Follow-up: Clay Greene, Harold Scull

Clay Greene and Harold Scull were an elderly gay couple that was separated by the state under false pretenses. They had all the possible paperwork they could in order to be sure they had all the rights they deserved. But that was unimportant to Sonoma County in California. The two were forced to live out Harold’s last days in separate nursing homes; Clay shouldn’t have even been placed in a home. Their property was stolen and sold by the county, gone forever except in Clay’s memories. It’s a tragedy that ought to move everybody.

Clay soon brought a lawsuit against the county. I’m reporting this late, I know, but a settlement was reached back in July.

A case of reported domestic violence involving two elderly Sonoma County gay men that led to a lawsuit claiming discrimination by the Public Guardian’s office which assisted them was settled today when the County agreed to pay $300,000 for property that belonged to the men which was sold for less than its full alleged value at auction.

What’s unfortunate is that the only source I can find is the one I’ve given here, and that’s a press release from the county. Everyone knows a settlement usually means the defendant knows a loss was guaranteed. But that doesn’t stop the lying.

“This is a case about the County doing the right thing and stepping in to assist an individual, Harold Scull, who made claims of domestic abuse against Clay Greene,” said attorney Greg Spaulding, representing the County in the settlement. “It is everyone’s right—no matter what their sexual orientation—to have a relationship that is not abusive.”

Except charges were never filed. No steps were taken to prove beyond any doubt, much less a reasonable one, that Clay had ever abused Harold. All that happened was the county stole property from two men, placed one in what was effectively a prison, and then lied. Now that it’s obvious to everyone that they were lying, they’re doubling down on the lies. Take a look at the first quote I put up. It sounds like the county only paid for undervalued property. In fact, it was stolen property, but putting that aside, here’s what they really paid.

This settlement, in which the County agreed to pay $300,000 for attorney fees, $275,000 to Clay Greene and $25,000 to the estate of Harold Scull for allegedly undervalued sold property, allows the County to avoid costs associated with a lengthy trial.

The real cost is $600,000, not $300,000. And does anyone believe that the county is merely paying the difference in the stolen undervalued property? They’re giving a massive chunk to Clay while only a small portion to Harold’s estate. How plausible is it that the two men had such unequal shares of property after living together for 20 years? Clearly the county is paying $25,000 to Harold’s estate for the sake of undervalued property, but it’s paying Clay so much because they know they would face a humiliating and just loss at trial that would result in a far bigger payment. It’s that inevitable loss they mean when they talk about “costs associated with a lengthy trial”.

It’s good that Clay has effectively won his case, but none of this changes the fact that he was forced to miss the majority of the last few months of Harold’s life.

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2 Responses

  1. here ya go. an update:

    http://press.sonoma-county.org/content.aspx?sid=1018&id=1367

    Oh, new facts come out in court. Part of why they were separated was one of them called the cops for domestic abuse on the other. That will definitely throw a monkey wrench into things when one person in the couple “falls” and gets injured.

    I thought this was pure discrimination, but now it sounds like it’s a mix of bungling, discrimination, and correct action in not moving an infirmed person back in with the person who likely injured them :/ gays have domestic abuse too :/

  2. What is the deal with people not bothering to read things? No charges were filed related to any abuse. The exact same situation with a straight couple would have ended entirely different.

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