The Charleston County Probate Judge filed a court order against Charleston Mayor John Tecklenburg to limit the powers he has as conservator over an elderly woman’s finances.

In a motion, Judge Irv Condon said it was in the best interest of 92-year-old Ms. Johnnie Wineglass.  He appointed Thiem & McCutcheon, CPAs, PA as Special Conservator to manage her finances.

According to the court document,  in 2008 the Charleston Elder Support Office filed an Emergency Ex Parte petition to appoint a temporary conservator and guardian for Ms. Wineglass. After the preliminary hearing, the court appointed Mayor Tecklenburg to care for her assets and monthly income.

In April 2009, the court the appointed Tecklenburg as the conservator for her estate and affairs, without limitation. The letters of conservatorship stated:

“John Tecklenburg, as Conservator, shall not sell or dispose of any real or personal property belonging to [Ms. Johnnie Wineglass], without prior Probate Court Approval. THIS RESTRICTION DOES NOT APPLY TO THE LIQUID ASSETS BELONGING TO [MS.] JOHNNIE WINEGLASS; INCLUDING BUT NOT LIMITED TO SAVINGS ACCOUNTS, CHECKING ACCOUNTS, CD’S INVESTMENT ACCOUNTS, ETC.”

According to court paperwork, in March, 2010, transactions show Tecklenburg made unsecured loans to himself and to his family members’ business. Earlier this year, the annual accounting review was filed, showing loan repayments, apparently made by Tecklenburg.  Some were as large as $20,000.

The court also noted a transaction of a purchase of $25,000 at a tax sale on December 7th, 2011.  From that, $28,000 was repaid to the conservatorship.

The Goddaughter of Ms. Wineglass sent the following letter to Judge Condon:

“Dear Judge Condon,

Thanks for sending me a copy of the order about my Godmother, Johnnie Wineglass. I live in Maryland now but was in Charleston during the time my Godmother was committed to the care of John Tecklenburg. I worked with him and his wife Sandy as incredible efforts were taken to take care of her affairs and well being. John and Sandy are like family to Ms. Johnnie and I am so thankful for all they have done for her. I highly recommend that John remain on as Conservator for my Godmother.

Leila Potts Campbell”

Judge Condon wouldn’t speak on the case, sending us this statement:

“I have received media inquiries regarding a pending case. State law prohibits a judge from publicly commenting on a pending case. Below is the specific canon of the Code of Judicial Conduct, Rule 501 Canon 3(B)(9):”

  •     (9) A judge shall not, while a proceeding is pending or impending in any court, make any public comment that might reasonably be expected to affect its outcome or impair its fairness or make any nonpublic comment that might substantially interfere with a fair trial or hearing. The judge shall require * similar abstention on the part of court personnel * subject to the judge’s direction and control. This Section does not prohibit judges from making public statements in the course of their official duties or from explaining for public information the procedures of the court. This Section does not apply to proceedings in which the judge is a litigant in a personal capacity.

The mayor issued a statement about the matter on his Facebook page which can be found here.