Terri Schiavo’s Ex-Husband Michael Threatens to Sue Her Family Over Foundation
by Steven Ertelt
May 3, 2010
St. Petersburg, FL (LifeNews.com) — Terri Schiavo’s name could be back in court, but this time for a different reason. Her former husband says he is considering a lawsuit against her family because they started a foundation in her name to assist other disabled who may be deprived of their legal rights and medical care.
The foundation was once named Terri’s Fight and existed before Terri’s death, which saw Michael Schiavo starve and dehydrate her to death over 13 days after winning a court order to take her life.
The Schindler family — Terri’s mother and father and brother and sister — headed up the foundation to defray legal expenses and costs to provide Terri the rehabilitative treatment and medical care Michael deprived her when he gave up on her recovery.
Following Terri’s painful euthanasia death, the Schindler family change the name to the Terri Schindler Schiavo Foundation and it has raised a modest amount of money — less than six figures — to provide help and support for disabled people like her.
But, Michael, who said he never wanted anyone to profit from the use of Terri’s name, claims the helpful nonprofit organization is doing just that.
Michael says a court document gives him rights to the name Terri Schiavo and he says it means no one can use her name without her permission. His attorney has written to the Terri Schindler Schiavo Foundation telling it that its use of the name violates that court order.
Schiavo’s attacks are ironic given that he attempted to profit politically from Terri’s death, by starting a political action committee that supported candidates until it closed down after the FEC repeatedly fined it for late reports and violating reporting guidelines.
David Gibbs, a pro-life attorney who helped the Schindler family during their legal battle to protect Terri’s right to live, told WTSP that the Schindler’s are doing a good job running the nonprofit and helping hundreds of people.
Gibbs also says the foundation has the right to use Terri’s name since she is a public figure and they are related to her.
Wesley J. Smith, an attorney and bioethicist based in California, says what Michael Schiavo believes is "irrelevant and beside the point."
"Had the reporters wanted to find out the kind of help the foundation offers others, producers could have called me or a myriad of others active in this field, who are quite aware of the selfless giving and effort each surviving member of Terris family offers to others," he said. "Indeed, I have personal knowledge of case after case in which the Schindlers worked selflesslyand without financial compensation of any kindto assist family members save their cognitively disabled loved ones from suffering the same dehydration fate as Terri."
Smith says neither Terri’s brother Bobby Schindler nor her sister Suzanne Vitadamo are making any money off of Terri’s name.
"And as for profiteeringBobby Schindlers salary is $37,500 annually, and all speaking fees he receives go to the foundation," he explained. "His sister Suzanne makes less and is 14 months in arrears in receiving her compensation."
"It is also worth noting, that after receiving complaints, the IRS investigated the foundation and gave it a clean bill of health in 2008," Smith continued. "The hatred of this family is pathological and obsessive."
Smith says the Schindler family is a wonderful one which has been unfairly attacked.
"Father Bob gave everything he had to save his daughters life, and seeing her die slowly by intentional dehydration when the family was prepared to love and care for her the rest of her life, destroyed his health and eventually took his life," he said. "I stand wholeheartedly and unreservedly with the Schindler family and against the continual calumny mounted against them."
Related web sites:
Terri Schindler Schiavo Foundation – https://www.TerrisFight.org
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