For Immediate Release
Schindlers File Petition to Remove Michael Schiavo as Terri’s Guardian
Robert and Mary Schindler, parents of Theresa Schindler-Schiavo, yesterday filed an Amended Petition with the Pinellas County, Florida, Probate Court to remove Michael Schiavo as their daughter’s guardian.
The Schindlers allege that four significant conflicts of interest exist that prevent Mr. Schiavo from continuing to act as the guardian for their daughter, Terri. The four conflicts of interest are: (1) Personal; (2) Legal; (3) Financial, and (4) Religious.
(1) Michael Schiavo has a personal conflict of interest with Terri Schiavo because for the last 10 years while Terri has lived in assisted-living facilities, Michael has been living in adultery with another woman who is the mother of his two children. Because he refuses to initiate or grant a divorce to Terri, her life has become an impediment to legitimizing his current familial relationships.
(2) In all of the legal proceedings to date, Mr. Schiavo has failed to provide Terri with her own attorney to represent her due process rights in court. Under Florida law, disabled persons have many personal rights that cannot be delegated to or defended by a guardian.
(3) Mr. Schiavo has a financial conflict of interest with Terri in light of the substantial estate he could expect to inherit upon his wife’s death. Instead of using the money awarded to Terri in a civil suit in 1992 for her ongoing care and rehabilitation as it was earmarked, Michael has spent nearly $500,000 on attorney’s fees and costs in his attempts to cause Terri’s death by starvation and can expect to inherit the remaining assets upon her death.
(4) Finally, Mr. Schiavo, who is not a Catholic, has not respected or protected his wife’s life-long religious beliefs. Michael has denied Terri the opportunity to attend Catholic Mass or partake in communion, and has ignored the Papal Declaration denouncing the removal of a feeding tube as contrary to Catholic doctrine.
Lead Counsel to the Schindler family, Attorney David Gibbs noted that “any one of these four conflicts of interest should provide the court with a sufficient reason to terminate Mr. Schiavo’s guardianship and appoint a replacement guardian.”
Attorneys for the Schindlers expect to depose both Michael Schiavo and the live-in mother of his two children in the next few weeks. The court-ordered deposition of Mr. Schiavo that had been set for September 2004 was postponed because of the Florida hurricanes.
A copy of this latest motion is available online.
Call the Gibbs Law Firm Media Director, Mr. James Coates, at O:727-399-8300 or C:727-408-2205 to arrange an interview with Attorney David Gibbs III or Attorney Barbara Weller.
The Terri Schindler-Schiavo Foundation is the official organization responsible for speaking on behalf of the Schindler family. For more information and background on the case, visit the foundation’s website at www.terrisfight.net.