Elderly Paso Robles lottery winner is the center of a legal battle concerning his welfare and fortune
Court case includes allegations of neglect and isolation from friends and family
–Charles Hairston bought a winning lottery at One Stop gas station at 703 Spring Street in Paso Robles in 2011 that was worth $78 million. According to reports and court records, Hairston was generous with his winnings including paying off his nephew, Eddie Hairston’s, mortgage and gifting his caretaker a $819,000 home and a Porsche. In a written declaration to San Luis Obispo Superior Court, Ronald Chaisson, an officer of Rabobank in charge of Hairston’s trust, Hairston “made regular gifts to as many as 15 people per year since 2011.”
Written statements from friends, family and a caretaker document allegations of neglect and isolation from friends and family, distrust and fractured relationships, which led to Eddie Hairston filing for a conservatorship for 88-year old Hairston, his medical care and finances. The court case was filed in November.
Eddie Hairston and friends of the elder Hairston are blaming an unlicensed caregiver, who has had power of attorney over the millionaire’s medical care and finances since 2015. The caretaker, Tiffany Borba and others, claim Eddie Hairston and friends were cut out of Hairston’s life for attempting to exploit his wealth.
Court reports say Hairston enlisted Borba as his caretaker in 2012. In written declarations to the court, friends of Hairston report incidents over the following years in which Hairston’s prescriptions were not filled, his home would be dirty, there would be no food in the house and calls to Borba from them would not be answered.
In a written declaration, a former neighbor, Melynda Weide, said in spring 2014, Weide and her husband heard Hairston calling for help from inside his home. The doors were locked, Weide said her husband broke a window to get to Hairston, who had been laying on the floor all night. Another friend, Janice Watson, reported similar situations during the same time period.
Legal records showed that Hairston gave Borba a $819,000 home in Paso Robles in March of 2015, also purchasing a new home for himself for $409,000. Watson’s husband, Lonnie, provided a written declaration that Hairston bought Borba a Porsche Cayman in 2016. Lonnie Watson’s declaration also included photos of several other vehicles outside Borba’s home.
In December 2015, documents showed that Hairston signed over power of attorney for both his finances and medical care to Borba. Up until that time, Eddie Hairston had the power of attorney. According to Borba’s written declaration, Hairston gave numerous cash gifts to Eddie and his wife that exceeded a half million dollars. The financial gifts included travel expenses to visit from Colorado. Borba’s declaration said the visits often ended in arguments and the final visit in November 2015 ending with “Eddie’s wife losing control, screaming at Charles.” Shortly after that incident Hairston changed his power of attorney from Eddie to Borba.
Attorney Paul Clark, who helped Hairston set up the trust for his lottery winnings, said, “Mr. Hairston expressed suspicion towards Eddie and his wife regarding their motivations.” Chaisson also claimed that a gate and security cameras installed at Hairston’s home were because of Hairston’s distrust of his nephew.
In her declaration, Borba stated that she’s arranged for his home care on a clinical level. That care plan includes care by licensed vocational nurses (LVN) and certified nursing assistants (CNA) who provide support and care 24 hours a day. “There is nothing Mr. Hairston lacks for in his care,” Rosalyn Myers, a private LVN who works with Hairston, said in her written declaration. Borba also denied allegations that she mistreated Hairston. William Dwyer, who claims to be a friend of Hairston since 1990 stated that he’s never been denied access to Hairston or seen Borba mistreat him. Kevin Wright, another of Hairston’s nephews, filed a written declaration in support of Borba, claiming that he’d never been prevented from visiting his uncle and accusing Eddie of going behind the Hairston family’s back by pursuing the conservatorship.
Eddie Hairston’s attorney, Glenn Lewis, argues in a court filing that the individuals supporting Borba’s claims either received gifts from Hairston or are working for Borba, who has the power over Hairston’s finances. Lewis wrote that “Charles Hairston is not speaking on his own behalf. His declaration is noticeably absent.”
In a recent conversation, Lewis told the Paso Robles Daily News that San Luis Obispo County Adult Protective Services had been involved in the case, but Lewis was not sure about the agencies current involvement. Lewis said a conservatorship is a “toss up, it depends on what the court-appointed attorney recommends.” The court-appointed attorney John Ronca to represent Hairston. Ronca has not yet returned a phone call from the Paso Robles Daily News. Lewis expects the case to continue for several months.
The 88-year old Hairston is bedridden but alert according to some reports. However, a report by Melanie Phillips, the court-appointed probate investigator states that Hairston believes it to be the year 1990 and was unable to hold a coherent conversation.
According to Eddie Hairston’s written declaration, he is Hairston’s biological son, claiming that Hairston told him this. Declarations from friends, as well as the woman who sold Hairston the winning ticket in 2011, stated that Hairston mentioned that Eddie was his son. In his declaration, Eddie said he attempted to have a private investigator test his DNA to confirm the paternity, but the investigator turned out to be a scam artist.