Vets money taken by state, family blocked out

ROCKY HILL, Conn. (WTNH) — Robert Nagle was a man who made a lot of decisions for himself.

That is the way his daughter, Diane Pascarelli, described him. In March 2012, Nagle decided that he did not want to live with his daughter anymore, but decided to go stay at a Best Western motel on the Berlin Turnpike.

According to Pascarelli, he had plenty of money in his wallet and a sharp, independent mind.

On a Tuesday morning, March 13, 2012, staff from the states Department of Veteran Affairs picked Nagle up, and admitted him to the healthcare facility in Rocky Hill.

Out of sight of his attorney or his family, Nagle signed an agreement with the state that would let them make financial decisions for him, using his money.

It is an agreement called “Power of Attorney”, and, according to state records, 61 veterans currently have this agreement with the state.

In order to sign the agreement, veterans must be “capable” to make decisions for themselves. What the News8 Investigators have found is that before Nagle was admitted, the VA knew he had “sensory deficits,” “cognitive impairments” and “vision disorders”.

In internal emails, VA staff discusses how Nagle says he is “unwilling to sign anything until his attorney looks at it.”

“They manipulated this man,” said Pascarelli.

For medical expenses, the state took more than $53,000 out of Nagle’s account and paid their facility directly. According to records provided by Pascarelli, Nagle’s health insurance was allowed to lapse, raising the cost of care by thousands.

“This is corruption,” said former Department of Veteran Affairs employee Herb Mitchell.

“There are several assessments that are done not just by our staff but by others,” said Veteran Affairs Commissioner Linda Schwartz. She agreed to talk with News8 about the program, but could not talk about specific cases, like Nagles.

Schwartz said before they have veterans sign Power of Attorney paperwork, they check with the state to ensure that no one else has power of attorney.

According to Pascarelli, she had power of attorney when her father went in. No one from the state ever contacted her, or anyone else in her family, despite their phone numbers being listed as emergency numbers in Nagle’s wallet.

When asked why the state did not contact family members, Schwartz ended the interview.

“I think that you’re dangerously close,” said Schwartz “I won’t be answering anymore questions along that line.”

The agreement between the state and the veterans is a closed one, that does not have much oversight outside of the Department of Veteran Affairs.

“There’s very little purview over [Power of Attorney agreements] from any court review,” said Probate Judge Matthew Jaloweic. “It’s a private contract.”

Pascarelli has been working with the state VA to get access to her fathers’ records, to find out specifically where the money was spent. While some documents have been provided, it has not been enough for her.

“I’m not the type of person that when I get angry, I say ‘oh well’. [That is] not me,” said Pascarelli.

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