Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Funny business in the 'hood?

Some weeks back my neighbors alerted me to some funny business at the big white house at the corner of SW 19th and SW Boundary.

The house is just a block from my own.

The neighbors told me that when 91-year-0ld Warren Cummins died in late September, his entire estate, (which turned out to be worth nearly $900,000 including his big white rancher) was left to a caregiver. She had been on the job only three months.

As it turned out, nothing in the estate was left to Warren's step-son, Fletcher Johnson, or to Warren's three adopted children. Warren's wife had died in 2007.

The situation first caught the attention of the neighbors when the caregiver, Patricia McIntosh, moved her family into Warren's house. Later, not long after Warren had died, both McIntosh and her husband purchased new cars. Warren's Cadillac was gone, presumably a trade-in.

Something didn't smell right and my neighbors wanted me to look into it.

I know this kind of story takes time to investigate, and I didn't have enough to spare. I called my contacts at Willamette Week. They put me on to reporter James Pitkin, who dug into what had happened and what the inevitable legal fall-out has been.

The results of his reporting appear in today's issue of Willamette week. It can be found here on-line.

It's a solid piece of work. I've thanked James for doing it.

Still, the story needs to be followed. Why, for instance, is the house now vacant if Patricia McIntosh did nothing wrong as her attorney maintains? Where is the McIntosh family now? Is there reason to suspect foul play? Is this more than the civil case it has become?

I'm encouraging Pitkin to stay on the story as it unfolds — and neighbors to stay alert.

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