“King Lear” in Connecticutt

"Happy 98th birthday, Mom! Now get the hell out of my house."

Perhaps it is not fair to compare 71-year-old Peter Kantorowski to King Lear’s heartless  daughters Regan and Gonoril. After all, Peter says that his 98-year-old mom, Mary, is welcome to stay with him and his wife at their home, but she refuses. Still, Kanterowski, like the Lear girls, is trying to evict an aged parent from her residence after she had signed the property over to him. And even Regan and Goneril didn’t serve their father the King with an eviction notice on his birthday…but that’s what Peter’s gift was to his mother last December.

According to Probate Court records, in 1996 Mary Kantorowski and her husband, John transferred their small, yellow Cape Cod-style house to a trust administered by eldest son Peter on the condition that Mary could live there until her death, and that upon her death the house would go to Peter and his younger brother, Jack. In July of 2005, Peter quitclaimed the house from that trust to another he and his wife set up, giving him ownership, he says, without the prior conditions. A retired taxidermist, Kantorowski swears he is trying to evict his mother from the home she has lived in since 1953 for her own good. “She would be better off living with people her own age,” he told the Connecticut Post.

Well at least he doesn’t want to stuff her.

Shortly after serving his mother with eviction papers, Kantorowski attempted to put the house up for sale but was blocked by the Probate Court.  It was determined there that Peter Kantorowski had wrongly taken on his mother’s power of attorney, using her money for his expenses. Richard Bortolot Jr., a Stratford lawyer, was appointed by the court to represent her. Mary’s younger son, Jack, visits his mother regularly; the house is neat, Mary is happy, and pays all of her bills with her Social Security checks. She has a network of neighbors, and a visiting nurse checks on her.

Peter, meanwhile, who says that he wants his mother in a nursing home so she will be better cared for, hasn’t seen her in eight months. No matter how one looks at the situation, which Mary’s lawyer calls ” despicable,” there is no way that the final ethics verdict doesn’t come out to filial cruelty, selfishness, ingratitude and betrayal. (The actual court verdict on Peter’s attempted eviction will come in March.) Or, as King Lear said, “How sharper than a serpent’s tooth it is to have a thankless child!”

Peter’s brother had a more concise description of Mary’s thankless child. “He’s just a scumbag,” he told WTHN in Fairfield.

I think Shakespeare would agree with that.

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