55-year-old woman worth millions says Harris Co. Probate Court trying to find her incompetent

Long-time Houstonians have heard many horror stories about alleged corruption and greed playing out in Harris County Probate Courts. If what Monique Mandell is saying is true, her story could be the scariest of all.

"I'm paralyzed from the waist down. Maybe with research, I'll find a cure to be able to walk again," Mandell said.

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A lawsuit was filed following the collision that left the 55-year-old Mandell confined to a wheelchair. She was awarded $17 million.

Last February, she inherited $40 million when her husband died.

"Just because I'm in a wheelchair, I can function just fine," she said. "I can pay my bills on time."

Mandell is under temporary guardianship in Harris County Probate Court #3. A doctor appointed by that court claims Mandell is incompetent and can't manage her finances.

"She's not incompetent," said civil rights attorney Randall Kallinen. "I'm no doctor, but she's not incompetent."

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"They come in under the guise of we will take you from being financially exploited," Mandell said. "I'm being financially exploited by these people."

Last April, Mandell found herself in a nursing home.

"There was no order to put her in a nursing home. They chose to do that. They had discretion, that was their choice," said Mandell's attorney UA Lewis. "There was no requirement that they take her money from her. It was their choice."

Attorney UA Lewis had to fight in federal court to get Mandell out of the nursing home.

"They got lawyers, which they say, was on her behalf to fight against her," said Kallinen. "So they made her pay for the lawyers who are fighting against her in this case. It's pathetic."


Lewis says Probate Judge Jason Cox fired her from the case after she pointed out the temporary guardianship ended last June.

"I told him in open court, I am an officer of the court. That I will not accept any payment from her directly or indirectly, or in the future as a result of this temporary guardianship. There's no reason to throw me off this case, except for I'm trouble," Lewis said.

"Why are you perpetuating this witchcraft, this witch hunt on me? I've done nothing wrong, but my understanding is you are letting these people get away with stuff in court that normally they're not supposed to do," Mandell said.

"Doing this interview with you, we do have fears of retaliation," said Lewis. "She's being brave coming forward right now and letting the public know what's going on with her."