NewsMetro Detroit NewsInvestigations

Actions

Company at center of 7 Action News guardianship investigation barred from doing business

Lawsuit: Michigan kindergartener sexually assaulted by classmates
Posted at 3:07 PM, Sep 16, 2020
and last updated 2020-09-16 15:08:50-04

(WXYZ) — The guardianship company at the heart of a 7 Action News investigation has been banned from working in Michigan.

'I just want my parents back.' Woman says company imprisoned her parents in their own home

According to a new court order obtained by the 7 Investigators, Cathy Kirk and Caring Hearts Michigan Inc. are “permanently restrained from operating, in any form, a professional guardianship or conservatorship entity.”

Caring Hearts Michigan backs out of disputed guardianship case in wake of 7 Action News report

In 2019, family members said they were prevented from seeing Barbara Delbridge and Robert Mitchell after Caring Hearts installed a six-foot-tall privacy fence around their Utica home.

The 7 Investigators exposed how Caring Hearts Michigan Inc. hired a company called Executive Care and brought in multiple caregivers to stay in Barb and Bob’s home 24 hours a day. Both companies were owned by Catherine Kirk, who as guardian and conservator, billed Barb and Bob’s estate that was worth about $2.7 million for all that care.

Family members were later awarded guardianship of the couple after our stories exposed the case. Sadly, both Barb and Bob have since passed away.

The latest court order is an agreement with the Michigan Attorney General’s Office and Caring Hearts Michigan and resolves the AG’s intervention in the case. It does not prevent the AG from pursuing a criminal investigation.

The AG launched a probe shortly after the 7 Investigators first made the case public in May 2019, and the Michigan Supreme Court asked the Attorney General to step in.

Under the permanent injunction, Kirk must immediately cease operations. The order “shall not be construed as an admission of any liability and/or wrongdoing of any kind by any of the foregoing parties.”