In a disturbing development in the Larry Seidlin saga, the judge now faces a complaint of elderly abuse from the niece and caretaker of the elderly woman he has already been accused of financially exploiting.
Corine Kasler, who is in town visiting 83-year-old Barbara Kasler, says she filed a complaint against Seidlin on the state's Elderly Abuse Hotline today, saying she is "shocked" by the treatment her aunt has been given by the former judge, whom she describes as "evil." The new allegations include failing to feed and medicate Kasler for an extended period of time and endangering her health with poor care.
State investigators are already on the case and today are questioning witnesses at the Marine Towers on Las Olas in Fort Lauderdale, where both Kasler and Seidlin live.
Seidlin's mother-in-law, Barbara Ray, is named in the allegations said she was outraged at the complaint.
"This is wrong, wrong, wrong," she said. "I am so furious right now I could spit nails. Judge Seidlin is like a son to this woman and for this to happen isn't right. This is so disgusting it makes me physically sick, in my stomach."
Seidlin famously wept and rambled during the Anna Nicole Smith hearings and is in talks to get his own TV show. The judge was the subject of an elderly exploitation investigation last year by the Miami-Dade State Attorney's Office after this New Times article revealed the judge had convinced Kasler to give his family some hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of gifts. Seidlin and Kasler were neighbors at the Marine Tower condos in Fort Lauderdale.
Assistant State Attorney Howard Rosen cleared Seidlin of wrongdoing, saying that Barbara Kasler willingly gave the gifts to Seidlin's family members, including his young daughter, Dax, his wife, Belinda, and her parents, Barbara and Oren Ray, who also live in the same building.
Corine Kasler, however, says that her aunt has been systematically brainwashed by Seidlin and has been isolated from former friends and family members. She says Seidlin controlled her in every way, including very possibly her testimony. Barbara Kasler's caretaker, Monica Iquierdo Vial, says Seidlin came to the condo every evening prior to investigators' visits and spoke with her privately. She suspects he coached Kasler, but can't be sure.
Corine Kasler, who lives in Pensacola and has only been able to sporadically visit her aunt, says she fears even talking to Barbara Kasler about Seidlin and all the issues that have been raised, because she is bed-ridden in very ill health and begins trembling at the subject.
Seidlin made Barbara Kasler almost entirely dependent on him, she says, providing all her meals and transportation and telling her repeatedly that he was her
"son." Corine Kasler says that when Kasler planned to move to Knox Village, the large retirement complex in Pompano Beach, where her old sister lives. Corine Kasler says she learned that Seidlin convinced her that she would die if she was taken there and personally arranged to cancel her deposit. "It's all coming into focus right now," she says. "His whole plan. I am in disbelief at what is happening."
A school teacher, Corine Kasler says she recently learned that Seidlin had convinced her aunt to sign over the brunt of her multimillion dollar-estate to the judge's family in her will.
"I think it would be great if her whole estate went as a donation to Auburn University in memory of her son," says Corine Kasler, a neice through marriage. "I just don't want [Seidlin] to get any of it. Not a dime. I just saw him recently on the Larry King Show and he was treated like a king. It was a disgrace. ... He is an evil man."
The most recent -- and most troubling -- allegations mainly come from Izquierdo, the caretaker. Izquierdo claims that Seidlin and his family members have failed to give her needed medication, fed her poorly or not at all at times, and engaged in suspicious activity regarding Kasler's failing health. Both Izquierdo and Corine Kasler say they believe that Barbara Kasler is not safe with Seidlin or his family members.
Izquierdo, who has been in Kasler's employ for four years, and routinely calls her "my lady," broke her silence this week. Among her allegations:
• She says that when Barbara Kasler came down with a serious infection, the Seidlin family failed to feed her, change her, or give her the required antibiotics over a 12-hour period. She says she arrived in the morning to find Kasler in misery. "My lady was soaked and wet, and I was furious," she said. "I went up to talk with the judge's mother-in-law on the 17th floor and I said, 'What's the matter with you people?' She didn't have dinner, she didn't have the medicine, and she wasn't changed. This is very dangerous. She has an infection, a person can die right away without antibiotics." Izquierdo says that the mother-in-law, Barbara Ray, told her that she didn't feel well and couldn't help. "I said, 'And the judge didn't feel well and his wife didn't feel well either'" relates Izquierdo. "I can't go along with the morals of these people."
Ray told me today that it was a mistake that was caused by her belief that Kasler was getting "full service" that night and that she didn't need to be cared for. "Other than that time, she always got service," Ray said.
• Izquierdo says that Barbara Ray, a former registered nurse, told her that she didn't need to be changed at night. "I told her she was crazy, that she had to be changed every four hours," says Izquierdo. Ray denies this.
• Izquierdo says that one morning she came in to find a pair of little girl's socks belonging to Dax on Barbara Kasler's feet that were so tight that her legs were badly swollen the next morning and she couldn't walk in therapy that day. She says Barbara Ray had put them on her the night before. Izquierdo put the socks in a bag and has kept them in her possession as evidence.
Ray concedes she put Dax's socks on Kasler's feet but says they were softball socks that were stretchy and soft and that she told the night nurse to take them off if they were too tight. The night nurse, who asked that her name not be used, denied Ray ever said that. Rather she says Ray told her that it would make Kasler happy to wear Dax's socks and to keep them on.
• Every morning, Judge Seidlin would come to see Kasler and take off her oxygen mask, according to Izquierdo. She says Kasler is supposed to have the mask on at all times due to a serious lung condition. "He would take the oxygen off my lady's nose all the time," she says. "She has a chronic illness, she's supposed to wear oxygen all the time, 24 hours a day." Izquierdo says Seidlin didn't stop taking off the mask until she complained to Barbara Ray.
Ray conceded that this was true, but insisted that the doctor had said at one time that he wanted to wean Kasler off the oxygen.
• Izquierdo says the food Seidlin has been giving her is terrible, mostly whatever is left over from his visits to restaurants. The extended Seidlin family also insists on feeding Kasler Coca-Cola and coffee, she claims. Izquierdo claims it was so bad she started buying food for Kasler out of her own pocket, including fruit juice. "Belinda [Seidlin] called screaming and yelling, saying why I don't give her Coke, why I don't give her coffee," says Vial. "She has a condition with her lungs, the Coca-Cola makes her cough and the coffee is no good for her. I told them I wasn't willing to do that."
Ray says it was a "childish argument" and that eventually "we finally said 'okay'." As for the complaint about poor food, she says she has cooked many times for Kasler. "That lady was fed very well," she said.
There are other examples and Izquierdo says that when she complains about the treatment, Judge Seidlin routinely tells her that she worries too much. "He said that I worry too much and that I don't need to worry about my job because after my lady dies he will hire me to take care of his mother-in-law," she says.
More recently though, she says she has cut off all communication with Seidlin because of what she considers his suspicious actions. She says Seidlin has threatened to have her fired. She says she's not concerned about her job anymore.
"The judge followed me around and said, 'Please talk to me Monica,'" says the 57-year-old Izquierdo, who was born in Chile and recently completed training to become a home health aide. "I told him, 'I wish I never met you judge. I wish I never met your wife or your mother-in-law because you three are evil people.' I don't care about the job, I care about the human being. And my lady doesn't deserve to be treated like that."
Izquierdo, whom Corine Kasler describes as a dedicated and loving caretaker, says she has documented all the mistreatment. The night nurse who is also employed by Kasler told the Pulp that she shares Izquerido's concerns but didn't want to speak publicly about it.
Barbara Ray sasy she feels betrayed. "We gave [Izquierdo] the job and this is the way she thanks us?" she told told me. "She is vindictive. There is a lot of jealousy here. Our Larry goes to visit Barbara and she just adores him. That is her son there."
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Ray said that both Seidlin's wife, Belinda, and daughter, Dax, are named in Kasler's will but that they will share the estate with a third person who isn't in the Seidlin family.
Izquierdo says Seidlin has brainwashed Kasler and that he tells her constantly that he is her "son" and "baby boy." Corine Kasler says she learned that the judge sometimes actually climbs into bed with Kasler. "He has his clothes in her closet and he showers here and leaves his underwear around," she says. "What the heck? I've never seen anything like this. It grosses me out that somebody could be this evil and take advantage of a woman with a big heart."
Corine Kasler says she has known Seidlin for several years and always suspected he was trying to profit from her aunt, but let it go because he seemed to be so nice to her. But there were tell-tale signs, she says. Once he took her out to lunch at an expensive restaurant, ordered lavishly from the menu, and encouraged her to do the same. Only after the meal did she notice that he used her aunt's credit card to pay for the meal.
She also remembered that the judge's family gave her lunch once while she was visiting that consisted of one bowl of soup, with nothing else, not even crackers. "I thought something was wrong," she says. "I had a feeling from the first time I met him that he was a con man. I feel really guilty right now. I can't believe this is happening. But I have to do something. If I could pack Aunt Barbara up right now and move her to Pensacola with me I would. Anything to get her away from that judge."