American Idol season 6 alum, LaKisha Jones, could land in jail for failing to pay her father’s nursing home bills after she was named his legal guardian, a judge ruled Tuesday.
You may also remember LaKisha from last summer’s singing competition, The Winner Is. She was knocked out in the first round.
Genesee Probate Judge Jennie Barkey found Jones guilty of civil contempt of court Feb. 25, after the court was alerted that Jones’ father was involuntarily transferred out of a nursing home for failure to pay and was behind in payments at his current nursing home.
Barkey told Jones that she has 60 days to catch up on the missing payments or she could be sentenced to time in the Genesee County Jail.
“I didn’t steal my dad’s money,” Jones told the judge before the ruling.
Jones, 34, was granted full guardianship of her now-68-year-old father Aug. 7, 2012, after he was released from Hurley Medical Center in June 2012 following a stroke, according to court records.
Barkey’s ruling also removed Jones as her father’s legal guardian.
The guardianship required Jones to pay the monthly bills for her father’s care at a Flint skilled nursing facility after doctors told the court her father was unable to reasonably understand his condition.
However, a court-appointed advocate for her father reported to the court in July 2013 that Jones’ father was involuntarily discharged from the facility after Jones failed to pay nearly $6,500 for her father’s care.
He was placed at a new facility in April 2013, where again Jones fell behind in making payments for her father, according to court records. A billing representative from the facility testified Tuesday that Jones still owed more than $1,600 to the facility despite making a $2,000 payment less than two weeks before Tuesday’s hearing.
Jones, who now lives in Texas, was responsible for paying $987 per month for her father’s nursing home care at the most-recent facility. Her father receives $1,047 monthly in Social Security benefits.
Barkey asked Jones where her father’s Social Security payments were going if they weren’t being used to pay for the nursing care.
“I was paying his apartment and other things as well,” Jones told the judge.
Jones said she paid $550 per month toward rent at her father’s apartment, medical bills and $20 every two weeks for his haircuts and shaves.
She was unable to provide the judge with any receipts for the expenditures, although she was not initially required to keep an accounting of her expenditures as part of the guardianship.
Barkey questioned why Jones continued to pay for an apartment even after the judge made her the guardian for a man who could no longer care for himself.
“I never dealt with someone that was sick before,” Jones told the judge.
She’s in a really difficult situation (been there done that). But I don’t get paying rent on an apartment if dad is living in a nursing home and can’t even make decisions for himself.