even as he
knew full well that not only was she of very poor health, but that she had no business experience/knowledge whatsoever
and that it was the son's attorney who was calling the shots for her and who was in regular communication with
the trustee. Again, because my grandfather had handled all of the financial business for my grandmother throughout her life,
she was especially naive about business matters. The way in which the letter was addressed to her appeared disingenuous and
suspicious. It was additionally suspicious when the trustee proceeded to offer to her the farm management services of US Bank
for the farmland that would be transferred to her name from the Trust and the farmland that had been put into her name by my
grandfather. Apparently, US Bank could not manage the farmland that was in the Trust, yet they could offer their services
to her, knowing full well that she wasn't the person making the business decisions in the first place and had never been
involved in the farm business. The letter appeared a disingenuous formality. After the meeting on February 5th,
this sudden reversal of course regarding the farmland seemed highly suspicious.
* On March 26, 2003, the suspicions were confirmed. This is when the daughters received an envelope from the son's attorney (operating
as if he were my grandmother's attorney) with a notification of a hearing on April 24th, regarding an application to re-fund
the trust without the farmland. The son's attorney was the person who devised the application and submitted it. When asked,
the Trust attorney claimed that he did not draw up the paperwork, but rather that the son's attorney had authored the application and
had requested the hearing. However, US Bank willingly went along with and supported this attorney's actions, even as
the removal of the farmland contradicted their own funding formula for Trusts and would mean the loss of the most
aggressive, profitable asset in the Trust. It was now obvious that the letter to my grandmother had indeed been disingenuous
and contrived, since the matter had apparently already been coordinated between the trustee and the son's attorney.
*This attempt to remove the farmland from the Trust was purely in the interests of the son. By removing the farmland from the Trust
and transferring it to my grandmother, the son would obtain 100% control over and eventual ownership of both my grandfather's
land and the land previously placed in her name. The son not only had guardianship and control over my grandmother as a dependent
adult, but he also had recently had her change her Will in his favor. The fact that US Bank was going along with this scheme,
to the contradiction of their established funding formulas and with disregard for what was most profitable for the Trust,
exhibited bias towards the son's financial interests over and above the interests of the other beneficiaries and what was
most prudent for the Trust. Such partiality goes against the Iowa Trust Code.
*US Bank supported the removal of the farmland from the Trust, claiming that it was inconvenient to manage the farmland insofar as half
the farmland properties were in my grandmother's name. US Bank claimed that it would "constantly need to consult" with my
grandmother about decisions. The trustee waited to make this assessment until a full year after he had accepted the
appointment, even as he knew about the farming arrangement from the start and even as he was on very congenial terms with the
son's attorney and had been employed by this attorney to manage my grandmother's assets. Since the trustee had said that he was
simultaneously managing my grandmother's assets, this claim of "inconvenience" rang hollow. It also rang hollow because my
grandmother clearly was not in the capacity to be making decisions and had never made any decisions about the farmland in the first
place, even after my grandfather passed away. And in truth, all the US Bank trustee would have needed to have done is to have
drawn up a lease with the farm tenant, the son -- which the US Bank trustee never did, even as he had repeatedly said that he
would. All that was required in managing the land was to lease it out to a tenant, but US Bank seemed incapable of doing this.
*Update: In fact, unbeknownst to the daughters, the son had taken my grandmother to have a geriatric evaluation at the beginning of 2002.
Apparently, the son and his attorney did not read/parse that geriatric evaluation very closely. The geriatric evaluation documents my grandmother's
diminished mental capacity and advises that she should NOT make any major financial decisions. Again, that evaluation was done at the
beginning of 2002, and this proves the falsity of US Bank's claims in their February 18th, 2003 letter -- a year after that evaluation.
* To the extent that US Bank had decided to remove the farmland from the Trust and then proceeded to offer their farm management services
for that farmland once it was removed, it appeared as if US Bank was putting its own financial concerns ahead of the interests
of what was most profitable for the Trust. It was also apparent that the removal of the farmland from the Trust would be more
convenient for US Bank insofar as they would not have to deal with the daughters' requests for financial information
about the farmland. As of the end of March, the beneficiaries still had not received an annual accounting for 2002.
* Update: We have now learned that the February 5th, 2003 meeting was a sham. We now have solid evidence that a deal had already
been made in January of 2003 between the son and US Bank and that US Bank had already assured the son that the farmland would
be taken out of my grandfathers Trust and transferred to my grandmother. So the February 5th, 2003 meeting was a fraudulent attempt to
temporarily appease the daughters and to make US Bank appear neutral, even as a deal had already been made with the son and even as US Bank
had already decided to take the farmland out of the Trust in January. To underscore, I can say, as a matter of fact, that a deal had already
been made with the son in January. US Bank was anything but impartial in their handling of the farmland.
I can also say now, as a matter of fact, that US Bank was anything but impartial with their handling of the other Trust assets, as well. In action
after action, US Bank exhibited bias against the daughters and bias in favor of the son. And this bias served the financial benefit of US Bank, as well.
*To backtrack momentarily, on February 21, 2003, immediately upon receiving the copied letter from the US Bank trustee, one of the
daughters contacted my grandfather's original Trust attorney. She faxed him a copy of the letter from the trustee. This original
Trust attorney said that the Credit Shelter Trust was already funded and that the trustee could not use different assets. The original Trust
attorney said that he would be drafting a letter to the trustee, since it was not in the trustee's discretion to be changing that. He also
said that what US Bank was trying to do was not what their father wanted and that for the trustee to change this was wrong.
On March 3rd, the original Trust attorney confirmed that he had sent the letter, yet he had received no response from the US Bank
trustee. Again, he reiterated that the Trust was already funded and that the trustee should not be switching assets.
* On March 31, 2003, the real estate taxes for the Trust farmland went delinquent and were not paid by the trustee. This delinquency
was discovered when it was published in the local newspaper on June 3, 2003. This was an embarassment to the family. Soon after in
June, the son apparently paid the real estate taxes that were supposed to have been paid by the trustee, and this was at a time in June
when the farmland was still in the Trust, so the taxes were still US Bank's responsibility.
* The US Bank trustee tried to claim, after the fact, that he had not paid the taxes because he was in the process of conveying the land to
the spouse, my grandmother. However, the hearing on the application was not until April 24, 2003, so he could not have been
in the process of conveying any property as of March 31st, when the taxes were due.
* At the beginning of March of 2003, one of the daughters visited with a trustee from another bank in Des Moines about how the US
Bank trustee was not following the original terms, intentions and purposes of my grandfather's Trust in trying to remove the farmland.
That trustee recommended an attorney to the daughter. When the daughter contacted this attorney via phone on March 6th, the attorney
claimed that she knew how to have a trustee replaced, and she seemed knowledgeable about the procedures. The attorney
said that she would take care of the matter for them. The daughter then sent the attorney a packet of background information on the
case. After reviewing this information, the attorney said that she would work to get US Bank to relinquish the trusteeship.
*On March 21, 2003, this attorney said that she would be going to talk with the US Bank trustee official who supervised the trustee during
the next week. At this point, she said that she had worked with this same US Bank official beforehand and that she knew him very well.
She acted as if this prior familiarity would serve favorable in getting US Bank to relinquish the Trust.
* When this attorney was faxed a copy of the application to remove the farmland on March 27th, she said that "there were a lot of things
wrong with the application." She acted as if it would be easy for her to contest. On April 8th, one of the daughters emailed the
attorney to see if she had yet spoken with the US Bank official. The next morning, the attorney emailed back and said that she
had just contacted US Bank that morning. The attorney said she was expecting a call back from her "contact" at US Bank the
next day, and that she would call the daughter after that conversation. She did not say who that "contact" was. However, the attorney
never did call the daughter back to report what was discussed.The daughters were never informed of what the attorney had specifically
discussed with US Bank. Indeed, at the end of April, when the daughters received the bill for legal services from this attorney, the bill
showed three different teleconferences between this attorney and US Bank officials that were never mentioned nor disclosed to the
daughters, including a previously-undisclosed teleconference with the US Bank trustee apparently held the day before the hearing.
* The daughters received a letter from my grandfather's original Trust attorney on April 17th, 2003. In this letter, he stated that he had received
a copy of the application by the son's attorney. In this letter, the original Trust attorney stressed once more that the credit shelter
trust had already been funded with the farmland and with a percentage of the investments. He explained how he was powerless
now that he was no longer Trust attorney, but he wanted to make sure that the daughters were represented at that hearing. On that
same day, the 17th, one of the daughters called the original Trust attorney. He urged them to have their attorney speak with him.
* On April 17th, the daughter called their attorney and left a message, along with the phone number of the original Trust attorney. On
April 18th, the attorney returned her call. The daughter asked her if they could come meet with her at her office in Des Moines before the
hearing on April 24th. They had never met with her in person, only via telephone, and a meeting seemed necessary before the hearing. This
attorney declined to meet with them in person. She said that it was not necessary and that she was accustomed to doing teleconferences
instead. This was very concerning; however, it was too late to find another attorney before the hearing on the 24th. In that
conversation on the 18th, the daughter also told the attorney to call the original Trust attorney to get information about his prior
work on the Trust. The daughter explained how the original Trust attorney had told her that the credit shelter trust had already been
funded. On April 21st, the daughter called their attorney again so as to review the issues that were to be raised at the hearing in regards
to why the farmland should not be removed from the Trust. They also discussed what the daughters were going to say at the hearing.
* Furthermore, on April 17th, in a telephone conversation, one of the daughters asked the new Trust attorney who he was representing in the
matter. He said that he was representing the trustee and US Bank. When she asked him, well, who is representing my father's Trust
then? After hem-hawing a bit, he actually responded that the son's attorney was representing the Trust. Yet a month later, in the middle of
May, he submitted an invoice for legal services for my grandfather's Trust for approval. Thus, it was my grandfather's Trust that was
paying for him to represent and defend US Bank. During this conversation, the daughter also told the Trust attorney what she had
been told by her father's original Trust attorney. The new Trust attorney claimed that the credit shelter trust had not been funded.
* On the day of the hearing, April 24th, the daughters' attorney did not show-up until five minutes before the hearing.
When one of the daughters tried to follow the attorney into the chambers, she was told by this attorney that she should
not come in, thus she could not observe nor speak during the hearing. The attorney told both of the daughters that they had
to wait in the hall during the hearing. In less than fifteen minutes, the attorney emerged from the room and announced that the
matter was "cut and dried" and that the land was to be taken out of the Trust. Given that the hearing had taken fewer than fifteen
minutes and given that no record nor transcript of the proceedings was created and given that the daughter was told to stay out of
the hearing -- when she was entitled to be present -- given all of that, there was the appearance that the attorney had betrayed the
daughters and had made a deal with US Bank prior to the hearing. This attorney had clearly misled her clients in telling them
that the application to remove the farmland was riddled with errors and would be easy to challenge. She obviously had
not taken the time to address those errors nor defend their interests in those fifteen minutes.
* Furthermore, immediately after the hearing, when the daughters asked this attorney if they could appeal the decision, she
actually told them "absolutely not." What kind of an attorney would so adamantly discourage an appeal? This
was not operating on behalf of the interests of her clients, but rather on behalf of the interests of US Bank.
* When the daughters later reviewed the "findings of fact" from the April 24th hearing, they discovered that the only "comments and
suggestions" presented by the attorney was that her clients "wanted to be part owners of the real estate after the termination
of the Trust." This overly-simplistic comment had not been the daughters' rationales for the appeal. This attorney apparently
had not raised any of the real, substantial issues about how the attempt to remove the farmland -- the most aggressive asset
in the trust -- was detrimental to what was most profitable to the Trust and contradicted US Bank's own established formulas
for Trusts. Nor had she raised the issue of the partiality behind the application in the first place. Nor had she raised the
issue of the failure of US Bank to manage the farmland, provide an accounting and create a farm lease with the tenant from
February 2002 through March of 2003. Nor had she raised the issue of how the removal of the land from the Trust undermined my
grandfather's Trust document and frustrated his intentions and purposes when creating the Trust. Nor had she raised the issue that
the original Trust attorney had said that the credit shelter trust had already been funded, as he had discussed with her. Nor had she
raised the issue of the significant tax expenses that would be incurred by taking the farmland out of the Trust. (Again, the son's
attorney had done away with my grandmother's companion Trust, since the attorney would make more money from a Will than
from a Trust, and thus the farmland, when transferred to my grandmother, would not be protected from estate taxes, which
was one of my grandfather's purposes in creating the Trusts in the first place. US Bank seemed unconcerned about
these significant additional expenses, as well.) However, all of these substantial arguments appear to have been
entirely absent from her "comments and suggestions" during the hearing. Instead, they discovered that the Judge had
written that "the facts set forth in this Application are unrefuted," meaning that the attorney had not contested them
as she had said that she would. The attorney had not even filed a Resistance, as had been recommended to her by my
grandfather's original Trust attorney. And no transcript had been made of the hearing, even as one should have been.
*In a telephone conversation with this attorney on April 28th, this attorney again said that they should not appeal. She also said
that US Bank actually did not have to have gotten Court approval to take the farmland out of the Trust, and that they could
have done it without approval. The attorney had never told them this prior to the hearing. She now made it sound as if US Bank was
justified in doing what they had done, which completely contradicted how she had represented the matter prior to the hearing. She had
entirely misled the daughters by telling them that there were numerous problems with the application, with the lack of accounting
information and with how the matter was being handled by US Bank. Obviously, there were indeed problems, as she had originally
stated; however, at some point the daughters' attorney had decided not to pursue and challenge those problems on behalf of the
daughters. She had misled them by not pursuing these problems as she had said that she should would. When the daughter asked
this attorney why US Bank took it to Court then, the attorney said, "They wanted the Court to sprinkle a little Holy water on it."
In other words, US Bank wanted to relieve itself of liability when disposing of the most profitable, aggressive asset in the Trust.
Update: Obviously, this attorney was lying when she said that U.S. Bank could have taken the farmland out of the Trust without getting
approval. The Iowa Trust Code clearly states, "Any transaction involving the trust which is affected by a substantial conflict
between the trustee's fiduciary and personal interests is voidable by a beneficiary affected by the transaction unless one of the following
applies."[Duty of Loyalty-Impartiality-Confidential Relationship]. U.S Bank (and the son's attorney) knew full well that if they did not obtain
Court permission, the daughters could have petitioned to void the transaction later on. U.S. Bank also knew full well that the bank could be held
liable for imprudently removing the most aggressive, profitable asset. Both U.S. Bank and the son's attorney had a great deal at stake in the case --
enough at stake, in all likelihood, to buy out and/or make a deal with the opposing counsel.
Update.2: Of course, U.S. Bank failed to disclose at the time its actual motive and reason for removing the farmland, i.e., the apparent
quid-pro-quo agreement with the son and the son's attorney for the U.S. Bank trustee to continue managing over 820,000 of former trust funds in a
brand new account AFTER they were transferred to my grandmother -- an agreement that was made sometime in early 2003 (per U.S. Bank tax
records, dating the establishment of that new account to February 11, 2003, a mere 6 days after the February 5, 2003 meeting). This agreement
was not disclosed until November of 2004. In other words, U.S. Bank hid this agreement from the daughters. Although the
U.S. Bank trustee had mentioned managing some of my grandmother's financial affairs in August 2002, he had NEVER mentioned any new
"investment management trust" agreement for my grandmother nor that he had facilitated such an agreement in February of 2003. And in truth, the
U.S. Bank trustee did not begin managing any of her money until May of 2003, and all of those funds were funds that were transferred from my
had had their mother sign an agreement in February of 2003, which directly coincided with their decision to remove the farmland from the Trust.
(NOTE: this alleged "investment management trust" agreement is NOT at all the same as what my grandfather had set up for her and does NOT
address any of the estate tax problems created by the breaking of her original Trust by the son's attorney. Those estate tax problems still exist.)
Update.3: This new agreement that U.S. Bank apparently had my grandmother sign in 2003 was made nearly a year after a geriatric
evaluation in which it was stated that my grandmother should NOT make any major financial decisions by herself, given her
diminished capacity. What this means is that U.S. Bank had no business creating such an agreement when they knew full well that
the son and the son's attorney were the ones in control and were the ones who were making the decisions for my grandmother.
* In this conversation on April 28th, this attorney was terminated from the case by the daughters. The attorney confirmed
that her representation was terminated in a letter dated April 29th, 2003. The attorney said that she would do a "write-off" of
her services in the case. It was unlikely that this attorney would have done a "write off" if she was not well-aware that she had betrayed
the daughters. Or if there had not been some kind of a deal made, and she had been compensated in some other way. Yet the attorney said
she would keep the retainer deposit, which was still much more than she deserved. However, this attorney did not withdraw her name from the
Court record as the daughters had requested. As a result, important legal documents were sent to this attorney's office by the son's attorney,
yet she never forwarded them to the daughters. On July 9th, after discovering this, the daughter once again wrote to the attorney and asked
her to remove her name from the Court record. Instead, the attorney waited until August 15th, and right before finally withdrawing her
name from the record, she submitted a false affidavit on behalf of the son's attorney, falsely claiming that she
had notified the daughters of the documents when she had never done so.
This action solidified the daughters' realization that they had been betrayed by this attorney.
* As of the beginning of May 2003, the US Bank trustee still had not provided the required annual accounting for
the Trust for 2002. No financial information had been provided since his appointment 14 months earlier.
* On May 8, 2003, one of the daughters called an official at US Bank in Milwaukee who was above the trustee supervisor whom she had
contacted earlier in October of 2002. Initially, he seemed to be listening to her concerns about this trustee and the lack of an accounting.
* On May 14, 2003, the daughter faxed a letter with further information about the Trust and the issues regarding the trustee to this Milwaukee
US Bank official. Again, she noted that there was still no annual accounting. To paraphrase, she noted how the daughters had not
been included in meetings between the trustee and the son's attorney, and had always had to initiate communication with the trustee, as
the trustee had made no efforts to communicate with them, even as it was his obligation to keep them reasonably informed.
She noted how this same attorney with whom their trustee was working was involved in the isolation of my grandmother from
the entire family. She noted how the US Bank trustee had to be aware that my grandmother had no business experience whatsoever,
that she was physically weak and that she was being taken advantage of by this attorney -- the same attorney that US Bank let
draw-up the legal documents for the removal of the farmland and then supported, even as the action went against US Bank's
own formulas for funding trusts. She noted how it appeared as if the trustee saw the opportunity to make more money from this
situation of isolation and undue influence by arranging with the son's attorney to manage my grandmother's financial affairs
in addition to my grandfather's Trust. This extremely unfortunate and sad situation seemed only an opportunity for US Bank to make
more money, while turning a blind eye to what was happening to my grandmother. (Although U.S. Bank itself was not responsible
for the isolation and undue influence, they did have a choice as to whether to support and collaborate with the son's attorney, while
leaving the daughters out of the loop, and they also had a choice of whether or not to further profit from this situation in which my
grandmother clearly appeared weak and vulnerable, due to her deteriorating health condition and her isolation from her entire family.) To
paraphrase, the daughter also noted how the trustee pretended in his letter to my grandmother that she understood the financial matters he
was discussing, even though he had to have known from meeting her that she did not understand and had never made business
decisions in her life. He had to have known that the son and the son's attorney were the ones making the decisions about managing
my grandmother's financial affairs. Instead, he pretended as if US Bank was only working with her and that she was the person in
charge, and he addressed her as if she were a skilled business woman who regularly made decisions. He had to have known the
opposite was the case. For this reason, the trustee's letter to my grandmother appeared disingenuous. To further paraphrase, the daughter
also noted how US Bank now seemed to be hiding behind the decision by the Court insofar as they were now claiming that they simply
had to do what the Court ordered, as if they had not had a choice in initiating and supporting the proceedings to remove the farmland
in the first place. US Bank could have just as easily opposed the proceedings on the basis that it contradicted their funding
formulas for Trusts and that the farmland was the most profitable asset. Indeed, their father's original Trust attorney had told
the daughters that if US Bank wanted to, it could still ask the Court to reverse the April 24th decision. US Bank was not simply
an innocent bystander that now had to follow orders. US Bank had had the responsibility of protecting the Trust's profitability
and doing what was most prudent for the Trust (and not their own administrative convenience). She noted that if this trustee
could not manage farmland in this particular case, then he was not qualified to have been trustee in the first place. She
again requested that US Bank replace this trustee with a different trustee.
* On May 17th, the daughters finally received a copy of the accounting report from the Trust attorney. However, there were some glaring
omissions and problems. Although the trustee claimed to be reporting all of the receipts and disbursements from February 28, 2002
through December 31, 2002, the report failed to show any disbursements and income prior to September 19th, 2002 -- nearly
seven months after his appointment. Due to their access to checking account records for part of 2002, the daughters were aware
of at least six checks that had been written from their father's Trust checking account by the US Bank trustee between March 27th
and August 26th, 2002 and that were not being accounted for in the report. Those six checks had ranged from a high of approx. 8,000
dollars to a low of approx. 800 dollars and totaled nearly 20,000 dollars combined. Although these checks appeared to be for legitimate
business purposes -- though, he had written three checks for the purchase of cashiers checks to undisclosed parties -- it was
incomprehensible how the trustee could have omitted disbursements of such large sums from the accounting. Moreover, there
were no income receipts reported for this period, as well. In addition, there was a bill from this new Trust attorney that did not have
dates nor itemizations of hours on the bill, only a listing of services and a total dollar figure. It was unclear when the services had
been rendered, especially given that the attorney was claiming all of the services had been rendered in 2002, even as the daughters were
not informed of this new attorney until January 10th, 2003. The daughters had been told by the original Trust attorney that he did not
even know that he had been dismissed until the end of January of 2003. And there were no hours listed whatsoever on the bill, as one
would expect from an attorney. Furthermore, the US Bank statement that the trustee submitted as the transaction report said on the top
of the first page, "This statement is for the period of May 30, 2002 to December 31, 2002." There was no bank statement provided
for prior to May 30th, and even the transactions on this statement did not actually begin until September 19th. The report was
additionally confusing as the trustee had labeled it an "Initial Report," not an Annual Accounting, and yet the Irrevocable Trust had
been in operation since April of 2001. And according to the Iowa Trust Code, an Annual Accounting and an Initial Report are
two separate responsibilities. Technically, the report provided by the trustee was not an actual Annual Accounting, to the extent that
it was only labeled as an "Initial Report" and to the extent that it was only for a fraction of the year from Sept. 19th to Dec. 31st
and to the extent that further financial details from 2002 were needed for an actual accounting.
* The US Bank trustee stated in the report, "The period covered by this report is from the date of appointment of US Bank as
successor trustee, which was February 28, 2002 through December 31, 2002." And then further stated, "Attached hereto and
made a part hereof is an asset summary and an asset detail reflecting the assets held by the trust as of December 31, 2002. A
transaction detail reflects all receipts and disbursements for the period covered by this report."
* However, a closer inspection of the US Bank statement from May 30th through December 31st revealed that the overwhelming
majority of the transactions had not taken place until December 24th, 2002. And yet the Trustee was requesting that the Court approve
financial compensation for his services prorated based upon the February 28th date through the end of 2002. Moreover, the statement
represented the farmland as if it had only been put into the Trust as of August 14th, 2002, even as the farmland was part of the Trust
since its origination and was already in the Trust when the trustee was appointed. More concerning was that the Market Value of the
farmland was conspicuously missing in several columns, whereas the Market Value of all other reported assets were registered. The Market
Value of the land, however, was registered as zero dollars in three different places in the banking statement, when there should have been
dollar amounts given. This was alarming. As of December 31st, 2002, the farmland constituted over 25% of the Trust, and yet it was being
given no financial value at the end of the year. Moreover, there was no representation of over a half a million dollars worth of farm
machinery that belonged to the Trust. As a consequence, the Total Market Value of the Trust was incorrect by a large amount and
significantly lower than it should have been -- over a million dollars lower than what it should have been as of December 31st, 2002.
As a result of this incorrect Total Market Value for the Trust, the Total Rate of Return was also calculated wrong and thus the Rate of
Return was misrepresented as higher than it actually was. Meanwhile, the Total Distributions were also wrong insofar as they
did not include disbursements prior to September 19th, and this, too, skewed the reported "Adjusted Market Value" figure and
Rate of Return. Moreover, there was no accounting for the Net Revenue nor Net Income from the farmland asset or the
Rate of Return on the farmland asset for 2002. The "Sources of Return" appeared to have only been calculated based upon a portion of
the Bonds and Money Market accounts in the Trust, while entirely neglecting to account for any of farmland income in the Investment
Return. Moreover, no explanation nor calculation was provided for how the trustee arrived at the "Total Account Accrued Income" figure
(which, oddly enough, was the exact same figure given as "Change in Accrued Income" elsewhere in the bank statement). This figure just
mysteriously appeared without any demonstrated calculation or origins. The figure, however, was clearly too low so as to have included
income from the farmland, although the Trust should have received 1/3rd of the farm income from 2002. The figure was also too low to
have included all of the income receipts from investments during this seven-month period. Furthermore, on the first page of the US Bank
statement, in the fine print, where the statement claimed to be representing an "Asset Summary as of 12/31/02," one of the three headings was
"Est. Annual Income" or otherwise Estimated Annual Income, not Actual. One had to read the fine print carefully to realize that what
was being presented as end-of-the-year numbers were estimations. And, once again, the Asset Summary did not include the
farmland nor "Est. Annual Income" from the farmland. Also, the "estimated annual income" on the first page was much higher
than the unexplained "Total Account Accrued Income" (or "Change in Accrued Income") represented on the Account Summary page.
The "estimated annual income" was three times higher than the amount for the actual Total Accrued Income from "5/30/02 - 12/31/02,"
when one would expect for it to be less than twice the amount using a seven month ratio. There was also no explanation as to how the trustee
derived the "Net Change in Asset Value" on the Account Summary page. The figure did not appear anywhere else in the seven pages of
the bank statement, and it was not clear what time duration and what assets were being used to calculate the Net Change. It was clear,
however, that the figure was far too low to have included the increase in the Asset Value of the farmland during 2002.
* There were additional concerns about missing farm subsidies checks that the daughters knew should have been included in the
accounting, yet were not. There were also concerns about the trustee's purchase of over 200,000 Units of a particular Money
Market Fund for the Trust. He had purchased these Units with the proceeds from the U.S. Bank checking account. After making
this purchase, he proceeded to inexplicably sell and buy much smaller quantities during November and December, generating
Trust and Investment Fees that were charged to the Trust. Those fees amounted to approximately 25% of the Interest Income
Earned from the Money Market Fund for the Trust during those three months at the end of 2002.
* All of these issues and several additional issues were represented in the daughters' response and then subsequent responses to the accounting
report submitted to the Court during June, July and August. The first response was submitted to the Court on June 16th, directly
before the hearing on the approval of the "accounting" report. At that hearing, the daughters explained how the accounting report was
incomplete insofar as check distributions and income receipts were missing from before September 19th, 2002. Since only the Trust attorney
had appeared and the trustee was not at the hearing to answer the questions, the Judge ordered a Continuance during which the
US Bank trustee would submit further information in response to the daughters' objections/concerns.
* The hearing for the approval of the "accounting" report was finally rescheduled for July 14th, and on that same day, before the hearing,
the trustee filed a response to the issues and concerns that had been raised in the daughters' response to the accounting report on
June 16th. The trustee now qualified that the accounting had reflected "all receipts and disbursements for the period in question
of those assets which were maintained on the books of the US Bank Trust Department." He claimed, in effect, that US Bank
had not yet "received" three accounts, i.e., a "savings account at US Bank," an account at another local bank, and a Brokerage Account
with an investment firm, and that these accounts were "not moved to US Bank's Trust Department until after September 2002."
However, the trustee was wrong on two counts: first, my grandfather's Trust never had a "savings account" at US Bank. Rather,
the Trust had a checking account at US Bank and the trustee happened to have issued those six checks from the Trust checking
account between March and August. Second, obviously the trustee did have control over the checking account if he was issuing
checks from the account beginning in March, so it made no sense that he was trying to say that the US Bank checking account
was not moved to the Trust Department until September. He was obviously in control of the account in March if he was issuing checks
from it. The trustee was the person who was not "maintaining on the books" records of the checks he was writing from the account.
This seemed too convenient to say that he did not have to account for disbursements and income because these assets had not yet
been moved to the Trust Department, when they happened to constitute the only major Trust assets, aside from the farmland.
The trustee was the person who was responsible for initiating the movement of the assets to the Trust Dept., and yet
he waited until the end of the year to transfer all of the assets in my grandfather's Trust to the Trust Department. Thus,
insofar as no assets were "maintained on the books" of the Trust Dept. prior to September 19th (or the claim of Aug. 14th for the
farmland), this logic served to exempt the trustee from providing any numbers or accounting prior to September 19th.
As long as the assets were not moved by him to the Trust Department, he didn't have to account for them.
And yet he could still get paid for February 28th through the end of the 2002 year by this logic.
To the contrary, as trustee, he was responsible for the assets in the Trust wherever they were located at,
and he knew where all of the assets were located at by March of 2002.
* The trustee did, nonetheless, provide the requested detailed accounting for the six checks that he had neglected to account for in
the report in May. However, what appeared strange now was that he seemed to be purchasing cashier's checks for the Trust that
were not only for paying the Trust's real estate taxes, but also apparently for paying the real estate taxes of my grandmother's property
in 2002. He was using one cashier's check to pay both the Trust's property taxes and my grandmother's property taxes. For proper
accounting purposes, those disbursements should have been separated and should have been reflected as part of her income benefits.
And yet there were no records of any income benefit disbursements whatsoever in the accounting. Additionally, the trustee had also
issued two other checks in which he was combining payments to completely different parties that should have been separated into
individual disbursements. In other words, the trustee was issuing one check to purchase two cashier's checks. And although
the trustee provided an explanation for each of the six checks, he never produced a revised bank statement that
accounted for how these disbursements impacted the other calculations and figured into the 2002 totals.
The accounting remained incomplete when these disbursements had not yet been factored in.
*The trustee next tried to claim that "from the time of appointment through September 19, 2002, the Trustee was in the process of locating
the assets and marshalling assets and accordingly, no activity occurred in the accounting for the Trust maintained by US Bank."
In essence, he was claiming that it took seven months to "locate" the farmland, the Brokerage account which was held in one
investment firm (and this same investment firm regularly made deposits into the Trust's US Bank checking account), an account
at another local bank and, again, the US Bank checking account. This could not have taken seven months, especially when the US Bank
trustee was informed by the daughters of all four of these Trust assets in March of 2002. He was even been given aerial maps
of the farm at that time. And, actually, according to the accounting from May, the Brokerage investments were not "marshalled" until
December 24th, 2002. Nor was the local bank account "marshalled" until December 19th. So, it actually took ten months to marshal
these assets, even as it should have only taken less than one month. In addition, it should have been obvious that the farmland asset
required disbursements between February and September, so activity had to have been occurring in the Trust during this period.
*In response to the concerns about no income being reported prior to September 19th, the trustee simply submitted a 1099 from the
investment firm for 2002. Again, there was no effort to produce a revised bank statement that itemized these income receipts
(which had been deposited into the US Bank checking account throughout 2002, so the trustee had to have been aware of them as income
that needed to be reported in the accounting for 2002) and that included those income receipts in the total calculations for 2002.
*The trustee also claimed that "US Bank does not regularly confer with beneficiaries on normal occurring administrative decisions.
That is the role of the Trustee and US Bank is fulfilling that role. US Bank provided to all beneficiaries a copy of the annual
accounting on February 5, 2003." This was a blatant lie. No accounting was provided at the February 5th meeting.
This was clearly a lie. No accounting was issued until May 16th. It was obvious from surveying the court
records for the Trust that the trustee did not submit the accounting to the Court for approval until May 16th.
Next, he tried to say that "US Bank cannot be expected to confer daily with beneficiaries concerning all administrative aspects of
the Trust. US Bank is now conferring with the Tenant concerning the farm management." First, the daughters did not expect to
"confer daily" with the trustee; rather, they simply expected for him to keep them reasonably informed, as is stipulated by the Iowa
Trust Code. After all, they were the ones who had had to contact him every two to three months, only to find out each time that
he had no financial information available for the Trust. Second, insofar as the Tenant was also a beneficiary, the daughters had
a reasonable request to be included in those farm management discussions. Also to note, this July 14th response from U.S.Bank
was after the daughters had submitted an appeal of the farmland decision on May 22nd, so the farmland was still in the Trust.
*In the July 14th response, the trustee provided a total for the overall hours and the per hour fee of the Trust attorney, although the bill
was still not itemized with hours per meeting nor with dates from 2002 for the services, as had been requested, and the
arithmetic did not quite equal the rounded amount that had been originally given. These dates were important because the daughters had
not even known that this Trust attorney was working with their father's Trust until mid-January of 2003. One of the services listed was
regarding "acceptance of new trust," which would have been at the time when my grandfather's original Trust attorney was still
representing the Trust; however, no bill was being submitted on behalf of my grandfather's original attorney. And the missing dates
on the bill were also important because one of the conferences included a meeting with the son's attorney "to review
pending trust matters" of which the daughters were never made aware.
* In the time in between June 16th and July 14th, the daughters had had the opportunity to more closely inspect the bank statement and
examine the numbers and details. With the small print of the numbers and the columns, it was very easy to oversight or miss details.
However, under closer scrutiny, this is when they discovered that the farmland had been registered as zero dollars in several places, that
the "Sources of Return" was far too low to have included farm income, or even all of the income from the investments, and that the
totals on the Investment Return and Rate of Return were miscalculated as a result. And the Rate of Return, as it was stated, was
not even calculated correctly based upon the numbers that were given, since the Rate was actually 3.5 percentage points lower than
what was stated. The correct rate, based on the numbers given in the report, was 1.99%, not 5.49%, as was stated. The calculation was
plainly wrong. And as forementioned, they also noticed how many of the transactions were dated December 24th, 2004 and how the Asset
Summary on the front page was based upon Estimated Annual Income. In addition, they noticed that the accounting records on
the disbursements actually didn't begin until November 13, 2002, so there was still a gap between September 19th and
November 13th, and they wondered if there were any disbursements during those two months. Since the trustee had closed the
Trust checking account on September 19th, the daughters had no longer been able to monitor disbursements. And instead of calculating and
providing Net Revenue and Net Income from the Farmland Asset, two cash receipts from the selling of corn (on December 24th, no less)
had been lumped in as "contributions" alongside the cash receipt from the closing of the US Bank checking account by the trustee on
September 19th and alongside an income tax refund. These were obviously not included in the Sources of Return nor were there
any other receipts from the farmland reported, including the missing farm subsidies checks.
* At the July 14th hearing, one of the daughters again brought up the issue of the lack of communication and not being included
in meetings, and how it was the trustee's responsibility to keep them informed. The Trust attorney tried to say that they had been
at the February 5th meeting; however, it was the daughter who had requested that meeting in the first place on January 10th.
The daughter pointed out that there was no accounting for the Trust at that meeting. Plus, that meeting was entirely voided out
by the trustee's decision later in February to remove the farmland. They stressed how the "initial report" was still not complete,
and did not account for the farmland. They discussed the delinquent property taxes from March 31st, 2003 -- which had been noted
in the daughters' response to the accounting report. The Trust attorney said that US Bank would pay the penalty. They then
discussed why US Bank had let the son's attorney prepare the paperwork for the removal of the farmland from the Trust
when they ought to have known that my grandmother was being unduly influenced and when that ought to have been
the Trust attorney's responsibility. The Judge said that there needed to be better communication between the trustee and
beneficiaries. He told them to schedule a meeting where they could sit down and talk, and then let the Judge know after the
meeting. The daughters said that they wanted time to review the trustee's response that had just been submitted and filed.
* On July 24th, the daughters filed a response to the response from the trustee. They also scheduled a meeting with the trustee
and the Trust attorney for August 5th. At that meeting on August 5th, the Trust attorney was putting a great deal of
pressure on them to say that they approved the "accounting" report, even as they still had unanswered questions. The
Trust attorney asked what US Bank needed to do to get the daughters to approve the report. The daughters explained that
US Bank needed yet to account for all of the income, disbursements and assets of the farmland in the 2002 accounting. They
noted how the Sources of Return figures were incorrect insofar as the farm income was not included. They expressed their dismay
that no value had been given to the farmland, thus making the total market value of the Trust entirely wrong. They explained how the
income receipts from the investments needed to be itemized and also needed to be completely accounted for in Sources of Return and
Investment Return on the statement. They asked about missing farm expenditures, since they knew that not all expenditures
had been accounted for yet. They noted how the accounting remained inaccurate and incomplete without this information.
They asked questions about how the trustee had arrived at the numbers for Accrued Income and Change in Asset Value, as there
was no information about how those numbers were determined in the accounting, and the numbers were too low to have included
the farmland or all of the investments. However, instead of answering the questions, the US Bank trustee and the Trust
attorney sat there scribbling down the questions that were being asked, and they acted as if they would need to get back to the
daughters with the answers at a later date or before the next hearing. In other words, they did not have immediate answers
to these issues, as one would have expected. Yet the Trust attorney continued to pressure them to approve the accounting, so that
there would not be the need for another hearing. The daughters said that they could not do that, and that they needed answers
to these questions first and that they needed for the accounting statement to be corrected.
*The hearing for approval of the "accounting" report was rescheduled for August 25th. During those three weeks, there
was no response from US Bank in regards to the issues raised at the August 5th meeting, despite the fact that the
daughters had been told that the trustee would be getting back to them and addressing their questions. Nor was there any
response filed with the Court to the daughters' responses filed in July and August. It was as if the US Bank trustee
was entirely ignoring their concerns. Instead, at the August 25th hearing, the Trust attorney complained to the
Judge about how the daughters had introduced a "whole additional line of inquiry" beyond the scope of the daughters'
first response to the "accounting" report in June. Rather than addressing any of the daughters' questions, the Trust
attorney portrayed the daughters' questions and requests for information as if they were excessive and as if US Bank
had already sufficiently responded to their concerns. However, US Bank had not responded to any of the questions and
issues raised in the daughters' responses to the trustee's July 14th response. Moreover, although the daughters had discovered
additional (and major) problems with the accounting during July, those problems were nonetheless legitimate problems that
needed to be addressed by the US Bank trustee in order to fulfill his obligations as trustee. It was no small beans that significant
income receipts were missing from the Sources of Return and that the Trust was undervalued by over a million dollars. And there
were still problems with the fact that although the trustee had given them information about the missing checks (from the
US Bank checking account only -- the farm subsidies checks were still missing) and the missing income from investments
in July, he had never revised the accounting statement from May to correct those mistakes, thus the various calculations and
totals remained incorrect without this information factored in. The required accounting was nowhere near complete.
Plus, it was the daughters who had been initially deceived by an accounting statement that looked "official" at first glance,
yet contained numerous errors and omissions in the fine print that had not been discovered until July. Yet during the
Court hearing, the Trust attorney tried to argue that the US Bank trustee was frustrated by these additional requests
and that the Court should be satisfied with the trustee's previous response in July. Because this hearing was more
formal than the previous hearings in June and July (i.e., held in an actual courtroom instead of in a side room, as before)
and because the daughters were representing themselves, they simply requested that the Judge carefully read through the
responses that they had filed with the Court, and they told the Judge that their responses would show him that there were still
major problems with the accounting submitted by US Bank.
* One of the difficulties faced in this August 25th hearing, was that the Judge was an entirely different Judge than the one
who had heard the arguments in July (and that Judge had been different than the Judge in June, as well). So, there
was no consistency from one hearing to the next, and this latest Judge did not have an understanding that the previous
Judge was the one who had recommended that the trustee and beneficiaries should have a meeting outside of Court.
Certainly, US Bank had not initiated that meeting, although the Trust attorney tried to make it seem as if the meeting
counted as communication from the trustee, despite the fact that no answers nor information was given by the trustee
at that August meeting. Without an understanding of what prompted the meeting, the Judge was led to believe by the Trust
attorney that the trustee was communicating with the beneficiaries, when nothing could have been further from the case.
And the trustee was trying to take responsibility for earlier meetings in 2002 that had been, in fact, initiated by the daughters.
Again, the daughters had been the ones who had always had to initiate communication with the trustee, not vice versa.
* After waiting four months, until December 22nd, the Judge finally submitted his decision. Despite all of the obvious errors
and omissions in the accounting report and despite the fact that the accounting report still did not adhere to the
requirements of the Trust Code, the Judge unbelievably approved the accounting or "initial report" (as it had been labeled by
the trustee). Rather than taking the daughters' concerns seriously, the Judge had sympathized with the trustee's expressions of
"frustration" about the "whole additional line of inquiry" presented by "the objectors," as the Judge called the daughters (when they
should have been called beneficiaries). There was no mention nor evaluation of any of the specific accounting problems that had been
cited by the daughters, only that the trustee had "expressed its frustration with the additional requests." This decision appeared
fundamentally unjust to the daughters because their requests were legitimate requests and the trustee had
never responded to those requests after the July 14th response. Indeed, everything that has been stated on this website
about the problems with US Bank's accounting for the Trust is a matter of fact. Despite the Judge's approval, the 2002
accounting statement remains seriously deficient and does not account for all income, all disbursements and all assets in the Trust
during the period from February 28th through December 31st of 2002. It remains over a million dollars short of the actual total
market value. Nor does the accounting statement "accurately reflect the trustee's actions in administering the Trust," since significant
income receipts and disbursements are still missing from the calculations and the existing calculations are plainly wrong. Not to
mention the fact that the trustee didn't even start administering the Trust until after mid-September and did not "marshal" nor
account for the majority of the Trust assets until December of 2002. And yet the Judge approved the trustee's request for
compensation from February 28th through December 31st. Moreover, despite these glaring problems with the accounting, the
Judge permitted the US Bank trustee to start collecting "fees on a monthly basis with its current fee schedule, and is further
authorized to pay those fees to itself from the assets of the trust." The daughters had warned in one of their responses that such
an allowance would prevent US Bank from being held accountable to the beneficiaries. Indeed, this lack of accountability
has proven to be the case, since US Bank has not bothered to submit an accounting for the Trust for the 2003 year yet,
and it is already the end of August of 2004. US Bank has not provided any financial information about the Trust
for well over a year, despite its obligations to do so, per the Iowa Trust Code.
* As previously stated, the purpose of this website is to hold US Bank accountable, especially when the local judicial system has
not. Regardless of the decision, US Bank is still accountable and still liable to the beneficiaries of the Trust for the problems
with the 2002 accounting. The daughters have learned that in this local judicial system, the automatic approval of Trustee reports,
without any scrutiny of the numbers, is practically a matter of protocol. The Judges apparently do not have time to investigate
the accuracy of the numbers, and they assume that since US Bank is a financial institution, that what is reported by US
Bank trustees is correct. And the majority of beneficiaries assume the same, and thus do not closely examine the accounting. And the
trustees themselves assume automatic approval. Hence, the trustee had not even bothered to show up at the first hearing on June 16th.
Thus, because approval is automatically expected and a matter of protocol, when beneficiaries do raise objections, there seems an
unwillingness to dwell on the details. The Judge's brief decision contained no references to any of the accounting issues, only
sympathy for the trustee's frustrations. Such sympathy does not go very far in holding trustees accountable.
*The fact that the final Judge in this case had not really taken the time to review the details and background of the case was apparent
by the fact that he mistakenly wrote that the "successor trustee," i.e., US Bank, was not appointed until April 25th, 2003. This
statement on the part of the Judge was entirely incorrect, as any review of the file should have revealed. The Court order appointing
the US Bank trustee was issued and filed on February 26th, 2002 and the letter of appointment was issued on February 28th,
2002. However, at the time of this decision in December of 2003, the daughters were preoccupied with the appeal of the farmland case
and with another case, so they chose not to appeal the approval of the accounting. Again, regardless of the Court's approval, per the
Iowa Trust Code, US Bank remains accountable and liable to the beneficiaries for these mistakes and omissions.
* To backtrack momentarily, on May 20th, 2003, the daughters hired another attorney to do an appeal of the removal of the farmland
decision, and on May 22nd, the notice of appeal of the April 24th decision was filed with the Iowa Supreme Court.
*On May 30th, 2003, the daughter received a letter from the US Bank official in Milwaukee in response to her fax on the 14th. In his
brief letter, the official completely and unapologetically defended the trustee. The official wrote, "He is an exceedingly capable
individual in whom we have the utmost confidence that our clients affairs will be managed honestly and effectively. Accordingly, the
only direction to be taken is to comply with what the court has ruled." This official had apparently not yet seen the accounting
report for 2002. Nor did this official seem to have any problems with the three-month lateness on the accounting nor the
lack of communication from the trustee to the daughters, as had been explained to him in the faxed letter. And if he had seen the
accounting, then he apparently did not find it problematic that my grandfather's Trust had been significantly and wrongly undervalued
by US Bank nor that there were quite a few income receipts unaccounted for in the Sources of Return for the 2002 accounting.
Nor did this official seem to care that this US Bank trustee was attempting to remove the farmland from the Trust at a time when
US Bank had done nothing to manage the farmland asset nor properly account for all of the farmland income and disbursements
throughout 2002. Nor did he apparently have a problem with the fact that this trustee had said several times in 2002 that he was going
to produce a Farm Lease agreement and yet never did. As for the issue of honesty, this US Bank trustee had not only lied to the Court
about submitting the accounting in February, but was also deceptive when he claimed that the US Bank checking account had not been
"marshalled" by the US Bank Trust Department at a time when he was writing checks from the account. Indeed, he had provided no
accounting of the checks whatsoever in the accounting statement until after the daughters had noted to the Court that they were missing.
Not to mention the trustee's claim, in effect, that he did not have to account for the other Trust assets insofar as they had not yet been
"marshalled" by him to the Trust Department until December of 2002. This Milwaukee official then wrote, in conclusion, "Thank you
for bringing my attention to this matter. It is not, however, something for which US Bank bears any liability." To the contrary, the
Iowa Probate Code does provide for the liability of trustees. Yet this statement revealed that U.S.Bank's ultimate concern was its
own liability in making an imprudent financial decision, and now that it had the Court's approval regarding the farmland,
US Bank could arrogantly dismiss concerns about prudence and disregard following its own formulas.
US Bank seemed most concerned with protecting its own interests, not those of the Trust.
* A week earlier, on May 23, 2003, the daughter received a response to an email that she had sent via the U.S. Bank website. This
response was from an executive assistant of the US Bank CEO in Minnesota. She had already told this executive assistant that she
was awaiting a reply from the Milwaukee official, after having faxed him the information on the 14th. The executive assistant
had then contacted the Milwaukee official, after reviewing her fax, which she had also faxed to the Minnesota office. The
executive assistant to the CEO then informed the daughter in this May 23rd email that the Milwaukee official would be
"sending [her] a written response," i.e., the May 30th letter quoted above. The executive assistant then wrote that the CEO's
office was "in agreement" with the Milwaukee official's "intended handling of your concerns." In addition, he wrote, "We
remain confident that our past, current and future actions regarding this Trust are appropriate, and are sorry that you evidently
do not perceive this to be the case." Hence, with the blessings of the CEO's office, the daughters' legitimate and serious
concerns were entirely disregarded and dismissed. From that point onwards, there was no accountability within U.S. Bank.
*On June 3, 2003, the daughters met with a US Bank Wealth Management Consultant, after having been given his name by another
US Bank employee as someone whom they might speak with about the management of trusts at US Bank. They had arranged
this meeting earlier in May, before receiving the letter from the Milwaukee official. They again expressed their concerns about
the removal of their father's farmland from the Trust. They explained how much the land had increased in value and how it was
now significantly under-appraised after appreciating in value in recent years, and as such, it had much more value and appreciation
potential than the Bonds in the Trust. At this stage, two years after their father's passing, the land was easily worth twice the
amount at which it had once been appraised. They explained how their mother was being unduly influenced and isolated
from the family. At least this US Bank official exhibited concern. He stated that a trustee cannot be partial to a beneficiary. He
also stated that the "best and highest asset" should remain in the Trust. He did say that he would speak on their behalf to the trustee
and to the trustee official with whom one of the daughters had spoken in October (and then briefly again in April). However,
they never heard from him thereafter, so they didn't know if they were even contacted. One can only surmise that US Bank
did not want the daughters talking to anyone who did not confirm US Bank's previous position on the farmland.
* On July 12th, 2003, the daughters scheduled a meeting with the attorney regarding the farmland appeal, since they had not heard from
the attorney since May. During this short meeting, the attorney informed them that the case had been docketed, and that he was
working on the brief for the appeal. He explained his approach to the appeal, noting that since most of the Bonds were already tax-free,
it would be more beneficial to leave the farmland in the Trust so that the land would remain exempt from taxes. They also discussed
how the son's attorney should not be the one preparing the paperwork for the Trust, since that is the Trust attorney's responsibility.
Then on August 8th, one of the daughters called to inform the attorney about the guardianship that had been recently discovered. It
seemed significant that the son had obtained guardianship a couple weeks before the decision to remove the farmland was made. The
attorney requested that the daughter send a copy of the guardianship papers to him, which she then did. However, by the end of
August, the daughters had not yet received a copy of the brief for the appeal, and they were starting to become concerned. Their father's
original Trust attorney had told them that there was a 50-day window on filing the brief in the appeal. At this same time in August,
the daughters had begun researching and interviewing attorneys with expertise in elder law, so as to pursue and contest the
guardianship matter, of which they had never been informed. At this stage, they were being far more cautious about their selection
of an attorney, since they were now having doubts about this most recent attorney since he had not yet filed a brief in the appeals case
and he had only been secured on short notice in May, after their problems with the previous attorney in April.
*On August 26th, both of the daughters called the attorney to check to see if he had filed the appeals brief yet. He said that he had not,
but he assured them that "all was okay" because he had filed for an extension for extra time. However, when checking online Court
records at the beginning of September, the daughters discovered that an entirely different attorney, whom they had never been
notified of, had actually filed the application for the extension with the Iowa Supreme Court on August 26th, the very same day the
daughters had called their attorney. The daughters had never heard of this attorney, yet apparently, he was working with the
daughters' attorney on the appeals case. Moreover, when they did an online search, they discovered that this new attorney was
actually based in New Hampshire, even as he had been admitted to the Iowa Bar. The online search also revealed that these two
attorneys had worked together on previous cases. The Supreme Court had granted the requested extension on August 28th,
yet the introduction of this new attorney without ever informing the daughters, appeared bizarre.
*The daughters were now closely monitoring the online Court records, so as to assure that the appeals brief was filed within the month.
However, when the online records were checked on September 30th, they were shocked to discover that their own attorney had
filed a voluntary dismissal of the appeal the day before. They had never given him permission to dismiss the appeal, and he had
never notified them of this dismissal. This was unbelievable, and they were extremely upset. They immediately left a message that
evening with the attorney, demanding an explanation. They also immediately contacted the attorney whom the daughters had
recently retained for the guardianship case. One of the daughters made an appointment to meet with this new attorney the very
next day, October 1st. While she was at his office, she received a phone call from the attorney responsible for the dismissal,
returning her message. At first he acted as if everything was normal, until she confronted him. Then he started telling her that he
had dismissed the appeal because he felt the case had no basis. This was now over four months after he had taken on the case,
and he had never once expressed any reservations about their positions during that time. If he had informed them of this earlier,
they certainly would not have remained with him. The daughters knew that they had a strong case. The farmland, after all, was the
most profitable asset and their father had created the Trust so as to protect the farmland. This situation seemed like de ja vu
to what had happened with the previous attorney in April. Something fishy was going on. The daughter asked him if he had been
talking to the son's attorney. He admitted that he had talked to him a couple of times. The daughters had never been informed
of these consultations. Also, when they reviewed the online court records, they noticed that the son's attorney had filed a motion
to dismiss the appeal just three days before the voluntary dismissal had been submitted. The daughters had never been notified of
this motion to dismiss. And, obviously, since the voluntary dismissal was done secretly, without their knowledge, this
attorney had assumed that the daughters would not be discovering this dismissal for awhile. He did not intend for them to find
out until it was too late, so it was obvious that he knew that he was doing something wrong. Once again, the daughters
had been betrayed, and the case sabotaged by their own attorney. Again, something fishy was going on. The new
attorney, who was now in charge of challenging the guardianship case, could not believe this had happened, either. Since this
telephone call occurred at his office, he was able to listen to the entire conversation between the daughter and this attorney.
This new attorney explained to the daughter how this attorney had no authority to do a voluntary dismissal without
consulting the daughters. He said that it was against Iowa law for the attorney to do this. This new attorney said
that the proper procedure would have been for him to have notified the daughters and then to have filed a brief with the
Iowa Supreme Court, withdrawing himself from the case. The daughters would have then had a choice to find a different
attorney to pursue the case. Instead, the way this voluntary dismissal was handled revealed that the attorney did not
want the daughters to have a choice and did not want them to continue pursuing the case.
* This new attorney immediately took on the appeals case and drafted an application to reinstate the appeal and an affidavit from the
daughter, confirming that she had never authorized the dismissal of the appeal. This application and the affidavit were filed with
the Iowa Supreme Court on October 3rd, 2003. A hearing was set, and a response was required by the 13th from this (now
former) attorney regarding the unauthorized voluntary dismissal. On October 13th, the (former) attorney filed his response,
explaining the unauthorized dismissal. He was now claiming to the Court that he had told the daughters in July that because there was
no transcript made of the April 24th hearing, "no issue had been preserved on the record" and "it would be necessary to due (sic)
extensive research to determine if case law would support a viable issue." To the contrary, the attorney had never informed
the daughters of this in July. He went on to claim that he had done 15 hours of research, which, again, he had never mentioned to
nor shared with the daughters. The attorney then claimed that when he was unable to find any case law, he instructed that a
voluntary dismissal be prepared and that the "dismissal was inadvertantly (sic) mailed prior to [his] discussing the matter with
the appeallant (sic) , and as such [he] had not received the Appellant's permission to dismiss this matter." During the
phone conversation on October 1st, however, this attorney had said nothing about accidentally mailing the dismissal; rather,
he had simply said that he had dismissed the case because he thought there was no basis. Now, he appeared to be
backpedaling to protect himself by saying that it had been mailed "inadvertently."
* This October 13th response from the attorney was filed after one of the daughters had mailed him a letter on October 2nd,
reiterating that they had been deceived by him and that they wanted an immediate refund of the retainer/deposit. On October
17th, after responding to the Court, the attorney sent a letter to the daughters, in which he was now claiming that he had
informed the daughters at the very first meeting in May that "there may not be a record on which to base an appeal" and
that he had informed them "that absent a record extensive research would be required to determine the validity of your
position." Again, he had never informed the daughters of this, and he had asserted the validity of their positions since the
beginning. Had he not been doing that, they would have taken the case to another attorney. Plus, he had not said this in
his response to the Court. Instead, he had told the Court that he had requested a transcript on May 29th, and that he had not
advised his clients of this problem until after talking to the court reporter on July 2nd. The new attorney responded to
these claims in another letter on behalf of the daughters, pointing out to the (former) attorney that in his combined certificate,
this (former) attorney had said that he requested a copy of the transcript on May 29th, and yet in the billing statement, he had not
had a "phone conference" with the court reporter in reference to the transcript until June 15th (and yet, according to the bill,
had already done the majority of the alleged 15 hours of research on June 10th, prior to contacting the court reporter). And even
yet, in his response to the Court, he was saying that he had not spoken to the court reporter until July 2nd. Not only was there
no consistency to these stories, but if he had known there was not a transcript record at the beginning of June, he would not have
been calling the court reporter later in June or in early July to request the transcript. And yet most of the research was done on
June 10th (and after June 10th, no more research was done until August 16th, over two months later, according to the bill). And if
he had told the daughters that he needed a transcript at the first meeting in May, then they would have already have informed him
that there was not a transcript made, so he would not have been calling the court reporter with the request in the first place.
He clearly had not discussed the prerequisite of a transcript at the first meeting in May. Nor had he informed
them of this problem in July. There were other contradictions, as well, including his claim that the attorney who filed the
application for an extension was merely an "employee of [his]." To the contrary, in the application for an extension, this attorney
had said that he had been retained by this (former) attorney. And he had also said, in this application on August 26th, that
he had understood that they had been waiting for the completion of the transcript of the trial court. So, apparently, prior to
August 26th, this (former) attorney had not even informed his colleague and co-counsel in the matter that there was no
transcript. Thus, he had certainly not discussed the problem of the missing transcript with his clients.
The pieces of the story, simply put, did not add-up.
* The daughters' new attorney then challenged this (former) attorney to share with him all of the "extensive" research he was claiming
that he had done for the case, so that the new attorney would "not have to duplicate your effort." Of course, the attorney never
responded and never shared that alleged research with the new attorney, thus it was quite obvious that no such research had
been performed. In his letter, this new attorney also noted that the (former) attorney had failed to follow Rule 6.10 dealing with
how to establish a record when there was not a transcript. He noted how this would now possibly be a major problem.
* Contrary to this previous attorney's claim, the new attorney was able to find case law to support the daughters' positions. And unlike with
the previous two attorneys, he made sure to keep them informed of the status of the case. The application to reinstate the appeal was
accepted, and the appeal was reinstated by the Court on November 3rd, 2003. The daughters had a greater deal of confidence
in this attorney since they knew that he had no prior dealings nor affiliations with US Bank nor with the son's attorney and
his law firm. They had made sure of that when they interviewed him. It had now become quite clear to the daughters that someone
was not playing fair with these legal proceedings. It appeared as if someone was wooing these attorneys to the other side.
The first attorney (from April) had had a history of working with US Bank. The second attorney (from May) was a more local
attorney who had dealt often with one of the attorneys from the law firm. The first attorney had not even taken the time to
present their arguments during the original hearing in April, and then she had adamantly discouraged an appeal, as if she had
something at stake in discouraging the appeal. Plus, she had kept the daughters out of the hearing and had not requested
that a transcript or record be made of the hearing, as if someone did not want the proceedings to be put on the record or
observed. And, now, this second attorney had plainly attempted to deceive the daughters by submitting an unauthorized
voluntary dismissal that he thought they would not discover until it was too late. It was apparent that he, too, had something at
stake, or else he would have discussed his supposed thoughts on dismissing the case with his clients in advance and would have
given the daughters an opportunity to seek other counsel. Instead, he tried to short-circuit the appeals process by secretly
submitting the unauthorized dismissal. With this attempt to deceive, something had to have been at stake for him, as well.
* The appeals case went forward with the new attorney submitting a proof brief on November 25th and then a final brief on
January 22, 2004. The brief focused on the following issue: "The District Court erred in determining the assets that should
be used to fund [my grandfather's] residuary Trust." The brief argued, first, that error in the matter was "preserved by filing of
a notice of appeal from the ultimate issue in the case. Consideration of the issues of funding proceeded in equity and therefore
the standard of review is de novo." Second, the brief argued that "the District Court misconstrued trust language, in part
because of the manner in which the issue is framed." The brief noted that the language of the Trust was purposefully more
complex than had been considered, and that the "interpretation of the trust clearly starts with the language. Further, the purpose
of the trust governs its administration and enforcement. The purpose of the trust, in turn, is determined by examining the
language of the instrument which created the trust and the surrounding circumstances." The brief examined the language of
the Trust document and went on to state, "Clearly, the language of the Trust Agreement here contains a fairly representative
pecuniary formula. But although the record is scant, it is clear from the District's ruling that no further evaluation of
gain or loss between the death of [my grandfather] and the date of distribution. This is not an inconsequential matter. First, it is
not inconsequential because it is the language that [my grandfather] used in his trust when there were other alternatives. Second,
there are advantages and disadvantages to this formula that apparently were important to [my grandfather] ... Third, one of the
primary disadvantages, if you will, of this funding formula is that it restricts pick-and-choose flexibility. ... The trustee
and [my grandmother, i.e., the son's attorney operating as if on behalf of my grandmother] both essentially requested this
flexibility and Court granted it in error. ... By its ruling, the District Court violates the instruction of the trustor and runs afoul of
Federal estate tax issues. The Court is simply not correct in its finding that the trust agreement grants discretion to the trustee
concerning the assets to be used to fund the residuary trust." Third, the brief argued, the "District Court's concern for a
distributive conveniences is not justified." The brief stated, "One of the District Court's findings was that placing an
undivided interest in the residuary trust would prevent the trustee from making independent decisions that would be necessary
and appropriate for the efficient management of the trust. These are neither factually nor legally correct, and was not assisted
by what is simply a lazy attitude by the trustee. Among the trustee's powers granted in the Trust Agreement was to
'continue my farming operation... using such methods as are commonly employed by other farm owners ... in the
community'. Neither the District Court nor this Court need testimony or record that common farming operations practices
include leasing the farm on either a cash rent or crop share basis. [My grandmother] does not farm, was 82 years of age as
of the date of this hearing, and a longstanding dialysis patient. Clearly, she would be leasing the farm operation or
discontinuing it. It is unlikely that she would discontinue farming and not generate the income to which she is entitled
from no less than XXX,XXX worth of land and XXX,XXX worth of machinery. And, if she did so, she would clearly need a
conservator. In a typical cash rent farm operation, the interests of the owner of one undivided fee portion and the income
beneficiary of the undivided trust portion are not antithetical, they are identical. The trustee in suggesting that it would
be "awkward" to hold an undivided interest in farmland in this case demonstrates either a lack of drive or a lack of
ability. The trustee has elevated its administrative convenience over the interests of the residual beneficiaries of the trust.
In doing so, it has violated its fiduciary duty to administer the trust solely in the interests of the beneficiaries. Further
U.S. Bank took over as trustee in prior proceedings due in part to their impartiality and expertise. Therefore, they are bound to use
those special skills and expertise." In conclusion, the brief then argued that "It is abundantly clear that the District Court did not
follow the dictates of the Trust Agreement and Federal law underlying the same, and therefore, the Order must be reversed. Inadequate
record was made below to allow this Court as de novo review to fashion complete relief. Accordingly, this matter should be remanded
for further proceedings." And then the brief concluded with a request for oral argument in the consideration of the appeal.
* Earlier in the brief, under the "Statement of Case," the attorney had noted that the "[The daughter] challenges the effectiveness of her
[former] attorney in the preparation of this response [to the original application in April] and in her representation at hearing.
[The daughter] was required to sit in the hall at the courthouse while proceedings took place in the chambers. Further, original
appellate counsel neglected to take proper steps to establish the record below pursuant to IRAP 6.10. This Court must
not penalize [the daughters] for prior counsel's shortcomings in this matter which was conducted in equity."
* The son's attorney had filed another motion to try to dismiss the appeal on December 1st; however, that motion was also denied. The son's
attorney then submitted an appellee proof brief on December 24th and then a final brief on January 22, 2004.
* The son's attorney's brief contained no references to any case laws whatsoever. Instead, the brief only praised the lower Court's decision
and presented the attorney's own version of what occurred at the April hearing and the events that led up to the hearing. In his brief, the
attorney tried to tell the Supreme Court that in April, "At the conclusion of the hearing the court took the matter under advisement.
The Court had ample opportunity to review its notes, to study the Trust Agreement, to review the court files in connection with
this trust and the estate of the Trustor, to review applicable law and to enter its order only after mature, logical, and judicious
reasoning." He then wrote, later in the brief, that, "Matters were discussed at length," and repeated a similar narrative.
To the contrary of this statement, this could not have been the case, since the daughters knew that the hearing
had lasted less than fifteen minutes, and their (former) attorney had told them immediately following the hearing
that the matter had already been decided by the Judge and the land was to be taken out of the Trust. The decision had
already been made after fifteen minutes, so this was clearly not true about the lower court taking the "matter under
advisement" and having "ample opportunity to review its notes," the Trust Agreement, court files and applicable laws.
Again, this was a lie, because the matter was decided in less than fifteen minutes. While there may not have
been a record created, the daughters did know for a fact how long the hearing had lasted and what was said
after the hearing. Plus, there were no references at all to any laws in the Judge's brief decision. But, obviously,
without a transcript, the son's attorney could make-up anything that he wanted, and this was most likely the reason that
no transcript of the April proceedings had been made in the first place. It was a fact that the Court had
made its decision on that very day and that very hour of the hearing, not after further review.
* The son's attorney also tried to say in his brief that "the Court was requested by [my grandmother] to give directions to the corporate
trustee to make distributions of the undivided one-half interest in the real estate to her as part of her marital deduction property.
The corporate trustee was in agreement with [my grandmother]." Now, it was obvious from the letter of February 18, 2003, that
the US Bank trustee was the person who had written to my grandmother, telling her that he had already decided to take the
farmland out of the Trust. To quote the trustee, "I am directing a copy of this letter to all interested parties in order that they may be
apprised of my decision as to the funding vehicles for the credit shelter trust." Obviously, my grandmother was not the person
who was requesting that directions be given, since the matter had already been decided by the US Bank trustee (and
in coordination with the son's attorney) prior to the application to the Court. Again, US Bank was not simply an
innocent bystander receiving instructions from the Court. US Bank had already made a decision in collaboration with
the son's attorney in advance of the application to the Court. Now they were trying to pretend that it had been upon the
request of my grandmother, who, again, had no business experience whatsoever and was of very poor health. She was merely
being used as a puppet in these proceedings. The son's attorney repeated this narrative several times in his brief, saying again,
"The Appellee herein, being the owner of an undivided one-half interest in the real estate involved, requested the Court in her
application for instructions to be given by the Court to the Corporate Trustee to distribute the undivided half interest
in the real estate held in the trust to her portion of her marital deduction property. This request was considered
meritorious by the corporate trustee as set forth in the court order. The Court made a specific finding in that same order
that the trust agreement gave the trustee discretionary authority concerning the selection of assets to be used in the
residuary trust. The Court also found that the undivided interest in real estate, if required to be held by the trustee, would
prevent the trustee from making independent decisions that would be necessary and appropriate for the efficient
management of the trust." In other words, the lower Court was repeating exactly what US Bank had offered as its
excuse in April as to why it did not want to keep the farmland in the Trust. And this was a lousy, irrational excuse,
since leasing out the farmland would not have required US Bank to make "independent decisions" about the farmland,
and the US Bank trustee had already said that he had been employed by the son's attorney to manage my grandmother's assets,
so it should not have been difficult to make decisions about the farmland. And there was a fundamental contradiction in the
fact that U.S. Bank had offered (in the trustee's letter to my grandmother on February 18th) their services for after the farmland was
removed from the Trust; they could have just as easily decided to keep my grandfather's farmland in the Trust and offered their farm
management services for the half of the farmland that was already in her name. And beyond that, US Bank was supposed to have
had expertise in managing farm real estate in Trusts, even under this kind of circumstance, which was not an unusual circumstance
at all. And, most importantly, a trustee is not supposed to elevate administrative convenience over what is most profitable and
prudent for a Trust. As trustee, US Bank was not supposed to privilege efficiency over prudence. The interests of the Trust
and of the beneficiaries were supposed to take precedence over the convenience of the bank, per the Iowa Trust Code.
US Bank would have never been selected and appointed as successor trustee of my grandfather's Trust if US Bank had revealed
these prejudices and their alleged lack of expertise in managing the farmland under these circumstances in February of 2002.
US Bank had not been honest with the beneficiaries about its abilities from the start.
* Again, the son's attorney offered no real arguments in response to those made by the daughters' attorney, only a reiteration of his
version of what had transpired in April and his praise for the lower Court's ruling, asserting the correctness of that ruling. Again,
he offered no case law to the Court and stated that he took "minimal issue with the statement of the case as set forth by the
Appellant." He also tried to claim that "for the Court to have gone against the request of the surviving spouse and the
wishes of the trustee, would have been nothing short of an intervention by the court to rewrite the Trust Agreement which
became irrevocable on the date of the trustor's death." Well, my grandmother (the surviving spouse) and the US Bank trustee
were not the ones who had created the Trust in the first place. The "wishes of US Bank" had nothing to do with the wishes of my
grandfather in creating the Trust in the first place. US Bank was not supposed to be substituting its "wishes" for those of my
grandfather when he made the Trust. Nor was US Bank supposed to be substituting its "wishes"
for what was most prudent and profitable for the Trust.
* The daughters' attorney said that the brief from the son's attorney indicated that he didn't have any more understanding of how the Trust
worked than before. Hence, there was no need to reply to the brief, and that the attorney would be able to make his arguments orally at
the hearing. He said that he felt confident about the daughters' arguments. US Bank had submitted no brief, as it was now trying to
pretend that it was simply an innocent bystander, even as it had advised the lower Court in April that it would be "awkward" and
"not efficient" to manage the farmland in the Trust and had clearly argued against keeping the farmland in the Trust at that April
hearing. There was little wonder why US Bank had not wanted the proceedings at that April hearing to be on the record, and now did
not want to go on the record with a brief to the Court. For US Bank to have gone on the record, would have most likely revealed
both partiality and its lack of managerial ability, as well the elevating of the bank's interests over those of the beneficiaries.
* Not until March 29, 2004 did the daughters and their attorney receive notification that the appeal would be considered by the Iowa
Court of Appeals (instead of the Supreme Court, as requested) and that it would be considered without oral argument.
* On March 21, 2004, one of the daughters sent an email to the US Bank official who was in charge of supervising the trustee. The
daughters had not heard anything about the Trust from US Bank since the hearing in August of 2003. She observed that the 2002
accounting remained incomplete. She also noted that there was no accounting for 2003 yet. Again, she reminded the official that
there had been very poor communication between the trustee and the daughters/beneficiaries. She noted how at the August 5th, 2003
meeting (which had been required by the Judge), the trustee and the Trust attorney could not answer the daughters' questions
about the accounting. She said that she felt the Trust attorney was only covering up for the trustee and his lack of responsibility.
Both the trustee and Trust attorney had evaded answering the daughters' questions in August. The daughters had since learned
that this Trust attorney had had a long history of working with U.S. Bank and this particular trustee.
* On March 30, 2004, the US Bank official emailed the daughter back. All he said in reference to the 2002 accounting was that it
had been approved by the Court. Again, regardless of Court approval, US Bank is still obligated to provide a complete and accurate
accounting to the beneficiaries for 2002. The beneficiaries had never approved the accounting. However, once again, US Bank was
hiding behind the Court, where approval was virtually guaranteed insofar as the Court did not scrutinize the numbers, and when
US Bank had to have known that there were still mistakes in the 2002 accounting for the Trust. Then he said that "we are in
the process of pulling together the calendar year 2003 annual report. You will receive a copy to review, and we will have a Court
hearing to address any issues you might have relating to the 2003 accounting." However, it is currently the last week of
October 2004, and the daughters have not received any accounting from US Bank for the 2003 year yet. It has been
seven months since this email was sent by the US Bank official, and there has been no 2003 accounting provided to the
daughters. Neither has there been any communication from US Bank to the daughters since that email of March 30th.
The daughters have not received any financial information regarding the Trust for well over a year at this stage.
* On March 29, 2004, US Bank inserted itself in another matter on behalf of the son's attorney. In a fishing expedition that seemed very much
retaliatory, the son's attorney quoted the US Bank trustee's assistant as complaining that they had not received any records regarding the
Trust prior to May 1, 2001. Well, my grandfather happened to have died on April 27, 2001, only three days before May 1st.
Here, US Bank could not even produce an accurate and complete accounting for 2002 and had not produced any accounting
for 2003, yet they could senselessly complain about not receiving records on the Trust from when my grandfather was
still alive. But this quote proved that the US Bank trustee was maintaining communication with the son's attorney at a
point when the daughters had heard nothing from this US Bank trustee since August of 2003.
* On May 26, 2004, the Court of Appeals ruled on the appeals case. The Court ruled that error had not been preserved on the issue, thus
they did not even get to the merits and the supporting case laws. The Court wrote, "[The daughters] first contention is that the
district court's ruling violates [my grandfather's] trust's requirement that the assets distributed to [my grandmother] to satisfy the
marital bequest (and thus also the assets distributed to the residuary trust) have an aggregate fair market value representative
of the appreciation or depreciation in value of all assets. For the reasons that follow we find that error was not preserved
on the issue. [P] In view of the range of interests protected by our error preservation rules, we will consider on the appeal whether
error was preserved despite the opposing party's omission in not raising the issue. Accordingly, the absence of an assertion by
[my grandmother] that [the daughters] failed to preserve error does not preclude us from determining whether error has been
properly preserved. See id. (stating that the plaintiff's failure to object to the trial court's consideration of an issue in
its ruling on the defendant's post-trial motion did not preclude the appellate court from determining whether
error had been properly preserved.) [P] 'It is a fundamental doctrine to appellate review that issues must ordinarily
be both raised and decided by the district court before we will decide them on appeal.' 'It is not a sensible exercise of
appellate review to analyze facts of an issue 'without the benefit of a full record or lower court determination [ ]."
[My grandmother's] application requested only that the district court direct the trustee to fund the residuary trust
from cash accounts and securities and that the farm real estate, machinery and remaining cash and securities be
distributed to her. The response by [the daughters] merely disagreed with the request, stated a belief that the real estate
would be more properly managed and preserved for [my grandfather's] children if placed in the residuary trust, and
requested that the court direct the trustee to fund the residuary trust with the real estate and with cash and securities
selected by [my grandmother]. Neither the application nor the response, either in express terms or by necessary
implication, raised any issue concerning appreciation or depreciation in the value of assets since the date of valuation
used for federal estate tax purposes. Nor does it appear any evidence was presented to the court concerning any
appreciation or depreciation in value of the assets. Accordingly, the court did not address or rule on the issue that
[the daughters] asks us to decide on appeal. Although the "claim or issue raised does not actually need to be used as
the basis for the decision to be preserved," the "record must at least reveal the court was aware of the claim or issue and
litigated it." Nothing in the record before us indicates that the district court was aware of the issue [the daughters] now
raise on appeal, or that such issue was litigated before it. [P] However, even if we assume the issue was raised before
the district court, it is clear the court did not address or rule on the issue. "When a district court fails to rule on an issue
properly raised by a party, the party who raised the issue must file a motion requesting a ruling in order to preserve
error for appeal." If this was raised, [the daughters] did not call to the attention of the district court its failure to rule on
the issue and thus did not give the court an opportunity to address its failure. See id. at 539 (holding that preservation of error
doctrine was not satisfied when district court was not given the opportunity to address its failure to rule on an issue either by
making a ruling or refusing to do so). [P] We conclude error was not preserved on the issue [the daughters] now attempt to
present on appeal. The issue is thus not properly before us for our review and we decline to rule on its merits".
* Hence, the merits of the appeals case were not even heard by the Court, and the daughters were, in fact, penalized for what their
(former) attorney had failed to do (or deliberately ignored doing) for them in April. The case had been successfully sabotaged in April. The
case was also sabotaged to the extent that the second (former) attorney had, in effect, argued against the daughters' case while defending
himself in his response to the Court on October 13th. Their new attorney explained how he had unfortunately come too late to the case.
Update: Indeed, we believe that the appeals case was, in fact, sabotaged by the comments of the former attorney through his response
(i.e., self-defense) to the Court in October -- especially since the other side had not raised the preservation issue at all. It was the former
(and traitor) attorney who used the excuse of preservation and argued against his own clients' positions for the self-serving purpose of
defending himself. Had he not done so, the issue would NOT have been raised to the Court. No doubt, it's difficult for some people -- or
even appeals judges -- to understand how an attorney could lie to and betray his own clients. Yet, in this instance, this fellow (who betrayed
the daughters) was a local attorney who had cut deals with the son's attorney's law firm previously.
*On June 4, 2004, the daughters' attorney filed an application for further review with the Iowa Supreme Court. This links to that application.
The application for further review is set for consideration on or before September 17th, 2004. As of this date, pending the review
of the appeal, the farmland remains in the Trust; however, there has been no accounting for the farmland for over a year.
* To update at the end of October, the further review was denied in September. Very few cases are granted further review, so this was
understood to have been a long-shot in the first place. However, as it currently stands, there remains no accounting
for 2003 for the Trust and no communication from US Bank.
* As a personal note, on June 8th, 2004, my grandmother sadly passed away, after ten years of being a dialysis patient. This was
especially devastating to the family due to the fact that she had been wrongly isolated from her entire family and even friends
since my grandfather's passing in April of 2001. Our family regards the son and the son's attorney accountable for this
isolation. And while the problems with US Bank are separate from the actions of the son and his attorney, it was no less
troubling that US Bank apparently had no scruples in terms of working with the son's attorney -- and especially while
ignoring the daughters and evading their concerns and issues about the Trust. Instead, the rapport between the trustee
and the son's attorney served US Bank financially insofar as they were employed to manage my grandmother's assets
(which had been placed in her name by my grandfather in the first place). Obviously, US Bank had nothing similar to gain
from the daughters, even as US Bank was equally obligated to them as beneficiaries. Additionally, it was obvious that
the daughters had business experience, whereas my grandmother and the son had virtually no real business experience, and
US Bank had to have been aware of that reality when deciding to move the farmland out of the Trust. Since US Bank
had not been managing and accounting for the farmland during the 2002 year, and now were being faced with accounting
questions from the daughters, no doubt it would be much more convenient for US Bank to take the farmland out of
the Trust. It was obviously much more convenient for US Bank to work with the son's attorney and the son on the
farmland, since then there would be no questions asked, as were being asked by the daughters. Again, on a personal
note, our family was offended by the fact that the son's attorney and the US Bank trustee actually had the nerve to attend our
grandmother's funeral. There were no bankers nor lawyers at my grandfather's funeral. You can bet that the attorney and trustee
would not have been at her funeral had her estate not been worth several millions of dollars. Our family felt that this was disrespectful,
as their attendance seemed only self-serving in terms of maintaining a rapport with the son. Neither did they offer any condolences
to any of our family members. It felt extremely uncomfortable, as neither of them belonged there, especially after what our
family has gone through in the last several years. And the US Bank trustee had the nerve to attend my grandmother's funeral,
yet he could not provide any financial information nor communication about the Trust to the daughters for over a year.
* In retrospect, the daughters would have never selected and consented to U.S. Bank being appointed as trustee of my grandfather's Trust
in 2002 had they known that all of these problems were on the horizon. The entire purpose in appointing US Bank was to have an
impartial trustee and one who could manage the farmland, per my grandfather's wishes. However, US Bank has been
anything but impartial. And had US Bank been honest about its alleged inability to manage the farmland in my grandfather's
Trust, then US Bank would have never been appointed trustee in the first place. The entire reason that my grandfather put the farmland
in the Trust and then put half of his farmland in my grandmother's name was to protect the farmland from estate taxes. First, the son's
attorney did away with my grandmother's Trust, which means that the farmland in her name will now be subject to expensive estate taxes.
Next, US Bank advocated for taking the farmland out of my grandfather's Trust, meaning that if the farmland is put into my
grandmother's name that farmland, too, will be subject to estate taxes. Both of these actions entirely undermined my grandfather's
efforts to avoid estate taxes on the farmland. But US Bank apparently could have cared the less as to how much this would cost
in estate taxes. US Bank's ultimate concern seemed to be with its own administrative convenience and then getting the opportunity
to make more money off of the farmland once it was transferred into my grandmother's name, not to mention the opportunity to manage
the other assets that had been placed in my grandmother's name by my grandfather. Apparently, while the US Bank trustee was managing
her assets, he did not think to advise her or her son on the costly tax implications of no longer having those assets protected by a Trust. Nor
would US Bank have been selected as trustee for my grandfather's Trust had the daughters known about all of these problems with the
accounting and with the US Bank trustee's inability to deliver accounting in a timely fashion (or even at all in the case of the 2003 year).
Here, US Bank was advocating the removal of the farmland from the Trust at time when they had not even been keeping proper and
accurate records on the farmland income, disbursements and assets throughout the previous year (February 2002 through March 2003).
And my grandfather would be especially appalled to know that his own Trust was paying for the Trust attorney to scheme the removal of
the farmland from the Trust and then to defend US Bank against this lack of a proper accounting and to evade the daughters' questions about
the accounting. Therefore, to reiterate, this website comes into existence with the purpose of holding US Bank accountable.