Conduct Board Removes Side Judge Over Estate Case | Off Message

Conduct Board Removes Side Judge Over Estate Case

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Image from Catherine Tolaro's will - FILE
  • File
  • Image from Catherine Tolaro's will
A Windham County assistant judge accused of mismanaging the estate of an elderly woman has been suspended and barred for life from serving on the bench by the Judicial Conduct Board.

Paul Kane is contesting allegations in probate court that he mishandled the estate of a local woman for whom he provided care. He failed "to uphold the integrity of the judiciary," the board ruled in a decision issued Monday.

"The board considers the permanent prohibition on holding judicial office appropriate due to the severity of Mr. Kane's conduct, the fact that these violations continued throughout his tenure as assistant judge, his refusal to take responsibility for his actions in his testimony before the board and his multiple instances of providing demonstrably false testimony to the board at the hearing," board chair Steven Adler wrote in a 19-page decision.

Kane and his late wife, Marie, took Catherine Tolaro into their Westminster home in 2009, according to court documents. Tolaro was then 82. The couple gained power of attorney for Tolaro in 2010. She died in 2014 at age 86.
Kane requested to be paid more than $830,000 for providing care for Tolaro, claiming that he had provided "24/7" care even as he worked a full-time job, according to the decision.

The board began investigating Kane after 
Catherine Tolaro - COURTESY OF RAY MASSUCCO
  • Courtesy of Ray Massucco
  • Catherine Tolaro
Seven Days wrote about the Tolaro estate case in February 2016. Burlington attorney Ian Carleton conducted the investigation on behalf of the board, which is made up of nine members appointed by the Vermont Supreme Court to investigate judges.

Bellows Falls attorney Ray Massucco, who represents Tolaro's nephew and a church that was named a beneficiary of her will, said the order can be entered into evidence in that matter.

"It's going to have a major impact on the probate case and I can only hope at some point he finally decides it's time to do the right thing," Massucco said in an interview.

Kane's attorney, Melvin Fink, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Though Kane previously told members of the media that he resigned, the board said there was no evidence that he had formally submitted his resignation.


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