The daughters of Kathleen DuRoss Ford (Kate Ford), the widow of automotive tycoon Henry Ford II, filed a lawsuit in Palm Beach County, Florida, alleging that their mother is being abused by her longtime companion. According to Ford’s daughters, the mother’s longtime companion and attorney, Frank Chopin, is physically and emotionally abusing their mother. The court proceedings are being presided over by Circuit Judge Scott Suskauer.
Kate Ford has been in poor health, having survived a double lung transplant leaving her mostly disabled and unable to care for herself. Ford is said to be confined to a wheelchair due to spinal issues that left her incontinent and unable to move on her own. The judge presiding over the case has issued a ruling that says Ford is no longer capable of making decisions about her own life or controlling her massive fortune.
Kate Ford is said to have holdings totaling hundreds of millions of dollars. While the judge has ruled Ford incapable of making her own decisions, he has yet to rule on the allegations of abuse or financial exploitation by her partner. Who will take care of Ford is yet to be determined. Ford’s eldest daughter, Deborah DuRoss Guibord, is seeking to have Chopin stripped of any legal hold over her mother. To support her claims, the daughter has sought help from the sizable team of caretakers helping with her mother.
Court documents show that six different nurses, housekeepers, and personal assistants heard Chopin screaming at Ford. The caretakers also claimed that the man tilts back her head and shoves the dozens of pills she takes each day in her mouth and then pours water down her throat, sometimes causing her to choke.
The caregivers of also testified that at night Chopin forbids nurses from touching Ford or changing her wet clothing to prevent her from getting bed sores. Chopin denies the allegations and has people testifying for him, claiming the allegations are fiction. Doctors who have been caring for Ford have testified that they have seen no evidence of abuse. Henry Ford II was played by Tracy Letts in the film Ford v Ferrari.
Source: Detroit Free Press