By Patsy R. Brumfield/NEMS Daily Journal
TUPELO – Touched by an Angel Ministries Inc. and four Aldridge family members face off today over fraud allegations.
The dispute comes from Florence A. Aldridge’s claims that she lost $250,000 or more, and other property while her brother-in-law, Louis Aldridge of Tupelo, had her durable power of attorney from Jan. 22, 2003, until Nov. 12, 2008.
Denying the allegations with Louis Aldridge are his wife, Janice, and their son, state Rep. Brian Aldridge, who runs the charity.
The civil lawsuit was set for trial before Chancellor Michael Malski at the Lee County Justice Center.
Touched by an Angel Ministries of Tupelo operates a camp for the disabled. The charity apparently received what the defendants term “a gift” from their elderly relative’s assets, but they insist it never was accused of misusing the money or anything else improper.
Florence Aldridge wants an accounting of what happened to her assets while they were in Louis Aldridge’s care, and the return of the money and personal property.
She also wants compensation for other damages, punitive damages, interest and her attorney’s fees.
Power of attorney is legally granted from one person to another to act in specific ways in the grantor’s behalf. Florence Aldridge gave Louis Aldridge virtually complete control over every aspect of her life and property, to be used always with her best interests in mind.
After she recovered from the illness which prompted her granting the power of attorney, she revoked it.
She claims Louis Aldridge sold her house, filed incorrect tax returns for her, took over the proceeds from her husband’s life insurance and forged her signature to checks, “contrary to her best interest.”
Each of those claims is disputed by Louis, Janice and Brian Aldridge.