Jesse L. Devore Jr. has been relentless in his quest to bring clarity and justice to the treasured Hale House and to the co-founder’s daughter, Dr. Lorraine Hale, Devore’s wife, who is currently confined to Calvary Hospital in New York City and under a “death watch.”
“She may expire at any moment,” Devore said in a recent interview. She was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s and dementia a decade ago; her husband claims a condition was ignored by then Attorney General Eliot Spitzer when he began legal proceedings against her.
Devore, in a recent press release, further contends that his wife was declared “not competent to stand trial.” The trial stemmed from an indictment in which the couple was charged with stealing more than $1 million from Hale House and using the money to finance Devore’s theatrical ventures.
In his press release, issued on Monday, Devore, 81, leans on a report from Dr. Frank Miller, one of the city’s leading forensic psychiatrists and former head of Payne Whitney Clinic of the Weill Medical College. Hale, Miller concluded, “is unable to work usefully with an attorney in her own defense. Her judgment, insight and cognitive grasp are so impaired that she cannot be expected to make reasonable decisions and to weigh strategic choices.”
Hale, 89, succeeded Mother Hale as president of the famed children’s shelter. She, along with her husband, pled guilty to the charges in 2002 and the couple was placed on five years probation. At that time, they claimed they were unable to make restitution on the stolen money.
Devore claims that during the court proceedings, the presiding judge sent word to him, through attorney Charles Clayman, that he must ignore the original medical diagnoses of Hale–including a three-week stay in one case and six months of outpatient care in the other–in favor of a court-appointed psychiatrist, who concluded after three hours of examination that Hale was of sound mind.
Far more convoluted than Hale’s medical history are the financial affairs at Hale House. Devore charges that his wife’s attorney, Clayman, is partly to blame in failing to advise her of his ongoing relationship with Spitzer. “Had Dr. Hale known of that Spitzer-Clayman relationship,” Devore said, “she would certainly not have retained Mr. Clayman.”
Meanwhile, Devore adds, the current Hale House board continues to spend bequested funds ($2 million annually), money set aside for Mother Hale’s Drug Baby Program, which was discontinued several years ago.