Lawsuit claims elderly abuse, fraud against senior
By Lisa Brody
A lawsuit was filed by Jonathan Marko of Marko Law on Friday, February 3, in Oakland County Circuit Court on behalf of Bloomfield Township resident Peter Katapodis against Payne, Broder & Fossee; former Bloomfield Township Senior Center Outreach Coordinator Denise Kolkmeyer; her husband; and Michigan attorney John Doe, alleging that Kolkmeyer and her husband conned Katapodis out of his life savings and his home.
According to the lawsuit, Kolkmeyer used her position at the Bloomfield Township Senior Center to “prey upon a 96-year-old senior citizen, Peter Katapodis. Shockingly, this predator and her husband, deceived and conned this poor 96-year-old senior resident out of his life's savings, the very home he lived in.”
The lawsuit alleges that the Kolkmeyers, along with a 92-year-old attorney, Thomas Payne, and his law firm, drafted a quit claim deed transferring the deed of Katapodis' home to Denise Kolkmeyer for one dollar in June 2022. When Katapodis suffered a stroke on December 16, 2022, and was admitted to Beaumont Hospital Royal Oak, Denise Kolkmeyer appeared at Beaumont with an alleged power of attorney, demanding to know his medical condition, and advised the hospital to not discuss Katapodis' condition with his family.
Katapodis and his family learned of her conduct, and a security feature was immediately instituted at the hospital, the lawsuit stated.
Once he was released from Beaumont, a friend of Katapodis discovered the quit claim deed taped to the side of his washing machine, according to Marko, and he consulted an attorney who advised him of the legal consequences of the quit claim deed.
“Kolkmeyer acted as a caregiver for Peter during COVID, when the senior center was closed down. He trusted her,” Marko said, noting they are concerned there could be other similar victims of elder abuse in the community.
Marko said they notified Bloomfield Township police, which has coordinated with the Michigan Attorney General's office of elder abuse, and has recommended charges to the Oakland County Prosecutor's Office. It is unknown at this time if charges have been issued.
The lawsuit further alleges that Katapodis and his estate suffered “financial damages/loss, mental and emotional stress, physical pain and suffering, embarrassment, anxiety, fear, humiliation, exemplary damages, the loss of ordinary pleasures of everyday life, and other damages that may be discovered through the course of litigation.”
Katapodis first purchased his home on W. Maple Road in Bloomfield Township in 2002, according to records.
Bloomfield Township Senior Center Director of Senior Services Christine Tvaroha stated that Denise Kolkmeyer has not been employed by Bloomfield Township since 2020.
Bloomfield Township Attorney Derk Beckerleg said the township does not have further comment at this time.
The case has been assigned to Judge Nanci Grant at Oakland County Circuit Court.