PRESTONSBURG — A prominent local man with ties to business, government and nonprofit agencies throughout the region agreed over a month ago to settle allegations he mismanaged the administration of an estate case.
Mike Vance signed a settlement agreement with the estate of Wayland grocer Annie Handshoe, who died in 2007. Under the terms of the agreement, signed May 30, Vance repaid the estate $54,000 and agreed to a 180-day probated sentence for contempt of court, due to “mismanagement of funds and violations of orders of the court.” As part of the deal, Vance was required to resign as public administrator of the Handshoe estate and other estates and to agree not to accept any further court appointments.
Vance is not likely to face any criminal charges as a result of the mishandled estate, as they would constitute double jeopardy, following the contempt finding and sentence.
Vance was appointed to serve as administrator of the Handshoe estate in 2007, after conflicts between some of the family members.
Mary Stanfield, daughter of Annie Handshoe, said the estate was reimbursed last week.
Stanfield said she became concerned about how her mother’s estate was being handled, after noticing some discrepancies in Vance’s records. She noticed payments for bills which she said were not owed, such as her mother’s final medical bills, which were completely covered by insurance. She began to suspect money was going missing and asked for a full accounting of the estate’s finances.
Vance’s attorney, Gerald Derossett, said Vance had some medical problems in the midst of his handling of a “fairly complicated estate” and fell behind in keeping accurate records. He also missed deadlines to file estate taxes, which resulted in tax penalties.
As a result of his shortcomings in handling the estate, Derossett said Vance felt it would only be fair to reimburse the estate the amount of his fee, plus the penalties and interest associated with the missed deadlines. He emphasized that Vance did not admit “any intentional wrongdoing.”
“Mike didn’t do a very good job of record-keeping,” Derossett said. “He fell behind and he felt like this was a good way to make things right …
“Mike is an honest man, but he was used to doing things simply. It wasn’t that did anything wrong; he just didn’t do it very well.”